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: March 2011
While it may seem like blogging by proxy, I feel like leaving this here. It’s a quote about Richard Feynman, and how he managed to become both a scientist and a cultural icon (a rare feat for a scientist, it … Continue reading
So apparently I missed it, but the Messenger probe entered Mercury’s orbit on March 17th. This image, taken at 5:20am EDT yesterday, is the first image of Mercury, taken from the planet’s orbit. Remarkably enough. A huge number of space … Continue reading
The unassuming little speck in the centre of this sky survey image may not look like anything particularly special. But there’s something rather special about it indeed. Because this star is HE1327-2326, and it may just be the oldest known … Continue reading
In other news, I still totally need to own one of these. Perhaps I should get a cheap squared paper notebook and construct one myself somehow… EDIT– And for anyone else who’s confused, it’s River Song’s book originally from the … Continue reading
This is hexazine. And it probably doesn’t really exist. Denoted N6, if it does exist it would be an unstable allotrope* of nitrogen. It’s an analog of benzene, and just like benzene it would be aromatic. If it existed. Computational … Continue reading
In many ways, we’re quite lucky to be where we are. Our lovely little blue planet circles a nice calm yellow dwarf star, in a suburban spiral arm, in the midst of the disk of a nice massive spiral galaxy. … Continue reading
This rather pretty and slightly fractalicious image is a micrograph of some naphthalene crystals, taken in polarised light. Naphthalene is an aromatic hydrocarbon, with two rings fused together (not polycyclic, just bicyclic). Interestingly, the crystal in the image looks a … Continue reading
The asteroid belt may not be somewhere you’d expect to find skyscrapers or dim sum, but amusingly you will find a place called Hong Kong there. 3297 Hong Kong, to be precise — a main belt asteroid which orbits the … Continue reading
While my equipment is thermally equillibriating, I actually have time for a bite sized blog entry.* And appropriately, I’ve been meaning to write a little about a bite sized “planet”… Well… I say planet. This is Ceres, the empress of … Continue reading