Happy birthday ISS

It’s been exactly 15 years since that November 20, 1998 when Russia put into orbit on the Zarya module, the first component from the ISS.

Here’s how it appeared Zarya in November of ’98 in the eyes of the astronauts of the Shuttle (STS88 mission)

Credits NASA

Here, 11 years later, as it appeared, the ISS crew of the shuttle Discovery (STS-119):

Credits NASA

High resolution version, .It worth a visit

A beautiful photo of American astronaut Tracy Caldwell looking at Earth from the Cupola

Credits NASA

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Magic lake show

Last summer I had the opportunity to spend few days in a small touristic town in Austria: Zell am See.
In case you do not know where it is, here is the map of the place:


Show bigger map

Maybe in the future i will post some photos, but today I want to highlight a beautiful spectacle of music lights and water. It is not coincidence that they call The Magic Lake Show, by showing a video posted on Youtube by another tourist.
The show holds two nights a week (Thursday and Sunday) in summer months. On Thursday .they uses a Pop and Rock soundtrack, Sunday is based on classical music.

What follows is one of many videos taken by tourists.

Enough babbling, speakers turned on (no matter at high volume), light off (you admire the show the evening), and start the show!
Part 1:

Part 2:

Here more YouTibe videos..

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CERN: Open Day 2013, day two

On Sunday morning, the second day in Geneva at CERN OpenDays.

The day begins at the workshop. A shed full of lathes, CNC machines, in short, a normal workshop. Well almost normal…

Definitely one of the best places to realize the technical challenge by such machines.
In this workshop they study and implement the prototype to improve the accelerators and the components needed to operate them. We saw machine that works the metal in a controlled environment for the production of components for CLIC with infinitesimal tolerances; research to increase as the duration of collimators, studies of more and more resistant materials. Curious, that in an environment with so advanced tecnology, they use mirros to capture high speed images of the impacts of the particles against the sample materials, because the camera won’t survive the radiation released at the point of impact.
Two curiosity: the workshop I saw a component that serves to LHC to compensate the variation in length of the machine. Once cooled superconducting magnets, the accelerator reduces its length of 7 meters ( on 26659 meters of total length), and it must be compensated to avoid breakage.
Another curiosity: the physicists in calculating the energy levels must take account of the phases of the moon, as well as it influence the tide, although the land is deformed, about 25 cm. in Geneva area, stretching the machine of 1 mm. Further interesting details are found in this LHC FAQ

The CERN is not only particle accelerators, but also decelerators. At Antiprotons decelerator (details ) slow down antiprotons in order to join them to the positron to get the anti-hydrogen so they are able to study antimatter. Unfortunately they told me that it will take many more years before they can supply of antimatter the Kirk’s Enterprise. Indeed in 2011 they celebrated when they managed to keep alive 300 antiatoms over 1000 seconds ( the announcement).

Overview of the shed and experiment area Alpha

This concludes a wonderful two days in the Swiss land.

Previous parts:
First day, part 1
First day, part 2

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CERN: Open Day 2013, day 1, part 2

Here the first part

At Prevesen Campus we start by visiting the AMS Control Center.

Credits CERN

From this place, they control, day and night, the experiment installed on the ISS to search for dark matter ( details). A special mention deserves the very Strikingly way with which the volunteer has guided us through the ‘secrets’ of the experiment.

Time to take the bus, get off after two stops at the CERN Control Centre .

The ‘control tower’ of the CERN, the place from which they control the accelerators.

Here from 4 area full of monitors they controll the accelerators, not the experiments ( ie ATLAS has the control room just above the cave of the experiment).
An Italian engineer shown us his work at LHC and SPS console (depending on shift). The crazy thing is that seen from here, CERN looks like a train station, in the control room each workers route the traffic to this or that track. The SPS, for example, receives the ‘package’ of particles from a previous accelerator, then it accelerates them, and when they satisfies the required parameters routes them to the connector that leads to the user, both the LHC or the experiments. More details : http://home.web.cern.ch/about/accelerators and in this Poster

It’s time to go visit ATLAS.
But before we venture into the cave of the experiment, a stop to the tent of Lego.

Credits CERN

Entering the tent with all those bricks scattered on the tables … well as said the catchphrase of Gabriele Cirilli (an Italian comedian): “I want be a baby again!” In the back of the room a special place for the detailed reproduction of ATLAS ( details )

In addition, the Lego is considering the proposal of a reduced version of the ATLAS Model
Finally the time has come to see the real detector . Deposited the bags and wearing a helmet, we went down as the last tour of the day. In a moment we were 100 m below Geneva. A couple of corridors and ohhh … it’s big (we were in the group with English speaking guide ) . Seen from below is really a huge machine: 25 meters high , 46 meters long and 25 meters wide, and ‘just’ 7,000 tons ( details ) .without forget the more then 3000 scientists work on ATLAS experiment. Does it exists something small here ?

The photo does not make justice of the size of the machine. Time to take a couple of photos, listening, as far as possible with the background noises , the guide explanations and it’s time to get back to the surface and out of the CERN , the guards are waiting for our group to close the gates!

Back to first part
Go to next day

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CERN: Open Day 2013, day 1

The initial impact with CERN was a disorienting moment, so many buildings, streets, avenues… we would be lost without a map.

Looking at Google Earth, the campus is 1.5 km long and 500 meters wide, a lot of places to visit!
One nice thing is the name of the streets: all dedicated to distinguished scientists.

We start at building C1, not just in front of the entrance, but interesting because it takes them an introduction to CERN in about 30 minutes.

Unexpected was the discovery that CERN is not only for nuclear physics research, but also it excel in engineering research of new machines for internal use and civil, among them the development of accelerators for medical use.

After this breaf introduction, we head to the exhibit on detector technology. In this series of buildings, with various exhibits illustrate the techniques adopted by current particle detectors, and the future ones. Among other things, I realized that the SPS is used not only to feed the LHC, but it is used for experiments itself.

Credits CERN

Another building, other activities: the computer center!

Tour with a guide to one of the data rooms . Noisy but orderly, with these long rows of storage systems ( they store up to 15 PetaByte each year! ) and servers.
Not a strand out of place! More details at http://home.web.cern.ch/about/computing

When the data is getting old, the move them from the NAS to this robotic unit, which can hold up to 20,000 cassettes.

We cross the road (and back on Switzerland, here runs the French-Swiss border ) and enter into the house of LINAC4 the new linear accelerator ( details ) . If you can see the pieces still to mount and access the tunnel where it will be installed 12 meters underground.

Quick lunch at a nearby restaurant ( one of several on campus ) and then it’s time to travel to Prevessin by the internal shuttle

To be continued

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