Monthly Archives: November 2014
Discovered by Sir William Herschel in March 1781, gas giant Uranus is the penultimate planet of the Solar System and currently well placed for observation in the constellation of Pisces. Despite being four times the diameter of Earth, its immense distance from the Sun (2,870 million kilometres) means that most visual observers consider discerning its tiny 3.7-arcsecond, magnitude +6, blue-green disc in backyard telescopes is achievement enough.
Large enough to swallow three planets the size of the Earth, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS) is the greatest and most persistent anticyclonic storm in the Solar System, having raged in the planet’s atmosphere for at least 400 years.
Though many physicists believe it’s possible that our universe is one of many in a multiverse, they struggle to find concrete evidence to back up that hypothesis.
Physics is weird. There is no denying that. Particles that don’t exist except as probabilities; time that changes according to how fast you’re moving; cats that are both alive and dead until you open a box. We’ve put together a collection of 5 of the strangest facts we can find. If you feel we’ve missed any of your favourite physics weirdnesses off the list, do tell us that as well.
More than 12.5 billion light-years away is a galactic powerhouse, a galaxy that is producing stars at nearly 1,000 times fasters than our own Milky Way.
One of the biggest challenges to manned space missions is the expense. The NASA rule-of-thumb is that every unit mass of payload launched requires the support of an additional 99 units of mass, with “support” encompassing everything from fuel to oxygen to food and medicine for the astronauts, etc.
A team of researchers led by Michele Fumagalli from the Extragalactic Astronomy Group and the Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham Univ., were among the first to use ESO’s Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument on the VLT.
When CERN announced last year that they had discovered the Higgs Boson they captured the public’s’ imagination. With it’s monumental nickname as the “God Particle,” and its impressive origins, CERN had found the particle by smashing together tiny particles in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the Higgs Boson became a particle physics celebrity.
After a 20-year search, astronomers have uncovered a grand total of 1,900 planets residing outside of the Solar System. Last year, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Gaia spacecraft with a mission to create a massive, three-dimensional map of the Milky Way by surveying a billion stars in our galaxy (that’s just one percent of the estimated Milky Way star population, but still impressive.)
Many of us have gotten used to believing that Mars is just another lonely, lifeless planet. True, its atmospheric conditions are just too extreme to be habitable by any life form that we know of. But that doesn’t make it an uninteresting planet at all. Through continuous advancements in technology, we’ve learned a lot about the red planet. Here are some of the most fascinating facts about Mars that you might not have known.