The Spring equinox

The Spring equinox was yesterday, 20th March; despite what your average witch will tell you, there is nothing special about the spring (or vernal) equinox, aside from the fact that on this day the Earth’s axis is paralel, compared to the Sun, meaning that it is neither inclined towards the Sun or away from it. The term equinox comes from

Tsunamis in the Atlantic – unlikely, but possible

There’s been a lot of fuss around tsunamis lately, especially seen as Japan, perhaps the most prepared country in the world, was devastated by them. A tsunami in the Atlantic however, is a rare sight, due to the fact that that there are no subduction areas, the most common cause of tsunami-causing earthquakes. However, even though the tsunami threat in

Is tonight’s supermoon actually super ?

It’s March 19 ladies and gentlemen, so you should probably know by now about tonight’s supermoon; but what makes it so super ? Well, tonight’s full moon will almost coincide with the moon’s arrival at the perigee point – which makes it a supermoon ? Actually, the moon will be at a greater distance from our planet than it was

Flash 10.2 arrives for Android, bringing Flash to tablets

In a much awaited move, Adobe has finally released Flash Player 10.2 for Android, marking availability of Flash for Android 3.0.1 Honeycomb, Google’s OS for tablets. While Flash 10.2 will boost performances for Android and make the whole user experience significantly better, the main goal for Adobe is probably to bring Flash to tablet devices like the Motorola Xoom. According

Every mission to mars since 1960

You can’t understand much from the pic unless you click it to zoom it, but it’s absolutely worth it. It depicts every mission to Mars, ever, as well as its type, who launched it, and whether it was successful or not

Soviet Cosmonaut crashes to Earth crying in rage

It’s one of the most emotional and disturbing space stories I have ever read; the Soviet cosmonaut is on the phone with Alexsei Kosygin, one of the highest officials, and he is crying because he knows he will die. Kosygin is crying to, because he too knows there is no hope. As Vladimir Komarov is about to crash into the

Super moon set to fill the night sky – don’t miss it !

Tonight, March 19, an true lunar rarity will fill the night sky – the super moon will delight amateur astronomers and romantics alike. For the first time in 18 years, the full moon will be a perigee full moon, which, for tonight, means that the lunar orb will be much closer to the Earth than usual. Astronomy lovers will rejoice

Holographs – coming soon to a screen near you

The race to develop holographic videos will have its winners and its losers, but it’s obvious by now that this isn’t some distant sci-fi technology, but rather a work in progress, as rival research teams battle to be the first to control lasers in a way that would allow displaying 3D videos. The evergrowing power of computers allows continuous progress

Japan engineers concede they might have to bury nuclear plant

As the nuclear situation at the Fukushima power plant continues to deteriorate, engineers start to ponder drastic options more and more seriously; it seems that the method which seems to have te best chances to work is the same one that was user in Chernobyl in 1986. It is the first time operation leaders are admitting that burying the 40

MSU researchers create engine 4 times more performant than internal combustion

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about your average internal combustion car engine: it only uses 15 percent for propulsion ! Of course it could never go up to 100 percent or even close to this value, but fifteen is just too low. Researchers at Michigan State University thought about the same thing, so they built a prototype that uses

Shorties: what happens during a nuclear meltdown

The media has significantly distorted (or even misinformed) the image of the nuclear situation in Japan at the Fukushima powerplant. The situation is dire, the dangers are real, and major, but a comparison to Chernobyl is far fetched to say the least. Here is a good explanation and a video of what’s going on during a meltdown, as well as

Europe agrees 2020 space station

Europe has now formally agreed to the extension of the operations at the International Space Station (ISS) until 2020. The work, which started in 1998, is still far from being over, but significant progress is made every single year, even in harsh periods like the one we are going through now. The decisions were taken at a two day meeting

Japan drops water on nuclear plant, situation is still very hot

The situation on the Fukushima nuclear plant is far from calming down, even after the government authorized water being dropped from helicopters, an option which was described as unnacceptable. It is even more unclear what the effect of that water will be, as helicopters threw it without hovering, presumably because of the radiation. Also, this is a good example of

Quartz may be key to plate tectonics

Plate tectonics is one of the most important theories, from the point of view of its practical effects on society – just look at the earthquake in Japan, or the iminent one in California, for example. More than 40 years ago, a man named J. Tuzo Wilson published a paper in Nature, describing how ocean basins open and close, in

The Brain in 3D for the first time

For the first time in modern history, researchers have managed to reconstruct a three dimensional circuit of connected cells in the brain, thus offering insight in how it works; the model, which was built using microscopes and a supercomputer offers a novel insight and an unprecedented opportunity to discover how the complex mechanism of the brain “navigates”, pretty much the

NASA studies laser to remove space junk

Junk is not only limited to our planet, we have a problem with space pollution as well. In 1978, a brilliant NASA researcher named Donald Kessler predicted that a collision between two pieces of space junk could trigger a cascade of further impacts, which would create a significant quantity of debris which would then cause major trouble. He pointed out

New research overturns oldest evidence of life on Earth

It is generally believed, and taught in paleontology courses that the oldest evidence of life on Earth is 3.5 billion years old, and was found in Australia, thanks to some bacterial fossils. However, geologists from the University of Texas conducted a study that concluded that the tiny gaps in the Australian chert are nothing more than… gaps; surrounded by bits

Japan intensifies efforts to cool down nuclear plant

In the aftermath of the 9.0 earthquake, Japan has doubled the number of workers trying to overcome a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, but the situation appears to be deteriorating. The 100 workers at the site continue to battle a situation which appears to be more and more serious with each passing hour; authorities have abandoned the plan to

X-Ray 1896 machine compared to modern one

Scientists have dusted and cleaned some X-Ray equipment dating shortly after the discovery of the rays in 1895 and found that it creates some images of stunning quality, compared to its age and simple construction. However, the machine requires a radiation level of 1500 times bigger than a modern X-Ray. The machine, developed by school director H J Hoffmans and

Brilliant Very Large Telescope image captures the tumult of a starbirth

The process of starbirth is a beautiful yet violent one; newborn stars spew material into the surrounding gas, creating surreal photos, often with glowing bulbs, arcs or streaks. This kind of picture is always spectacular, and ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) managed to catch quite a few of them on camera, delighting astronomers and the general public as well. This