Science is the poetry of Nature.

Contributing Authors


World’s scientists call on Stephen Harper to restore science funding, freedom

Hundreds of scientists around the world are asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end “burdensome restrictions on scientific communication and collaboration faced by Canadian government scientists.”

The call was made in an open letter drafted by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that represents U.S. scientists and uses science to advocate for environmental sustainability.

Read the full letter

The letter was signed by more than 800 scientists outside Canada from 32 countries, at institutions ranging from Harvard Medical School in the U.S. to the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

The letter says “a rapid decline in freedoms and funding” for Canadian government scientists is making it more difficult for them to conduct research, communicate scientific information and expertise and collaborate internationally.

"Canada’s leadership in basic research, environmental, health, and other public science is in jeopardy," the letter says. "We urge you to restore government science funding and the freedom and opportunities to communicate these findings internationally."

The signed letter is being promoted in Canadian newspaper and online ads paid for by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents 60,000 public servants across Canada, including more than 15,000 federal government scientists. The ad campaign is being launched during the Government of Canada’s Science and Technology week.

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Bipolar Nebula NGC 6164-6165 (Cederblad 135a,b)

Distance: 4200 Light Years

NGC 6164-5 is a bipolar nebula surrounding the peculiar O 7f star HD 148937.

Although the nebula was believed initially to represent a planetary nebula, it is now understood to represent a shell-like ejected nebula, formed by the winds of its young central star.

Wind blown nebulae are usually considered the outcome of Wolf-Rayet type stars (WR), evolved O-type stars that have left the main sequence, molding their surroundings by way of fierce stellar winds.

In the case of the S-shaped bipolar nebula NGC 6164-5, the central star is not a WR star, but a young O-type supergiant of 40 solar masses. Relatively few examples of such objects are known to exist, making NGC 6164-5 particularly unique.

The true age of the star is not known although estimates of its age vary from a pre-main sequence age of 350,000 years to a more evolved age of one to two million years. HD 148937 is a peculiar type of Of star with exotic emission lines (carbon emission lines (CIII) equal in strength to Nitrogen (NIII)) and other peculiar spectra indicative of significant mass loss. Only five such stars are known to exist, three in our galaxy and two in Small Magellanic Cloud. - Robert Gendler


Behold the mantled guereza (Colobus guereza), aka the guereza, the eastern black-and-white colobus, or the Abyssinian black-and-white colobus, featured here on a vintage tobacco card. Here’s the original caption from the reverse side: “This specimen of the monkey family is remarkable for its solemn facial expression and its beautifully marked fur. It inhabits Abyssinia, the Galla Country and Somali-land. It lives in small troops, in the tallest trees it can find in the neighborhood of running water. It it restless and constantly on the move, but said hot to be noisy like most other members of the same family. It subsists mainly on various kinds of wild fruits, seeds and insects, and spends the whole day in collecting these, retiring to sleep high up in the trees. The Abyssinian soldiers use its fur to cover their shields.”

According to the more contemporary info at Wikipedia, the guereza ranges across much of west-central and east Africa, including CameroonEquatorial GuineaNigeriaEthiopiaKenyaTanzaniaUgandaand Chad.

(New York Public Library)


Splenic Immune Architecture

Rebecca Martin

B cells (green) and T cells (red) are arranged in a sheath around a central arteriole in the spleen of a BALB/c mouse. This is an example of typical splenic immune architecture.

Read more about “Through the Looking Glass” at VCU News or visit the exhibit which is open through December 31st at Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences.


A User’s Guide to the Human Body: The Muscle Edition

This infographic describes skeletal muscles, which are structurally different from heart muscle and the smooth muscle that controls digestion. Unlike heart and smooth muscle, skeletal muscle can be voluntarily controlled.



Thomas Wright. An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe. 1750.

