Archive for June, 2013




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What’s happening to this spiral galaxy?

Just a few hundred million years ago, NGC 2936, the upper of the two large galaxies shown, was likely a normal spiral galaxy — spinning, creating stars — and minding its own business. But then it got too close to the massive elliptical galaxy NGC 2937 below and took a dive.


Dubbed the Porpoise Galaxy for its iconic shape, NGC 2936 is not only being deflected but also being distorted by the close gravitational interaction. A burst of young blue stars forms the nose of the porpoise toward the left of the upper galaxy, while the center of the spiral appears as an eye. Alternatively, the galaxy pair, together known as Arp 142, look to some like a penguin protecting an egg.

Either way, intricate dark dust lanes and bright blue star streams trail the troubled galaxy to the lower right. The above recently-released image showing Arp 142 in unprecedented detail was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope last year. Arp 142 lies about 300 million light years away toward the constellation, coincidently, of the Water Snake (Hydra). In a billion years or so the two galaxies will likely merge into one larger galaxy.


APOD: Astronomy Picture of the Day

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
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A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

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The June 23 Super Moon!


Just how Super is a Super Moon?


Apparently, not much!


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This Week In Science


Please bear in mind that these are all simply headlines. Please READ the articles linked above before commenting on any of these stories, as a one sentence summary does not present all the facts.

Gene therapy: http://bit.ly/ZSA7mF
Multiple Sclerosis: http://bit.ly/106VoLK
New layer of the cornea: http://bit.ly/16wlVl5
Bioengineered vein: http://bit.ly/16YgOO9
Dark matter: http://bit.ly/1a1S9Hh
Gene patents: http://bit.ly/196Q6QJ


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What would it look like if Earth had rings like Saturn?


Funnily enough, our planet DID once have rings. According to current theories, millions of years ago a planet-sized body called Theia collided with Earth. A huge amount of material from Earth was blown up into orbit by the impact, where it formed a ring. Because this material was orbiting outside of earth’s Roche limit, it eventually coalesced into the Moon.

earth-rings-2(From the Mayan ruins at Tikkal, Guatemala)

These illustrations by Ron Miller show what our skies would look like if we had rings that were the same proportional size and position as Saturn’s.

More information, check out the i09.com article!

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When Words Aren’t Enough…

Say It With Bacon!



Thanks to the incredibly fantastic Judith Rosenberg Charney for this one!!

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Those of you have been following this blog for awhile know that I have two children. I refer to them as Exhibit One and Exhibit Two. [1]

jon-britt35(The kiddie-winkers!)

This past Friday afternoon while I was driving through Crystal Beach, minding my own business, I received a surprise call on my cell phone from Exhibit One in Israel.

“Hi! I have some news!”

My first reaction was, “Uh oh! Good news or bad news!?”

last 085(Mazal tov! The couple in Jerusalem)

My lovely daughter announced that she was engaged.

I practically drove off the road and into a ditch with excitement.

???????????????????????????????(Fiancée and fiancé in Jerusalem)

I showered her with mazal tovs. I even got a chance to wish her fiancé a hearty mazal tov!

It was about this time that I noticed a police cruiser following me. I had to quickly end the call. Her Majesty’s government frowns on the use of handheld communication devices while driving.

???????????????????????????????(Fiancé and fiancée in Yaffo [aka Jaffa])

Exhibit One engaged. Wow!

Luckily for me, I highly approve of the fiancé. As a general rule, I dislike Israeli men. Bunch of blow-hard macho know-it-alls, if you ask me. This young man, however, is a refreshing exception to the stereotype. I like him a lot! Charming, witty, intelligent, kind, soft-spoken. A real mensch.

The wedding will be held in Israel. Not sure yet exactly when and where.

Details to follow in due course!


[1] To those new to this blog, a brief history: When I was a young rōnin, I was for several years in a relationship and living with an even younger partner. While I did not fully appreciate it at the time, we were in a common-law marriage. That person is, therefore, my ‘first spouse’ [‘SA’], as opposed to the person I legally married (then legally divorced) many years later [‘WHN’]. My children, Exhibits One and Two, were tendered into evidence during the second marriage.

Details: Exhibit One (23 year old girl), lives in Ramat Gan (east Tel Aviv), Israel. Exhibit Two (21 year old boy) just graduated from McMaster University in Canada and is also presently in Israel.

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