ASC 2022 Teams

The American Solar Challenge is on again this year, with scrutineering beginning on 1 July. Here is a list of the 21 teams (14 Challenger/SOV cars and 7 Cruiser/MOV cars) from 2 countries registered for the race. Regular attendees Missouri S&T, Northwestern, SIUE, Sunstang, and Waterloo are not registered, nor are WSC stalwarts Michigan, Blue Sky, or Stanford. The Blue Sky team from Toronto (with their new car Borealis) has very sadly pulled out. Teams are sorted in team number order and, as always, you can click the social media links, and click images to zoom. You can also check out the official ASC social media at        (click on the icons).

Teams this year are 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 17, 22, 26, 32, 35, 49, 55, 65, 87, 99, 101, 785, 786, and 828. Of these, 11 teams are only intending to attend the track race (FSGP).

US  Kentucky 

Symmetric challenger (Gato del Sol VI) – I understand that they are racing their existing car.

Previously, Kentucky came 14th at FSGP 14; came 10th at FSGP 15; came 12th at ASC 16; came 7th at FSGP 17; came 3rd at FSGP 19; and came 2nd at ASC 21.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

US  MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team 

Asymmetric challenger (Nimbus) – I understand that they are racing their existing car.

Previously, MIT came 23rd at WSC 15; came 12th at FSGP 14; came 5th at ASC 18; and won ASC 21.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

US  University of Florida (Solar Gators) 

Challenger (new car: Sunrider) – I am not sure of the status of this team. They are only intending to attend the track race (FSGP).

Previously, Florida came equal 15th at FSGP 17; came 10th at FSGP 18; and came 8th at FSGP 19.


picture credit (click image to zoom – OLD PIC)

US  UC Berkeley Solar Vehicle Team (CalSol) 

Symmetric challenger (Excalibur) – they raced in Australia as number 66: read about their Australian adventures here.

Previously, CalSol participated in the WSC 19 Cruiser class; came 15th at FSGP 14; came 7th at FSGP 15; came 9th at ASC 16; won FSGP 17; came 6th at ASC 18; came 2nd in the FSGP 19 Cruiser class; and came 6th at ASC 21.

 
Left: Anthony Dekker / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

US  UT Austin 

Challenger (new car: Lone Star ) – I am not sure of the status of this team. They are only intending to attend the track race (FSGP).

Previously, UT came 9th at ASC 14; came 6th at FSGP 15; and came 9th at FSGP 17.


picture credit (click image to zoom – OLD PIC)

US  PrISUm (Iowa State University) 

Two-seat cruiser (Eliana) – they ran a friendly Midwest Solar Challenge in May.

Previously, PrISUm participated in the WSC 17 Cruiser class; came 3rd at ASC 14; won FSGP 15; came 7th at ASC 16; came 5th in the FSGP 18 Cruiser class; and came 3rd in the FSGP 21 Cruiser class.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

13  US  Michigan State 

Two-seat cruiser (Aurora) – I understand that they are racing their existing car. They are only intending to attend the track race (FSGP).

Previously, Mich St came equal 15th at FSGP 17.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

17  US  Illinois State 

Symmetric challenger (Mercury 6) – I understand that they are racing their existing car. They are only intending to attend the track race (FSGP).

Previously, Illinois St came equal 16th at FSGP 14; came 3rd at FSGP 15; came 11th at ASC 16; came 5th at FSGP 17; came 12th at FSGP 18; came 7th at FSGP 19; came 7th at ASC 21; and came 13th at Abu Dhabi 15.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

22  US  Illini (University of Illinois) 

Monohull challenger (Brizo) – I understand that they are racing their existing car.

Previously, Illini participated in the WSC 17 Adventure class; came 7th at ASC 18; came 4th at FSGP 19; and came 4th at ASC 21. Their team number (22) is a tradition since 1995.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

26  CA  University of British Columbia 

Monohull challenger (new car: Daybreak) – they have made good progress with their new car. They are only intending to attend the track race (FSGP).

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

32  US  Principia Solar Car Team 

Asymmetric challenger (Ra XI) – I understand that they are racing their existing car.

