Some space stuff

Some cool space stuff.

Saturn’s moon Pan:  Here’s Our Best Look Yet at Saturn’s ‘UFO’ Moon


There’s a tiny “flying saucer” orbiting deep within Saturn’s rings, and a NASA probe has just gotten its most impressive look yet at the strange object.

The saucer is actually a little moon called Pan, and NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured its distinctive shape on March 7 in a stunningly detailed series of images.

Named for the flute-playing Greek god of wild places, 21-mile-wide Pan is what’s called a shepherd moon. It lives within a gap in Saturn’s A ring, which is the farthest loop of icy particles from the planet.

“The shape, as others have also pointed out, is probably because it is always sweeping up fine dust from the rings,” Showalter explains. “The rings are very thin compared to the size of Pan, so the dust accumulates around its equator.”

Pan isn’t alone in its bizarre appearance: Another small moon, Atlas, bears a similar shape for similar reasons.

And on a different scale: Hubble Showcases a Remarkable Galactic Hybrid

A remarkable galactic hybrid

 This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image showcases the remarkable galaxy UGC 12591. UGC 12591 sits somewhere between a lenticular and a spiral. It lies just under 400 million light-years away from us in the westernmost region of the Pisces–Perseus Supercluster, a long chain of galaxy clusters that stretches out for hundreds of millions of light-years — one of the largest known structures in the cosmos.

The galaxy itself is also extraordinary: it is incredibly massive. The galaxy and its halo together contain several hundred billion times the mass of the sun; four times the mass of the Milky Way. It also whirls round extremely quickly, rotating at speeds of up to 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) per hour.

Observations with Hubble are helping astronomers to understand the mass of UGC 12591, and to determine whether the galaxy simply formed and grew slowly over time, or whether it might have grown unusually massive by colliding and merging with another large galaxy at some point in its past.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Text credit: European Space Agency



Sparks fly after Whale Oil sponsorship claim

Whale Oil has been pushing their promotion of tickets for tonight’s ‘Decade of Dirt’ event, including sending out spam emails (it looks like they have been em,ail harvesting).

Today they sparked a twitter storm after claiming that Spark were sponsoring the event.

And The Standard was also fired up:


Many reactions ensured, including:

Marvellous Bearded Git

I’ve got $5k worth of Spark shares-I’m selling then in the next half hour….in fact I’ve sold them now during the time it takes to edit a post!

The Twitter troops got rarked up with various threats to Spark for providing for the devil blog.

Spark scrambled, and eventually tweeted:

Hi Twitter, we’ve had a lot to read through today about an apparent WhaleOil sponsorship. Thanks for being upfront with us. 1/3
We give phones to a range of groups/media, part of promoting our tech. We don’t back the editorial stance of any outlet, including WO. 2/3
WO’s site may have overstated our involvement in their event. WO got two phones, no other support. We’ve asked WO to make this clear. 3/3

And presumably at Spark’s request the post has been adjusted -n if you can notice amongst all the other sponsors’ messages.


But look at what you have to do to try and win a Galaxy.

People who are at the Decade of Dirt party tonight and become Ground Crew reporters* go into the draw to win this fine looking phone valued at $699.

What do you have to do to win this phone from Spark?

1.  Attend the Decade of Dirt party

2. Report what goes on throughout the evening with snippets of text and/or photos

3. Tweet your reports to @whaleoildod, or email to

4. An editor will review your entries.  If they pass the censor and aren’t dull or repetitive, your entry will make it onto Whaleoil.  From 5 pm, a “Live Blog” post will be running until 10 or 11 pm.

5. Before you take photos of other people, please ask for their permission.  Tell them you are a Ground Crew Reporter for Whaleoil.


– You must have at least TWO entries accepted and published on Whaleoil to be in the draw.  It’s not the number of entries you send, it’s the number of entries that are published by Whaleoil that count.  Therefore, make good content.  Unique content.  Content of interest to people who are not there.  You are a reporter.

– One entry in the draw for every report that is published to the Whaleoil Live Blog.

– Winner will be drawn by Spanish Bride after we blindfold her and spin her around a bit. (No, not really, but we won’t tell her we’ll use a spreadsheet and the RANDOM() function).  Winner will be announced before the weekend in a post on Whaleoil.

– Whaleoil does not control the process of getting the prize to you.   As such we can’t guarantee specific delivery dates or other performance standards.   Take it as it comes.

As far as I’m concerned Spark can give free product to whoever they like. I think these entry conditions are more newsworthy.

So only ‘ground crew’ who successfully get  two reports past the Whale Oil censors go in the draw.

This looks like message control overdrive – when it comes to contributors. Those who write WO promotional material get away with any bullshit the think they can get away with.

Pete the chief censor/banner explained in a ‘Featured Comment’:

All that Spark have done is handed us a couple of phones to use a prizes. They do this with every other media outlet. It’s nothing special for us – we’re just one of the media organisations Spark supports because we have a huge audience, and a lot of that audience are either Spark customers or potential Spark customers.

Once again the Twitter terrorists are trying to bully companies.

The shouldn’t have said “Sponsored by Spark” and included a Spark logo then

I mean, they are boycotting TV3 for cancelling a show for bad ratings. These people are seriously in need of a reality check.

Why has nobody piled in on Snapdragon Bar for hosting the event? I would have thought that was another way to go. Perhaps create a protest line so nobody can enter?

What is it with these people that they can not allow others to go about their normal daily business without trying to cause damage and friction?

Personally, I don’t hear them. But the problem is they protest against so much, they get tied into knots.

He must have heard something. Especially from Spark for misrepresenting them.