Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Today, Microsoft Research and NASA are providing an entirely new experience to users of the WorldWide Telescope, which will allow visitors to interact with and explore our solar system like never before. Viewers can now take interactive tours of the red planet, hear directly from NASA scientists, and view and explore the most complete, highest-resolution coverage of Mars available. To experience Mars up close, Microsoft and NASA encourage viewers to download the new WWT|Mars experience at http://www.worldwidetelescope.org.
Dan Fay, director of Microsoft Research’s Earth, Energy and Environment effort, works with scientists around the world to see how technology can help solve their research challenges. Since early 2009, he’s been working with NASA to bring imagery from the agency’s Mars and Moon missions to life, and to make their valuable volumes of information more accessible to the masses.
“We wanted to make it easier for people everywhere, as well as scientists, to access these unique and valuable images,” says Fay. “NASA had the images and they were open to new ways to share them. Through the WorldWide Telescope we were able to build a user interface at WWT|Mars that would allow people to take advantage of the great content they had.”
To create the new Mars experience in the WorldWide Telescope, Fay worked closely with Michael Broxton of the NASA Ames Research Center’s Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG). Broxton leads a team in the IRG informally called the Mapmakers, which applies computer vision and image processing to problems of cartography. Over the years, the Mapmakers have taken satellite images from Mars, the moon and elsewhere, and turned them into useful maps. Broxton says that getting the results of NASA’s work out to the public is an important part of his mission.
“NASA has a history of providing the public with access to our spacecraft imagery,” he says. “With projects like the WorldWide Telescope, we’re working to provide greater access so that future generations of scientists can discover space in their own way.”
It is the mission of Fay’s team at Microsoft to push the boundaries of technology in service of scientific discovery and advance the state of the art in computer science overall. He explains that the approach to the Mars WorldWide Telescope project was to provide information at your fingertips. As such, Fay says the WorldWide Telescope is as much a research project as a Web service — one that has resulted in a truly stellar experience for users.
“We were able to take the imagery from NASA, combine it with their elevation models and lay those onto the surface of the globe of Mars,” Fay says. “Now users of the WorldWide Telescope can zoom down and actually experience the surface-level detail of Mars. They can pan back and see the height of the craters or the depth of the canyons. The new Mars experience allows people to feel as though they’re actually there.”
In particular, there’s a new dataset from the University of Arizona’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), a state-of-the-art, remote-sensing camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. HiRISE collects incredible images of super high resolution — a quarter of a meter per pixel on average. Each HiRISE image is a gigapixel in size, containing 100 times as much information as a 10 megapixel off-the-shelf camera.
“Due to its size, the data set is too unwieldy for many people to work with,” notes Fay. “But that large data set is necessary to provide the most in-depth experience — the most beautiful images, which are full of information. We needed this immense level of data to even begin to attempt to create this unique Mars experience.”
To get those images out to the public in a new way, the team set an ambitious goal to take all of the HiRISE images, 13,000 or so, and stitch them onto a single coherent map. While HiRISE has only imaged about 1 percent of Mars, leaving vast regions of Mars still to be explored, all of the HiRISE images have now been geolocated on a single map, and correlated with other global Mars data sets. Dotted with HiRISE images acquired so far, this new coherent map is the highest-resolution map of Mars’ surface ever constructed.
“Not only is it going to be amazing for the general public to see, but it’s actually something that scientists have never been able to see before,” Broxton says. “This particular feat has never been attempted.”
The reason for that, he says, is the technical challenge behind the project. The resolution of the images is so high and the files so large that NASA has been crunching the raw data for three years now. For anyone who’s ever tried to edit a picture from a digital camera and had the computer spin on it for several seconds, multiply that by 100, or more. And then multiply the number of images by 13,000. Multiply the number of tasks by another dozen and you can begin to see why the process has never been attempted. Broxton leveraged Nebula, NASA’s high-performance computing cloud, to process the image data. In all, the HiRISE mosaic took 14 days to process on 114 CPUs and constitutes the entire collection that has been taken by the orbiting camera as of May 2010.
“It’s an indispensible archive of information, but it’s not very easy to access unless you have an expertise in processing lots of data,” Broxton says. “Nebula allowed us to take the data, process it into a format appropriate for the WorldWide Telescope, and then make the entire catalog of NASA’s Mars information available on desktops around the world through the WorldWide Telescope.”