Previously, Principia came 17th at WSC 15; participated at WSC 17; came 5th at ASC 14; came 5th at FSGP 15; came 5th at ASC 16; came 13th at FSGP 17; came 2nd at FSGP 19; came 3rd at ASC 21; and came 6th at Abu Dhabi 15.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

35  US  University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project 

Four-seat cruiser (Freya) – they are America’s Cruiser class pioneers. With their impressive record, they are probably the Cruiser class favourites. They ran a friendly Midwest Solar Challenge in May.

Previously, Minnesota came 4th in the WSC 13 Cruiser class; came 5th in the WSC 15 Cruiser class; participated in the WSC 17 Cruiser class; came 5th in the WSC 19 Cruiser class; came 2nd at ASC 14; came equal 10th at ASC 16; came equal 2nd in the ASC 18 Cruiser class; and came 2nd in the ASC 21 Cruiser class. Their team number (35) is derived from the Interstate 35 highway.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

49  US  Georgia Tech 

Monohull challenger (Endurance) – I understand that they are racing their existing car. They are only intending to attend the track race (FSGP).

Previously, Ga Tech came 13th at FSGP 15; came 17th at FSGP 16; came 6th at FSGP 17; came 8th at ASC 18; came 9th at FSGP 19; and came 5th at ASC 21. Their team number (49) is taken from STS-49, the maiden flight of the space shuttle Endeavour (which was the name of their first car).

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

55  CA  Esteban (Poly Montreal) 

Two-seat cruiser (Esteban 10) – they have transitioned to the Cruiser (MOV) class.

Previously, Esteban came 4th at ASC 14; came 2nd at FSGP 15; came equal 10th at ASC 16; came 3rd at FSGP 17; came 4th at ASC 18; and won FSGP 19. Their team number (55) is the year that Western Electric began to sell licenses for silicon PV technology.


picture credit (click image to zoom)

65  CA  University of Calgary 

Two-seat cruiser (Schulich Elysia) – I understand that they are racing their existing car. They are only intending to attend the track race (FSGP).

Previously, Calgary came 8th in the WSC 13 Cruiser class; came 9th at FSGP 15; and won the FSGP 19 Cruiser class.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

87  US  University of Virginia 

Symmetric challenger (new car: Rivanna 2) – I am not sure of the status of this team. They are only intending to attend the track race (FSGP).


picture credit (click image to zoom – OLD PIC)

99  US  North Carolina State University (SolarPack) 

Two-seat cruiser (SPX) – this team will race their modified commercial ICE vehicle. They are only intending to attend the track race (FSGP).

Previously, NCSU came 4th in the FSGP 21 Cruiser class.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

101  CA  Éclipse – Véhicule solaire de l’ÉTS 

Challenger (new car: Éclipse 11) – they raced in Australia in 2019 as number 92, finishing 2nd among North American teams.

Previously, Eclipse came 18th at WSC 13; came 9th at WSC 19; came 10th at ASC 14; came 8th at ASC 16; came 4th at FSGP 17; and came 3rd at ASC 18.

 
Left: credit / Right: Anthony Dekker (click images to zoom – OLD PICS)

785  US  KU Solar Car 

Monohull challenger (new car: Astra) – their monohull design is 1.3 m wide. They are only intending to attend the track race (FSGP). Their team number (785) is the telephone area code for northern Kansas.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

786  US  Western Michigan (Sunseeker) 

Asymmetric challenger (Aethon) – I understand that they are racing their existing car. They are only intending to attend the track race (FSGP).

Previously, W Mich came 7th at ASC 14; came 14th at FSGP 17; came 9th at ASC 18; came 5th at FSGP 19; and came 8th at FSGP 21. Their team number (786) is the sequence of digits for S-U-N on old phones (but last year they raced as 30).


photo: WMU team (click image to zoom)

828  US  Appalachian State University (Sunergy) 

Two-seat cruiser (ROSE) – this team has a fantastic, well-tested car.

