“Monolithic” NHS should back Northern Ireland Randox’s pioneering blood testing techniques

Randox  the global medical diagnostics company with principal research and manufacturing facilities in Crumlin Co Antrim, Dungloe Co Donegal, Bangalore, India and Washington DC has just been singled out for favourable mention by the Times science columnist Matt Ridley. He writes that its leading edge blood diagnostic techniques for cancer are not being adopted quickly enough by “a sclerotic NHS”. Randox was established in 1982 by its Managing Director, Dr Peter FitzGerald in Crumlin, and has since expanded globally. (see Wikipedia) … Read more

An EPIC View of the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Wondrous images, from a million miles out in space, from NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) of the shadow of the moon crossing over North America on Aug. 21, 2017.  EPIC is aboard NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), photographing the full sunlit side of Earth every day.  [Image credit: NASA EPIC Team. Video credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Katy Mersmann] Pete Baker

Seven years of Solar Dynamics

It seems like only yesterday that I was noting First Light on Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory [SDO], and the early hours of this morning for ‘three years in three minutes‘ and ‘SDO Year 4‘.  In fact the SDO was launched on 11 Feb 2010, with First Light in April of that year. [Seven long years… – Ed]  Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre have produced a short [3 min 22 sec] video marking the solar sunspot cycle during that time. [Credit: NASA’s … Read more

A bit of perspective…

…with this stunning composite image of the Earth and its moon, courtesy of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona] From the associated text This composite image of Earth and its moon, as seen from Mars, combines the best Earth image with the best moon image from four sets of images acquired on Nov. 20, 2016, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Each … Read more

Mercury in motion

If you missed yesterday’s rare Mercury transit across the Sun – the last was in 2006, the next in 2019 – then where were you! [Busy… – Ed]  But even if you were paying attention you’re unlikely to have had as wondrous a view as that of Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. They’ve helpfully released a stunning time-lapse video compressing the entire 7 hour spectacle into a digestible couple of minutes.  I recommend switching to full screen mode and cranking up the volume.  Enjoy!  [Video … Read more

Another view…

Vote… don’t vote…  In the meantime, here’s another in an occasional series of wondrous views from the International Space Station, via the Nasa Crew Earth Observations videos – Sunglint over the Ocean.  [Video courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center] This video was taken by the Expedition 47 crew on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken on March 25, 2016 from 11:45:02 to 11:57:17 GMT on a pass over … Read more

New Horizons: Live Briefing

Having survived yesterday’s fly-by, follow the live-briefing from the Nasa New Horizons mission to Pluto as they reveal the first hi-resolution images from the dwarf planet system nearly 5 billion km away. Adds The big news is that Pluto, and Charon, may still be geologically active. There are 3,500metre (11,000feet) high water-ice mountains on the surface of Pluto in a region now called Tombaugh Regio after Pluto’s discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh – some of his ashes are on-board the New Horizons … Read more

New Horizons: Countdown to Pluto

Nasa’s New Horizons mission spacecraft is now within two days journey time to the dwarf planet Pluto and its complex system of 5 moons.  [Image credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)]   Travelling at 14km/s, New Horizons’ swift fly-by of the dwarf planet is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 14 July, at exactly 11:49:59 GMT (12:49:59 BST; 07:49:59 EDT), when it will be a mere 12,500km from the surface. At a distance of 4.7 billion km, New … Read more

ISS Night-time Compilation

A brief musical interlude, accompanied by a selection of wondrous time-lapse videos, old and new, from the International Space Station, by NASACrewEarthObs.  Full-screen mode recommended.  Enjoy! [Credit: Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.] The final video clip shows the surprisingly robust sun-grazing Comet Lovejoy as it emerged triumphant from its close encounter with Sol in December 2011. Pete Baker

