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Archive for February, 2015

At number 80 in BBC Radio 2’s 100 best guitar riffs is “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. This song was released in 1982, but the song was actually written and released in 1975 by Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker of Arrows, but Jett’s version is much better known. It reached number 4 in the Disunited Kingdom, and number 1 in the US and many other countries.



At number 80 in BBC Radio 2's 100 best guitar riffs is "I Love Rock and Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

At number 80 in BBC Radio 2’s 100 best guitar riffs is “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts



The song is taken from the Jett and the Blackhearts’ second studio album, also called “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”. As far as I’m aware, this was Jett’s only hit single in the DUK.


I saw him dancing there by the record machine
I knew he must have been about seventeen
The beat was going strong
Playing my favorite song
And I could tell it wouldn’t be long till he was with me, yeah me
And I could tell it wouldn’t be long till he was with me, yeah me

Singing, I love rock and roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock and roll
So come and take your time and dance with me
Ow!

He smiled, so I got up and asked for his name
But that don’t matter, he said, ’cause it’s all the same
He said, “Can I take you home
Where we can be alone?”
And next we were moving on, he was with me, yeah me
Next we were moving on, he was with me, yeah me

Singing, I love rock and roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock and roll
So come and take your time and dance with me
Ow!

He said, “Can I take you home
Where we can be alone?”
Next we’re moving on, he was with me, yeah me
And we’ll be moving on and singing that same old song, yeah with me

Singing I love rock and roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock and roll
So come and take your time and dance with me

I love rock and roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock and roll
So come and take your time and dance with

I love rock and roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock and roll
So come and take your time and dance with

I love rock and roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock and roll
So come and take your time and dance with

I love rock and roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock and roll
So come and take your time and dance with me


Here is a video of this great song. Enjoy!





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My wife and I went to Berlin in mid-December 2014, just before Christmas. Here are some of the photographs; it is an amazing city and well worth visiting. 25 years on from the fall of the Berlin wall, there is very little sign of it and in most places it is hard to know whether you are in what was once East or West Berlin.

The Brandenburg Gates

The Brandenburg Gates

safariscreensnapz010

safariscreensnapz011

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At number 17 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time is “Purple Haze” by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This song was released in March 1967, and features one of the greatest guitar riffs you will hear. It got to number 3 in the Disunited Kingdom singles charts, but only 65 in the US charts.



At number 30 in Rolling Stone Magazine's '500 Greatest Songs of all Time' is "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash.

At number 17 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of all Time’ is “Purple Haze” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.



The song’s lyrics are not particularly sophisticated, although they are psychedelic. But, this song is all about Hendrix’ incomparable guitar playing.


Purple Haze all in my brain,
lately things don’t seem the same,
actin’ funny but I don’t know why
‘scuse me while I kiss the sky.

Purple Haze all around,
don’t know if I’m coming up or down.
Am I happy or in misery?
Whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me.

Help me
Help me
Oh no, oh

Yeah, Purple Haze all in my eyes,
don’t know if it’s day or night,
you’ve got me blowing, blowing my mind
is it tomorrow or just the end of time?

Help me, yeah, Purple Haze !


Here is a video of Jimi Hendrix and the Jimi Hendrix Experience playing “Purple Haze” live. Enjoy!






Which is your favourite Jimi Hendrix song?

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Last week I said I would blog in more detail about the “five top facts” I gave to BBC Radio 5 when I was on the breakfast show back on the 3rd of February. Here is the tweet that BBC Radio 5 sent out, and below it the “five top facts” that I chose. Today I am going to blog about the first fact.



The tweet from BBC Radio 5 with the five most interesting facts about Jupiter.

The tweet from BBC Radio 5 with the five most interesting facts about Jupiter.




The list of the five facts

The list of the five facts



Fact 1 – Jupiter is a failed star

Jupiter is, like the Sun, mainly comprised of hydrogen and helium. In the Universe as a whole, about 75% of the Universe is hydrogen, about 24% is helium, and the remaining 1% is everything else (carbon, oxygen, nitrogen etc.). It was George Gamow and his co-workes Ralph Alpher and Robert Hermann who showed in the late 1940s that the hydrogen and helium we find in the Universe was all be created in the first few minutes after the Big Bang. In fact, the observed abundances of hydrogen and helium are one of the main pieces of evidence for the “hot big bang” theory, there is just too much helium to have all been created in stars as e.g. Fred Hoyle argued.

The other elements beyond hydrogen and helium have all been created within stars. A star like the Sun is what we call a “main sequence” star, (see my blog on the HR diagram here) and this means that it is burning hydrogen in its core. It is turning the hydrogen into helium via nuclear fusion, and the tiny mass difference between the hydrogen that goes into this reaction and the helium which comes out provides the energy of the Sun, because of Einstein’s famous equation E=mc^{2}. Because hydrogen is converted into helium in stars, the abundance of helium is very slowly getting greater in the Universe, and the abundance of hydrogen is very slowly going down.

We believe that stars form from the collapse of huge clouds of hydrogen, things we refer to as “giant molecular clouds” (like the “pillars of creation” that I blogged about here). When these clouds are massive and cold enough they can collapse under their own gravity, and as they do so they fragment. The individual fragments are what form the stars, but a fragment has to be large enough to actually “ignite” as a star. This requires a high enough pressure and density and temperature at the core of the fragment.

Jupiter has all the ingredients to be a star, but what it lacks is the mass (or size). It is too small to create a high enough temperature and pressure at the centre to force hydrogen to fuse into helium. If it were about ten to one hundred times more massive it would have become a star, albeit a very faint one (what we call a “red dwarf”). We believe stars can range in mass from about one tenth the mass of the Sun (smaller than this and they will be “failed stars” like Jupiter) up to about 50 or maybe 100 times the mass of the Sun. Larger than this and they are beyond something called the Hyashi limit, and will just blow themselves apart before they can settle down onto the main sequence.

