It definitely sounds llike something fictional from an episode of Star Trek but the Oort cloud is a very real phenomenon. It actually consists of a huge number of ice like objects which extend far beyond the orbit of Neptune and even the Kuiper belt. No one is quite sure how big the Oort cloud is but some estimates have suggested that it may be over 50,000 astronomical units long (in real distance that’s about 4.6 trillion miles). It’s end marks the very edge of the Solar System.
In fact the Oort cloud is so far from the Sun and the gravitational influence that passing stars can affect it. Objects within the cloud are affected by any passing stars and some have their orbits changed with amazing results. Some of these objects end up being sent into the inner section of the Solar System as comets, others head off in the other direction out into space.
In fact many of our famous comets are believed to have originated from the Oort Cloud. Comet Hale-Bopp is one that is believed to have started it’s life in the cloud.
If you want to learn more about this intriguing cloud system then there are currently some excellent resources in the astronomy section of the BBC web site. If you’re quick there are even some shows on the BBC Iplayer but they will probably be ending soon. If you want to try and catch them whilst online and you are not in the UK, then you’ll need to try this technique – Watching the BBC Iplayer Abroad in 2012, there’s a little video which shows you the techniques to access the site from the USA.
An Asteroid is an object made primarily of rock or metal which can be found orbiting the Sun in a belt called unsurprisingly – the asteroid belt. It’s located between Mars and Jupiter. Many of the asteroids are really quite big – in fact Ceres has a diameter of nearly 600 miles – they are often referred to as minor planets or planetoids due to their size.
As for the smaller asteroids, well there are simply millions of these. The very small ones are known as meteoroids and are made up from the very same material as the bigger asteroids. In fact it is thought that these are made up from material which was created at the time when the planets were formed.
There are other even smaller objects called meteors which are actually only dust size particles. Because they are so small they completely burn up when they penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere. As such you’ll only find metorites on the planet as they are big enough to survive.
If you want to know more about meteors and asteroids then I suggest the Solar System section on the BBC website is an excellent place to start. There’s lots of programmes such as “What is a Meteor”, and one of my favourites by Patrick Moore where he talks about the Perseids and the wonderful light show they create. If you have trouble watching BBC Iplayer due to your location you can read this post on how to use a BBC proxy. It’s actually just a method to route your connection through a UK proxy so you don’t get blocked.
For anyone who knows any scientist, they will tell you that they have seen the scientists with some flashy drive some flashy cars. Have you ever asked yourself how and why scientists drive such flashy cars, well the truth is that most scientists buy these cars and do not lease them. If you are wondering why they do this, then you should know that there are many reasons as to why scientists prefer buying cars. The first reason as to why scientists prefer buying cars is because they have a huge steady income. One thing about scientists is that they have a steady income and this gives them the chance to afford a car.
Most scientists will buy a new car rather than go and lease it, which is what many people would rather do. Apart from having a steady income, many scientists find buying a car a lot cheaper compared to leasing one. The info that was the most promising was found here: http://geldlenenvooreenauto.com/huurkoop/ This is because once you buy a car, you will always use it and you can always sell it. This is unlike leasing a car, whereby you give it back when you are done using it. This will in the end leave you broke and without a car.
We’ve all heard the Apollo 13 story right and probably seen the movies, haven’t we?
The story is pretty simple, a computer failure led the astronauts and their compatriots in Houston to have to do incredibly complex math by hand in order to save the shuttle from overshooting Earth and never being seen from again.
I thought of this story when I was talking to the guy who owns my cheap wine club the other day and we was telling me that most vintners now use computer programs to track sugar levels in their fruit as well as fermentation after the fruit is picked.
Is this really the easiest and most effecient way for our wine to be made? Ok, probably so, but what happens to an entire years worth of grapes if the technology fails? Do wineries and vintners have the skills to keep themselves afloat?