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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Latest and Greatest In The World of Science

Hi everyone, and thanks for joining Stephen Tremp here at the Official Blogging A to Z Challenge site. I’ve started a new series every other Thursday spotlighting the latest and greatest in the world of science. I’ll focus mainly on physics, astronomy, and nanotechnology and how recent discoveries help unlock the secrets of our universe and our place in it. Sound fun?

Oh, and I need a name for the series, so if you can think of something clever and catchy, please post it in the comments. Thanks!

May 2 Black Hole Caught Red-Handed in a Stellar Homicide PASADENA, Calif. – Astronomers have gathered the most direct evidence yet of a supermassive black hole shredding a star that wandered too close. Supermassive black holes, weighing millions to billions times more than the sun, lurk in the centers of most galaxies. These hefty monsters lie quietly until an unsuspecting victim, such as a star, wanders close enough to get ripped apart by their powerful gravitational clutches.

May 8 NASA's Spitzer Sees the Light of Alien 'Super Earth PASADENA, Calif. – NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected light emanating from a "super-Earth" planet beyond our solar system for the first time. While the planet is not habitable, the detection is a historic step toward the eventual search for signs of life on other planets. "Spitzer has amazed us yet again," said Bill Danchi, Spitzer program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The spacecraft is pioneering the study of atmospheres of distant planets and paving the way for NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to apply a similar technique on potentially habitable planets."

May 14 Earth-Orbiting Asteroids An asteroid the size of a school bus gave Earth a close shave Sunday, passing well inside the orbit of the moon, but our planet was never in any danger of being hit. Such close asteroid flybys aren't terribly uncommon. Researchers have discovered about 8,900 near-Earth asteroids, though they think many more are out there. Scientists with the Near-Earth Object Program and other teams of astronomers regularly monitor the sky for large, potentially dangerous asteroids to determine if they pose an impact threat to Earth.

May 15 Space Mining Less than three weeks after officially unveiling its asteroid-mining plans, the billionaire-backed firm Planetary Resources has already received thousands of job applications, The company plans to mine near-Earth asteroids for platinum-group metals and water. Water can be broken into its constituent hydrogen and oxygen, the chief components of rocket fuel. The company hopes its efforts lead to the establishment of in-space "gas stations" that allow many spacecraft to refuel cheaply and efficiently. Swarms of low-cost unmanned spacecraft would extract resources from asteroids in deep space. Check out this my post of Asteroid Mining from the A to Z Challenge Space Mining Upcoming Celestial Events

May 20 Rare Ring Eclipse A rare "ring" eclipse is coming to California this weekend — the first of its kind to enter the continental United States since 1994. The zone where a partial eclipse is viewable is much wider, stretching over most of eastern China, Korea, the Philippines, Siberia, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. NASA has posted calculations of solar eclipse times in foreign countries and the United States. NASA has also set up a nifty interactive Google map showing times of the eclipse California. A word of caution: don't look at the sun directly during the eclipse! Experts say it's possible to cause permanent damage to eyesight. Check the Internet for Webcasts of the event!

June 6 The Rarest Eclipse: Transit of Venus Across the Face of the Sun A Venus transit is a phenomenon in which the disk of the planet Venus passes like a small shadow across the face of the Sun. The transit can be seen (with proper protection!) by the unaided eye and looks something like a moving sunspot. Among the rarest of astronomical events, Venus transits occur eight years apart—and then don’t happen again for more than a century. The last transit before 2004 took place in 1882.

You can visit Stephen Tremp at his blog at Breakthrough Blogs.


  1. I love all this space stuff. I always wished I could be a professional astronomer, and would have been too if I had the right brain type! hehe

  2. All this science talk reminds me of The Big Bang Theory show. LOVE IT!!

  3. Fun stuff Stephen. I've always loved contemplating the boundaries of science... relativity, string theory, many worlds...

    Nano technology seems to be the newest frontier. It brings to mind William Shatner's claim that space is the "Final Frontier". Seems that isn't quite the case. So.. how about this for a name for your series...

