The Antares Rocket Exploded last night! Oh the Humanity….

I was blown away to hear this news just a few hours after the launch.  The Antares rocket exploded on the launchpad just six seconds after launch. Yesterday’s post discussed how the Antares-Cygnus resupply launch was delayed by a lone man in a boat who had no clue he was in the blast zone. First of all, it’s important to note that no one was hurt, including all personnel on site and in the control room.  This was an unmanned rocket, so the major loss was the resupply capsule and its cargo, not to mention the loss of the $250...

How last night’s Antares Rocket Launch was delayed by a guy in a boat

One of the funnier parts of the scientific method, at least during work in the field, is that nature is a cruel prankster.  The smallest things can derail the greatest of experiments. More often than not this results in catastrophe, yet some of the greatest leaps in Science have come from something that seemingly went wrong. Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin when he noticed that a bacterial culture had been contaminated with mold, but the bacteria did not spread anywhere near the mold. Penzias and Wilson discovered the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation when they were trying to detect faint radio waves...

Motivation Monday: Take action to be a success!

Are you a planner? Someone who frequently makes lists, has big ideas, and comes up with a plan to execute them? Maybe you do this mostly in the morning, get up bright and early before work, have a cup of coffee and a good breakfast, and then sit down and get to it before heading to work for the day. Maybe you dream about having them done, about the day all this stuff is accomplished, and how amazing your life will be.  How all your problems will be fixed and you’ll finally have the life you’ve always wanted, full of...

The Sun has been going Insane lately!

The sun is definitely hitting its usual ‘rebellious’ phase on its 11 year sunspot cycle, where it flares up at literally everything. The biggest sunspot observed in 24 years has been releasing huge amounts of energy, in the form of X-class solar flares. In the past week this sunspot, designated AR 12192, has released 3 X-class flares, including a huge X-3.1 on Friday.  NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has been watching the light show. Okay so the Sun is blowing up, what does all this mean? Let’s start with Sunspots.  A sunspot is a place on the sun where there...

The Highest Skydive Record is Broken Again!

I’m sure a lot of us remember the stratospheric skydive of Felix Baumgartner two years ago (I know, I can’t believe it’s been two years either).  It gathered a lot of media attention and the live webcast put on by Red Bull made it an amazing event.  He jumped from a height of 39km, accelerating to a speed of 1,357 km/hr, breaking the sound barrier and a world record in the process. Well they say nothing lasts forever, and this record only lasted about two years, because on Friday, Alan Eustace jumped from 7000 ft higher, an altitude of 41.4 km, to...

Post Eclipse breakdown – Quickest DIY Pinhole Camera ever

Yesterday’s post had me discuss the partial Solar Eclipse that occurred around sunset for most of North America.  The one thing I neglected to mention was regarding safe viewing of it. In reality if you saw the sun with your bare eyes during a partial eclipse, it looks like the sun any other time of day – its bright. Don’t damage your eyes. I found a bit of time in the afternoon to build a pinhole camera, which basically consists of a tube or box with a pinhole in one end and a film or ‘viewing area’ at the other...

Partial Solar Eclipse Today!

Tonight, right around sunset, there will be a partial eclipse of the sun, visible from most of North America.  As the sun sets, skywatchers will get to see the moon gradually cover about half of the sun, before it disappears below the horizon. A map of the viewing area shows that the best spot to see it will be all the way up in the Canadian arctic. If you don’t live in the Arctic circle, you can certainly see the eclipse in the South-West near the horizon as it sets.  The moon will start to cover the sun around 5:45 EDT,...

Top 5 comet breakups in History

When comets breakup it can be an emotional time for Astronomers, amateur and professional alike.  Though not like a breakup with a significant other, we get our hopes up that the next comet will be a comet of the century.  We do this because comets are very unpredictable, and any given close approach to Earth could be spectacular….or terrible. Comet ISON is about to pass behind the sun on November 28th, and could potentially break into pieces from the sun’s incredible tidal forces.  In honour of a new potential breakup, here are the top 5 comet breakups in history: #5...

Rubik’s Cube Challenge: Did I do it?

The finale of the Rubik’s cube challenge was on Sunday, and yielded some interesting results. To confirm, I did not look at an actual cube or picture of one between the start of the challenge last Wednesday, and the finale on Sunday.  All I did was read the book on the cube solution.  Before I reveal the results let me give you a rundown of what I had to do. To make it work required memorizing a lot of steps, and learning the notation used by the book. In the above picture, the top side (T) is yellow, the Front...

Rubik’s Cube – My First Time Challenge

I have never, not once, in my life, solved or seriously attempted to solve a Rubik’s cube. I had all kinds of puzzles and games growing up, so I wasn’t deprived at all, it just never happened.  I feel I was just past the generation that was introduced to the cube, and maybe a quick look as a kid convinced me it wasn’t worth the time.  I also think that never seeing one in a store as a child was a factor, or maybe I was just into video games. While training for my new part time job this week...