Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Moon Theory!

Well, I guess my Astro kids can call me a liar! I've been preaching for years about the "Big Crash" moon theory where a Mars-sized planet(oid) did a demolition derby thing with the earth long ago and the ejecta formed the moon. Well, there's a slightly new theory in town.

In Nature Magazine this month, comes an explanation on why the two "sides" of the moon are so different. The near-side, the one we see from earth, is mostly smooth while the far-side, the daunted "dark" side, is rough and mountainous and cratered and icky.

Following are images of near and far sides:

So, according to these guys, a Mars-sized panetoid did hit the earth, but formed TWO moons; one larger than the other. After a long time of gravity tugs at Lagrange points, the little guy smashed into the big guy and formed the back side. Also explains, differently than conventional theory, the tidal lock and why it faces us all the time. The little guy hit the big guy "slowly" so not much rock melted and no huge crater was formed. Just sorta covered one side with a thick layer of rock. This agrees with observation that the moon's crust is thicker on the back side.

Something to ponder.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another Cause Of Asthma?

You may have seen a recent study in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, doesn't everyone read that?, about a link between asthma in children and the mother's exposure to magnetic fields. Synopsis report is at Study found 20% of their subject kids developed asthma versus 13% of general population kids.

What I found amazing is, on the same page as this report, under "Related Stories" were the following:

Use of Acetaminophen in Pregnancy Associated With Increased Asthma Symptoms in Children (Feb. 4, 2010)

Evidence of Link Between Acetaminophen Use in Pregnancy and Childhood Asthma, Researchers Say (Nov. 11, 2010)

Low Vitamin E Intake During Pregnancy Can Lead To Childhood Asthma (Sep. 4, 2006)

Obese Moms, Asthmatic Kids (May 21, 2009)

So, if your Mom is an overweight Tylenol-popper who lacks Vitamin E and lives under high-voltage wires and stood in front of the microwave over when pregnant with you, you have a 7 Bajillion% chance of having asthma.

Abstruse Goose!

Great online usually science-based comic. Here's an example.

Click comic to embiggenate and link to website...

Vesta Up Close & Personal

From Phil Plait's BA Blog, NASA's Dawn mission released new photos and a video of the approach to the 2nd largest asteroid, Vesta. It's a main belt member 500km, that's 300 miles, wide. According to Phil, that's the size of Colorado. Big rock. Note the cool "Snowman" crater system on left side.

Dawn will, after orbiting and probing Vesta for a while, head on over to the BIGGEST asteroid in the solar system, Ceres. At almost 1000km (600 miles) wide, it's quite large; like maybe two Coloradoes (Colorados? Coloradii?). Can't wait!