Last month Peter Campbell, writing about the British Museum’s Babylon, Myth and Reality exhibition, observed, “Held in the hand, a typical cuneiform tablet is about the same weight and shape as an early mobile phone.”
Near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass within 0.85 lunar distances from the Earth on November 8, 2011. The upcoming close approach by this relatively large 400 meter-sized, C-type asteroid presents an excellent opportunity for synergistic ground-based observations including optical, near infrared and radar data. The attached animated illustration shows the Earth and moon flyby geometry for November 8th and 9th when the object will reach a visual brightness of 11th magnitude and should be easily visible to observers in the northern and southern hemispheres. The closest approach to Earth and the Moon will be respectively 0.00217 AU and 0.00160 AU on 2011 November 8 at 23:28 and November 9 at 07:13 UT.
In 1873, an Italian pathologist named Camilo Golgi stirred the scientific community by managing to expose the brain in a new light—or darkness. Golgi found that by immersing nervous tissue first in a potassium dichromate solution and then in a silver nitrate solution, one could show a small number of cells—randomly—in a naked, black entirety. The stain—which Golgi named la reazione nera (“the black reaction”)—was hugely and internationally influential. From his inky-looking data, Golgi induced that our brain is composed of a syncytium, or a physically continuous nervous net. The new conclusion supported an already prominent hypothesis: the “reticular theory,” which was proposed by the German anatomist Joseph von Gerlach in 1871. (Imagine a structure similar to the enmeshed fingers of your two hands). But this turns out to be incorrect, an explanation destined to fall flat atop the scrap heap of once-received wisdom. Camilo Golgi was awarded a share of the Nobel Prize in 1906 for his spectacular stain, which is still used by investigators today.
NSO Education and Public Outreach A missing jet stream, fading spots, and slower activity near the poles say that our Sun is heading for a rest period even as it is acting up for the first time in years, according to scientists at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
As the current sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, begins to ramp up toward maximum, independent studies of the solar interior, visible surface, and the corona indicate that the next 11-year solar sunspot cycle, Cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all.
The results were announced at the annual meeting of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society, which is being held this week at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces: http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/SPD2011/
The Sun unleashed an M-2 solar flare, an S1-class radiation storm and a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME) in the early hours of June 7, 2011. The large cloud of particles mushroomed up and fell back down covering almost half the solar surface.
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