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: August 2009
Using techniques pioneered by IBM Research Zurich, this is the first ever AFM image of a single molecule. The most detailed single image of a pentacene molecule you’ll ever see, in fact. Seriously, I’m amazed. I had no idea atomic … Continue reading
While you were reading this sentence, several hundred muons passed straight through your body. In fact, around ten thousand pass each square metre of Earth’s surface every minute. Slightly disconcerting, isn’t it? A muon is essentially a bigger, fatter version … Continue reading
I’ve seen occasional news reports about meteor trafficking for quite some time now, and if I’m perfectly honest, I’m not quite sure what to think about it all. On one hand, the prospect of important scientific discoveries being lost is … Continue reading
Sometimes space news really manages to strike a chord with people. Yesterday, it seems, was one of those moments, with the announcement that amino acids had been discovered in comets for the very first time. Within hours, half the news … Continue reading
Well that’s interesting… A while back, I wrote a post, How to quench your thirst on the Moon, about how to find water for a lunar base, in which I mentioned that no one had really considered obtaining the water … Continue reading
Every now and again when I’m studying I discover something which I think is just cool. And relativistic quantum chemistry — is just cool! Quantum mechanics and general relativity aren’t the best of friends. This much is pretty well known, … Continue reading
Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate. (Plurality is not to be posited without necessity.) There are a number of principles in modern science which are quite pivotal for how science itself works. Principles which can often be used to distinguish … Continue reading
Around 50 million light years away, lies a rather lovely spiral galaxy known as NGC 1097. Seen in infrared light by Spitzer in this image, it reminds me a little of an egyptian Eye of Horus. That pupil however, is … Continue reading