October 15, 2018

AstroEvent: the Leonid Meteor Shower.

This week, be on the lookout for the meteor shower that can roar like a lion, but this year will probably meow like a kitten. The infamous Leonid meteors peak on the morning of Wednesday, November 17th. This shower has been known to produce storm intensity outbursts with a zenithal hourly rate (ZHR) in access of +1,000 roughly every 33 years, which last happened in 1999 & 2000. [Read more...]

17.03.10: A Hadean Simulation.

One of the key mysteries in science is how life began on Earth. In the 1950s, the landmark Urey-Miller experiments gave tantalizing evidence of how organic compounds may have formed on ancient Earth. Recently, scientists at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart have shed more light on the subject.  Using an artificial solution of primordial seawater interacting with atmospheric nitrogen and CO2, they subjected the mixture to temperatures of up to 662° Fahrenheit, similar to conditions that existed in the early Hadean era, 3.8 to 4.5 billion years ago. The Earth was much more volcanically active in its early history, and the baking process observed allowed amino acids to be “cooked” into the resulting salt crust. Amino acids are the key building blocks to proteins. Specifically, the team found essential compounds such as pyrroles, which function as the oxygen carrying component in the haemoglobin in your blood, were easily formed. Pyrroles also play a role in plant chlorophyll. This all points to the conjecture that life soon arose on Earth once the conditions were ripe for it. The initial seeding of amino acids may have occurred via cometary impacts in what is known as the panspermia process, which may be common place throughout the galaxy even today.