Never thought astronomy could be so cute.


22° halo

A 22° halo is an optical phenomenon whereby a large ring or halo is formed 22 degrees around the sun. Light is refracted in hexagonal ice crystals in the cirrus clouds. Red light is refracted 21.54° and blue light 22.37°. This wavelength-dependent variation in refraction causes the inner edge of the circle to be reddish while the outer edge is bluish. The centre of the ring is often darker because no light is refracted beyond the red line.
22 degree halos are often thought to be a warning of approaching storms because the cirrus clouds in which they form are often present a few days before a weather change.

Image: 22° halo around the sun in southern Victoria, credit Alex Jaeger

Fathom the Universe


China Plans Supercollider

For decades, Europe and the United States have led the way when it comes to high-energy particle colliders. But a proposal by China that is quietly gathering momentum has raised the possibility that the country could soon position itself at the forefront of particle physics.

Scientists at the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) in Beijing, working with international collaborators, are planning to build a ‘Higgs factory’ by 2028 — a 52-kilometer underground ring that would smash together electrons and positrons. Collisions of these fundamental particles would allow the Higgs boson to be studied with greater precision than at the much smaller Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Europe’s particle-physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland.

Physicists say that the proposed $3-billion machine is within technological grasp and is considered conservative in scope and cost. But China hopes that it would also be a stepping stone to a next-generation collider — a super proton–proton collider — in the same tunnel.

European and US teams have both shown interest in building their own super collider (see Nature 503, 177; 2013), but the huge amount of research needed before such a machine could be built means that the earliest date either can aim for is 2035. China would like to build its electron–positron collider in the meantime, unaided by international funding if needs be, and follow it up as fast as technologically possible with the super proton collider. Because only one super collider is likely to be built, China’s momentum puts it firmly in the driving seat.

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Titin — also known as connectin — is a giant protein that functions as a molecular spring which is responsible for the passive elasticity of muscle. … Titin is important in the contraction of striated muscle tissues.  

More info in Wikipedia …

C169 723H270 464N45 688O52 243S912.

LOWER IMAGE: [Wikimedia] crystallographic structure of the protein titin based on PDB 1BPV



Representation of mathematically “Completing the square”.

Complicated or not, visual demonstrations are great and the colours are incredibly appealing



Representation of mathematically “Completing the square”.

Complicated or not, visual demonstrations are great and the colours are incredibly appealing


World’s largest earthquake damper

A tuned mass damper, also known as a harmonic absorber, is a device mounted in structures to reduce the amplitude of mechanical vibrations. Their application can prevent discomfort, damage, or outright structural failure. They are frequently used in power transmission, automobiles, and buildings.(source:Wikipedia)

This 728 tons steel pendulum is installed in one of the world’s tallest buildings, the taipei 101 in Taiwan. It helps stabilize the building in case of strong winds and earthquakes, through simple mechanics, when the building moves in a direction it swings in the opposite direction reducing movement by 40%. You can understand how it works by looking at the small GIF image.

It cost $4 million to install the huge damper in the skyscraper but architects and engineers said it had to be done. It spans across 4 of the building’s stories and it was assembled on site because it couldn’t be lifted by a crane, due to its enormous weight.

Here’s a video of the damper in action, on May 12th,2008, when a horrific earthquake hit one of China’s provinces and the tremors reached as gar as Taipei. As the building started to shake, people ran towards the center to see the damper in action, it did it’s job.