Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wandering

Leaving S237, I just had a quick look into S236 about "near-earth objects" and the speaker talked about "rotational fission". There is much more interesting science in those rocks that fly around in our solar system than one could guess, but these topics are probably as far from my field as you can get inside astronomy.

After that, I wanted to have a look into the special session on Astronomical Facilities of the Next Decade. This was held in a too little room and people were already standing by the entrance. I think the speaker talked about the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), but I immediately left again. You always hear things about the future main telescopes from several sources anyway and there is little you cannot find out from the corresponding websites.

I went on to a session about Communicating Astronomy with the Public which is an immensely important topic in my opinion. There were only 20 people present and I just bumped into the questions of the last talk before lunch. It must have been about some software that faciliates the creation of pretty images. The speaker was questioned from several attendants, why this plugin-software works with (expensive and proprietary) photoshop only and not with the free (and open source) alternative GIMP. Since their software will be open-source, too, they were confident, that some funding for a port to GIMP will be found. I liked that this point was stressed so strongly and I think it is fair to say that the astronomical community is well aware of open source and using it heavily.

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