Amazing time lapse video of Earth shot from the International Space Station between August and October 2011. Read the full details here.
The mad scientists at CERN just announced that they trapped antimatter atoms using the aptly named Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus (ALPHA.) Since I can't even pretend to explain how amazing this is, I'll just cheat and quote from the press. (I can't, however, stop hearing the voices in my head saying "It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt." How long before they make antimatter rayguns?)
From CERN: "Antimatter – or the lack of it – remains one of the biggest mysteries of science. Matter and its counterpart are identical except for opposite charge, and they annihilate when they meet. At the Big Bang, matter and antimatter should have been produced in equal amounts. However, we know that our world is made up of matter: antimatter seems to have disappeared."
From National Geographic: "Theories predict that antimatter particles and matter particles have opposite electrical charges but are otherwise nearly identical. Whenever the matter and antimatter meet, they self-annihilate in a shower of pure energy."
• CERN press release here.
• National Geographic article here.
• Really good video interview explaining the whole thing here.
• The ALPHA Collaboration website is here.
• CERN website is here.
Astronomers at UC Santa Cruz have identified an exo-planet named Gliese 581g that lies in the habitable zone of its own solar system. This means the planet is a suitable place for life.
Lead astronomer Dr. Steven Vogt states: "Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say that the chances for life on this planet are 100 percent. I have almost no doubt about it."
No wonder I subconsciously sculpted a mini Devil's Tower out of mashed potatoes at dinner. (Not really.)
More info at Space.com
Jupiter is currently visible in the sky, and it will be at its closest to Earth the night of September 20. You can look low in the east at sundown and higher in the southeast into the night to see the gas giant shining like a star.
P.S. Uranus will also be visible (ha ha!) but you'll need some binoculars!
The Perseids will be at peak visibility between tonight and tomorrow night. If you can get away from city lights you will catch a falling star (or perhaps a thousand.)
Info at NASA Science.