"The great tragedy is that they’re removing art completely, not because they’re putting more science in, but because they can’t afford the art teachers or because somebody thinks it’s not useful. An enlightened society has all of this going on within it. It’s part of what distinguishes what it is to be human from other life forms on Earth — that we have culture."
#neil degrasse tyson
On March 25, 1655 Dutch astronomer Christian Huygens discovered the first moon of Saturn, later named Titan. Huygens did it with the help of his brother Constantijn, also an astronomer, with a telescope they built themselves.
Huygens called it Saturni Luna, Latin for Saturn’s Moon in his publication of the discovery, New Observations of Saturn’s Moon. When the next five moons of Saturn were discovered a few decades later, astronomers began referring to them by number, Saturn I through Saturn VI, though the list was not sequential and Titan was variously named Saturn I, IV and even VI. The name Titan was given 50 years after Huygen’s death by astronomer John Herschel, son of Anglo-German astronomer William Herschel in John Herschel’s 1857 publication Results of Astronomical Observations Made at the Cape of Good Hope. He named the moons after the twelve titans (Τῑτάν), the mythical race of deities that preceded the traditional canon of Greek deities.
The word titan was in common use in English by the 1500s, becoming an adjective by 1709, then applied to the element titanium in 1796 and finally the moon of Saturn.
Image of Titan from the Cassini program, courtesy NASA
Planet Mercury in amazing color showing rock compositions
NASA has been capturing images of the solar systems smallest planet Mercury for 2 years with its Messenger spacecraft, and has been collecting high resolution color images of the planet. Now the visual data has been stitched together to make a 3D model of the Mercury.
“The areas that you see that are orange - those are volcanic plains. There are some areas that are deep blue that are richer in an opaque mineral which is somewhat mysterious - we don’t really know what that is yet. “And then you see beautiful light-blue streaks across Mercury’s surface. Those are crater rays formed in impacts when fresh, ground-up rock is strewn across the surface of the planet.”
Spider builds its own spider decoys in web
Think the above picture is a spider? Well look a little harder - it’s actually a decoy made out of debris and assembled by the Cyclosa spider. Wired has more:
A spider that builds elaborate, fake spiders and hangs them in its web has been discovered in the Peruvian Amazon.
Believed to be a new species in the genus Cyclosa, the arachnid crafts the larger spider from leaves, debris and dead insects. Though Cyclosa includes other sculpting arachnids, this is the first one observed to build a replica with multiple, spidery legs.
Scientists suspect the fake spiders serve as decoys, part of a defense mechanism meant to confuse or distract predators. “It seems like a really well evolved and very specialized behavior,” said Phil Torres, who described the find in a blog entry written for Rainforest Expeditions. Torres, a biologist and science educator, divides his time between Southern California and Peru, where he’s involved in research and education projects.
“Considering that spiders can already make really impressive geometric designs with their webs, it’s no surprise that they can take that leap to make an impressive design with debris and other things,” he said.