Author Archives: John F. Lindner

About John F. Lindner

John F. Lindner was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and educated at the University of Vermont and Caltech. He is an emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at The College of Wooster and a visiting professor at North Carolina State University. He has enjoyed multiple yearlong sabbaticals at Georgia Tech, University of Portland, University of Hawai'i, and NCSU. His research interests include nonlinear dynamics, celestial mechanics, and neural networks.

Compton Generator

Long before he won the Nobel Prize in Physics, and while still a Wooster undergraduate, Arthur Compton realized a third way to demonstrate Earth’s spin (after pendulums and gyroscopes). Compton reported his results in a manuscript submitted to the journal … Continue reading

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Photograph the sky at the same time each day for a year and Sun will appear to execute a figure-8 path called an analemma, which is often inscribed on Earth globes and can be used as an almanac, as by … Continue reading

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Perseverance, Ignition, Breakeven

Overcoming decades of enormous physics and engineering challenges, and despite persistent pessimism, skepticism, and criticism, the National Ignition Facility has achieved an historic milestone for controlled nuclear fusion, a target energy gain factor of . Last week, NIF focussed the world’s most powerful laser … Continue reading

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Distant Retrograde Orbit

The Artemis 1 mission’s Orion spacecraft has successfully entered and exited a distant retrograde orbit about Moon. DRO is a stable and easily accessible orbit requiring a low velocity change . In DRO, Earth‘s non-negligible gravity contributes to a 3-body problem that … Continue reading

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Artemis Is the Sister of Apollo

I stayed up late last night and early this morning to watch the successful uncrewed launch of Artemis 1. In Greek tradition, Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo, and the Artemis program hopes to return humans — including the … Continue reading

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Zero-G Indicator

When Crew 5 rocketed to orbit last week aboard the SpaceX Dragon “Endurance” bound for the International Space Station, I was curious to see their zero-gravity indicator. A tradition SpaceX crews have adopted from Russian cosmonauts, the zero-g indicator is usually a … Continue reading

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For the dinosaurs!

The dinosaurs didn’t have a space program, but we do. I just watched live the first kinetic-impact asteroid-redirection test as NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft collided with the asteroid-moon Dimorphos of the asteroid Didymos. Below is the last image … Continue reading

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Great Plains Solstice Twilight

Last month I drove across the United States, coast-to-coast back-and-and forth diagonally, 8000 miles through 18 states, as in the animation below. Amazing was driving through the Great Plains of the North American flatland with uninterrupted 360° horizons as the … Continue reading

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Signature Spikes

Nearly a quarter century in the making, I was tremendously excited and relieved last week by the release of the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope. I remember the trials, tribulations, and triumph of the Hubble Space Telescope and … Continue reading

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GRAVITY and Gravity

In Alfonso Cuarón‘s Oscar-winning 2013 movie GRAVITY, actress Sandra Bullock‘s Dr. Ryan Stone makes an emergency entrance into an abruptly abandoned International Space Station. This month, European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti recreated this scene onboard the space station, as in … Continue reading

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