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Is Betelgeuse A Cannibal Star?

A day or two ago I came across this article ...

Rocket salad, enantiomers, and nomenclature

Yet another article in the Telegraph: this time Supermarket rocket salad healthier than homegrown...

Muck and Medicine

An article in The Federalist:The Darwinism That Fuels Atheism Actually Favors Religiosity ...

The First Known Deuterostome?

A few days ago I read an article in the Telegraph Humanity’s earliest known ancestor discovered...

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Robert H OlleyRSS Feed of this column.

Until recently, I worked in the Polymer Physics Group of the Physics Department at the University of Reading.

I would describe myself as a Polymer Morphologist. I am not an astronaut,

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Back around 1960, at school I enjoyed a laboratory lecture on liquid nitrogen, watching a deep frozen squash ball being shattered at a temperature well below that at which it turns from a rubber into a glass, and then seeing a nail being driven into a block of wood with a hammer whose head was made of frozen mercury.  The repeated impacts left an impression of the nail head in the soft metal.

Recently we were treated to a repeat of a three part series,

My attention was recently drawn to a link to the Science Codex, which begins:

What do you say to Pluto’s demotion to “dwarf planet” status?  I did not approve of the demotion, but a few days ago our BBC Sky at Night team did give a reasonable reason why it does require a new category.  With Neptune, one can say “planets end here”, while Pluto is the first of many bodies such as the remarkable Eris that we now know inhabit the Kuiper Belt. 

Pluto really does seem to have captured people’s imagination.  With the announcement that the (dwarf) planet is larger than we thought, a neighbour was asking me how one measured its size.

This got me looking up some values in Pluto Is Larger Than Thought, Has Ice Cap, NASA Probe Reveals, from space.com.

The new measurement of Pluto is 1,473 miles (2,370 kilometers) across

The previous estimate from Earth was 1,430 miles (2,301 km).

We have already had a view from the Mediterranean of Jupiter, Venus and the Moon in Seeing Jupiter In Daylight.  Jupiter and Venus are getting closer together in the sky, and on the 1st of July, at around 8:00 UTC, actual conjunction will occur, when the two planets are at the same Ecliptic longitude (referring the annual path taken by the Sun against our stellar background.)  At that time, the planets will be below the Horizon for New World observers.