Friday, 25 April 2014

Is it fate?

Some people know instantly what career they want to pursue from the time they can speak, others know in primary school, and then there's the rest of us plundering our way through adult life with a rough idea of what area we want to excel in.

I didn't always know that I wanted to be a scientist or a biochemist. I went through phases of wanting to be a vet, a doctor and everything in-between but it was when I stumbled upon the fascination of Biochemistry during a year 12 biology lesson on mitosis. Consequently, here I am 2 years into a biochemical degree and loving every single minute of it (even the minutes spent learning the chemical structures and functions of obscure compounds).

Some may say it's fate....but I share my birthday with DNA day! 

It is a day which is commemorated as the day that Crick, Watson and Franklin published their first findings about the structure of DNA in Nature in 1953. Although this day celebrates that monumental publication in 1953, it has only been properly observed since 2003 by the National Human Genome Research Institute, and has been acknowledged by several organisations world-wide

Happy DNA day!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Half moon, Full moon...Total Eclipse!

In the early hours of this morning at 4.53AM (GMT), The Americas were blessed with a magnificent sky show, when the moon changed colour, due to the Earth's shadow falling upon it. The moon went through a cornucopia of hues from orange, through to blood red, right onto brown. This spectra, known as a total lunar eclipse lasted for almost 3 hours.

A lunar eclipse happens when the moon moves behind the Earth and falls into its shadow. This can only ever occur if the moon, Earth, and sun are all completely aligned (in that order); and can only ever happen when the moon is completely round (a full moon).

Picture of the stages of a total lunar eclipse. (image taken from Flickr)
A lunar eclipse can be viewed in many different areas of the world as long as the moon is present. Unlike a solar eclipse which lasts a few minutes, a lunar eclipse lasts for several hours, providing watchers with all the time in the world to take a couple of beautiful snaps.

Like many natural events, the lunar eclipses are embroiled with mythology. In Egyptian dynasties, people thought the moon disappeared due to a large sow swallowing it and the Mayans thought that a Jaguar ate the moon.

One could say that lunar eclipses are fairly common and occur at least biannually. However total lunar eclipses like that witnessed in The Americas this morning are relatively rare.

Explorer Fact: A further 3 more eclipses will occur this year

  1. a solar eclipse-29th April
  2. a total lunar eclipse-8th October
  3. a partial solar eclipse- 23rd October