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: February 2009
I stumbled upon a fascinating paper on arXiv the other day. Anyone who works with lasers should be familiar with the concept of stimulated emission – the means by which photons excite electrons which, in turn, emit more photons (identical, … Continue reading
There’s something pleasantly continental about coffee and a croissant for breakfast…
As a lot of people will know by now, the human race is officially going back to Jupiter and its moons. It’s currently scheduled to get there by about 2026. I’m seriously looking forward to it, myself. There’s an awful … Continue reading
I’ve been neglecting my molecular gastronomy a bit lately, so when I saw that They Go Really Well Together #15 was up at Mex Mix, I thought — yeah, why not? For anyone who doesn’t know, TGRWT (They Go Really … Continue reading
Interesting little molecule, sydnone. It’s a mesoionic heterocyclic aromatic. In other words, it’s an aromatic ring which is charged both negatively and positively, and both charges are delocalised. Mesoionic compounds, while effectively neutral overall, cannot be assigned an uncharged structure. … Continue reading
So Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Dr Alan Boss has recently caused quite a stir by suggesting that there could be billions of Earth-like planets in the Milky Way alone. As author of The Crowded Universe, Boss’s thoughts on the prevalence … Continue reading
The Japanese Kaguya probe just keeps capturing beautiful images. And because I remember talking to someone about this a few months ago — this image is the first ever picture of the Earth eclipsing the Sun. Stunning. Simply stunning. Give … Continue reading
Now it’s no secret that I drink a lot of coffee. I mean a lot of coffee. I don’t even want to think how many kilos of used coffee grounds I’ve thrown into the bin or flushed down the drain … Continue reading
Those with sharp enough eyes, who know where to look, should be able to see Comet Lulin in the sky even as I type this. It should be somewhere in the constellation Virgo, with a magnitude of about +6 (you … Continue reading