Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Chelyabinsk Bolide art by Don Davis

February 21, 2013

[Update March 2nd from Don – (On FaceBook) “For all my full dome friends: I have two planetarium sequences to license, the last shuttle launch and the most recent total eclipse. Feel free to PM me about this. I am also available for new fulldome sequences.” I asked him: “Don, you also said you could animate your ‘Chelyabinsk Bolide,’ right?” and he replied “Yes!”

Update March 10th, – this meteor/meteorite/bolide/superbolide is now named the Chebarkul object: “dubbed Chebarkul after the small town and lake where some of the largest fragments have been found.”] Most still search for this with ‘russian meteor’ as their keywords.

Master astronomical artist and IAAA Member & Fellow Don Davis (Donald E. Davis) has used all of his considerable skills to illustrate the start of the Chelyabinsk bolide breakup. Don posted this to Facebook, and has given permission for non-commercial use of this stunning image/illustration/painting/digital painting if you credit him and link to his website at (This illustration isn’t posted there yet is now posted there with additional commentary by Don. Enjoy browsing through some of Don’s other art and writings, such as the K-T extinction asteroid impact from space and from sealevel)

Chelyabinsk bolide meteorite - Don Davis copyright Don Davis

Chelyabinsk Bolide image copyright Don Davis.  Don explains how he created this beautiful and terrifying image:

“My digital painting based on what info I have gathered of this event, seen from about 10 km altitude looking down on the city of Chelyabinsk. The maximum burst is just beginning, sending shock waves that will take over two minutes to reach the ground. The (more…)


“How About a Game of Thermonuclear War?” – DEFCON Steam Special

December 28, 2011

Steam Games has a mammoth two-week Christmas holiday sale with daily specials up to 75% off, and other sales ending January 1st 2012. Yes, you’ve missed the one day sales for 50% off strategy game of the year Shogun 2, and 33% off RPG game of the year Skyrim, but there is also a summer sale too.

The classic DEFCON is normally U$9.99, but is U$2.49 until January 1st [1pm EST Jan 2nd]. A Steam account is free, there are no monthly charges, and you can buy extra copies of DEFCON at the 75% off price and store them in your account inventory until you recruit other players or give them as birthday gifts later in the year.

DEFCON screenshot from Introversion Software

Remember the 1983 movie “WarGames,” in which a young hacker breaks into the central NORAD computer and is asked “How about a game of thermonuclear war?” DEFCON: Everyone Dies reproduces the look of the movie’s NORAD control room; NORAD’s comment was “their central command room looked better than ours.”

This is a fun and quick strategy game against the computer or up to 6 players allowed online, net or LAN, Mac and PC, and very accessible to non-hardcore gamers. Players of the Risk and Diplomacy board games would likely enjoy all the opportunities to betray your ephemeral alliances with other players. You can choose game variations and make many changes to the game conditions to enhance replay value.


Dawn Rendezvous With Vesta Rock animation

July 25, 2011

I saved individual frames from Dawn simulator images covering 2 weeks as the spacecraft arrived at Vesta and created a Dawn rendezvous set at Flickr.  Play them as a slideshow! (Let the slideshow run once first to download the images, then it should run faster on replay.  For me, slides display at 3 second intervals, resulting in a two minute animation.  Your flickerage will vary.)
Simulation courtesy of Gregory J. Whiffen, JPL.  I encourage him to do an official time-lapse, once he has time out from frequent Vesta texture map updates.  He has other Dawn viewpoint sims and charts at

This animation is made of frames from this feed:

Dawn spacecraft arrives at Vesta rock’s orbit

July 19, 2011

Here’s the initial image, pic, picture, photo, and photograph of Vesta from orbit.  (I’ve noticed all the different search terms people are using for images.  Smile.)

Vesta from Dawn spacecraft orbit distance 9,500 kilometers July 17, 2011

Vesta from Dawn spacecraft orbit distance 9,500 kilometers July 17, 2011

Go here to see NASA info:

Previous NASA images are in my earlier post and updates:

After a year of shifting survey and mapping orbits, Dawn will relight its drive and start the 2 year and nine months flight to Ceres.  This will add another 20,000 hours of powered flight to the flightlog of these incredible engines; three are aboard Dawn, taking turns shaping its orbit with the 5-millionths of a earth gravity strength ion-drive thrust.

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