At 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, midnight GMT, we will gain an extra second. Instead of jumping from 7:59:59 to 8:00, the official time will look like this: “2015 June 30, 23h 59m 60s,” or 7:59:60. It’s commonly known as a “leap second” and there’s a perfectly scientific reason for it.
The symbols for the planets, dwarf planet Pluto, Moon and Sun (along with the symbols for the zodiac constellations) were developed for use in both astronomy and astrology.
The astronomical symbol for the Sun is a shield with a circle inside. Some believe this inner circle, or “boss” represents a central sun spot.
The symbol for Mercury represents the head and winged cap of Mercury, god of commerce and communication, surmounting his caduceus (staff).
The symbol for Venus is designated as the female symbol, thought to be the stylized representation of the hand mirror of this goddess of love.
The symbol for Earth shows a globe bisected by meridian lines into four quarters.
The symbol for the Moon is a crescent.
The symbol for Mars represents the shield and spear of the god of war, Mars; it is also the male or masculine symbol.
The symbol for Jupiter is said to represent a hieroglyph of the eagle, Jove’s bird, or to be the initial letter of Zeus with a line drawn through it to indicate its abbreviation.
The symbol for Saturn is thought to be an ancient scythe or sickel, as Saturn was the god of seed-sowing and also of time.
The symbol for Uranus is represented by combined devices indicating the Sun plus the spear of Mars, as Uranus was the personification of heaven in Greek mythology, dominated by the light of the Sun and the power of Mars.
The symbol for Neptune is the trident (long three-pronged fork or weapon) of Neptune, god of the sea.
The symbol for dwarf planet Pluto is a monogram made up of P and L in Pluto (and also the initials of Percival Lowell, who predicted its discovery).
Mairon is unable to resist some nice architectureTERRAFORMING
(This is showing up incredibly blurry on the tumblr dash for so please go directly to my page and view there! I don’t know how to fix it but yes I promise it looks 500% better over there. Or on my deviantart.)
Last weekend, a group of Estonian students launched a balloon to the stratosphere,
30,000 m (98,500 ft) above ground, to conduct a popular chemistry experiment Elephant’s Toothpaste. credit: StratosChem
Today is the first annual Asteroid Day, a worldwide event aiming to increase awareness about asteroids.
These rocky bodies are common in our solar system, and reside mostly in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. A few asteroids, though, escape that region, and can pose a threat to our planet—it’s widely accepted that an asteroid impact millions of years ago was responsible for ending the age of dinosaurs and transforming the face of life on Earth.
It’s these near-Earth asteroids, which regularly make close fly-bys of our planet, that Asteroid Day aims to educate people about. That’s why the event is held on the anniversary of the Tunguska event, which occurred on June 30, 1908 when an asteroid or comet exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere, devastating hundreds of square miles of Siberian forest. The Tunguska was the most serious encounter the Earth has had with an asteroid in recorded history, but it was far from the last.
Technically, when the asteroid entered the Earth’s atmosphere, it became a “meteor”—you can learn about the difference between asteroids, meteors, and meteorites here. And that’s just one of many resources the Museum offers for learning more about near-Earth asteroids—and how scientists around the world are studying them and learning how to protect the planet from future impacts.
Visit the Science Topics Page for Near-Earth Asteroids to explore more research, lectures, and videos presented by the Museum.