If you’re unfamiliar with the transit of Mercury, this phenomenon takes place when the planet Mercury passes directly between the Sun and a superior planet, becoming visible against the solar disk. When this happens, Mercury appears as a tiny black dot moving across the disk of the Sun. The closest planet to the sun began its transit today at 7:35 a.m. EST and will continue its journey for approximately 5.5 hours. Read more for a livestream video and additional information.
Ever wonder what would happen if you opened a soda that has been shaken a little too much at the bottom of the ocean? Well, Commander Chris Hadfield, a former Canadian astronaut who was the first Canadian to walk in space, shows you just that and explains the phenomenon. Put simply, carbonated drinks, like seltzer or soda pop, get their fizz from dissolved carbon dioxide. When these are opened, the liquid is exposed to pressure imbalance (i.e. pressure outside is lower than the pressure inside). If the can or bottle is shaken before opening, it will increase the pressure inside, which means the top is popped, an explosion ensues. Read more for the video he recorded a few years back and additional information.
Photo credit: Desheng Kong via Oddity Central
Researchers from China’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Nanjing University have developed an innovative alternating-current electroluminescent (ACEL) display that is thin enough to be worn on skin, similar to a temporary tattoo. It links with a human-machine interface that enables information to be displayed directly onto human skin. It consists of an electroluminescent layer made of light-emitting microparticles sandwiched between two flexible silver nanowire electrodes. Read more for additional pictures and information.
Photo credit: University of Rochester/J. Adam Fenster
University of Rochester and the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics, and Physics researchers have figured out how to make unsinkable metals using superhydrophobic (water repelling) materials. To accomplish this, they created structures made up of two treated aluminum surfaces facing each other, connected by a small central pole, designed to trap the maximum amount of air. What they ended up with was a virtually unsinkable metal. Read more for a video and additional information.
For most, this experiment is nothing new or special, but many don’t know that the iodine test is used to test for the presence of starch. It’s a simple, yet fascinating experiment, where starch turns into an intense “blue-black” color upon adding aqueous solutions of the triiodide anion, due to the formation of an intermolecular charge-transfer complex. Without the presence starch, the brown color of the aqueous solution remains. This interaction between starch and triiodide is also the basis for iodometry. Read more for the clip and additional information.
The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit that aims to rid the oceans of harmful plastic founded by entrepreneur Boyan Slat, has unveiled “The Interceptor,” a new vessel that collects plastic from rivers, then deposits the waste into floating dumpsters. Put simply, it’s a catamaran that glides across rivers while channeling plastic toward a conveyor belt, which then gets deposited into attached dumpsters. Read more for two videos and additional information.
A super-Neptune is basically a planet that is more massive than the planet Neptune, and are generally around 5–7 times as large as Earth. One of these massive planets was discovered by astronomers using the Italian Telescopio Nazionale Galileo and the High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer on the Keck Telescope in the Gliese 15 binary system, which is located 11.6 light-years from Earth. Read more for a video and additional information.
Spot a streaking fireball in the sky tonight? If so, then you’re probably witnessing the Taurids, or an annual meteor shower that is associated with the comet Encke. It’s actually two separate showers, with a Southern and a Northern component. The former originates from Comet Encke, while the latter is from the asteroid 2004 TG10. They are both named after their radiant point in the constellation Taurus. Since this phenomenon happens in late October and early November, they’re also nicknamed the Halloween fireballs. Read more for a video and additional information.
Many already know that total solar eclipses are a rare sight at any particular location because totality exists only along a narrow path on the Earth’s surface traced by the Moon’s full shadow or umbra, but what if you were to view this phenomenon in space? Well, until space tourism becomes common, not many will get the pleasure of doing so, that is unless…you have access to a high-altitude weather balloon. Read more for a video and additional information.
This isn’t your average supercar, the Nano Cellulose Vehicle (NCV) concept is made from cellulose nanofiber (CNF) materials and was developed by 22 Japanese universities, research institutes, and corporate suppliers. CNF comes from plants as well as recycled agricultural waste and has been used on the NCV’s doors, roof, and hood, thus lightening the chassis by up to 50% compared to traditional materials. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.