The collision between the Milky Way Galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy.
the grand showdown
Andromeda is a bit bigger than us. So when that happens, Andromeda’s black hole is gonna consume our black hole in a vicious act of galactic canabalism.
Which is an actual term used in astronomy apparently.
“Galactic Cannabalism” sounds like an electro/death metal fusion band.
Galactic cannibalism is one of my favourite astronomical terms, but it doesn’t beat the term used for the stretching out into a long thin tube that occurs when something falls into a black hole (spaghettification) or the term used for a rock thought to be a meteorite but which later turns out to be an ordinary terrestrial rock (meteowrong).
Galactic collisions look like incredibly destructive events, but the distances between the individual stars are so great the amount of actual physical collisions are actually very low. It’s more akin to two clouds of gas coalescing.
The world’s largest bid to harness the power of fusion has entered a “critical” phase in southern France.
The Iter project at Cadarache in Provence is receiving the first of about one million components for its experimental reactor.
Dogged by massive cost rises and long delays, building work is currently nearly two years behind schedule.
The advent of fusion power would radically alter the technological landscape. It is cleaner and safer than nuclear fission, and uses more plentiful materials.
In fission, molecules are ripped apart by atomic chain-reactions. This requires obtaining relatively rare elements, and extracting them into useful isotopes (enrichment).
Fusion, however, is the energy process that occurs inside stars. Instead of being ripped apart, atoms are pushed together. Just a litre of water would create the energy equivalent of 500 litres of petrol. The difficulty in using fusion is producing the effects at low temperatures. Cold fusion is seen by many as the holy grail of energy production.
This 16-year-old male polar bear died of starvation resulting from the lack of ice on which to hunt seals, according to Dr Ian Stirling, who has studied polar bears for almost 40 years with the Canadian Wildlife Service and the University of Alberta.
"The Arctic lost record amounts of sea ice last year and is changing at an unprecedented pace due to climate change, a landmark climate study said on Tuesday. … By September 2012, sea-ice cover had retreated to its lowest levels since the beginning of satellite records, falling to 1.32 million square miles. That was, the report noted, a whopping 18% lower than the previous low, set in 2007, and a staggering 54% lower than the mark for 1980.”
Noaa report says Arctic sea ice is disappearing at unprecedented pace - read more
Starved polar bear perished due to record sea-ice melt, says expert - read more
Lightning comes in more flavors than you can shake a metal rod at—positively or negatively charged, headed up or down, hitting the ground or another cloud. Atmospheric scientists know that ice particles in a thundercloud become slightly charged. Eventually, a negatively charged layer of the storm gets sandwiched between two positives. Electricity arcs among the layers, ionizing the air and making it glow. But experts have yet to understand the bolts’ behavior. Researchers are now tracking the radio waves and x-rays produced by lightning, and they’re even experimenting with synthetic strikes (made with rockets!). Here’s their current thinking.
- Gigantic jet: About 80 percent of all storm discharges are intracloud. But if one heads up and hits a weak positive charge in the upper layer, it exits skyward.
- Bolt from the blue: Gigantic jets can exit the cloud sideways and touch down miles away from the storm that spawned them under a clear blue sky.
- Spider: These discharges travel up to 60 miles per second over huge distances, moving laterally through horizontal layers.
- Beaded: Certain segments of the kinked ion channel seem to glow brighter when seen from a particular angle.
- Forked: When too much negative charge builds up at the end of a bolt, its channel can split apart in midair to form two or more offshoots.
- Ribbon: Multiple strikes sometimes share the same channel. If the wind blows the channel sideways, the eye perceives a band of light in the microseconds between strokes.
- Zigzag: As a storm dissipates, air between the cloud and the ground holds pockets of charge. This produces bolts that hop groundward from one pocket to the next.
- Ball: Grapefruit-sized, glowing spheres of electricity have been reported in the vicinity of thunderstorms. No one knows why.
- Energetic narrow bipolar: These intracloud flashes are one of the strongest natural source of radio emissions. They last only 10 microseconds.
- Red sprite: Positively charged cloud-to-ground lightning makes the cloud more negative. That negative field reaches upward above the cloud, where lower air densities mean less energy to produce a discharge—which then glows red.
- Blue jet: According to one theory, negatively charged cloud-to-ground lightning makes the cloud more positive; the storm pumps the excess positivity skyward in a high-energy burst that makes the ionized air around it glow blue.
Photo illustration: John Blackford
Photograph by Olivier Vandeginste/atmospheres.be
" There are many reasons why conspiracy theories gain traction with the public, including that they tap into a widespread distrust of the government (fueled by both real and imagined transgressions such as the recent revelations about public surveillance).
Conspiracy theories, by their nature, cannot be conclusively disproven since any evidence contradicting them can be dismissed or ignored as part of the conspiracy itself. Because it’s never “case closed,” the door for further discussion and inquiry is always left open.
Books about conspiracy theories don’t have sections on disproven conspiracy theories. A few conspiracy theories have fallen out of favor, but most modern conspiracies last decades or longer.”
Life in a space colony would be different from life on Earth.
Gravity might be a thing of the past, everyone could drink distilled urine, and a whole generation of Earthlings may grow up without ever having set foot on the surface of the planet. At the moment, those ideas are still firmly set in the realm of science fiction, but in the next 1,000 years, new technologies could be developed that would enable humanity to colonize space.
While a self-sustaining space station colony might be a long way off, scientists are still working to design and perhaps even build a space station that goes beyond low-Earth orbit.
"It extends the capability of humans to be out in space away from Earth," Paul Bookout, project manager of the concept demonstrator for Deep Space Habitat at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said of building a space station in deep space. "For example if you could go to a near-Earth asteroid and you had a habitat out there, you could stay extended periods of time … and do research on the asteroid, bring samples back in, continuing work out there instead of trying to bring small samples back to Earth."
"Elysium" — a new science fiction film about a world in which only the rich and powerful can live in a seemingly utopic space station orbiting Earth — is the newest in a long line of movies dealing with the science of space living.
"The premise is totally believable to me," Mark Uhran, a former assistant associate administrator for the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters, said of the movie. "When I took a look at the Elysium station, I thought to myself, that’s certainly achievable within this millennium."