Week in science: Hubble telescope celebrates 20 years | Spitzer ‘tastes’ a methane-free planetary puzzler | Adoptive parents bring biases to process

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    The Hubble Space Telescope is celebrating its 20th anniversary. In the spirit of the occasion, the famous telescope has captured this phantasmagorical image deep within the Carina Nebula. Not too shabby for a telescope with two decades under its belt. NASA and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team describe it best: “This craggy fantasy mountaintop enshrouded by wispy clouds looks like a bizarre landscape from Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ or a Dr. Seuss book, depending on your imagination. The NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, which is even more dramatic than fiction, captures the chaotic activity atop a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks.” [NASA and Discovery News]

Image: Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed the pillar of gas and dust within the Carina Nebula, 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. (NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team)

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Pasadena philanthropist continues ‘Power of Pink’ breast-cancer campaign

>>SHOP

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It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a Pasadena philanthropist is continuing his company’s annual fundraising campaign.

Through Oct. 31, Brighton Collectibles — owned by Pasadena resident Jerry Kohl — will donate $5 to breast-cancer foundations for each piece sold from its limited edition “Power of Pink” line.

It’s always nice to get something when you give. And this way, you can wear your heart on your sleeve — or your wrist, as it were, with this little number to the right.

Some of the 142 Brighton stores are matching the donation; Ask ahead of time if you’re thinking about purchasing, and that will boost the donation amount to $10.

The company has raised more than $3 million for breast-cancer research since its first “Power of Pink” campaign in 2003. Funds have gone to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, City of Hope Cancer Center, Concern Foundation and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Shop local:

  • Brighton Collectibles, 340 E Colorado Blvd. #110, Pasadena (626) 577-3849
  • Huntington Hospital Gift Shop, 801 S. Fairmont Ave., Pasadena (626) 397-5257

That’s genius: Caltech’s John Dabiri tells us why you should care about a brainless, boneless creature

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Rose Magazine cover subject John Dabiri is only 29, and he’s already racking up serious accolades, like this one from the White House, for his research on jellyfish. Dabiri isn’t a biologist — he’s an associate professor of aeronautics at Caltech, where he and his team study the movement of jellies for inspiration that has some surprising potential to change the way we live.

If you think the 650-million-year-old creatures only matter when they’ve got their stinging tentacles wrapped around your leg, Dabiri’s research would solidly suggest otherwise.

His analysis on the way creatures swim, pump and propel themselves underwater includes human-oriented applications in:

  • Underwater vehicles, particularly military uses
  • Wind energy and how it is harnessed
  • Mass mixing and movement of the oceans, connected to climate change
  • Human heart diagnostics, with potential for treating heart disease

Visit the Caltech Biological Propulsion Laboratory Web site to see some of the research tools that allow Dabiri and team to study jellyfish, both in the lab and out in the ocean, including a 40-meter tilting water channel (that generates waves) and some really fancy underwater camera and laser systems.

The animation below, courtesy of Dabiri, shows the movement and forces of water created by a moon jellyfish as it interacts with the ocean around it. (Photo above by Walt Mancini / Staff)

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