Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Some Science For Mardi Gras


The sky was amazing about mid-afternoon and of course it is completely clear now.

An artist's rendition of what the tropical forest found fossilized beneath a layer of volcanic ash may have looked like.

Via MSNBC.com

The researchers examined three sites with a total area of 10,764 square feet (1,000 square meters) near Wuda, China. At these sites, they counted and mapped the fossilized plants. The tallest trees that formed the upper canopy — species in the genera Sigillaria and Cordaites — grew to 82 feet (25 meters) or more. Lower down, tree ferns formed another canopy. A group of now-extinct, spore-producing trees called Noeggerathiales and palm-like cycads grew below these, they found.

Via NYT

Living plants have been generated from the fruit of a little arctic flower, the narrow-leafed campion, that died 32,000 years ago, a team of Russian scientists reports. The fruit was stored by an arctic ground squirrel in its burrow on the tundra of northeastern Siberia and lay permanently frozen until excavated by scientists a few years ago.

An artist's rendition (damn, MSNBC like their artist's renditions) of the planet GJ 1214b in orbit about its red-dwarf star.

Via MSNBC

This so-called " super-Earth " is about 2.7 times Earth’s diameter and weighs nearly seven times as much as our home planet. It orbits a red-dwarf star at a distance of 1.2 million miles (2 million kilometers), giving it an estimated surface temperature of 446 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius) — too hot to host life as we know it.

Scientists first reported in 2010 that GJ 1214b's atmosphere is likely composed primarily of water, but their findings were not definitive. Berta and his team used Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 to help dispel the doubts.
Hubble watched as GJ 1214b crossed in front of its host star, and the scientists were able to determine the composition of the planet's atmosphere based on how it filtered the starlight.

Via National Geographic:

The presence of the long, thin valleys—known as graben—suggests that the moon has undergone relatively recent tectonic activity, within the past 50 million years or so.

That activity in turn hints that the moon may not have been entirely melted when it first formed roughly 4.6 billion years ago. Instead the early moon likely had a solid core covered by a global ocean of molten rock.

Happy Mardi Gras! Go out and earn some beads!

2 comments:

becca said...

very cool

Writer said...

I'm glad you like, becca. :)