Posts Tagged ‘Earth’

Heaven in a grain of sand

// July 2nd, 2012 // Comments Off on Heaven in a grain of sand // Science Art

Missing Australia! Image by freeaussiestock.com

I’m in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, just next door to the Atacama desert, the highest desert in the world. So what better than a post about sand?

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
– William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

I actually came off my bike in the Valley of the Moon when I hit a patch of sand on the road, so my feelings about the stuff are somewhat ambivalent. However, HOWEVER, science has come to my aid yet again and opened my eyes.

Because under a microscope, sand is actually quite stunning!

Unfortunately I don’t think I can post the pics myself due to the copyright, but these links are worth clicking through.

Geology.com share a gallery of sand microscopy by Gary Greenberg, in promotion for his book. My favourite is the polished pieces of olivine, found on the green Lumahai Beach of Hawaii.

Gary has also photographed samples of moon sand, collected by Buzz Aldrin and Niel Armstrong. The otherworldly images are in his Moon Sand Gallery.

Without atmosphere or water, sand on the moon goes through a very different process to form. Rather than small sea shells and rocks polished by the oceans, the moon sports fine dust created by meteorite microimpacts. Some impacts are so hot they become molten microdroplets. When these collide with existing sand grains, they create wiggly shaped specks called agglutinates.

New images of the sun from NASA’s SDO

// April 25th, 2010 // 4 Comments » // Just for Fun, Recent Research

The SunThis is one of the first images sent to Earth from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) last week. The SDO satellite collects data and images of the sun, producing enough material to fill a CD every 36 seconds.

Most satellites share ground stations, but because of the monster processing power needed to store all this data, the SDO has one all to itself. Located in New Mexico, the ground station is in constant communication with the satellite. The satellite is in geosynchronous orbit, which means it rotates at the same speed as Earth and is always directly above the ground station.

In its voyage of five years, the SDO hopes to understand how and why the sun’s magnetic field changes. From that they hope to predict the solar winds near Earth, which can have drastic effects on technology. They might also learn to forecast the weather in space, potentially lifesaving for astronauts.

The images it has received so far are stunning. Even if the SDO doesn’t unveil all the mysteries of the sun, the mission will not be a failure. Click through for more images from the SDO.

Solid Earth Tides

// April 18th, 2010 // Comments Off on Solid Earth Tides // How Things Work, The Realm of Bizzare

Oceans aren’t the only thing that respond to the moon. The land has tides as well.

My videos are all found on my YouTube Channel. If you love me or fear me, click through and RANK ME OR WALK THE PLANK!

It’s unbelievable that the ground beneath you actually moves up twice a day, just like the tides. Imagine what that must mean for the tectonic plates. Seismic activity is involved to make it happen. The vibrations are very slow, but Earth Sound have recordings of it sped up so we can hear it.

Mind is now blown.






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