Fly Over Dwarf Planet Ceres

In March Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft became the first man-made object to go into orbit around a dwarf planet – Ceres, at 950km across, the largest object in the main asteroid  belt.  As I mentioned at the time… [Image credit: Nasa/JPL] Using images taken during Dawn’s first mapping orbit at Ceres, Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have produced this stunning, and eerie, animation of flyover views of the heavily cratered world. A new video animation of dwarf planet Ceres, based on images taken … Read more

Progress 59: “The spacecraft is 160 miles high and travelling at more than 16,000mph…”

…and out of control…  The BBC reports on the Russian unmanned cargo ship delivering supplies to the International Space Station that mission control has lost contact with and is now in a uncontrolled spin. Or, as RTÉ says, it’s ‘plunging back to Earth’. Here’s the view from a camera on-board the spacecraft. From the BBC report The Russian news agency Tass reports that Progress M-27M is now orbiting in an uncontrolled spin. Scientists may try again to control it, but it … Read more

Raise a glass to Hubble! – Redux

The Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 25th Anniversary in space today, 24th April, with the release of this wondrous image of the giant star-cluster, Westerlund 2, in the stellar nursery, Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina.  [Image credit: Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund 2 Science Team] From the accompanying text to the image. To capture this image, Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 pierced through the dusty veil shrouding … Read more

In case you missed the eclipse…

Or, like me, cloud cover obscured the solar eclipse of 20 March 2015.  Here’s probably the best view of this morning’s event, from ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 mini-satellite.  [Image credit: ESA/ROB] And via ESA on YouTube. As Europe enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on the morning of Friday 20 March 2015, ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 minisatellite had a ringside seat from space. Orbiting Earth once approximately every 100 minutes, Proba-2 caught two eclipses over the course of the morning. Proba-2 used its SWAP imager … Read more

Stargazing the 20 March 2015 Solar Eclipse

The BBC’s Stargazing Live returns tonight, 8pm BBC 2, with three consecutive nights of live programmes to coincide with the total solar eclipse on Friday 20 March 2015.  [It is an annual series! – Ed].  Stargazing Live is, yes.  Not necessarily total solar eclipses, though.  And this solar eclipse is the only one, total or otherwise, to be visible from Europe for the next few years.  ESA’s mini-satellites will have a better view.  But not as good a view as this…   The BBC … Read more

Dawn over Ceres

On Friday afternoon [GMT], ahead of Ireland cricketers’ epic encounter with Zimbabwe, Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft became the first man-made object to go into orbit around a dwarf planet – Ceres, at 950km across, the largest object in the main asteroid belt. [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA] From the associated text The slim crescent of Ceres smiles back as the dwarf planet awaits the arrival of an emissary from Earth. This image was taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on March 1, 2015, just a few … Read more

Rosetta: “We’ll need some luck not to land on a boulder or a steep slope.”

[Image credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA] The ESA Rosetta probe has been on a long journey – spotted en route briefly on Slugger in 2008, and more leisurely in 2010 as it took time out from its mission to the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko to take a look at the asteroid Lutetia.  Ten years after launch, it’s now orbiting its designated target, and the lander, Philae, is descending.  However, there has been a hiccup… During checks on the lander’s health, it was discovered that the active … Read more

Solar Dynamics Observatory: Year 4

Four years after its work began, and following last year’s three years in three minutes, Nasa have released another wondrous short video of a year of selected solar activity as viewed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Video via Nasa Goddard.  Full-screen viewing recommended.  Stunning. [Credit: NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. Music: Stella Maris courtesy of Moby Gratis] The sun is always changing and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory is always watching. Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, SDO keeps a 24-hour eye on the entire disk … Read more

“an unforgettable journey across the Red Planet.”

Curiosity may have been on the surface of Mars for over a year, but ESA’s Mars Express has been in orbit around the Red Planet for almost a decade.  It’s one of a number of ways Mars is being observed, up close and personal.  And, like the Hi-RISE camera on Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Express has some specialised instruments on-board for that purpose.  Among them is the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC).  The stunning 3D images in this video were taken by that camera.   The video was released … Read more