Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Short Takes – 3-28-23 – Geeky Science Edition

One of the Luckiest Lightning Strikes Ever Recorded. NYTimes.com article. Great high-speed video. Pull quote: “It was not only lightning rods producing these discharges, but also various corners of the buildings and other high spots. In fact, “Any person standing in an open area can similarly launch an upward connecting discharge from their head or shoulders and be injured by lightning even when not directly struck by it,” said Marcelo M.F. Saba, a senior researcher at the National Institute for Space Research in Brazil and an author of the study.”

Periodic Graphics: Making molecular sandwiches. CEN.ACS.org graphic article. Pull quote: “The discovery of ferrocene revolutionized the field of organometallic chemistry. Here we look at the molecule’s origins, the other sandwich compounds that followed, and their applications.”

Study reveals map of moon's water near its south pole. Phys.org article. Pull quote: “This current finding, along with two previous SOFIA results about the amount and distribution of water on the moon's sunlit surface, tracks a unique light signature of water. Other missions observing wide areas of the lunar surface have studied different wavelengths of light, which can't distinguish water from similar molecules, such as hydroxyl. The moon's water is present in the soil and might be found as ice crystals, or as water molecules chemically bound to other materials.”

Mysterious aurora-like phenomenon 'STEVE' appears during strongest solar storm for more than half a decade. LiveScience.com article. Pull quote: “Instead, STEVE is caused by a river of hot plasma, or ionized gas, that breaks through Earth's magnetosphere and into the ionosphere thanks to magnetic disturbances during solar storms. This plasma travels at around 13,300 mph (21,400 km/h), which creates friction with the surrounding air and excites molecules to glow in the same way as an aurora. But the constant flow of plasma causes an unmoving visual phenomenon for an observer compared with the dancing lights of auroras.”

Climate change: trees grow for extra month as planet warms – study. BBC.com article. Pull quote: “"When we're thinking about a relatively low-cost mitigation strategy, planting a whole bunch of trees that suck CO2 out of the air is a really good strategy, but to promote those activities you also have to have evidence of the level of benefit you'd derive from it," she said.”

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