Space

Amazing gravitational waves discovery – what they are and why they’re so important

In 1916, Albert Einstein predicted that any event that disturbs spacetime will produce ripples that spread throughout the entire Universe. He called these ripples gravitational waves. This week, one hundred years after Einstein’s prediction, scientists revealed they had finally detected gravitational waves. The discovery being called the greatest scientific advance this century.  Here’s how they did it and why the discovery is such a big deal. What’s all this mumbo-jumbo about gravitational waves and spacetime? In scientific geek-speak, gravitational waves are disturbances in the fabric of spacetime. If you drag your finger through a bowl of water, you will notice waves follow the path of your finger and ripple outward towards the edge of the bowl. Einstein predicted that the same thing happens when a heavy object…
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Space

European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) – Scientists create the world’s largest telescope on top of a mountain

Once they finish building it, the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) will be more powerful than any telescope on earth. Its huge mirror, which is used to gather the faint light of faraway galaxies, stars, and planets (allows astronomers to see further than ever), will measure 129 feet ( meters or 1,547 inches) and require microscopic precision to align the 800 hexagon-shaped pieces of mirror it will take to construct the telescope. E-ELT will be more than three times larger than any telescope on the planet!  To get an idea of how big E-ELT will be, take a look at the picture above and find the pickup truck to compare its size to the size of the E-ELT telescope.  Wow! E-ELT will be built on…
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Science Tips

Saturn – the greatest planet (except for Uranus which is easier to work into jokes)

Saturn is Reeko’s favorite planet (although Uranus, which makes great joke material, comes in a close 2nd).  Like Jupiter, Saturn is a large, gaseous planet composed mostly of the gases hydrogen and helium. Saturn has a magnetic field 1,000 times stronger than Earth's but not as strong as Jupiter's. Due to its gaseous nature, Saturn's density is so low that it could float in an ocean of water. It probably has a core similar to that of Jupiter. It is covered with cloud bands, some forming cyclonic patterns like Jupiter's, but the colors appear more subdued than do Jupiter's because of an atmospheric haze that covers the clouds. Saturn is surrounded by a spectacular ring system (see the picture above). Galileo observed these rings in…
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Science Tips

Our wonderful Sun – the brightest star in the sky!

Our Sun is an ordinary star although it is quite large compared to other stars. In terms of “mass”, most stars have less than half the mass of our Sun. You could fit 109 Earths across the Sun. The Romans called the Sun “sol” (as in SOlar). The Sun is about 70% hydrogen and 28% helium. The Sun converts hydrogen to helium at its core. The Sun is not a solid body like Earth. This accounts for why the outer shell of the Sun rotates around its core. In this way, it sort of behaves like planets that are made of gas. At its poles, it rotates once about every 36 days while at the equator (or mid-line) it rotates about every 25 days. This…
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