The images themselves reside on the Nebula cloud at the NASA Ames Research Center, near San José, California. Fay says hosting the data offsite is not a new approach, but rather one that allows WorldWide Telescope to use imagery from just about anyone. Thanks to the magic of the cloud, other imagery on the site is hosted at Microsoft datacenters around the world. Hubble’s resides in Baltimore. The California Institute of Technology’s is in Pasadena.
Posted by PANNIR at 8:51 PM
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Dynamic Meditation lasts one hour and is in five stages. It can be done alone, and will be even more powerful if it is done with others. It is an individual experience so you should remain oblivious of others around you and keep your eyes closed throughout, preferably using a blindfold. It is best to have an empty stomach and wear loose, comfortable clothing.
“This is a meditation in which you have to be continuously alert, conscious, aware, whatsoever you do. Remain a witness. Don’t get lost. While you are breathing you can forget. You can become one with the breathing so much that you can forget the witness. But then you miss the point.
“Breathe as fast as possible, as deep as possible; bring your total energy to it but still remain a witness. Observe what is happening as if you are just a spectator, as if the whole thing is happening to somebody else, as if the whole thing is happening in the body and the consciousness is just centered and looking.
“This witnessing has to be carried in all the three steps. And when everything stops, and in the fourth step you have become completely inactive, frozen, then this alertness will come to its peak.” Osho
Posted by PANNIR at 9:23 PM
The universe is a big, big place. But how big? And how do we know?
Throughout history, humans have used a variety of techniques and methods to help them answer the questions 'How far?' and 'How big?' Generations of explorers have looked deeper and deeper into the vast expanse of the universe. And the journey continues today, as new methods are used, and new discoveries are made. (To learn more about distance, visit How Big is Our Universe.)
In the third century B.C., Aristarchus of Samos asked the question 'How far away is the Moon?' He was able to measure the distance by looking at the shadow of the Earth on the Moon during a lunar eclipse.
It was Edmund Halley, famous for predicting the return of the comet that bears his name, who three centuries ago found a way to measure the distance to the Sun and to the planet Venus. He knew that the planet Venus would very rarely, every 121 years, pass directly between the Earth and the Sun. The apparent position of the planet, relative to the disk of the Sun behind it, is shifted depending on where you are on Earth. And how different that shift is depends on the distance from both Venus and the Sun to the Earth. This rare event, the transit of Venus, occurred again quite recently, June 8, 2004.
It was knowing this fundamental distance from the Earth to the Sun that helped us find the true scale of the entire Solar system for the first time.
Image to right: Our sun, the nearest star, is 93 million miles away. That's why the sun, which is a million times the size of the Earth, looks so small. It would take the Space Shuttle seven months to fly there. Credit: SOHO - ESA & NASA
When we leave the solar system, we find our star and its planets are just one small part of the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way is a huge city of stars, so big that even at the speed of light, it would take 100,000 years to travel across it. All the stars in the night sky, including our Sun, are just some of the residents of this galaxy, along with millions of other stars too faint to be seen.
The further away a star is, the fainter it looks. Astronomers use this as a clue to figure out the distance to stars that are very far away. But how do you know if the star really is far away, or just not very bright to begin with? This problem was solved in 1908 when Henrietta Leavitt discovered a way to tell the 'wattage' of certain stars that changed their pulse rate linked to their wattage. This allowed their distances to be measured all the way across the Milky Way.
|Image above: How Big is the Milky Way? Imagine that our entire Solar System were the size of a quarter. The Sun is now a microscopic speck of dust, as are its nine planets, whose orbits are represented by the flat disc of the coin. How far away is the nearest star to our sun? In our model, Proxima Centauri (and any planets that might be around it) would be another quarter, two soccer fields away. This is the typical separation of stars in our part of the galaxy. Credit: Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STSCI/NASA); US Mint|
Beyond our own galaxy lies a vast expanse of galaxies. The deeper we see into space, the more galaxies we discover. There are billions of galaxies, the most distant of which are so far away that the light arriving from them on Earth today set out from the galaxies billions of years ago. So we see them not as they are today, but as they looked long before there was any life on Earth.
Finding the distance to these very distant galaxies is challenging, but astronomers can do so by watching for incredibly bright exploding stars called supernovae. Some types of exploding stars have a known brightness - wattage - so we can figure out how far they are by measuring how bright they appear to us, and therefore how far away it is to their home galaxy.
