On 11 January 1672, the Fellows of the British Royal Society were treated to a demonstration of Isaac Newton’s reflecting telescope, which formed images with mirrors rather than with the lenses that had been used since the time of Galileo. Afterward, the fellows hailed Newton as the inventor of this marvelous new instrument, an attribution that sticks to the present. However, this linear historical account obscures a far more interesting, convoluted story. Newton’s claim was immediately challenged on behalf of two other contenders, James Gregory, and Laurent Cassegrain. More confounding, the earliest known concept of using a curved mirror to focus light predated Newton by more than 1,500 years; the final realisation of a practical reflecting telescope post-dated him by more than a half century.
Continue reading How many great minds does it take to invent a telescope?
Ignorance is a very, very bad thing. Last week, as North America suffering from extreme cold weather because of a phenomenon called “polar vortex“, Jim Hoft, founder of the American far-right news and opinion website The Gateway Pundit has tweeted that: “It’s a bit cold outside this morning in middle America… Aren’t you glad you aren’t heating your home with a solar panel like nitwit socialist @AOC is demanding?” (@AOC is the American politician and activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez here.) What Jim Hoft says is flat-out wrong. Solar panels DO work in the cold. They work by absorbing LIGHT from the sun, not heat.
Continue reading Solar Panels work by absorbing LIGHT from the sun, not heat
The speed of light is the Universal speed limit – nothing can travel faster than light. In the vacuum (commonly denoted c), its exact value is 299,792,458 meters per second (around 186,000 miles per second). In other words, if you could travel at the speed of light, you could go around the Earth 7.5 times in one second.
Continue reading Speed of Light – See how torturously slow it is
A microgravity environment is a perfect place to demonstrate basic physics, i.e. Newton’s laws of motion. In the videos published by the NASA Johnson channel, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) just do that.
Continue reading Astronauts demonstrate Newton’s second and third laws of motion
The endless depths of the sky intrigue almost all humans alike. Space is like an abstract dream coming to life when it unfolds into a number of unseen horizons. The enormous nebulas, staggering hypernovae and the smattering of countless planets and stars make it a canvas of muse.
We are but a speck of dust in a desert full of possibilities when compared to the vastness of space. There are many realities prospering in the skies above us, it is only natural that we are still unaware of the majority of phenomena taking place on and around the stars.
Just like the count of stars, there are unlimited obscure and consternating facts dwelling in the depths of space. Most of them are surprising and are reminders for us that we are just an addition to the universe. Let us take a swim into the sky with these 10 amazing facts which are bound to fascinate you.
Continue reading 10 Amazing Facts about Space
While scanning the interior of Earth using neutrinos, a team of scientists from Spain also used these subatomic particles to measure the mass of the Earth. Their result is in agreement with the current best estimate, which was measured using the value of the gravitational constant (G).
Continue reading What is the mass of the Earth? Scientists used neutrinos to measure
As soon as NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) began producing ultra-cold atoms, the International Space Station (ISS) became the coldest place in the known universe. The formation of a Bose-Einstein condensate, a fifth state of matter occurred in NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) at a temperature of 130 nanoKelvin, or less than 10 billionth of a degree above Absolute Zero. Absolute zero, or zero Kelvin, is equal to minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit or minus 273 Celsius. Previously, the record-cold was achieved in Prof. Wolfgang Ketterle’s laboratory at M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): half-a-billionth of a degree above absolute zero.
Continue reading The coldest place in the Universe is now on the ISS
Where is the coldest known place in the Universe? It may sound strange, but today, it is here on Earth: in 1995, in a laboratory in M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), the German physicist Wolfgang Ketterle and his colleagues have cooled a sodium gas to the lowest temperature ever recorded, only half-a-billionth of a degree above absolute zero.
But, soon, this record will be broken. NASA is going to launch a facility to the International Space Station (ISS) that will contain a spot 10 billion times colder than the outer space. The new Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) facility, which will operate in microgravity, could help answer some big questions in modern physics, allowing researchers to dive deep into the quantum realm in a way that would never be possible here on Earth.
Continue reading Soon, the ISS Will Be the Coldest Known Place in the Universe
You can help NASA on some projects: for instance, citizen scientists helped NASA identify an aurora-related celestial phenomenon, now called STEVE. Want to become a citizen scientist? You can find projects on the NASA website.
Continue reading Want to Become a Citizen Scientist for NASA?
Sad news for the science and the humanity: Professor Stephen Hawking (born 8 January 1942) died in his home in Cambridge, England, early in the morning of 14 March 2018. From astronauts to world leaders, tributes have poured in for the modern British physicist and author.
Continue reading Stephen Hawking dies at 76