How is Solar Energy Stored?

Many people with solar panels installed in their home don’t realize that the thermal energy collected by the panels can be stored for later use. There are indeed several ways to store solar energy. It can be stored in a packed bed, in a heat-of-fusion storage unit or even in water.

Image Credit: Optics InfoBase

Packed Bed
Also known as thermal energy storage systems, packed beds are containers that hold small objects capable of storing solar energy. Read More →

Airships: The Future of Air Travel?

Considering the fact that airships have been around for a while now, it’s hard to believe that they are thought of as emerging technologies today. But that’s exactly the case given recent advances in this arena. Hydrogen airships have a troubled history due to several significant historical disasters. However, new technologies could help reduce this risk drastically. Read More →

Solving Environmental Problems Through Metabolic Engineering

Environmental problems, such as depleting natural resources, highlight the need to establish a renewable chemical industry. Metabolic engineering enhances the production of chemicals made by microbes in so-called “cell factories”. Next Monday, scientist Professor Sang Yup Lee of KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) will explain how metabolic engineering could lead to the development of solutions to these environmental problems. Professor Lee’s work is cited below for reference. Read More →

Solar Winds – Energy From Space

The relationship between the Earth and Sun is interwoven and intimate. The high temperature and pressure creates disturbances in the Sun’s corona that produce solar winds. These winds affect the atmosphere not only on Earth, but also other planets throughout the solar system as well. The image above displays solar winds around Venus. Stunning! Read More →

Understanding Tectonic Tremor Signals

The earth is shaken daily by strong earthquakes recorded by a number of seismic stations worldwide. Tectonic tremor, however, is a new type of seismic signal that seismologist started studying only within the last few years. Tremor is less hazardous than earthquakes and occurs at greater depth.  The link between tremor and earthquakes may provide clues about the more destructive earthquakes that occur at shallower depths. Geophysicists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) collected seismic data of tectonic tremor in California. These data are now being evaluated in order to better understand this new seismic phenomenon. Read More →

Let’s Explore Surface Electromyography

Surface electromyography is apparently now able to recognize and even synthesize speech based on a certain pattern. An acoustic signal is corrupted by high environmental noise. Astronauts that perform operations in spacesuits fall victim to this phenomenon. Earthbound firefighters are also subject to these limitations. Even SCUBA divers would be able to experience a positive boon by the development of a technology that is directly connected with the success of space exploration. Read More →

Where Are The Darkest Skies in the World?

Have you ever wondered where the best place in the world is to see the night sky? The International Dark Sky Association has the answer for you. They have designated five places in the world as gold tier international dark sky parks.

In order to qualify for this award, the land must be publically owned, open to the public at least part of the night and meet strict rules in the surrounding area to protect the quality of the night sky from light pollution. While many have tried for this honor, only five in the world have achieved this level of success.

The largest gold tier International Dark Sky Park in the United States is Big Bend National Park in west Texas with 803,000 acres. The park has also been declared as having the darkest skies in the lower 48 states, due to strict light ordinances in the few neighboring communities. Big Bend National Park was not a Dark Sky Park until February, 2012.

Other gold tier dark sky parks in the United States include Cherry Springs in Pennsylvania, Clayton Lake State Park in New Mexico, and National Bridges Natural Monument in Utah. Each of these parks has an active program to help families enjoy the night sky. The only international gold tier dark sky park is Galloway Forest Park located in Scotland.

Now you know where to go for unparalleled star gazing goodness.

Happy universe hunting!

Image Credit: David Hardy