Posts filed under “Science”

Massive Sun ‘Twister’ Swirls Up 12 Earths High

A stalk-like prominence rose up above the sun, then split into roughly four strands that twisted themselves into a knot and dispersed over a two-hour period (July 12, 2011).

A NASA satellite has caught a stunning, yet eerie, video of a huge plasma twister rising up from the surface of the sun.

The video, taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows a plasma eruption that swirls up like a tornado to a dizzying height of up to 93,206 miles (150,000 kilometers) above the solar surface.

“Its height is roughly between 10 to 12 Earths,” solar astrophysicist C. Alex Young of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., told

The solar twister occurred on July 12 when an eruption of magnetic plasma, called a prominence, spiraled up from the sun in a graceful whirlwind, then split into four separate strands that twisted into a knot before fading away. The entire event lasted just a few hours.

Young said the ethereal twister look of the prominence was largely a matter of perspective. The Solar Dynamic Observatory was seeing the eruption from an angle that caught the prominence’s rise up from the solar surface.

“It would probably look much more normal, like a loop … kind of fill up like a loop and then fall back down,” Young said. “It’s not uncommon that we see this kind of helical-twisting structure.”

Prominences occur when material erupts along magnetic field lines that briefly extend out beyond the solar surface as the sun rotates on its axis.

“It’s kind of like having rubber bands and you’re twisting them, and they sort of bunch up and get knotted,” Young said. “The same thing is happening in the sun’s magnetic field.”

Massive Sun ‘Twister’ Swirls Up 12 Earths High
Live Science, 29 July, 2011

Category: Science, Weekend

Galaxy Survey Fly Through

The 6dF Galaxy Survey has collected more than 120,000 redshifts over the southern sky over a 5 year period from 2001 to 2005. Its goal is to map our southern view of the local universe, and use the peculiar motions of one-tenth of the survey to measure galaxy mass. It covers more than eight times…Read More

Category: Science, Weekend

The Milky Way So Close You Can Almost Taste It

Source: Daily Mail, The Milky Way July 15, 2011

Category: Science, Weekend

Looks Awesome: Los Angeles Museum’s Dinosaurs

Source: Giants on Tiptoe at a Los Angeles Museum NYT

Category: Science, Weekend

Lightning over Puyehue-Cordon Caulle

Lightning flashes around the ash plume at above the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain near Entrelagos. Source: Lightning over Puyehue-Cordon Caulle) BoingBoing, July 13, 2011

Category: Science, Weekend

Nature by Numbers

For centuries, artists and architects have used some well-known geometrical and mathematical formulas to guide their work: The Fibonacci Series and Spiral, The Golden and Angle Ratios, The Delauney Triangulation and Voronoi Tessellations, etc. These formulas have a reality beyond the minds of mathematicians. They present themselves in nature, and that’s what a Spanish filmmaker, Cristóbal Vila, wanted to capture with this short film, Nature by Numbers.

Nature by Numbers – Cristobal Vila from Natalia Godoy on Vimeo.

You can learn more about the movie at the filmmaker’s web site

Category: Science, Video

The Dry Season

A drought in the Oklahoma Panhandle is poised to do what the Dust Bowl couldn’t — drive towns in this parched region out of existence.

Category: Science, Video

Shuttle ‘Atlantis’ Launches Into History

Source: Shuttle ‘Atlantis’ Launches Into History: Was NASA Program Worth the Cost? Aaron Task Daily Ticker – Fri, Jul 8, 2011

Category: Science, Weekend

Shuttle Atlantis Performs 360 Pitch Maneuver (Backflip)

Piloted by Space Shuttle commander Chris Ferguson, Atlantis moves through a 360-degree rotation directly beneath the International Space Station. This rotation, known as the RBAR Pitch Maneuver (RPM), enables the occupants of the ISS to photograph Atlantis’ Thermal Protection System for engineers on the ground to check for any damage to the heat resistant tiles.


Category: Science, Video

The Evolution of the Electricity Grid

AC or DC? from Nextek Power on Vimeo.

Category: Science, Weekend