Student Columns

The Great Cluster in Hercules

The Great Cluster in Hercules

Carl Crum '24 If you thought the Messier 3 globular cluster was impressive, then say hello to the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules! Although this stellar assembly has fewer stars than Messier 3, it is considered one of the most beautiful deep-sky objects in the northern hemisphere. The two giant stars around the Great Cluster are Eta and Zeta Herculis, and in the top-right corner of the image is NGC 6207, a distant spiral galaxy 30 million light years away. Due to the cluster’s immense age (over 11 billion years old), its stars only contain 5% of the iron our…
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Ultra-White Paint Might Soon Replace Air Conditioners

Ultra-White Paint Might Soon Replace Air Conditioners

Kelly Shen '23, image from Unsplash.com A new coat of paint is a simple way to freshen up your home. Soon, it could also help keep your house cool. Researchers at Purdue University have developed an ultra-white paint that reflects 98.1 percent of sunlight, and could possibly keep surfaces up to 19 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than their surroundings.  The team of scientists in Purdue’s engineering department recently published the findings, stating “Our paint only absorbs 1.9 percent of the sunlight, whereas commercial paint absorbs 10 to 20 percent of sunlight.”  The paint may be a marked improvement from current heat-rejecting…
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CO2 Levels Hit New Record

CO2 Levels Hit New Record

Kelly Shen '23, image from Unsplash.com For the first time, CO2 levels in the atmosphere have surpassed 420 parts per million (ppm = 1 particle of CO2 per 1 million particles of air). Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii has been monitoring weather and climate since the 1950’s and reported the news on April 5th, after recording a daily average of  421.21 ppm, a new record. For comparison, the daily average was 315 ppm only sixty years ago.  Kate Marvel, a climate scientist at Nasa, is “more certain CO2 causes global heating than smoking causes cancer.” The evidence is strong, as…
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