Staircase to the Moon

By Anupum Pant

Broome is a coastal town in the Kimberley region of west Australia. Every year when all the conditions perfectly fall in place, a very interesting and brilliant natural spectacle occurs. They call it “Staircase to the moon“. It indeed looks like stairs reaching to the moon. Thousands of tourists and the local people gather to watch it happen.

For it to happen the weather, sunset, moonrise and the tide conditions all need to be perfectly right. Before I tell you what happens there, look at a picture of this natural phenomenon. (Or it won’t seem very interesting if I tell you about it first).


This happens only during the low tide at the coast when the moon is rising. During the low tide, the mudflats get exposed and the rising moon creates this mesmerising reflection on the sand.

The natural phenomenon can also been seen from other coastlines at Onslow, Dampier, Cossack, Point Samson Peninsula, Hearson Cove and Port Hedland.

$20 Parking Ticket to NASA for Parking on an Asteroid

By Anupum Pant

Michael Stevens from Vsauce never ceases to amaze me with his facts. Recently, while watching a video on the channel, I noted this interesting story.

About 11 months before NASA’s ‘NEAR Shoemaker’ spacecraft landed on the asteroid 433, Eros, Gregory W. Nemitz claimed its ownership. He somehow got it registered and waited for the NASA’s probe to land on the near earth asteroid.

The asteroid was estimated to hold several million billion dollars of platinum. When NASA landed their spacecraft on Eros, Nemitz prepared an invoice of $20 and sent it to NASA. According to him, the parking rates on his extra-terrestrial land were $ 0.20 per year and he had decided to charge them to cover the next $ 100 years of parking.

NASA of course refused to pay and sent him a letter denying the payment. In the year 2003, Nemitz filed a case against NASA, saying that they had defaulted his payment.

The judgement was of course against Nemitz as he wasn’t able to prove the actual ownership. There’s no way he could have. Michael explains why…


Space Oddities – Part II

By Anupum Pant
pat on the back self
Self-administered pat on the back to me.

A few days back, in the month of December I had compiled a list of 6 space oddities that really interested me. At that time, I was pretty sure I would stumble upon a few more odd/interesting things about space within a month or two. With that in mind, I had decided to suffix the heading with “Part – I”. Four months have passed. That was a very thoughtful thing I did – thinking 4 months into the future. I have to appreciate my forethought (with a self-administered pat on the back) for doing that because today I’m back with a few more of these odd / interesting things about space and I’m still not embarrassed about the heading for the post.

So, here is the part II of space oddities (read the part I here):

1. A Hole in the Universe

Space Dust Image Gallery

About 7 years from now, researchers from University of Minnesota found out about a really huge void in our universe. The abnormal hole measures approximately sixty billion trillion miles. In easier words, it is about 10 Billion light years wide. Imagine! A beam of light would takes 10 Billion years to travel through that empty place. How lonely would it be at the centre of it. The void is bigger than anything else scientists have ever seen in space.

The whole volume of space shows no sign of any stars, planets, asteroids, gases, clouds, dust. The volume doesn’t even have any signs of dark matter (95% of our universe is dark matter) too. [read more about it]

2. Costliest thing ever built

Think of a huge 5 bed room house floating in space that can be seen moving from the surface of the earth with the naked eye! Yes, I’m talking about the International Space Station. It is a whooping 200,000 kg object that is 171 feet long, 240 feet wide and 90 feet high.

When it comes to the price of building something this huge in space, it beats everything from the most lavish sky scrappers to the most largest dams  ever built. The price of building it is estimated to be about $160 Billion and fortunately the cost is shared by Canada, the European Union, Japan, Russia and the US. It is officially the most expensive object ever constructed, and it is NOT on earth! – Guinness book of World Records.

3. The Cosmic Smile Continue reading Space Oddities – Part II