Contd from here

(via afro-dominicano)


Beautiful Chemistry: Amazing Chemical Reactions by Yan Liang

Milky Way rising over Cape St. Vincent by J.J. Losada


NASA preparing for comet encounter this weekend

Comet Siding Spring will be making its closest pass to Mars this Sunday, bringing with it a wealth of information about the formation of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

Siding Spring - named after the Australian observatory which first identified it - comes from the Oort Cloud, material left over from the formation of the solar system. It’s thought that the comet has come straight from the Oort cloud, making it the first time it has passed this close to the sun, giving scientists a unique opportunity to observe it and gather data as it passes only 87,000 miles (139,500km) from the surface of Mars. That’s less than half the distance between the Earth and the Moon, and close enough for NASA to decide to ‘hide’ satellites currently orbiting Mars to avoid the trail of debris. Their orbits have been altered just enough to ensure they will all be passing behind Mars at the time the worst of the comet dust is passing, while allowing them to still observe as much of the comet encounter as possible.

NASA has been hard at work repurposing a wide range of spacecraft for this comet encounter, with Mars satellites like the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) - which normally faces down towards Mars - being turned skywards to capture the event. Instruments on Martian soil are also being used to gather data, with cameras on the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers being adjusted to observe the comet.

Images of the comet will be posted in the days and weeks to come, at

(via afro-dominicano)


Stephan’s Quintet HST by Paolo Pinciaroli


Eerie Glow to a Beautiful Sun Show by Valery Shamukov

Full Disk in Ca-K light with solar prominences.



thanks to gentrification, they’re starting to push out / evict tenants who can’t pay the steeping rent prices, myself included. so I made this gofundme (or if you don’t feel comfortable using that there’s a paypal donation link in my blog) in hopes to save something for the eventual eviction or just to keep up with rent if we don’t get evicted. any contribution would help, thank you. pls boost if you can.

still more or less in the same situation, donations are always welcome, thank you!


What You Need to Know About Mars Comet Siding Spring

  • On Sunday, October 19th, Comet C/2013 A1, aka Siding Spring, will pass within about 87,000 miles of the Red Planet.

  • The distance the comet will be from Mars is less than half the distance between Earth and our moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth.

  • Siding Spring, whose core is 0.5 to 5 miles wide, probably formed somewhere between Jupiter and Neptune about 4.6 billion years ago — just a few million years after the solar system began coming together. Scientists believe Siding Spring had a close encounter with one of these planets and was booted out into the Oort Cloud

  • A million years ago or so, a star passing by the Oort Cloud is thought to have jolted the comet’s orbit again, sending it on its first-ever trip into the inner solar system.

  • Comets from the Oort cloud are both ancient and rare. Since this is Comet Siding Spring’s first trip through the inner solar system, scientists are excited to learn more about its composition and the effects of its gas and dust on the Mars upper atmosphere.

  • NASA does not think the comet hit the Red Planet, but comets spew out a trail of dust and gas, and that could damage the fleet of spacecraft orbiting Mars. Just to be safe, NASA will move the Mars Odyssey orbiter, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and the new Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) to the other side of the planet as the comet approaches.

  • The Mars orbiters will take pictures and collect data on the comet as it flys by. Several Earth-based and space telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, also will take pictures. Here is the full list of NASA assets observing Siding Spring

  • The comet was first discovered in January 2013 by Robert McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.

  • Great article from on how to view the comet from Earth 

(via galaxyclusters)


Lockheed Martin claims breakthrough on fusion energy project

The magnetic coils inside the compact fusion experiment pictured in an undated photo provided by Lockheed Martin. Image: Reuters/Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready for use in a decade.

Tom McGuire, who heads the project, said he and a small team had been working on fusion energy at Lockheed’s secretive Skunk Works for about four years, but were now going public to find potential partners in industry and government for their work.

Initial work demonstrated the feasibility of building a 100-megawatt reactor measuring seven feet by 10 feet, which could fit on the back of a large truck, and is about 10 times smaller than current reactors, McGuire told reporters.

In a statement, the company, the Pentagon’s largest supplier, said it would build and test a compact fusion reactor in less than a year, and build a prototype in five years.

In recent years, Lockheed has gotten increasingly involved in a variety of alternate energy projects, including several ocean energy projects, as it looks to offset a decline in U.S. and European military spending.

Lockheed’s work on fusion energy could help in developing new power sources amid increasing global conflicts over energy, and as projections show there will be a 40 percent to 50 percent increase in energy use over the next generation, McGuire said.

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Further reading:


This is very cool, I’ve always wondered about people who draw science art. Remember when I posted a few weeks ago about a NASA artist who made a truly beautiful illustration of a supernova (cosmic explosion in the universe) even though they’ve never witnessed such things? Check this out!