Supernova Condensate is a blog about our place in the Universe. Of astronomy, chemistry and life in the big bad bubble of academia.
Invader Xan is a molecular astrophysicist and part-time alien invader, who spends life looking at very small things on very large scales, and trying to better understand the chemistry of interstellar space.
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Monthly Archives: January 2009
Silabenzene is one of those chemical curiosities. With little use except to theoretical organic chemists, it’s a benzene molecule with one carbon atom replaced by a silicon “pendant” atom. A heterocyclic aromatic. For a long time it was believed to … Continue reading
I used to think sweat bands were silly, but if you spend all day typing on a laptop, they’re really comfortable! Eating ramen noodles with two plastic spoons is a pursuit best avoided (though it was nice of the girl … Continue reading
It might look a bit like an elliptical galaxy, but this picture is actually of London! It was taken at night time from the ISS, using a digital camera (though I can’t find the name of the astronaut who took … Continue reading
“Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.” — Donald E. Knuth
I feel so un-cool being literally surrounded by work on a Friday night. But that’s just how I roll. (And I have a deadline). Still, all is not lost, because between bouts of incessant note scribbling and typing, Carnival of … Continue reading
Seemingly, everyone’s a bit uncertain about a star named MOA-2007-BLG-192L. It’s known to have a planet in tow, and everyone agrees that it’s a small planet, but exactly how small seems to be a contentious issue. The planet was originally … Continue reading
Discovered thanks to His Badness, Phil Plait.
Ah… There’s no better way to start the day. A hot ciabatta, a smooth black coffee, a blueberry muffin and a slightly intimidating stack of papers to read! Sitting in a sunbeam helps…
Ok, so I’m not normally much a tech nerd, but I have to say — OMG iPod Touch ultimate geek toy!!! This little beauty was my Christmas/birthday present (I don’t mind a joint present between the two when it’s this … Continue reading
Quite a puzzler in astrochemistry and astrobiology is where exactly prebiotic amino acids form. We know they can form in interstellar space. We’ve found them inside chondritic meteorites. All the ingredients exist in the interstellar medium. There have even been … Continue reading