Previously, AppState came 6th at ASC 16; came 2nd at FSGP 17; came equal 2nd in the ASC 18 Cruiser class; and won the ASC 21 Cruiser class. Their team number (828) is the telephone area code for western North Carolina.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

This page last updated 16:27 on 28 June 2022 CDT.


The Cascades Raptor Center


The Cascades Raptor Center, Eugene, Oregon (image credit)

I am currently travelling in the US, and recently dropped in at the Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene, Oregon (see the Raptor Center website and Raptor Center instagram). This is primarily a hospital and rehabilitation centre for injured raptors (eagles, hawks, falcons, ospreys, owls, vultures, etc.). By my count, 37 birds are on public display in wire mesh aviaries (mostly birds too seriously injured to be released).

Admission is US$10 per adult, and there is a small gift shop. Viewing the birds takes about an hour, and I really enjoyed my visit (the Center would also appeal to children of all ages). Tripadvisor gives the Center 4½ stars, which is probably a little more than I would give, given the Center’s size (but the money supports the Center’s work). There are also more interactive night-time viewing events, which I did not experience.


Ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis) and Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) at the Raptor Center (photographs by Anthony Dekker)


Pi Day!

Pi Day is coming up again (3/14 as a US date). The number π is, of course, 3.14159265… Here are some possible activities for children:

  • Search for your birthday (or any other number) in the digits of π
  • Follow in the footsteps of Archimedes, showing that π is between 22/7 = 3.1429 and 223/71 = 3.1408.
  • Calculate 333/106 = 3.1415 and 355/113 = 3.1415929, which are better approximations than 22/7.
  • Measure the circumference and diameter of a round plate and divide. Use a ruler to measure the diameter and a strip of paper (afterwards measured with a ruler) for the circumference. For children who cannot yet divide, try to find a plate with diameter 7, 106, or 113.
  • Calculate π by measuring the area of a circle (most simply, with radius 10 or 100), using A = πr2. An easy way is to draw an appropriate circle on a sheet of graph paper.

You can also try estimating π using Buffon’s needle. You will need some toothpicks (or similar) of length k and some parallel lines (such as floorboards) a distance d apart (greater than or equal to k). Then the fraction of dropped toothpicks that touch or cross a line will be 2 k / (π d), or 2 / π if k = d. There is an explanation and simulator here (see also the picture below). And, of course, you can bake a celebratory pie and listen to Kate Bush singing π, mostly correctly!

This picture by McZusatz has 11 of 17 matches touching a line, suggesting the value of 2×17/11 = 3.1 for π (since k = d).

Actually, of course, π = 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 8214808651 3282306647 0938446095 5058223172 5359408128 … (digits in red are sung by Kate Bush, accurately, although some have said otherwise).


Solar racing basics revisited

Last year I blogged this poster of solar racing basics. Things have changed slightly, but I think it might still be useful for new teams. Here are the 10 posts explaining it:

  1. Classes
  2. Aerodynamics
  3. Electrics
  4. Chassis
  5. Mechanics
  6. Race Strategy
  7. Logistics
  8. Sponsorship
  9. Media
  10. Map for the BWSC

Click to zoom / Image credits: Agoria Solar Team (wind tunnel), American Solar Challenge (chassis), Solar Team Eindhoven (Cruiser car), mostdece.blogspot.com (battery & motor), Brunel Solar Team (race strategy), public domain (lower right 3), Anthony Dekker (remaining 7).


ANU Solar Racing site visit

Today I was very happy to visit the workshop of ANU Solar Racing (      ). They are Australia’s third Challenger Class team (and rising), having first participated in WSC 2017. The photograph shows their 2019 car (left) and the symmetric 3-wheeler they built for the cancelled 2021 event (right). This is a great team and a credit to their university; I wish them well as their prepare their car for the 2023 event. They are currently recruiting new team members.


Looking back: 2001

The 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey suggested that we would have extensive space flight in 2001. That turned out not to be the case. What we did get was the September 11 attacks on the USA and the military conflicts which followed. Nevertheless, NASA commemorated the film with the 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Films of 2000 included the superb The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, several good animated films (including Monsters, Inc., Shrek, and Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away), the wonderful French film Amélie, some war movies (Enemy at the Gates was good, but Black Hawk Down distorted the book too much for my taste), the first Harry Potter movie, and an award-winning biographical film about the mathematician John Nash.

