The Moon’s Saturn
Image Credit & Copyright: Jens Hackmann
Explanation: Just days after sharing the western evening sky with Venus in 2007, the Moon moved on to Saturn - actually passing in front of the ringed planet Saturn when viewed in skies over Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia. Because the Moon and bright planets wander through the sky near the ecliptic plane, such occultation events are not uncommon, but they are dramatic, especially in telescopic views. For example, in this sharp image Saturn is captured emerging from behind the Moon, giving the illusion that it lies just beyond the Moon’s bright edge. Of course, the Moon is a mere 400 thousand kilometers away, compared to Saturn’s distance of 1.4 billion kilometers. Taken with a digital camera and 20 inch diameter telescope at the Weikersheim Observatory in southern Germany, the picture is a single exposure adjusted to reduce the difference in brightness between Saturn and the cratered lunar surface.
Most of your body is younger than you are. The cells on the topmost layer of your skin are around two weeks old, and soon to die. Your oldest red blood cells are around four months old. Your liver’s cells will live for around 10 to 17 months old before being replaced. All across your organs, cells are being produced and destroyed. They have an expiry date.
As a team of investigators led by the FBI begins deciphering the bombs that killed three people and wounded 150 more in Boston this week, a key clue is already in plain sight on countless videos taken during the blasts: the color of the smoke.
The color provides important insights into the type of explosive used in the blasts, which President Obama on Tuesday characterized as “an act of terrorism.” Michael Marks has been watching those plumes as he views the photos and videos of the Boston Marathon attack. Marks retired from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in August after analyzing bombings across the Mideast, including the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. The smoke color isn’t clear, but the signals it sends are important.
Analyzing the color of the smoke can provide information about the explosive that powered the bombs, which in turn provides clues about its sophistication — and, possibly, that of the people who made it.
Zeppelin Dreams - The ear of dirigibles is making a comeback, with the first new aviation giants nearing completion. Reinvented with advanced materials and controls technologies, these dinosaurs of the air are anything but yesterday’s news.
California-based Aeros Corporation has created a prototype of its new breed of variable buoyancy aircraft and expects the vehicle to be finished before the end of 2012. With its new cargo handling technology, minimum fuel consumption, vertical take-off and landing features and point to point delivery, the Aeroscraft platform promises to revolutionize airship technology.
The Aeroscraft prototype is 79 meters (260 ft) long, and while it is not designed to carry a payload, Aeros says the planned full-scale craft will be almost twice as long and will be capable of carrying a maximum payload of 66 tons with no infrastructure requirements. It is much simpler and easier than using a plane, which has the potential to significantly reduce air freight costs.