Month: November 2020

Earth is a lot closer to the center of the universe, and a massive black hole, than originally thought.

Astronomers just completed a new model of the Milky Way Galaxy that is the most accurate depiction of our galaxy to date. The new model revealed a couple of unexpected twists. Because Earth is inside the Milky Way Galaxy, we have no way to "step out" of the galaxy to see what it looks like from the outside. Instead, astronomers study the motion and measurements of objects around us to get a picture of what our galaxy looks like. To begin, scientists used a technique known as interferometry to combine data from dozens of radio telescopes across Japan. This combination of data achieves the same result as a telescope 1,429 miles wide! Then scientists use this data to create a 3D map of our galaxy. The results of

Explore Reeko’s Mad Scientist Lab (if you dare).

Push the video games to the side and explore the good, old-fashioned way - by reading! Here's Reeko's first text-based exploration game. Make your way through Reeko's dangerous lab in a search for Reeko himself. Pay attention to everything you see (read) though - clues are everywhere (including in this introduction). Explore Reeko's Mad Scientist Lab

Here’s a hi-powered microscope that you can build yourself using off-the-shelf parts.

UC2 system microscope German scientists have created a new system that lets anyone easily build a low-cost microscope with the power of professional microscopes that cost thousands of dollars more. The UC2 ("You See Too") system uses 3D-printed parts and components you can get from any electronics store. The UC2 microscope doesn't use a metal tube to hold the microscope components together. Instead, the UC2 microscope system uses a 3D-printed baseplate as the base or spine for the microscope. The baseplate below has 4 sections to which 4 different "cubes" can be attached. Each cube contains a microscope part, such as a lens or mirror. A UC2 system baseplate "Cubes" are 3D-printed and attached to the grid using screws and ball magnets. In the picture below, the ball

China sent a spaceship to the moon to scoop up some rocks and return them to earth.

China is aiming to be the third country to reach the Moon and return lunar rock and soil to Earth for analysis. The United States and Russia returned Moon samples to earth about 40 years ago. This week. China's Chang'e-5 robotic spacecraft took off aboard a Long March 5 rocket and began its voyage to the Moon. The mission is run by the China National Space Administration, China's equivalent of NASA. When Chang'e-5 reaches the moon, it will go into orbit. A robotic lander (there are no humans on this mission) will be deployed to the Moon's surface. It will use near-infrared spectrometers and ground-penetrating radar to peer under the Moon's surface. After finding a prime spot to dig, the robot will drill into the soil

Check out this stunning video flyby over the clouds of Jupiter!

The geniuses at NASA have given us another great video - this time a flyby over the planet Jupiter! Check it out below: The video was created using images from NASA's Juno mission during its 27th close flyby of the planet on June 2, 2020. The Juno spacecraft flies about 2,1000 miles from the tops of Jupiter's clouds. Jupiter has such tremendous gravity, that it accelerates Juno's speed to about 130,000 mph! Juno was launched from Earth about 9 years ago. It took 5 more years before it settled into a polar orbit of Jupiter and began sending NASA scientists photos and data of the planet. When Juno's mission is complete, it will crash into Jupiter, snapping photos all the way.

Scientists removed the first-ever murder hornets nest in the United States. Here’s what they found.

Asian Giant Hornets, aka "murder hornets", don't belong in the United States. They accidentally made their way here from Asia, probably by hopping a ride on a sea vessel. And yeah, we don't want them here. Not just because of their scary name, but because the invasive species kills native bee populations which are critical to the nation's crops and ecosystems. In order to keep an eye on the little rascals, scientists tied tiny little radio transmitters to the waists of three murder hornets in Washington state. Then let them go. When telemetry from the transmitters showed a possible murder hornet nest in Blaine, Washington, they donned their bee suits, grabbed their vacuum cleaners, and headed out the door. According to scientists, they got there "just

Scientist 3D printed a Star Trek USS Voyager spaceship that is smaller than the width of a human hair.

Scientists at Leiden University in the Netherlands have created a 3D-printed version of Star Trek's USS Voyager spaceship that measures a ultra-tiny 15 um (micrometers) long. By comparison, the width of a human hair is 50 um. The USS Voyager spaceship is so tiny, it can only be viewed through a microscope! Microswimmers Scientists create microscopic models so they can study "microswimmers". Microswimmers are important because they will one day lead to tiny swimming robots that can be turned loose in the human body to repair tiny injuries or deliver drugs to a precise location inside the body. Because they are so tiny, microswimmers face a variety of challenges that scientists must solve. For instance, their small size and shape means they are impacted by the fluid's viscosity

This before/after comparison shows the dramatic reduction in pollution since the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to work from home.

NASA released the images below which show NO2 levels in 2019 (on the left), before the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2020 (on the right). The reduction in NO2 pollution levels is dramatic. The pandemic gave NASA a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study human impact on the climate. Even before the pandemic has ended, it is already clear that mankind produces a dire impact on the planet's climate - and shows us how easily and quickly we can turn it around if we try.

The Leonid meteor shower begins tonight – here’s how to watch the sky’s brilliant show!

It's that time of year again - the Earth is about to drive through the stream of debris that trails the Tempel-Tuttle comet - and that means METEOR SHOWER! The spectacular Leonid meteor shower will steak meteors from a point just below the head of the constellation Leo, the lion (hence the shower's name - Leonid). From that point, meteors will fly in all directions - even upward! The Leonid meteor shower is one of the best annual showers for meteor watching. In some years, it can produce as many as 50,000 meteors per hour. 1966 was the last great "meteor storm". Thousands of meteors per minute fell through Earth's atmosphere during a 15-minute period. There were so many meteors seen that they appeared to fall

Scientists are getting closer to figuring out which types of forests are best to fight global climate change.

Courtesy Columbia University Global warming is stressing plants around the globe. Higher temperatures, longer-lasting droughts, and extreme weather events are all bad for trees and forests. But if trees and forests decline, global warming will accelerate even faster. Trees and forests remove carbon dioxide from the air and convert it to carbon during photosynthesis. The carbon is then stored in wood and leaves through a process called "carbon sequestration". Trapping carbon dioxide is a crucial role in the battle against climate change. Thus, scientists are trying to figure out how to maximize the ability of forests to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. It seems logical that having more trees in a forest would be better for carbon storage. However, only areas around the equator and tropical areas receive