These are the articles and videos from the previous week I found most interesting.
- The Largest Fully Steerable Telescope in the World
- Candy Corn In Space
- Light seconds, light years, light centuries: How to measure extreme distances
- Cold Water Test
- Super Earths: 10 Major Discoveries
- A Cameraman’s Wild Encounter With Bears in Alaska
- Hitler’s Secret Rocket Bases
- 8 Big Ideas: First Rocks from Outside the Solar System
The Green Bank Telescope, located in Green Bank, West Virginia, is home to the largest fully steerable telescope in the world. Taller than the Statue of Liberty, and with a diameter equivalent to the length of three U.S. football fields, this engineering marvel is precise enough to capture the faintest radio waves in the cosmos. Using the data from the GBT, researchers and scientists are able to study the faintest radio objects in the universe.
Astronauts are allowed to bring special “crew preference” items when they go up in space. NASA astronaut Don Pettit chose candy corn for his five and a half month stint aboard the International Space Station. But these candy corn were more than a snack, Pettit used them for experimentation.
When we look at the sky, we have a flat, two-dimensional view. So how do astronomers figure the distances of stars and galaxies from Earth? Yuan-Sen Ting shows us how trigonometric parallaxes, standard candles and more help us determine the distance of objects several billion light years away from Earth.
Stig makes a test run to familiarize his body with the water and comes up with a surprise for everyone.
A Super Earth is a planet smaller than Neptune, but larger than Earth. There are no Super Earths in our solar system. But they may be the most common type of planet in our galaxy, according to data from the Kepler Space Telescope. Some have rock or ice cores wrapped in hydrogen and helium gas. Others are solid rock covered in water or ice, or flowing lava.
The planet HD189733b may become a Super Earth. This gas giant orbits its parent star at 1/30th the distance between Earth and the Sun. A flare from the star blasted its atmosphere, sending a plume of gas flying into space at a rate of 1000 tons per second.
GJ 1214b, orbiting a star 40 light years away, has a mass 6 times that of Earth. It is surrounded by an atmosphere of steam or thick haze.
HD 85512b is 3.6 times the mass of Earth. It orbits a sun-like star and lies at the edge of the habitable zone. Liquid water, and perhaps even life, could exist on its surface. Gliese 667 is a triple star system. The fainter of the three, 667C, has been found to host three Super Earths, all within the life zones of their parent star. 667Cc is 4 times the mass of Earth. But it’s so close that it’s likely exposed to deadly flares, x-ray and ultraviolet radiation.
Kepler 10 is a Sun-like star 564 light years from Earth. Kepler 10b is a rocky planet more than three times the mass of Earth. It’s so close to its star that its orbit lasts only 19 hours. With a density similar to iron, its surface is molten.
Kepler 62 is a star 1200 light years away. Slightly smaller and cooler than our Sun. Of five known planets around this star, Kepler 62e orbits the inner edge of the habitable zone. At 1.6 times the mass of Earth, 62e is probably solid. It could be terrestrial or water-ice dominated. Kepler 62f lies within the habitable zone. At 2.8 times the mass of Earth, it is probably rocky and covered by ocean or ice.
Explore Alaska’s wild side with filmmaker Ben Hamilton as he ventures into the largest national forest in the United States. Traversing land, air, and water, Hamilton journeys deep into Alaska’s great frontier and uncovers the raw beauty of the Tongass National Forest.
In this excerpt from his full-length documentary The Meaning of Wild, Hamilton spotlights the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act with stunning footage of this preserved paradise and its thriving population of bears. According to Hamilton’s guide, wilderness ranger Don MacDougall, “It’s one of the highest densities anywhere in the world, a 1,600-square-mile island and somewhere between 1 and 1.2 bears per square mile.” Together, MacDougall and Hamilton reveal the beautifully connected wild ecosystem in one of the nation’s wild treasures.
The film is about Wernher von Braun, one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Germany during World War II and, subsequently, in the United States. He is credited as being one of the “Fathers of Rocket Science” and I think will be remembered thousands years later.
Andrew Westphal presents his findings in examining the first rocks from outside the solar system at our ‘8 Big Ideas’ Science at the Theater event on October 8th, 2014, in Oakland, California.
Known as Darwin’s frog, this male amphibian takes daycare to another, grotesque level.
Blood vessels, intestines, the heart – all of the reed frog’s organs are visible through its translucent skin. It’s a great adaptation for camouflage… and just plain gross.