Strange Days In Science #2: Mysterious Spots on Dwarf Planets Edition

By on January 24, 2015 // Science // 0 Comments

A Bright Spot...On Ceres?!
Image: NASA

You know, my post frequency around here lately has been sporadic at best. Every few days? Once a week? Not good enough. Truth is, I get distracted. Easily. Like a squirrel.

But I want to change that, so my new focus is going to be on bringing you more stories, news, and other things far more regularly. Like daily. That’s what I used to do, and that’s what I’m going to start doing again.

You also may have noticed that there have been some minor changes to the website. Don’t be alarmed. I actually didn’t make these changes; the website’s been this way for a while. Instead, it turns out you’ve inadvertently fallen into another universe. It happens, and welcome.

Anyway, on to this week’s news!

Strange Days In Science, Issue #2

ceres-white-spot-circledThis week’s top story: there’s a bright spot on the dwarf planet Ceres, and scientists don’t know what it is.

Space.com spoke with Dawn mission director Marc Rayman, who said, “We do not know what the white spot is, but it’s certainly intriguing…In fact, it makes you want to send a spacecraft there to find out, and of course that is exactly what we are doing!”

Ceres was observed by the Dawn spacecraft for an hour on January 13, 2015, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. You can see an animated GIF at their website, which shows off that mysterious little white spot. As the craft gets closer, we may be able to find out just what that bright spot is.

The Science Is Out There

Want to have lucid dreams? Try being a little more self-reflective.

A new online course offered by Harvard’s edX platform promises to teach you how to search for alien life in the cosmos. And it’s free!

Is the Milky Way a galactic teleport system? A new study suggests as much: “Based on the latest evidence and theories our galaxy could be a huge wormhole and, if that were true, it could be ‘stable and navigable.'” That would mean, if I’m reading this correctly, that the center of the Milky Way isn’t a black hole, but rather the mouth of a wormhole!

UK researchers now claim the dinosaurs weren’t driven to extinction by a global firestorm created from a massive asteroid. They’re still dead, though.

Can you imagine having to deal with a chronic case of déjà vu? That’s what one man has experienced for the past eight years, reports The Telegraph. He doesn’t appear to suffer any neurological conditions, though his constant déjà vu may be exacerbated by anxiety. Scientists are eager to find out.

…Ghost Particles? We might have to have a look at this one later.

Images captured by the European Southern Observatory show a strange black void in the cosmos. But as BBC Earth explains, this is actually “stardust where baby stars are born.”

All-nighters don’t work. Now they tell me.

Scottish scientists have successfully made light travel slower than the speed of light. According to BBC News, “They sent photons – individual particles of light – through a special mask. It changed the photons’ shape – and slowed them to less than light speed.”

“A gigantic but fleeting burst of radio waves has been caught in the act for the first time,” reports New Scientist. Scientists aren’t sure what caused the burst, but whatever did has been described as “cataclysmic.” Hopefully an alien civilization didn’t just go boom.

Atoms can be in two places at once. Because the universe is weird.

And that’s this week. You can see all of these links and more in my new Strange Days In Science Flipboard magazine. It’s like a fancy collection of links or something, I don’t know. I don’t get social networks, but check it out, anyway. See you next week!

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About the Author

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. He manages Stranger Dimensions in between changing aquarium filters and reading bad novels about mermaids.
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