Top Men and Top Women always enjoy refreshing their perspective of our place in the universe. Here is a amazingly detailed site to do just that. From the theoretical smallest to the astronomical largest – have fun scrolling your way through the universe. Don’t forget to click on items for more (sometimes humorous) information.
Top Men often contemplate our environment and what we consider normal. What if our planet was covered with surface ice and normal was beneath the surface where things were upside down and air had to be collected in buckets…
Well this video is food for science fiction thought.
It’s a magic time of the year. No, not the silly holiday stuff. We’re talking about when the orbit of Mars brings it practically within spittin’ distance of Earth. So if you’re going to Mars, November was the month to do it. It just so happens that two missions were planned – Phobos-Grunt and Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).
But as Top Men have mentioned before, getting to Mars is tough. Russia’s (and China’s) Phobos-Grunt mission has (so far) not made it out of low earth orbit, and within a couple months the 13 metric ton craft (including 7.5 metric tons of hydrazine fuel) will fall not-so-gracefully back to earth. (Top Women have suggested that a conspiracy version of this story would make a thrilling novel.)
NASA’s MSL mission has had better luck so far. MSL (and the Curiosity Rover) successfully left Earth orbit and is on the way to an August arrival on Mars. Curiosity is a huge, plutonium powered rover – much larger than any of the previous rovers. And it’s packing HD video as well as some brand-spanking new laboratory devices to continue the search for life on Mars. Oh, and the landing promises to be pretty amazing, too.
Top Men will keep you updated. Go back to your drivel.
Here is an 11 minute HD animation of the MSL mission.
Here is an 11 minute animation of the Phobos-Grunt mission.
Topmen are easily fascinated. (Perhaps that’s why Wohba isn’t updated these days.)
Take, for example, the boundary between Earth’s gaseous and liquid components – the line between air and water. It’s an amazingly distinct border between worlds that humans actually love to recreate around – surfing, swimming, boating, snorkeling, wake boarding, cliff diving, deadliest catching, etc. But the gaseous layer and liquid layer have dramatic effects on each other that result in spectacular phenomena on our side of the fence – clouds being perhaps the most taken for granted.
But there are more exotic border breaches as well, and one particular case is especially interesting – brinicles. Brinicles occur when the temperature in the air is amazingly cold, and the currents in the water are amazingly calm. Extremely cold, dense brine sinks downward from the surface, freezing the relatively fresh seawater around it – resulting in an underwater icicle that (like most slow forming phenomena) looks even better when speeded up.
Some crazy BBC divers/cameramen have done just that…
Volcanoes from space – now that’s Wohba material. So what about this amazing image. of the Sarychev Peak Eruption in the Kuril Islands a few days ago – taken with a digital camera aboard the ISS (International Space Station). As fate would have it, the ISS was in the right place at the right time for an image that few have ever seen.
Top Men are intrigued by the pillowy clouds atop the ash plume, as well as the circular parting of the clouds around the event.
Nothing like a star party to enlighten us on a galactic level. Top Men were amazed by this time lapse of the night sky which reveals our own Milky Way galaxy. Top Men also like the fact that the teaming masses can do stuff like this.
Slow motion (high speed) video is just so doggone amazing – revealing life’s hidden mysteries.
Take for example the lowly ladybug. For all of recorded history we simply marveled at the lovely black spots on her red shell, and watched her fly away (because her house was on fire). Little did we realize that behind the beauty there were complex mechanisms at work – allowing the wings to be hidden but elegantly released when required. Wohba! Link.
Now that your Top Team has reengaged, we realize that our space coverage has been… well… vacuous. We’ll save Mars for a later date, but today, let’s talk rings – Saturn’s specifically. Seems that Saturn’s rings, that look so homogeneously milky from here, have some dynamic forces shaping them.
So we have this rather striking image of a “streamer” created when Saturn’s moon Prometheus moved through the F ring – and since it’s hard to picture how it happened – here’s a movie.
Will everyone who thinks it’s amazing that the Cassini spacecraft is still sending back such treasures from Saturn after over four years in orbit please shout out a raucous “Wohba!”
Update: Top Women would like to call your attention to even more rings of Saturn (via Astronomy Picture of the Day) – rings of aurora over Saturn’s north pole. Wohba!