Image to right: The picture on the right was taken three weeks after the one on the left. In that time, a star at the edge of one of these distant galaxies has exploded -- "gone supernova." Can you spot the supernova in the picture at right? Even though the explosion is as bright as a billion suns, it is so far away that it is just a speck of light. Credit: NASA and J. Blakeslee (JHU)
The image below is both the oldest and youngest picture ever taken. It is the oldest because it has taken the light nearly 14 billion years to reach us. And it is the youngest because it is a snapshot of our newborn universe, long before the first stars and galaxies formed. The bright patterns show clumps of simple matter that will eventually form stars and galaxies. This is as far as we can see into the universe. It is time, not space, which limits our view. Beyond a certain distance, light hasn't had time to reach us yet.
Posted by PANNIR at 9:13 PM
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XTE J1550-564 is a binary system in which an evolved star orbits -- and donates matter to -- a black hole estimated at 10 times the sun's mass. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada
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In April 2000, XTE J1550-564 erupted. The blue line indicates the energy and brightness of X-rays from the system as detected by NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer. Insets show where the X-rays are thought to originate in the vicinity of the black hole. From June to September, the system's particle jets produced most of the X-rays. Credit: NASA/RXTE
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The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer spacecraft undergoes pre-launch tests in 1995. Credit: NASA/GSFC For decades, X-ray astronomers have studied the complex behavior of binary systems pairing a normal star with a black hole. In these systems, gas from the normal star streams toward the black hole and forms a disk around it. Friction within the disk heats the gas to millions of degrees -- hot enough to produce X-rays. At the disk's inner edge, near the black hole, strong magnetic fields eject some of the gas into dual, oppositely directed jets that blast outward at about half the speed of light.
That's the big picture, but the details have been elusive. For example, do most of the X-rays arise from the jets? The disk? Or from a high-energy region on the threshold of the black hole?
Now, astronomers using NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) satellite, together with optical, infrared and radio data, find that, at times, most of the X-rays come from the jets.
"Theoretical models have suggested this possibility for several years, but this is the first time we've confirmed it through multiwavelength analysis," said David Russell, lead author of the study and a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam.
Russell and his colleagues looked at a well-studied outburst of the black-hole binary XTE J1550-564. The system lies 17,000 light-years away in the southern constellation of Norma and contains a black hole with about 10 times the sun's mass. The usually inconspicuous binary was discovered by RXTE in 1998, when the system briefly became one of the brightest X-ray sources in the sky.
Between April and July 2000, the system underwent another outburst. RXTE monitored the event in X-rays, with some additional help from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Optical and infrared observations covering the outburst came from the YALO 1-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, while radio observations were collected by the Australia Telescope Compact Array.
Drawing on these data, Russell and his team reconstructed a detailed picture of X-ray emission during the outburst. The study appears in the July 1 edition of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
"We suspect that these outbursts are tied to increases in the amount of mass falling onto the black hole," explained Russell. "Where and how the emission occurs are the only clues we have to what's going on."
As the outburst began in mid-April 2000, the system's brightest X-ray emission was dominated by higher-energy ("hard") X-rays from a region very close to the black hole.
"We think the source of these X-rays is a region of very energetic electrons that form a corona around the innermost part of the disk," Russell said. When these electrons run into photons of visible light, the collision boosts the photons to hard X-ray energies, a process known as inverse Compton scattering. The jets were present, but only minor players.
Over the next couple of weeks, the peak X-ray emission moved to lower ("softer") energies and seems to have come from the dense gas in the accretion disk. At the same time, the hot disk quenched whatever process powers the jets and shut them down.
By late May 2000, XTE J1550-564's accretion disk was cool enough that the jets switched on again. Most of the X-rays, which were fainter but higher in energy, again came from scattering off of energetic electrons close to the black hole.
In early June, as the system faded and its peak emission gradually softened, the jets emerged as the main X-ray source. In the jet, electrons and positrons moving at a substantial fraction of light speed emit the radiation as they encounter magnetic fields, a process called synchrotron emission.
The jets require a continuous supply of particles with energies of a trillion electron volts -- billions of times the energy of visible light. "The total energy bound up in the jet is enormous, much larger than previously thought," Russell said.
As summer wore on, the jets gradually faded and their X-ray emission softened. By September, the system's brightest X-rays came from high-speed blobs of matter that the jets had hurled into space during previous eruptions.
"We're really beginning to get a handle on the 'ecology' of these extreme systems, thanks in large part to RXTE," Russell added. "We can apply what we've learned in nearby binaries like XTE J1550 to the supersized black holes and jets found at the centers of galaxies."
