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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Category Archives: space
So here’s an interesting little fact. In Chinese and Japanese, Jupiter is known as 木星 which means “wood star” – and I think that’s a wonderful name for it! Interestingly, the name is pure coincidence. Just as our name for the … Continue reading
So Juno is now safely in orbit around Jupiter, and NASA scientists are triumphant, celebrating it as the “hardest thing NASA’s ever done.” They may not be wrong. No spacecraft has ever passed so close to Jupiter before. Jupiter’s radiation … Continue reading
It’s pretty late in my currnet part of the world. But all the same, I’m debating whether or not I should sleep at a sensible time. Mostly because it’s not every day that humanity sends robots to other planets. It’s … Continue reading
An item on my wish list: See a sunrise from orbit. Earth’s atmosphere scatters out the blue from sunlight. The scattered light makes the atmosphere look blue, but the sunlight has all of its blue photons scattered out from it, giving it … Continue reading
A few days ago, the Cassini spacecraft, 1.61 billion kilometres away in orbit around Saturn, made its closest ever pass of Saturn’s tiny moon Enceladus. It flew by around 49 km above Enceladus’ south pole – perilously close by astronomical standards. … Continue reading
This is a completely gratutous Saturn system appreciation post. Because Saturn. Images found courtesy of wanderingspace.net
New Horizons passed Pluto some time ago, but it’s still slowly dripping data back to us. The tiny craft wasn’t optimised for data transfer, so its hard drives are still packed to the gills with exciting discoveries which we’ll all … Continue reading
It turns out, Pluto has blue skies. And water ice on its surface. Which, at a cursory glance might make it seem a little bit like home. But only a little bit. Some notable experts were a little puzzled to … Continue reading
Enceladus is, without question, one of the most interesting locations in our solar system, and for a lot of reasons. Quite simply, this tiny Cronian moon is a mystery. We know what we see, but we have utterly no idea … Continue reading