Supercooled Water and Towers of Ice

Solid, liquid, gas. The three states of matter are something I first explored in primary school and water was the best example. You can easily see water frozen in your freezer, and it spews as a gas from your kettle. But if you mess with these normal states, you can do some fun and strange... Continue Reading →

How to Make Glowing Jelly

Here's a really simple and fun experiment to do at home: make glowing jelly (or jello, American friends)! The method is really easy - you're just making jelly - but you do need some kind of UV light source to see the effects[1].It's a very simple idea: you make jelly but use a 1:1 mixture of... Continue Reading →

Lessons from Two Years of Podcasting

I've just hit 'publish' on the latest episode of Recycled Electrons, my (almost) weekly podcast with friend and Zooniverse colleague Chris Lintott. We started podcasting to 'The Listener' in September 2011. This was episode 87 - 'Very Nice Equipment' - and since it's now two years that Chris and I have been producing this weekly... Continue Reading →

Staring Deep Into a Forming Star with ALMA

ALMA's view of Herbig-Haro object HH 46/47. This image interweaves optical data (pink and purple; from ESO's New Technology Telescope) with radio observations (orange and green; from the Atacama Large Millimete Array). A newly-formed star is spewing out a large jet at each end, which are seen moving away from us in the optical (left-hand-side).... Continue Reading →

Amazing Perseid Meteor Animation

Tonight (and last night too) have been your best chance to see this year's Perseid meteor shower. With little or no Moon to wash out the skies, it's a great chance to see, and to snap a picture of, this fantastic annual display. Astrophotographer and general space image wizard Mel Gigg has produced a superb... Continue Reading →

The Large Magellanic Cloud is a dwarf galaxy orbiting around our own Milky Way. You can see it from the Southern Hemisphere but not like this! This image combines Spitzer and Herschel data to show up some of this object's amazing star formation activity. Just wonderful! [via Large Magellanic Cloud | Herschel Space Observatory]

Summer Sights

Once you have a Meade ETX-90 Telescope aligned and ready to go (no small feat, at times) you can see some pretty cool objects in the Summer sky. Saturn is currently riding high, and the rings are at a lovely angle - but that's about it for the Solar System as I'm not willing to... Continue Reading →

Why I’m fed up with digital projects (and why I’m not): a rant

In a word: this. A great blog post that totally sums up my annoyance with a growing number of websites and apps, and the ‘digital’ movement in general.

martha henson: blog

I’ve felt a little rant bubbling up in me over the last few months: a sense of disquiet about digital, a jaded annoyance about wasted time and resources and opportunities squandered. Today I was reminded about an old project that was the epitome of digital idiocy, one of those thoughtless knee-jerk “we must have an app!” projects that make me want to throw a toddler tantrum, kicking and screaming “but who is it for?” until someone agrees to at least do a bit of audience research or string together a minimally viable set of objectives. And that reminder seems to have brought it all to the surface, so here goes.

I am fed up of seeing people and organisations produce digital rubbish: poor apps, clunky games, badly designed microsites and other half-arsed online, mobile and technological systems and whatnots. I am fed up of people who are smart about digital…

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