It was discovered in the 1960s, from observing Jupiter in the infrared, that it was hotter than it should be given its distance from the Sun. This is because the gravitational potential energy lost when the gas from which it formed collapsed was converted to heat, and this heat has been leaking out over since. It emits about twice the energy that it gets from the Sun.

Next week I will blog in more detail about fact number 2.

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Time for me to re-blog this post, as this week it is the 2015 Chinese New Year, on Thursday the 19th of February.

thecuriousastronomer

This year (2013), Chinese New Year is tomorrow, the 10th of February.

20130207-095444.jpg

This is a repost of a blog from last year.

Chinese New Year

Today (23rd of January 2012) is Chinese New Year, so happy Chinese New Year to all my Chinese friends and students. Today, over 1 billion Chinese will be celebrating the start of the year of the Dragon (龍). From what I heard yesterday on the radio, many Chinese couples await to have children in the year of the Dragon, as this year is thought to be the most lucky of the cycle of 12 animals.

Chinese New Year

Last year (2011), Chinese New Year was on the 3rd of February, and next year (2013) it will be on the 10th of February. The table below shows the dates of Chinese New Year from 2009 to 2014.

yeardate
200926th January
201014th February
20113rd…

View original post 264 more words

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The second weekend of the 2015 6 Nations is over, and two teams remain undefeated – England and Ireland.

England v Italy

Despite Italy going 5-0 up early on in this game, there really was only going to be one winner of this match – and England looked impressive in overpowering the Azuri at Twickenham. They ran in six tries, and are looking to be far more complete a team than the last couple of years, with a powerful pack but also creative play in the backs. Their next match against Ireland will probably be the title decider.



England beat Italy comfortably and remain undefeated in the 2015 6 Nations.

England beat Italy comfortably and remain undefeated in the 2015 6 Nations.



Ireland v France

This was a brutal encounter, with some massive hits from both sides. When France changed their entire front row in the last 20 minutes they came right back into the game and were the better side in this last quarter of the game. But, apart from this, it seemed that Ireland always had the game within their control. This win gives them 9 wins in a row in international matches, and it would be a brave person who says they are not going to retain their 6 Nations title.



Ireland remain on course to retain their 6 Nations crown, with a well fought 18-11 win over France in Dublin.

Ireland remain on course to retain their 6 Nations crown, with a well fought 18-11 win over France in Dublin.



Scotland v Wales

The last match of the weekend was Scotland v Wales in Edinburgh, with both teams needing to win to get their 6 Nations back on track. It was a very entertaining game, and I think the 26-23 scoreline was a fair reflection. Wales played much better than they did against England and were in control for most of the match, but they failed to really create much behind the scrum despite most of the possession. Their scrum was much better than it was against England, but the line out continues to be a worry, misfiring on several occasions.

Scotland, for their part, looked dangerous and created far more try-scoring chances than Wales; as Sam Warburton said in the post-match interview, they are a much better team than a few years ago. This was Wales’ eighth win in a row over Scotland, and means Wales get that all important first win in the 6 Nations.



Wales scored two tries in a much better performance than last week, to beat Scotland 26-23 in Edinburgh.

Wales scored two tries in a much better performance than last week, to beat Scotland 26-23 in Edinburgh.



The 3rd round of matches

The 6 Nations now takes a hiatus, with the next round of matches being in two weeks’ time rather than next weekend. Wales go to Paris to play France, which is a game I think we can win, but we will have to play better than we did against Scotland. Scotland take on Italy at home, but the match of the weekend is Ireland against England in Dublin. This match, in my opinion, will be the title decider, with both teams being unbeaten. It will be a fascinating clash, and will give a good indication of just how good both teams are seven months before the World Cup.

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Rather than do my usual Friday post about music, today I am giving an update on my Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) book, which I am pleased to say has finally been published. I even got my own hardcopy yesterday, although I’ve had access to the electronic copy for several weeks.



My book "The Cosmic Microwave Background - how it changed our understanding of the Universe" is published by Springer

My book “The Cosmic Microwave Background – how it changed our understanding of the Universe” is published by Springer



In the book I attempt to give the background to the accidental discovery of the CMB, and what studying it has taught us about the properties of the Universe. In chapters 1 and 2 I give the background to how we know that our Earth is not the centre of the Universe, and how we know that our Milky Way galaxy is just one of billions. In Chapter 3 I tell the story of the prediction and accidental discovery of the CMB, and in Chapter 4 I discuss the COBE satellite, which in 1992 discovered in the CMB the first seeds of what would grow into galaxies. In Chapter 5 I discuss ground-based observations to study the CMB in more detail, in Chapter 6 I discus the WMAP satellite’s findings. In the final chapter I discuss the latest results, including from the Planck satellite and also the BICEP2 results claiming to have found evidence for ‘cosmic inflation’.



I got my first hard copy of the book yesterday, Thursday the 12th of February.

I got my first hard copy of the book yesterday, Thursday the 12th of February.



I have tried to write the book at a level which I hope will make it accessible to anyone. Any physics knowledge required is explained when I introduce the particular idea, and I’ve included diagrams wherever possible to help illustrate and explain key concepts.

The book is available from the Springer website in both electronic and hardcopy versions,and also through Amazon and other booksellers.


This is the link to the Springer page for the book. On the Springer website you can look at the preface to the book.



And this is the link to the Amazon page. On the Amazon website you can read the first dozen or so pages of the book, including the table of contents and the opening pages of the first chapter.

I am now working on two other books, you can find more details on a Facebook page which I have recently created



http://www.facebook.com/rhodrievansauthor

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