Science Over the Edge:

A Mix of News, Events, History and Gossip

June 1998

In the News:

Scientists at NASA announced that the Hubble Space Telescope may have taken the first photograph of a planet outside our own solar system. The possible planet lies some 450 light years from Earth near a newly forming binary star system. It is probably several times the mass of Jupiter, the largest planet in our own solar system. Up to this point scientists thought they had detected planets around other stars by watching how the star's "wobble" with the planet's orbit. The image the Hubble captured is the first direct evidence of other planets.

Is this new planet inhabited? Probably not. To learn more about life in our galaxy, click here!

The most powerful explosion ever recorded was detected in the distant galaxy of GRB 971214 located some 12 billion light years from Earth. The amount of energy released in two seconds was about equal to that of the rest of the known universe. Scientists are baffled by the explosion's current theretical models cannot explain it. Estimates indicate that the explosion was the equivalent of 1,000 stars going supernovae at the same time.

A scientist at the Carnegie Institution has suggested that interplanetary dust may have done in the dinosaurs, along with many other species. He speculates that once every 100,000 years or so the Earth passes through a cloud of dust which get trapped in the atmosphere and causes climates to cool. Some animals, including the dinosaurs, could not adapt and died.

Want to hear some more therioes about dinosaur extinction? Click here!

The white dwarf star BPM37093 in the constellation Centaurus maybe a huge solid blue-green diamond. A white dwarf is a star whose nuclear fuel has run out. With no energy to keep it in an expanded state it crushes down to a lump of carbon and oxygen in a crystallized state. Want to learn more about crystals? Check out our crystal page!

In History:

The modern UFO era started on June 24th, 1947 when Kenneth Arnold, a pilot in a small private plane, spotted what looked like "saucers" flying at high speed over Mt. Rainier, Washington. The next day a reporter coined the term "flying saucers" and it stuck.

To read more about the history of UFOs, click here!

In the Sky:

Try to pick out some stars by name this month. In the early evening look for the Summer Triangle of three bright stars rising from the Eastern horizon. The highest one is Vega, the next lowest Deneb and the one closest to the horizon is Altair. For scifi fans Altair is the home system of the Krell in the 50's movie Forbidden Planet.


Two children, a girl, 10, and her brother, 8, reported seeing a UFO hovering over their home in Mullica Hill, NJ, USA, on May 7th, 1998. They described it as larger than their house. They also saw and "alien" floating near it. The kids entered their home to get their mother who was sleeping, but when she went outside, it was gone.

On the Tube:

Egypt's City of the Dead is the subject of a Discovery Channel special on Monday June 29th at 9PM and 1 AM ET/PT. Archaeologists race to explore ruins from the time of Alexander the Great before they are destroyed by highway construction.

Discovery Channel is airing the series Animal X exploring extraordinary and mythical creatures. Thursdays at 9PM and 1AM, Sundays at 2:30PM ET/PT.

Nova goes to Alexandria, Egypt, to search the bottom of the harbor for the Pharos lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in Treasures of the Sunken City. Tuesday June 9th at 8PM ET on PBS.

TCL looks for Lost Ships in this new series. Sunday June 21st from 8 to 11PM and 11PM to 2AM. Monday, June 22nd - Wednesday, June24th, at 9PM and midnight. ET. Episode titles are: Galley of the Gods, The Ghost of Trafalgar and Last Broadside.

TCL's Science Frontiers series will be airing some interesting episodes this month. They include: Mysterious World - Ancient Technologies, Mysterious World - Mysteries of the Bible, and Chariots of the Gods. Science Frontiers is seen Monday through Friday at 10PM and 1 AM and repeats Sundays from 1PM to 6PM.

Puzzles of the Past explores enduring mysteries of history. Of special interest is Hunt for Amazing Treasures on June 25th. Airs Monday-Friday at 9PM and midnight ET on TCL.

Science over the Edge Archives

Copyright Lee Krystek 1998. All Rights Reserved.