This week, on a late edition of Science Saturday, experience volcanic eruptions around the world, spot a pickle-shaped comet, make a call to Mount Everest, and discover parallel universes. All this and more, plus our gadget of the week: epic iPhone costume!
Big Week for Volcanoes: Merapi, Klyuchevskoy, Shiveluch Erupt
This week, news outlets were overflowing with reports of volcanic activity around the world. First, Merapi Volcano in Indonesia erupted quite catastrophically sending huge pyroclastic flows down its slopes, killing at least 33 people in the process. The highly populated region on and around the volcano was evacuated, but not everyone could get out in time. Since the initial explosions, the eruptive nature of Merapi has changed. The volcano is now moving from explosive to effusive lava flow activity. This may mean that the danger is lessening, but the threat of more pyroclastic flows remains uncertain. Soon after word of Merapi’s eruption hit the news stands, word that two Russian volcanoes, Klyuchevskoy and Shiveluch, located on the Kamchatka peninsula, each produced huge ~30,000 foot ash plumes. Those two volcanoes are on “red alert” status.
The aftermath of the initial Merapi eruption
Comet Hartley 2: Bowling Pin or Pickle?
Exactly one week before NASA’s EPOXI mission will get an unprecedented look at Comet Hartley 2 in it’s upcoming fly-by, observations from the Arecibo Planetary Radar in Puerto Rico have offered scientists a sneak peak view. “It kind of looks like a cross between a bowling pin and a pickle,” said EPOXI project manager. “Only it’s about 14-thousand-times larger and hurtling through space at 23 miles per second.” During the Nov. 4 flyby, the cameras aboard the EPOXI mission spacecraft will get within 700 kilometers (about 435 miles) of the comet. It will be the fifth time that a comet has been imaged close-up and the first time in history that two comets have been imaged with the same instruments and same spatial resolution. More at the EPOXI mission page.
New image of comet Hartley 2
New 3G Cell Network Installed on Mount Everest
Ever wanted to make a call, check your e-mail, or tweet from Mount Everest? No? Well, I’m sure somebody has. And, now that is a possibility thanks to the new 3G cell network installed on the world’s highest mountain. The network will help tourists, climbers, and trekkers stay in touch with their families and trip organizers, say officials, in addition to allowing them to check weather and safety reports while they are climbing. Hey, now I can be the Mayor of Mount Everest! Cool!
Can you hear me now?
CERN Scientists Eye Parallel Universe Breakthrough
Physicists probing the origins of the cosmos hope that next year they will turn up the first proofs of the existence of concepts long dear to science-fiction writers such as hidden worlds and extra dimensions. And as their Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN near Geneva moves into high gear, they are talking increasingly of the “New Physics” on the horizon that could totally change current views of the universe and how it works. “Parallel universes, unknown forms of matter, extra dimensions… These are not the stuff of cheap science fiction but very concrete physics theories that scientists are trying to confirm with the LHC and other experiments.” (via Reuters)
Hiding any extra universes in there?
Picture of the Week: The boiling, erupting sun
Wow, take a look at this. With SOHO, SDO, and tons of other telescopes pointed at it, it’s hard to get an impressive picture of the sun these days. But, the one shown below, taken by astrophotographer Alan Friedman with a relatively small (but, very, very nice) telescope, does just that. It was shot on October 20th, and it shows the sun in the light of Hydrogen, or H-alpha light. Never have I seen our home star look so… well… fuzzy?
Gadget of the Week: Most epic iPhone costume ever!
It’s Halloween this weekend, so let’s celebrate with a costumey gadget of the week. Check out this incredible iPhone 4 costume created by John Savio that he can hook up to his actual iPhone which then displays on the costume! Wow!
If you are on Twitter, you know there are plenty of amazing people out there tweeting away. And, many of them are scientists! Every Friday I’ll be bringing you a new list of great scientists, techies, and trekkies to follow on Twitter. This week…
- @eruptionsblog: Volcanoes! Eruptions! Magma! http://bigthink.com/blogs/eruptions/
- @SethShostak: Astronomer, SETI Institute
- @michiokaku: Theoretical Physicist, Professor, Futurist, Bestselling Author & Popularizer of Science
Not enough science for you? Here’s a warp-speed look at some more science tid-bits that are worth a look.
- Highest point on the moon
- NASA marks 10th anniversary of life on the International Space Station
- Dead spacecraft walking
TrekMovie’s Science Friday is an homage the the great NPR radio show Science Friday. Science Friday® is a registered service mark of ScienceFriday Inc.