Posts from the ‘earth’ Category


What a beautiful stone!

Why do you think we love diamonds so much when there are other, more beautiful and unique shapes out there?


Rhodochrosite with Fluorite

Sweet Home Mine, Alma District, Park Co., Colorado

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*ding* Solar cells are done!

Nope… that’s my lunch.


Microwave Ovens Can Make Greener Solar Cells

The same type of microwave oven technology that most people use to heat up leftover food has found an important application in the solar energy industry, providing a new way to make thin-film photovoltaic products with less energy, expense and environmental concerns.

Engineers at Oregon State Univ. have for the first time developed a way to use microwave heating in the synthesis of copper zinc tin sulfide, a promising solar cell compound that is less costly and toxic than some solar energy alternatives.

Read more:


I’m not an optimist. I’m not a pessimist. I’m a scientist.

via (I Fucking Love Science on Facebook)

What if instead the glass was really half empty, and contained a vacuum and water?

Check out xkcd’s What If series to find amusing and informative answers to those slightly ridiculous questions that you’re too embarrassed to ask others!

The Forest of Pillars in Egypt’s Sinai Desert. Many believe the tubes were formed by lava, however it seems more likely to be ancient hydrothermal vents.

Dr. Bonnie Sampsell states: 

“The rocks are composed of hematite (a form of iron oxide). The iron oxide was dissolved out of the sandstone bedrock, to which it imparts a reddish colour, by hot water emerging from deep in the earth. As the water reached the surface and cooled, the iron oxide precipitated in a ring around each source, forming a tube.”


Earth from MARS!

This is the first image ever taken of Earth from the surface of a planet beyond the Moon. It was taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit one hour before sunrise on the 63rd Martian day, or sol, of its mission.

The image is a mosaic of images taken by the rover’s navigation camera showing a broad view of the sky, and an image taken by the rover’s panoramic camera of Earth. The contrast in the panoramic camera image was increased two times to make Earth easier to see.The inset shows a combination of four panoramic camera images zoomed in on Earth. The arrow points to Earth. Earth was too faint to be detected in images taken with the panoramic camera’s color filters.

(via we-are-star-stuff)

Look at us. This planet is beautiful.

Elephantalope? Antelephant? Nope, this is the Saiga antelope, a critically endangered species only found in a handful of places along the Asian steppes. 


Canadian Land of Lakes

This image, acquired by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite, shows wetlands in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut Territory, in Canada, a region called “Barrend Grounds” or “Barren Lands”.



Scientists are using the world’s biggest telescope, buried deep under the South Pole, to try to unravel the mysteries of tiny particles known as neutrinos, hoping to shed light on how the universe was made.

The mega-detector, called IceCube, took 10 years to build 2,400 meters below the Antarctic ice. At one cubic km, it is bigger than the Empire State building, the Chicago Sears Tower – now known as Willis Tower – and Shanghai’s World Financial Center combined.

Designed to observe neutrinos, which are emitted by exploding stars and move close to the speed of light, the telescope is attracting new attention in the wake of last week’s discovery of a particle that appears to be the Higgs boson – a basic building block of the universe.

“You hold up your finger and a hundred billion neutrinos pass through it every second from the sun,” said Jenni Adams, a physicist at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, who works on IceCube.

READ ON: Giant ice telescope hunts for dark matter’s space secrets

This is a very cool telescope, built right out of the Earth just like a mad scientist or evil villain would want it. As we have talked about before, most neutrinos pass through us (and the Earth) without interacting with anything. By using enormous detecting tubes to look for these neutrino events (maybe sensing only one every 20 minutes) and the particular glowing radiation they give off in water, IceCube can trace and analyze how these mysterious particles interact with Earth, when they rarely do. By tracing the path where neutrinos originate, we could discover astronomical sources in deep space.

This isn’t usually the case when it comes to high-energy physics, but the Wikipedia page for the IceCube detector is pretty good. Check it out.

Finally, this is clearly how physics is done on Hoth.



Fluid dynamics of Earth’s ocean, colored by surface temperature.

Credit: NOAA, Thomas Delworth, Anthony Rosati.  Watch the animation here.