Launched in 1995, RXTE is still going strong. "Of currently operating NASA missions, only Hubble has been working longer," said Tod Strohmayer, the mission's project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. RXTE's unique capabilities provide insight into accreting black holes and neutron stars and allow it to detect short, faint outbursts that are easily missed by other current missions exploring the X-ray regime.
Posted by PANNIR at 9:10 PM
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The ArutperunJothi Ramalinga Adigalar, popularly known as VALLALAR, the Great Munificient, may be regarded as the foremost of the saints and ages of the nineteenth century, considering the heights, widths, depths and intimacies of his integral realisation of the Divine in all the "inmost, inner, outer, and the outermost parts of his being".
The VALLALAR was the one who affirmed openly and clearly in an unmistakable language the deathlessness of his body which he attained by the power of what he called "Arut Perum Joti", the Vast Grace-Light of the Divine which he identified as the Truth-Light of Knowledge, Satya Jnana Joti. HE who put before the people DEATHLESSNESS of body as an essential part of the realisation of the One blissful Divine. A saint whose very soul-stuff was made of infinite love and compassion, a sage of Truth - consciousness who possessed the divine knowledge and science of deathlessness of body and attained its deathless transformation along with the self creative power of creating all substances of whatever kind including bodily substances.
Of HIS six volumes of "Arutpa" , the poems of divine inspiration, the last volume is unparalleled in spiritual history as it gives expression to his realisation of the vast world of Truth-knowledge and the Beyond, and touches on subjects like transformation and deathlessness of body .
Besides, he was a critic, writer, publisher and commentator and also had knowledge in occultism, alchemy, astrology, and medicine particularly in the nutritional and medical values of herbs and leaves. He was a musician too with a keen musical taste for lyrical songs and he composed lyrics to express, in an easier and popular style, his highest and sublime realisations of the Divine, particularly that of Truth-consciousness (Satya Jnana).
Posted by PANNIR at 9:57 PM
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The ISS Progress 38 cargo resupply ship successfully docked to the aft end of the International Space Station’s Zvezda service module at 12:17 p.m. EDT Sunday. The docking was executed flawlessly by Progress’ Kurs automated rendezvous system.
The Progress spacecraft carries 1,918 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 220 pounds of water and 2,667 pounds of experiment equipment, spare parts and other supplies to the station. It launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on June 30. An attempted docking Friday, July 2, was aborted when telemetry between the Progress and the space station was lost about 25 minutes before its planned docking.
The most likely cause of Friday’s aborted docking was traced to the activation of the TORU “Klest” TV transmitter, which created interference with TORU itself, causing a loss of the TORU command link between Progress and the International Space Station that triggered the abort of the Progress docking. TORU was not activated for today’s docking. The TORU TV system is designed to provide a view of Zvezda's docking target to station Commander Alexander Skvorstov, if he had to operate a joystick in the service module to dock Progress manually.
The Expedition 24 crew members monitored the arrival of the spacecraft. The crew will enjoy an off-duty day Monday in observance of the U.S. Independence Day holiday.
Posted by PANNIR at 11:20 PM
The sacred Mantra of Vallalar-
Arut Perum Jyothi (Supreme Grace Light)
Arut Perum Jyothi (Supreme Grace Light)
Tanip Perung Karunai (Pour down upon us)
Arut Perum Jyothi (Supreme Grace Light)
Vallalar is a Siddhar who lived in the 19th century. He attained Light, the ultimate yogic objective. For more info please check this website - ThiruSabai
The life, the mysterious but documented transformation to 'light' body and the teachings of Siddhar Sage Vallalar serves as a teachings of objectives of yoga, meditation and higher consciousness.
The essence of Siddhar Vallalar's teachings:
- Alight a lamp and celebrate Source as the formless form of the flame.
- Be non-violent. Do not eat meat.
- Be compassionate. Receive grace.
- Feed the hungry. Do dharma.
- Awaken Source within to be Source.
The Boundless Benevolent Effulgence is known as Arutperunjothi in Tamil language. Benevolence or Compassion or "Karunai" is the innate nature of the Almighty. This compassion emanates as fivefold aspect namely (1) matter (2) energy (3) intellect (4) spirit (5) grace
Article below contributed by Mario
Sudha Sanmarga (Pure Gathering) teaching is mainly spread in the South India. One of those, who carry significant share in the fact that Sudha Sanmarga teaching is still living, is Tamil saint Vallalar, who lived in Tamil Nadu in 19th century.
