Solar Photovoltaic Energy Systems Explained — Solar PV Panels, Cells, Modules, & Science Of The Photovoltaic Effect

June 5, 2016 in Humans, Space

Solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies are becoming ubiquitous in many parts of the so-called developed and developing worlds it seems. Even in places as seemingly different as Australia, India, Chile, the US, and China, various solar energy technologies have begun to be deployed on the mass level — whether residentially, commercially, or on the industrial-scale (utility-scale power plants).

Who in the urbanized portions of the modern world hasn’t seen a residential solar PV system on the roof of a house? Or an image of a solar PV system connected to a satellite in the far upper-atmosphere? Or an image of a huge industrial-scale solar PV power plant sitting in the desert?

A tipping point has seemingly been reached, wherein the technology has become a notable part of the public consciousness — rather than simply a concern of those in specialized fields of engineering or physical science.

With that in mind, I put together the article below to present a basic overview of current solar PV technologies, and of the science behind the photovoltaic effect itself. Enjoy.

Solar PV power plant
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Did A ‘Dim’ Star Pass Through Our Solar System 70,000 Years Ago? New Research Suggests So

February 18, 2015 in Space

In a somewhat strange new finding, an international group of astronomers has been able to determine that roughly ~70,000 years ago our solar system had a close encounter with an alien star system.

So close, in fact, that the “dim star” in question actually passed through the outer reaches of our solar system — making its way through the outer Oort Cloud, where most long period comets spend most of their time.

Scholtz's star Oort cloud
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Meteor Showers 2015: Perseids, Lyrids, Geminids, Leonids, Draconids, Orionids, Etc — Dates & Times

January 15, 2015 in Space

2015 is looking set to be a good year for meteor showing watching — with good peak-rates and nice dark skies being likely for most of the major showers of the year.

As a result I’ve compiled the below list outlining the best dates and times for watching the various major meteor showers of the year — the Geminids, Perseids, Draconids, Taurids, Lyrids, Orionids, Leonids, and Aquarids. As well as creating a handy inforgraphic (posted directly below). Enjoy.

Meteor showers 2015 dates and times
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What Is A Meteor Shower? Why Do Meteor Showers Occur? — Causes, Mechanisms, Naming, & History

January 14, 2015 in Space

What is a meteor shower exactly? Why do meteor showers occur? What are the best dates, times, and places to watch them? How are they named?

All good questions — and ones that this article will address. With an overview to be given to the modern history of the science that’s behind our current understanding of the phenomena, the mechanisms and causes behind the appearance of meteor showers in the skies, and the system of naming that the modern names are determined by.

As well as, perhaps most importantly, an overview of the (generally) best times, dates, and places to observe them at/from. Enjoy.

Perseid meteor shower
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Comet ISON 2013 — Dates, Times, Path, Updates, And Pictures

November 14, 2013 in Space

Comet ISON is nearly here — the potentially incredible comet should soon be visible to the naked eye, reaching perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on November 28. Once perihelion occurs — if the comet survives — it should brighten significantly, and become visible in both the evening sky after sunset, and in the morning sky before sunrise.

The best dates to watch will likely be right in the middle of December, probably between the 10th and the 15th — though there’s a real possibility that Comet ISON will remain visible throughout all of December and also early January. The comet will probably be easier to spot in the evenings, but it should be visible both before sunrise and after sunset. With regard to where to find Comet ISON in the sky in December — when watching before sunrise, you’ll want to look to the East, and when watching after sunset, you’ll want to look to the West/North-West.

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