In books, Connie Willis published Passage, one of my favourite science fiction novels, while Ian Stewart explained some sophisticated mathematics simply in Flatterland.

Saul Kripke (belatedly) received the Rolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy for his work on Kripke semantics, while Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard (also belatedly) received the Turing Award for their work on object-oriented programming languages (both these pioneers of computing died the following year).

The year 2001 also saw the completion of the Cathedral of Saint Gregory the Illuminator in Armenia, which I have sadly never visited.

In this series: 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2009.


Solar Car Retrospective

After a summer break, this blog is active again. Here is a video retrospective of the recent Solar Challenge Morocco from champions Twente:

And here is one from Delft (formerly Vattenfall Solar Team, now Brunel Solar Team), who are modifying their car for the planned race in South Africa:


Cycles

The Tropical Year: 31.6888 nHz

One of the most important cycles we live by is the tropical year, measured from equinox to corresponding equinox (or solstice to corresponding solstice). The tropical year lasts, on average, 365.2422 days (365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45 seconds), which means that it is an oscillation with a frequency of 31.6888 nanohertz (nHz). This is the cycle of the seasons.

Spring, summer, autumn, and winter are the conventional seasons, but the tropical year may be split up into more than or less than four seasons, and these need not be of equal length. In northern Australia, a frequent division is “the dry” (May to September), “the build up” (September to December), and “the wet” (December to April). Local Aboriginal people, however, may recognise as many as six seasons.

The Sidereal Year: 31.6875 nHz

A sidereal year is the time taken by the Earth to orbit the Sun once with respect to the stars. This is the time that it takes for the sun to move through the “signs of the zodiac.” Because of the precession of the equinoxes, the sidereal year is 365.2564 days, which is about 20.4 minutes longer than the tropical year. As a result, ancient rules assigning dates to the signs of the zodiac are now completely wrong. The sidereal year corresponds to an oscillation of 31.6875 nanohertz.

The Synodic Month: 391.935 nHz

A synodic month is a cycle from new moon to new moon or full moon to full moon. This period actually varies by several hours, but it averages out to 29.530588 days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 3 seconds).

In 432 BC, Meton of Athens noted that 235 synodic months (6939.7 days) is almost exactly equal to 19 years (6939.6 days). This period is called the Metonic cycle, and is used for predicting solilunar events such as the date of Easter.

The synodic month is also strangely similar to the average menstrual cycle (28 days), and this is reflected in the word (“menstrual” derives from the Latin mēnsis = month).

The Week: 1.65344 µHz

The week has an origin among the ancient Hebrews. It also has a Babylonian origin (the relationship between the two origins is unclear). The Babylonians related the 7 days of the week to the sun, moon, and 5 visible planets. They also related them to various gods. Our days of the week derive from the Babylonian week, via Greece and Rome: Sunday (Sun), Monday (Moon), Tuesday (Tiw, god of war = Mars), Wednesday (Woden = Mercury), Thursday (Thor = Jupiter), Friday (Frigg = Venus), and Saturday (Saturn).

Early Christians related the two week concepts together, pointing out that the day of the Resurrection (the day after the Jewish Sabbath) corresponded to the day of the Sun in the Roman system. The week corresponds to an oscillation of 1.65344 microherz.

The Sidereal Day: 11.6058 µHz

A sidereal day is the time that it takes the earth to rotate once around its axis. It often surprises people to discover that this time is 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4.1 seconds. It can be measured by the time to go from a star being overhead to the same star being overhead again.

The Solar Day: 11.5741 µHz

A solar day (24 hours, give or take some seconds) is the time from noon to noon. It is longer than a sidereal day because, while the earth is rotating around its axis, it is also moving around the sun. To put it another way, the sun is not a fixed reference point for the earth’s rotation. The difference between the sidereal and solar days mean that the stars seem to rise about 3 minutes and 56 seconds earlier every night.