Ultima Thule : Floating Snowman

NASA space craft “The New Horizons” flew past it and beamed it’s clear photo back. Ultima Thule is said to be the oldest and farthest celestial body discovered via a telescope in 2014. The picture taken by telescope was a blurry one showing the body as one oblong shaped. But new picture taken by spacecraft is very clear. It shows that Thule is made up of two ice lobes gravitating towards one another making it look like a Snowman. Picture has been taken from a distance of 27000 kilometres with a resolution of 140 metres per pixel. Thule is 4 billion miles from Sun.


World Wide Web: Some interesting facts

Internet has become a part of our lives. It is making exponential progress. Messages and documents can be send to any part of the world in seconds. Paperless transactions of money can be done within minutes. We can get in touch with our friends and others live through internet.

The World Wide Web or WWW as it is popularly referred was conceived in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN. It was invented to share documents among the scientists across the globe using hyperlinks. At present about 4 billion people across the globe use internet.

First website went online at CERN in 1991. Since at that time Tim Berners-Lee and his colleagues had browsers, few people in the world are aware. Today there are about 1.9 billion websites.

The term “Surfing the net” was coined by Jean Armour Polly a librarian in the university of Minnesota Wilson library in March 1992.

First email was sent by computer engineer Ray Tomlinson in 1971 from one computer to another sitting right next to it at Cambridge Massachusetts but through a network of computers.

First image was uploaded by Tim Berners-Lee on to internet in 1992. Photo was of a parody pop band “Les Horribles Cernettes“.

Internet is not WWW alone. It is much bigger and WWW, email and internet telephony are some of its parts.

We are living in the Meghalayan Age

Scientists have marked the time since the Earth began its life. They have divided it into different Epochs, Periods, Eras and Eons progressively in increasing time groups.


We are living in the following division of time.

Eon: Phanerozoic

Era: Cenozoic

Period: Quaternary

Epoch: Holocene

Holocene epoch began roughly 11700 years back and continues till present. United States Geological Survey (USGS) has divided this time into three ages namely

Greenlandian: 11700 to 8326 years ago

Northgrippian: 8326 to 4250 years ago

MEGHALAYAN: 4250 to present date

MEGHALAYAN age marks the time when a mega drought devastated civilizations across the world, including those in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, The indus Valley and the Yangtze valley. Drought lasted some 209 years and supposed to be prompted by shifts in ocean and atmospheric circulation.

Geologists chose the name “Meghalayan” as a nod to a rock sample they analyzed from Meghalaya, a northeastern state in India, whose name means “the abode of clouds” in Sanskrit. By analyzing a stalagmite growing on the ground of Mawmluh Cave, geologists found that each of the stalagmite layers had different levels of oxygen isotopes, or versions of oxygen with different numbers of neutrons. This change marked the weakening of monsoon conditions from that time.

1905: Annus Mirabilis of Albert Einstein 

Annus mirabilis is a Latin phrase that means “wonderful year”, “miraculous year” or “amazing year”. This term was originally used to refer to the year 1666, and today is used to refer to several years during which events of major importance are remembered.

Albert Einstein singlehandedly added 1905 as another Annus Mirabilis. In this year, his creativity peaked and he made the revolutionary scientific discoveries. He was just 26 years old. During that year he did:

March: Proved that the light consists of photons thus proving the quantum nature of the light.

May: Proved the existence of the atom.

June: Special Theory of Relativity, which forced the laws of motion by another great physicist Newton as the corollary with the objects moving at lower speeds.

November: The most conscise and beautiful equation relating mass and energy. Proving that mass and energy are two names of the same thing. That enormous amounts of energy are condensed to make small amounts of mass. In other words, enormous amounts of energy are contained in the mass.


And after that he became a superstar


Why Gold has the colour it has??

Gold as everyone knows is a noble metal sought after by everyone. By being noble means it is resistant to chemical reactions like corrosion by air and water combination.

The answer tothe question why it has the colour it has lies in electronic configuration of gold atoms.  Its electronic configuration is [Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s1 where Xe stands for Xenon. The outermost orbitals are 5d and 6s.  There is one electron in the outermost shell. In the geometric structure, atoms are arranged in a particular config And the lone electrons present the 6s orbitals are diffused in the lattice which means that individual electron in a atom has lost the address of parent atom and now belong to the community of gold atoms.

How do the objects we see have different colours? Colours are hidden in white light emanating from the sun. The visible spectrum of light components is composite of 7 colours remembered using “VIBGYOR” where V is for violet and has the maximum energy in the visible spectrum and R is for red with lowest energy.

When it falls on an object, the object absorbs some fraction of the light and reflects the rest of it. Which color or colors wavelengths it will absorb depends upon the unique structure of the object molecules. We see the resultant of colours which are reflected.



In case of gold, the energy difference between the 5d and 6s levels is 2.7 electron volts. The blue light has exactly this energy in its photon packets. So when light falls on it, it completely absorbs the blue fraction of the light. The remains reflected resultant light is exactly the colour which is that of gold.

First observation of merger of two neutron stars

Neutron stars are the remnants of explosions of supernovae. Neutron stars are most dense in the universe so these are quite small in size. For example the size of London. They are so dense that a spoonful of neutrons weighs as much as 100 000 Eiffel towers.

It so happens that when two neutron stars approach each other, they turn faster and faster generating the gravitational waves by modifying the space-time around them. Ultimately they collide and fuse. After this the eject lots of matter.

How such events in occuring in the universe are detected? Electromagnetic rays emitted during such an event in the form of visible and invisible energy waves can be tracked by the modern telescopes and spectrometry.

Another technique has been added and it measures the gravitational waves which are generated in such violent events involving massive bodies. Such instruments has been installed in US. Called LIGO (Laser interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) can record the gravitational waves.

One such event of fusion of two neutron stars happened 130 million years ago. The gravitational ripples were detected by LIGO on August 17 at 1241 GMT for 100 seconds. Then after 2 seconds a Gamma rays burst was observed. After hours and days following the event, X-rays, UV rays and infrared rays were detected.

This is the first successful observation of fusion of two neutron stars through Gravitational Waves and as well as through different kind of rays that are emitted.

It also confirmed the premise that gravitational waves travel with speed equal to that of light. This event was made possible with the collaboration of 3674 scientists from 953 institutions all around the world.


Oil and Gas

Although researchers all over the world are working on the technology to harness the alternate resources of energy like solar, wind, hydropower and nuclear energy, the conventional resources of oil, gas and coal are still the major resources of energy. These resources are fast declining since they are non renewable. Rapid industrialization and urbanization are responsible for this. In addition, these conventional resources add pollutants to the atmosphere.

Presently the positon of energy producers is like this

World’s Biggest Oil & Gas Companies
(Production in millions barrels per day)

  2. GAZPROM: 8.33.
  4. EXXONMOBIL: 4.7
  5. ROSNEFT: 4.7

Top 5 countries with highest Oil Reserves
1. Saudi Arabia:
265 billion barrels (19.1%)
Remaining reserves: 72.4 years
2. Venezuela:
211 billion barrels(15.3%)
Remaining reserves: 234.1years
3. Iran:
137 billion barrels(9.9%)
Remaining reserves: 88.4 years
4. Iraq:
115 billion barrels (8.4%)
Remaining reserves: 128.1 years
5. Kuwait:
102 billion (7.3%)
Remaining reserves: 110.9 years

Global Energy Sources
Fossil Fuels
Oil: 33%
Coal: 30%
Natural Gas: 24%
Renewable and Nuclear Energy
Hydropower: 7%
Nuclear Power: 4%
Renewable energy: 2.7%

(The data is from visual capitalist)