What a planet needs to sustain life

August 14, 2016

“Venus is too hot, Mars is too cold, and Earth is just right,” says planetary scientist Dave Brain. But why?

Earth Just Experienced The Hottest June Ever Recorded

July 21, 2016

Two key climate change indicators have broken numerous records through the first half of 2016, according to NASA analyses of ground-based observations and satellite data. Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880. Meanwhile, five of the first six months set records for the smallest monthly Arctic sea ice extent since consistent satellite records began in 1979.

Learn more here.

A planet with three suns

July 9, 2016

Researchers have spotted a super-Jupiter orbiting a star in a three-sun system at a distance twice as far as Pluto is from our own sun.

Preliminary data suggest that the gas giant—about four times the mass of Jupiter—orbits the largest and brightest of the three stars (which has about 1.8 times the mass of our sun) once every 550 years or so. The other two suns in the system, smaller stars that orbit each other relatively tightly and quickly, lie somewhere between 45 billion and 60 billion kilometers away. The intricate dance of the planet and these stars is taking place about 320 light-years from us. Measurements at near-infrared wavelengths suggest that HD 131399Ab’s atmosphere contains water vapor and methane, and that the planet’s cloud tops are about 850 K (577°C). Check it out below or learn more here.

Rat vs Snake

July 3, 2016

In the tradition of ‘Killer Whale vs Seal‘, ‘Lion vs Buffalo vs Crocodile‘, ‘Shark vs Octopus‘, ’Leopard vs Porcupine‘, ‘Hornets vs Honey bees‘, ’Salmon vs Grizzly Bear‘, ‘Hippopotamus vs Crocodile’, ‘Polar Bear vs Walrus Colony’, ‘Giraffe vs Giraffe‘, ‘Caterpillar vs Frog‘, ‘Frog vs Poison Newt’, ‘Rubber bands vs Water Melon’,  ‘Sarcastic fringehead vs Sarcastic fringehead’, ‘Jaguar vs Crocodile‘, ‘Snake vs Crocodile‘, ‘Centipede vs Snake‘, ‘Moray Eel vs White Tip Reef Shark‘, ‘Rabbit vs Snake‘ and ‘Octopus vs Octopus‘ here is ‘Rat vs Snake’:

Winners of Best Illusion of 2016 Contest

July 2, 2016

I really like optical illusions. And the first and second place getter of Best Illusion of the Year Contest are no exceptions.

1st prize is – Motion Integration Unleashed: New Tricks for an Old Dog.

Little black and white dots that are stationary can give rise to dramatic global motion perceptions: a rotating square, oscillating chopsticks and rolling waves. Although the dots themselves are not changing position, the drifting motion within them causes the illusion that the entire configuration is moving!


They look like vertical cylinders, but their sections appear to be different; in one view they appear to be rectangles, while in the other view they appear to be circles. We cannot correct our interpretations although we logically know that they come from the same objects. Even if the object is rotated in front of a viewer, it is difficult to understand the true shape of the object, and thus the illusion does not disappear.

Jupiter’s Northern Lights are Awesome

July 1, 2016

Have you ever seen the aurora borealis or the aurora australis? They’re wonders to behold, but auroras are not limited to Earth. Jupiter has them, too. NASA and the European Space Agency has recently been training the far-seeing Hubble Space Telescope on nearby Jupiter. It reveals ultraviolet auroras larger than the Earth itself.

Jupiter Northern Lights.jpg

Jupiter’s glorious auroras—caused by the gas giant’s enormous magnetic field reeling in charged particles from the solar wind—were first discovered by the Voyager spacecraft in 1979. The lights appear at their brightest when viewed through an ultraviolet filter.

Jupiter Northern Lights.gif

Learn more here, here or here.

The liquid that pours itself

June 30, 2016

Polyethylene glycol or polyethylene oxide is a polymer. This means it is a chemical compound that is made of small molecules that are arranged in a simple repeating structure to form a larger molecule.

Because the polyethylene glycol molecules are so long it can do a crazy thing … pour itself:

Why sitting is bad for you

June 11, 2016

Sitting down for brief periods can help us recover from stress or recuperate from exercise. But nowadays, our lifestyles make us sit much more than we move around. Are our bodies built for such a sedentary existence? Murat Dalkilinç investigates the hidden risks of sitting down.

Four new element names are on the table

June 10, 2016

Time to throw out that old copy of the periodic table: New names have just been penciled in for four elements officially recognized back in December. Nihonium, moscovium, tennessine, and oganesson will grace the blocks assigned to atomic numbers 113, 115, 117, and 118, said the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

Learn more here.

A big chunk of sodium metal thrown in a river

May 13, 2016

Sodium reacts strongly with water, according to the following chemical reaction:

2Na(s) + 2H2O → 2NaOH(aq) + H2(g)

A colourless solution is formed, consisting of strongly alkalic sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) and hydrogen gas. This is an exothermic reaction. Sodium metal is heated and may ignite and burn with a characteristic orange flame. Hydrogen gas released during the burning process reacts strongly with oxygen in the air.

Don’t try this at home …


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