Over the next few months, Cassini will dive into the space between Saturn and its rings, moving closer and closer to the planet until it eventually disintegrates in its atmosphere in September. Cassini is one of the most successful missions to the solar system. It delivered a probe to the surface of Titan, and discovered its lakes of liquid methane. It observed plumes of water vapor shooting out of Enceladus. And, of course, it captured stunning photos of Saturn and its rings. Its demise will elicit sadness among scientists, engineers, and space enthusiasts alike.
Some 230 years ago, three curious London gentlemen walked into a room with a few eggs, a steak and a dog with exactly that question. NPR's Robert Krulwich and animator Lev Yilmaz recreated the science experiment (and added a bit of modern science knowledge!) in this animation.
Check out the rest of the story.
Monday, Mar 6th 2017 (12:00am) | Thanks: Jaxon
People have wondered for perhaps as long as life itself whether people's spirits can live on in the world once their body dies. But the TV professor says that they definitely don't, since CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) would have stumbled across one.
Monday, Feb 27th 2017 (12:00am)
On the face of things, a hot waffle iron wouldn't seem to have all that much in common with a block of ice. But the two objects share the same capacity to inflict pain. Extreme heat and extreme cold are both able to deliver a nasty blow to human skin, and it turns out that the brain monitors these thermal extremes in similar ways.
Thursday, Feb 23rd 2017 (8:52am) | Thanks: Cora
... in stunning act of alchemy that could revolutionize technology and spaceflight
"It's the first-ever sample of metallic hydrogen on Earth, so when you're looking at it, you're looking at something that's never existed before"
Thursday, Jan 26th 2017 (8:15pm)
NASA Cassini is still taking photographs of Saturn, its rings, and moons. Recently, the agency released some images of Saturn's moon Daphnis, a popular one due to the waves it creates on the planet's ring.
Cassini just flew near Daphnis, also called the "wavemaker" moon. The close approach allowed scientists to further examine the moon with unprecedented detail.
The small Saturn satellite is only about five miles (8 kilometers) in diameter, according to a report. The moon orbits the sun in the gap called Keeler Gap inside Saturn's A ring.
In the embedded video, the moon's gravity causes some waves to appear on the edges of the ring. Cassini took the latest image last Jan. 16. This is monumental for NASA since it is the most detailed photograph of the moon yet.
Tuesday, Jan 24th 2017 (3:44pm)
In this ten minute clip, Dr. Tyson enumerates a list and then elaborates on each item in a very amusing manner.
Skip between 1:15 and about 2:00 when there are some audio problems and nothing of interest occurs.
Saturday, Jan 21st 2017 (12:00am)
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Have you heard of a Prince Rupert's Drop? No, it's not the latest dance craze, nor is it the next evolution of an infamous piercing.
Drop a blob of molten glass into a bucket of cold water and it forms into the shape of a tadpole as it cools. This formation is called a Prince Rupert's Drop or "Dutch tear."
If you hit a Prince Rupert's Drop as hard as you can, it will not break. In fact, even if the strongest man in the world had a good bash at it, this glass shape will remain intact. However, chip even the smallest part of the tail off and the whole thing will shatter into tiny pieces.
This is because the bucket of cold water cools the surface of the drop so quickly that the inside is still molten when the outside is solid. When the inside begins to cool, it pulls in and contracts the outside surrounding it, which strengthens the whole structure. Well, all except for the tail, which is too thin to have layers and becomes the structure's weakest point.
The sudden explosion of glass happens so quickly that the only way to capture it for human eyes to see is to play it in slow motion at 130,000 frames per second. That's exactly what this video below from the YouTube channel SmarterEveryDay shows.
Sunday, Jan 1st 2017 (12:00am)
Physicsfun is a nifty instagram account which demonstrates with video little doodads and whatsits that illustrate or utilize physics of an interesting nature. As a bonus, they also run a side blog that offers purchase links for most of the gizmos featured. Free up some time on your calendar today, you'll need it.
Monday, Nov 21st 2016 (12:02am)
Novae is a movie about an astronomical event that occurs during the last evolutionary stages of a massive star's life, whose dramatic and catastrophic death is marked by one final titanic explosion called supernova.
By only using an aquarium, ink and water, this film is also an attempt to represent the giant with the small without any computed generated imagery.
As a tribute to Kubrick or Nolan's filmography, Novae is a cosmic poem that want to introduce the viewer to the nebulae's infinite beauty.
Saturday, Nov 12th 2016 (12:02am)
While we just had one in October and there's another one in December, the supermoon coming this month is extra special because it "becomes full within about two hours of perigee - arguably making it an extra-super moon," NASA said.
Sunday, Nov 6th 2016 (3:41am)
In a creative stroke inspired by Hollywood wizardry, scientists have designed a simple way to observe how bacteria move as they become impervious to drugs. The experiments are thought to provide the first large-scale glimpse of the maneuvers of bacteria as they encounter increasingly higher doses of antibiotics and adapt to survive-and thrive-in them.
Maybe your coffee, beer, wine need to display their molecular structures. Maybe you want to pour a pint into a glass characterizing your favorite historical scientist. Your um, prayers have been answered.
Saturday, Jul 9th 2016 (2:15am)
Harvard University selected XVIVO to develop an animation that would take their cellular biology students on a journey through the microscopic world of a cell, illustrating mechanisms that allow a white blood cell to sense its surroundings and respond to an external stimulus. This award winning piece was the first topic in a series of animations XVIVO is creating for Harvard's educational website BioVisions at Harvard.
Friday, Jun 3rd 2016 (12:01am)
Have you ever been listening to a great piece of music and felt a chill run up your spine? Or goosebumps tickle your arms and shoulders? The experience is called frisson (pronounced free-sawn), a French term meaning "aesthetic chills," and it feels like waves of pleasure running all over your skin. Some researchers have even dubbed it a 'skin orgasm.'
Tuesday, May 31st 2016 (12:00am)
During a recent bone marrow transplant, a 46-year-old man acquired his donor's food allergy. Although the surgery was a success, the man ate a kiwi and had a severe allergic similar to his donor-sister, who is is very allergic to kiwis and experiences mouth and throat swelling.
Thursday, Apr 21st 2016 (12:01am)
In an era when NASA's vast photographic archive is a click away and even the Curiosity Rover is on Instagram, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that photographing the cosmos is an amazing achievement and a complex process.
Friday, Apr 8th 2016 (2:44am)
A detailed poster of every space exploration mission to leave the Earth's orbit. The poster features hand-drawn illustrations of each spacecraft and shows their path around the solar system.
Mouse-over to zoom in on the sample image. $38 for the print only.
Monday, Mar 14th 2016 (12:01am)
Best Star Wars Movie EVAR?
Nothing! Player's off!
Hidden Figures (2016)
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