Vallalar belongs to a line of Tamil saints known as "gnana siddhars" (gnana means higher wisdom). The Suddha Sanmarga was spread and passed on by him not only in theory but mainly in practice by his own way of living which was itself inspiration for his followers. According to Suddha Sanmarga, the prime aspects of human life should be love connected with charity and spritual practice leading to achievement of pure knowledge. Both of these aspects were embodied by Valallar into two buildings in small South Indian town Vadalur.
The first building is called Dharumachalai. The food has been served there daily to the hungry and needy people since its opening in 1867. The service is still running thanks to voluntary donations of Vallalar´s followers upto these days. It thus serves a meaningful purpose and at the same time inspires other Vallalar´s followers to start similar activities at other places.
GNANA SABAI - THE HALL OF WISDOM
The second building is Gnana Sabai - Hall of Wisdom. This building symbolizes the human body and it is an inspiration and signpost for those who want to practically follow Suddha Sanmarga. The second picture shows the central point of Gnana Sabai where just light is placed. Contrary to Hindu temples or Christian churches there are no statues or any other images of god or deities.
While the first building, Dharumachalai, represents the fulfillment of bodily needs, then Gnana Sabai symbolizes the fulfillment of spiritual needs of a man. Both buildings together refer to the both aspects of a human being, physical and spiritual, and to their mutual relations.
We have come accross Suddha Sanmarga teaching in person during our stay in Tamil Nadu in 1998. There are still some people who understood that Suddha Sanmarga is not only the philosophy but first and foremost the practice of every single moment of human life. One of such a rare persons has introduced us into Suddha Sanmarga teaching without asking for any reward. Thanks to such a people Suddha Sanmarga teaching has been preserved in original, pure and noncommercial form.
TAMIL SIDDHARS TRADITION
The tradition of Tamil siddhars dates back to the long history of the mankind. It continues to live both in the oral tradition and in siddhars' manuscripts written in their mother tong - Tamil. The manuscripts contain spiritual, philosophical, social or scientific essays both in prose and poetry. These essays are usually written on the palm leafs and just small part of them have been published up to now.
The Tamil siddhars philosophy is most alive in Tamil Nadu in southern India and never has been spread more significantly to northern parts of India or abroad. There is some awareness about it in Tamil Nadu but even here it has not become the issue of the general public. There exist several reasons for this fact:
Siddhars are well aware of the fact that spiritual knowledge can not be transmitted verbally in full breadth. That is why they do not seek to do so. Their manuscripts are first of all source of inspiration and show how to reach one´s own spiritual knowledge and experience. Siddhars use in their manuscripts rich symbolic language which enables them at the same time address both a casual listener as well as an adept of great spiritual awareness who can see a deep meaning in them.
The siddhars manuscripts are a closed treasure-box locked by the lock of ignorance. The key to this treasure-box is nothing but practical following of their message in daily life. In this way the message of the siddhars is protected against misusage and deformation by the people of superficial and acquisitive motives. For those who are seriously interested in it the message remains preserved in its original, pure and noncommercialised form.
Next reason, besides the language barrier, why the siddhars message remains concentrated in Tamil Nadu, is the fact that their philosophy is the contrary of the official Hindu philosophy represented in the literature of Vedas. In their manuscripts siddhars point out the absurdity of the caste system, denounce the privileged status of Brahmins and downgrade the importance of the religious rites.
Due to the difficulties in understanding the symbolic texts and also because of the opposition of the caste system advocates, the vast majority of siddhars' manuscripts has not been published yet.
However, the knowledge of these manuscripts is not necessary for one's spiritual practice.
Besides the philosophical and spiritual texts the siddhars' manuscripts contain also essays on biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry or astronomy. The complex knowledge of these subjects is the result of the integration of spiritual and scientific approach to the cognition of the world and the human being.
Through the systematic observation and the study of the nature siddhars have also developed the compact system of the medicine. The records of this system which is written on the palm leaves date to the pre-vedic period, it means before 1200 B.C. It is obvious from the siddhars' manuscripts that their medicine system pays attention to both body and mind.
Siddhar Thirumoolar have defined the siddha medicine by these words:
Medicine is that which treats the disorders of the physical body;
Medicine is that which treats the disorders of the mind;
Medicine is that which prevents illness;
Medicine is that which enables immortality.
Posted by PANNIR at 11:13 PM