Pleiades Supercomputer Sim

Pleiades supercomputer 3-D simulation

This simulation captures a mix of radiation, magnetic fields, gravity and other physical phenomena. It was produced with UC Berkeley’s code and run on the Pleiades supercomputer at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing facility at NASA’s Ames Research Center.
Credits: NASA Ames/David Ellsworth/Tim Sandstrom
Pleiades, the seventh most powerful computer in America is the cosmic simulation darling of NAS ( NASA Advanced Supercomputing ). Located at Ames Research Facility in California, Pleiades uses “code” based on the law of physics, observations from Hubble and data provided by orbiting satellites. Representing the sum of mankind’s understanding, intricate tangles of knowledge convene in portraits of wonder.
 “Researchers around the world are studying the sun to better understand its formation, evolution, and impact on Earth. To help explain longstanding mysteries of the sun’s atmosphere, scientists turned to one of the world’s fastest supercomputers, Pleiades, located at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility, at Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. This video snapshot shows a simulated view from NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) spacecraft flying above the solar surface at a height of over 6,000 miles, with a filter showing only light emitted by plasma at a temperature of about 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The sun’s plasma, a superheated mix of charged particles, flows and creates magnetic fields, that move through the surface and extend throughout the solar atmosphere.  The synthetic image is derived from numerical simulations that reveal how the sun’s magnetic field structures its atmosphere on fine scales.”
Simulation of  magnetic field loops around our Sun.
Unfettered by limited visualizations of light spectrum, connecting predictable dots allows Pleiades to illustrate the genesis of stars and galaxies.


Pondering the enormity of JUNO’s successful decent into orbit around Jupiter, my friend said it best –

“I’m spellbound!    A man made machine is in orbit around Jupiter.  Galileo is watching.  No religion, no politics, no hatred on Jupiter. How strange and how vast is the range of human endeavor.   A group of people are making history and are about to add volumes to the sum of our knowledge   – and another human is anxiously awaiting  …. and almost begging a cat to go and have a shit!”


JUNO, Reporting Live From Jupiter

This is it, in a few hours NASA’s JUNO mission to Jupiter will successfully decelerate into orbit, or drift aimlessly into deep space. Beginning at 7:30 pm pacific time, a live feed from NASA television documents this epic hit or miss, linked below –

While we’re waiting, ponder an image of auroras on Jupiter. Captured by Hubble on May 19, NASA released the image on July 1 as JUNO approached outer reaches of Jupiter’s realm.

Image via NASA

View larger. | Aurora on Jupiter. Image via NASA, ESA, and J. Nichols (University of Leicester)

Saturna Island Lamb Roast

My daughter is at the coolest Canada Day event imaginable. Envy blew a gasket when she texted this image a few hours ago.


Since 1950, 31 square kilometer Saturna Island (currently 350 permanent residents )has hosted a community lamb roast on July 1.

The Southern Gulf Islands, including Saturna.

Next Canada Day we plan to ferry, water taxi or float plane ourselves to Saturna Island for lamb roasted on open fires.Accommodation is scarce, we’ll likely pitch a tent next to hers in a clearing behind her friend’s parents house. Does it get more Canadian than that? Happy Canada Day.

Brian May Asteroid Day

On June 30, 1908 an asteroid exploded over Tunguska, Siberia releasing energy of 100 tons TNT – the force flattened 800 square miles of Russian wilderness. Last year astrophysicist Dr. Brian May, Apollo 9 astronaut Ricky Schweickart and astronaut Dr. Ed Lu co-founded Asteroid Day to coincide with the anniversary of the Tunguska event. June 30, 2016 was the second official Asteroid Day.

Hold onto your hat – astrophysicist Dr. Brian May is Brian May, guitarist and songwriter for rock band Queen (he wrote We Will Rock You ). Brian May, ranked 26th of the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2011, is an astrophysicist.

With a degree in physics from Imperial College London, 1974 found May working on his thesis ( the study of reflected light from interplanetary dust and the velocity of dust in our solar system ). Academic pursuits ended with the rise of Queen’s star. Over 40 years and honorary degrees from Hertfordshire, Exeter and Liverpool John Moore universities later, May buckled down. Submitting an updated thesis “Motions of Interplanetary Dust” to Imperial College – Brian May earned his PHD in 2007.

Dr. Brian May

From a 2015 interview with the Guardian –

“The aim is to ramp up public awareness and the awareness of governments to the fact that we are under threat from a meteor strike,” May told me during a visit, “It’s been made light of, and we’ve seen some great films, like Bruce Willis saving the day, but it is a very serious threat.”

A key aim of Asteroid Day is to lobby for a 100-fold increase in the detection rate of Near Earth Objects.

“This is a catastrophe that could be averted,” he said.

I leave you with “We Will Rock You – Asteroid Day”

Dr Brian May