Thursday, July 31, 2008


Mars: Water Touched and Tasted

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University Arizona/Texas A&M University

Understanding the exotic Mars soil better.


Liquid Lake on Titan

Credit: NASA/JPL

Titan's Ethane Lake

This artist concept shows a mirror-smooth lake on the surface of the smoggy moon Titan.

Cassini scientists have concluded that at least one of the large lakes observed on Saturn's moon Titan contains liquid hydrocarbons, and have positively identified ethane. This result makes Titan the only place in our solar system beyond Earth known to have liquid on its surface.

Olympic Computer

Antikythera - Ancient Olympic Computer?

Read the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project's article in Nature. Contains detailed description of the decoding of a calendar. It also looks like it could predict eclipses - like the one we are about to experience 1. August 2008. Pretty awesome!

Or simply sit back and enjoy the video presentation! :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Einstein Rings

Cosmic Ballet

Einstein's Gravitational Ring Dance


Galaxy Formation

And THAT is how it is DONE!


OK. A little more info here if you must: The very early universe consisted of homogeneous gas with tiny perturbations. As the gas cooled over time, it collapsed under gravity into clumps and then galaxies. To better understand the process of galaxy cluster formation, researchers at the University of California, San Diego and colleagues from other institutions have modeled a region of the universe and simulated its collapse.

Large Hadron Collider

LHC (Not LSD) Rap

Muons By Atlas

The ATLAS detector recorded muons created in the atmosphere that passed through Meyrin, Switzerland on July 21, 2008. The lines are the paths the muons took through the ATLAS detector, according to the reconstruction software. You can see the detector elements that actually recorded something are lit up along those paths. The reconstruction software "connects the dots".

Physics Artistry

The rap is ├╝ber cool!



50 - NASA - 50

This is why NASA was created. The Russian Sputnik, of course!

As usual a woman is to blame. Correction: was the brain behind it. :-)


President Dwight D. Eisenhower (center) appoints T. Keith Glennan (right) NASA's first administrator and High L. Dryden its first deputy administrator. The National Aeronautics and Space Act (Pub.L. 85-568), the United States federal statute that created NASA, was signed into law 50 years ago, on July 29, 1958.

NASA officially began operations on Oct. 1, 1958, to perform civilian research related to space flight and aeronautics.

The glorious men.

Well, in all fairness I'll admit that it was a mixed sexes team that created NASA.

Say It With Science

Say it with science


This is really what you mean to say here, Sam!

Heisenberg's uncertainty principle

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

California in Russia

California removed from Russian maps

Ok. It is in fact correct what my headline says. However, it does not mean that the state of California, US will be removed from Russian maps, but less dramatic, at least for us with no links to the place, it is an abandoned village named California that is situated in the Russian Volga province, that will cease to exist as a village. It will be henceforth not-even-a-village. Just like the place where I live. :-)

In case you did not know this; place name is part of mapping. In Norway it is the Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority who decides what the official name(s) a place is given. A lot of emotional energy is released whenever the topic of names is discussed. There are political reasons as well as more local cultural reasons for this. In Norway we have a law that says that in certain provinces both Norwegian and Sami names must show on all official place name signs. In Northern Italy, more specifically the Dolomites, there are at least two names on all signs - one Italian and one German - as there are an equal amount of Italians with German as a mother tongue in the area close to Austria. In Tibet the Chinese started to give the places Chinese names toning down the original Tibetan names. It is very sensitive matters and the fact that they now show both names with the Tibetan names in smaller letters is not very well received...

Just in case you hadn't thought about this before. :-)

Place names in the Dolomites, Italy


Blue Neptune

Credit: NASA, L.Sromovsky, and P. Fry (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Milky Way

Milky Way over Canada

Credit: Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn

Monday, July 28, 2008


Blue Gene Creates Calculated Supernova

This is the AWESOMEST supernova any computer ever made!

You know the drill: Click and don't forget to click again!

Robot Hand

Think-Talk To The Hand

And The Hand Moves



Photo: Ghim Wei Ho

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Freshwater Crisis

Cartographer: Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal

Today, the great pressure on water resources is rising human populations, particularly growing concentrations in urban areas. This diagram shows the impact of expected population growth on water usage by 2025, based on the UN mid-range population projection

Scientific American has made a collection of articles, photos and other material related to the worlds freshwater crisis. It gives a pretty good overview of what we have to consider when trying to mitigate the expected crisis.

Solar Wind

Aurora Borealis Boosts

Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

This artist's concept shows the explosion of energy responsible for sudden increases in the brightness and movement of the Northern Lights.

Due To Magnetic Reconnection

I've already told you I am highly amused by magnetic fields and their appearing to behave in unpredictable ways. Magnetic reconnection is one of those behavior that I find so entertaining. If you have watched Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis you'll know why these magnetic fields are so fascinating. Some times it looks like someone switches on and off the light on the sky. If the whole sky is lit up you can imagine how impressive that is. Magnetic fields at play. :-)

We don't give up trying to understand magnetic fields. Norwegians have been pretty preoccupied studying Northern Lights for obvious reasons and I am sure we'll all appreciate the results from Themis adding knowledge about these sometimes violent solar wind storms causing all kinds of trouble for electronic equipment on satellites not to mention what the poor astronauts strolling in space have to look out for. :-) Pretty [and] dangerous!

Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

An artist's impression on both Northern Lights and Southern Lights. Up north we call the solar winds interaction with the Earths magnetic fields Aurora Borealis and the same phenomena down south is called Aurora Australis.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Computers: Roadrunner


Photo: Wyman Meinzer

The Roadrunner is the state bird of Texas. And this image is taken by the one and only offical state photographer of Texas, Wyman Meinzer. He also published a book about the Roadrunner.

The Roadrunner is faster than a rattle snake and likes to "play" with its pray.

"Roadrunner is a cluster of approximately 3,250 compute nodes interconnected by an off-the-shelf parallel-computing network. Each compute node consists of two AMD Opteron dual-core microprocessors, with each of the Opteron cores internally attached to one of four enhanced Cell microprocessors. This enhanced Cell does double-precision arithmetic faster and can access more memory than can the original Cell in a PlayStation 3. The entire machine will have almost 13,000 Cells and half as many dual-core Opterons."

Roadrunner, a new hybrid supercomputer that will use a video game chip to propel performance to petaflop/s speeds.


Shooting Stars

Photo: Simon Filiatrault

Early morning meteor.

Learn the difference between Meteoroids, Meteors and Meteorites.

And then enjoy the fireballs that TapwaterJ sent me.



Credit: J. Bally, D. Devine, & R. Sutherland, D. Johnson (CITA), HST, NASA

Science Art

Blue Corals

Photo: Haolan Wang

Friday, July 25, 2008

Magnetic Fields

Strong Magnetic Babies


What equates to the magnetic field of perigee galaxies for quasars that are billions of light years away (large: "whirlpool" galaxy; small: quasar OC-65)

Forget the Dynamo Theory already!

Whenever astrophysicists don't understand what is going on in the universe, they blame it on magnetic field. Magnetic fields are so strange and unpredictable (read we haven't got a clue :-)) that it seems reasonable that it's the magnetic field that comes into play and mess up the other theories.

According to the Dynamo theory trying to explain the creation and behavior of magnetic fields, young galaxies should have weaker magnetic fields than this group of astrophysicists now have observed.

I am highly amused by magnetic fields. :-)


Beauty with Brains

Basic Logic

A: Marilyn Monroe
B: Brains
C: Beauty
D: XineAnn

Marilyn Monroe has brains (A=B). Marilyn Monroe is beautiful (A=C). Marilyn Monroe is beautiful with brains (A=B+C).
XineAnn has brains (D=B). XineAnn is beautiful(D=C). XineAnn is beautiful with brains (D=B+C).

To sum it up: A=B+C=D hence A=D

XineAnn is Marilyn Monroe.

I knew it!

Sharply observed by MBMC and inspired by the eternal etheoreal

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Magnetic Heart

A Girl With A Heart


Magnetic field of the heart


Distance Yourself

NASA, ESA and Johan Richard (Caltech, USA)

Gaze into the most distant galaxy clusters yet

Remember: Click and click again - on the image!


Evolution: Elegant Statistics

Photo: Nick Brandt

Elephant Drinking, Amboseli 2007

Photo: Nick Brandt

Elephants & Egrets After Storm, Amboseli 2007

Mathematics is powerful and beautiful. Using the mathematical tool statistics on theories of evolution help us understand the development and variation of sizes of the species.

"The variation is constrained, first by a hard limit on how small a species can become, due to physiological constraints, and second by a soft limit on how large a species can become before becoming extinct. After millions of virtual years of new species evolving and old species becoming extinct, the model reaches an equilibrium in which the tendency of species to grow larger is offset by their tendency to become extinct more quickly."

The African elephant is an example, as are the great white shark, the Komodo dragon, that some species within a taxonomic group are dramatically bigger (thousands or millions of times) than the typical species who normally are small.

For the resident Elephant Man who also have a thing for mathematics :-)


Jupiter's Storms

Credit: NASA, ESA, Amy Simon-Miller (Goddard Space Flight Center), N. Chanover (NMSU), G. Orton (JPL)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Science Art

Science Art

Credit: Sonja Findeisen-Tandel

Blue Spikes is a microscope image from PhD student Sonja Findeisen-Tandel. It has won Cambridge University's Department of Engineering annual photo award. It shows liquid crystals in their mesophase - the point at which they have ceased to be liquid but have yet to crystallise fully.



Are Smart!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008



Photo: Bernhard Edmaier

Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica


My Head Is Spinning Like The Pinwheel

And It's Totally Non Organic! :-)

You know you wanna click!


Wall-E in Europe

For kids of all ages!

* Our Place in the Universe
* Caring for the Earth
* Life in Space
* Exploration and Robotics

Monday, July 21, 2008

Future aerospace

Future Aeronautics

Above you find the winners contributions to the NASA's 2008 Fundamental Aeronautics Student Competition. Pretty awesome for high-schoolers and young students. :-)

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Blue Expanse


Saturn as seen by Cassini-Huygens



Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Colorado

The Sun

The Sun

Stories about the Sun