November 15th, 2007

star-forming nebula

Astro-image of the day: terrestrial planet-formation in the Pleiades

First of all, what a beautiful photo of the Pleiades Star Cluster:

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The arrow in the above photo points to a star where astronomers have discovered terrestrial (Venus-, Earth-, and Mars-like) planet-formation resulting from collisions like this:

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Where does the planet-formation idea come from when we can't actually photograph it? "The astronomers analyzed emissions from countless microscopic dust particles and concluded that the most likely explanation is that the particles are debris from the violent collision of planets or planetary embryos. Song calls the dust particles the 'building blocks of planets,' which can accumulate into comets and small asteroid-size bodies and then clump together to form planetary embryos, eventually becoming full-fledged planets. 'In the process of creating rocky, terrestrial planets, some objects collide and grow into planets, while others shatter into dust,' Song said. "'We are seeing that dust.'"

Gully Foyle

SFRA to co-host 2008 Conference with CSSF

Today, SFRA announced that they will hold their 2008 Conference Meeting as a joint event with the 2008 Campbell Conference on July 10 - 13, 2008 in Lawrence, Kansas. Earlier this week, SFRA canceled their planned meeting in Dublin due to ballooning costs related to the falling value of the US dollar. Full announcement behind the cut below.

This year's Campbell Conference topic is "Teaching Science Fiction," and you can check the SFRA website for details about their topic and plans. We will also include a talk about Jack Williamson led by James Gunn and other long-time friends of Williamson.

The annual SFRA meeting brings science fiction and fantasy writers, scholars, critics, enthusiasts, and a guest of honor together for four thought-provoking days. Whether as members or guests, attendees are encouraged to present papers, discuss common interests, and share knowledge and perspectives in a relaxed, informal environment. We'll post updates about guests and events on our websites and soon!

This year we also plan to offer a special seminar, "Teaching Science Fiction," led by a distinguished SF teacher and author. Because we are collaborating with SFRA for this event, SF teachers will have a great opportunity to learn about methods and pedagogy by attending presentations and talking with other attendees. More details to come!
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See you this summer!