    "Final Frontiers"

    Sort of oxymoronic... because there are more than one, and we seem to be continually discovering more of them!

    I mean really... if they wind up confirming the Higgs Boson with the LHC, do you really think that won't just be opening up a whole new can of worms? I think the secret to the rabbit hole is that there is no bottom!

    And there's another idea for a name.. "Down the Rabbit Hole"

    Other thoughts...

    "To Boldly Go..."

    "Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke, and Stephen Hawking walk into a Bar..."

  4. Yup, I'm a BIG fan. Keep it coming.

  5. Keep reminding us about that eclipse! Scary, those meteorites zooming by.....yes, keep the blogs coming please

  6. For a name, how about "Science and the World of Today."

  7. Alice In The Black Hole
    Lost In Facts
    This Canopy of Heaven
    His Wonders To Behold
    Details Details
    The Truth Today/The Hope Tomorrow

    Okay, I'm starting to flail around here. At any rate, it's a great topic.

  8. Thanks everyone for stopping by. I greatly appreciate it! I'll be here every other Thursday.

    And thanks for the suggestions for the name. There are some really good ones to chose from!

  9. I do like a bit of science and often like to add some to my blog and the daily diary, so have covered many topics from Steam Powered Nano-robots to The rather useful Joules Verne Pocket Oracle and Prophecy Machine, and the ever useful Einstein Cube. However I would just like to say I have always found adding some science or mathematics to my blog tends to be The Kiss of Death, or is that just those pesky Vampires again. Good luck

    As for a name how about something like:-

    From the Infinite to Infinity

  10. I like this concept. A nice break from the alphabet.

    Maybe something like:
    "Beyond the Alphabet"


  11. Love this Stephen! And so will my 12 year-old astronomy buff! He has to do a "current event" every week, and these links would really help. I'm excited that we'll have this series here. As to a name...I'll have to think about that. As a major sci-fi fan, most of my suggestions will be on the cheesy side...but what first came to mind was "Stephen's Science Summary".
    Tina @ Life is Good

  12. That's a lot of people looking for a job in space.
    Space: A to Z
    Alphabet Space (a play on the soup)
    And... that's all I got.

  13. More great names ... thanks! Maybe I'll run a little contest. Come up with five names and let people vote on it.

  14. Hi Steve and Lee .. great idea this is. I loved learning about the Eclipses .. I saw the one in 2004 .. and the total eclipse we had some years ago .. I missed Halley's comments out in South Africa - if you can believe it .. it was cloudy and we'd gone out of Johannesburg away from the lights ...

    Thanks for keeping us informed .. this will be great info .. and I look forward to voting on those names - that others have so cleverly thought about! - cheers Hilary

  15. Love this information on the cosmos. I'm writing a book right now about what happened when an asteroid hit Earth.

  16. so interesting--glad i didn't know about the asteroid thing--that always freaks me out!

  17. It's the black hole thing that freaks me out. I'll probably have another black hole nightmare tonight, Stephen. :D

  18. These are amazing photos and descriptions, Stephen...great job. Just shows how vast and awesome God's universe is...thanks for sharing!

  19. I often hear God referenced in comments, which will lead into another mini-series on my blog. Science and the supernatural are always fun to discuss. But for this series on tis Web site we'll stick to science only.

  20. thanks for the starry sighting notices! me & the boys will be gettingout the telescope!

  21. Interesting news, thanks. It, of course, reminded me of my favourite, Asimov. How about Asimov's Dreams

  22. Wow! Cool factoids! I had no idea that space mining wa something found outside a fiction setting.
    Space, the Final Frontier.
    Space, the New Beginning . . .
    Ok, so titles are not my strong point.

  23. Love this and looking forward to reading about "What must be space"

  24. I think I'll add a section for next time regarding upcoming celestial events and where and how to look for them. Amazing what you can see with a pair of binocculars or a simple inexpensive telescope.

  25. Ah, this series is after my heart :)

  26. Great post! Thanks for all the info.!

  27. This is going to be great. I love getting news about science in a language I can understand.

    How about...Area 1-50.

    Actually I like Alex's suggestions too.



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