Browse "Physics"

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Meteors, Meteorites and Impact Craters

The solar system contains many objects smaller than the planets (or their satellites) travelling in individual orbits about the SUN; space between the planets also contains myriad dust grains in the micron size range. Near Earth, dust concentrations are only a few hundred particles per cubic kilometre, but 35 000 to 100 000 t of extraterrestrial material enters the atmosphere annually, swept up by our planet from debris that is in its path or crosses its path.

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Montréal Planetarium

​Montréal’s Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is part of the Space for Life complex, which includes Montréal’s Biodome, Insectarium and Botanical Gardens. Space for Life is the largest natural science museum complex in Canada.

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Moon

The dark grey lunar surface reflects only 7% of the sunlight it receives (comparable to the reflectivity of black soil). The moon is dominated by thousands of craters, ranging from microscopic pits to gigantic Clavius, diameter 230 km.

Macleans

Nasa's Columbia Shuttle Disaster

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on February 10, 2003. Partner content is not updated.

FOR LONG MINUTES, the crowd of family, friends, dignitaries and spectators stood at the end of the airstrip in Cape Canaveral, Fla., waiting and hoping for a familiar white speck in the distant blue sky. By the time the countdown clock reached zero, it was clear the reunion would never come.

Macleans

Neutrino Project

Most people would no doubt balk at having to stand on the roof of an elevator as it drops slowly into a dark mine shaft sunk more than a mile into the ground. Not physicist Duncan Hepburn, 53, who shrugs off the task as just another part of his job. Some job.

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Nobel Prizes and Canada

The Nobel Prizes are awarded annually for achievements that have significantly benefitted humankind. The prizes are among the highest international honours and are awarded in six categories: physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace, and economics. They are administered by the Nobel Foundation and awarded by institutions in Sweden and Norway. Eighteen Canadians have won Nobel Prizes, excluding Canadian-born individuals who gave up their citizenship and members of organizations that have won the peace prize.

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Noise

Noise denotes unwanted or unmusical sounds, especially those that are random or irregular. The attitude that noise is not conducive to the well-being of sentient creatures is as old as history.

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Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear fusion is the combination of the nuclei of two light atoms to form a heavier one. The resulting atom has a smaller mass than the original ones; therefore, nuclear fusion is a method of transforming mass into energy.

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Observatory

Of the observatories in use before the invention of the telescope, perhaps the most scientifically productive was that of Tycho Brahe, built 400 years ago on the island of Hveen in the Baltic Sea.

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Ozone Depletion

Ozone depletion is a chemical thinning of the OZONE LAYER in the stratosphere or upper atmosphere. Scientists determined in the 1970s that it is caused by ozone depleting substances (ODSs), particularly by the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

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Physics

Physics is the study of matter and radiation, the space-time continuum that contains them, and the forces to which they are subject.

Macleans

Polar Lander Fails on Mars

No one knows exactly what the surface of Mars is like, but Robert Zubrin has a pretty good idea. At least some of it, he says, is much like a frozen, god-forsaken corner of the Canadian Arctic called Haughton Crater. The terrain is similar - rough-strewn rock on the floor of a crater 16 km across.

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Quasar

Quasar, a point-like astronomical object which radiates over a wide spectral range. Although the name is a contraction of a "quasi-stellar radio source", these objects also emit light, x-rays and even gamma rays.

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Satellite Communications

Characteristics A typical satellite consists of a number of repeaters (transponders), each of which provides a large-capacity communication channel. Each transponder has a receiver tuned to a frequency range that has been allocated for uplink communication signals from Earth to the satellite.

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Sonar

Sonar (sound navigation and ranging), method for locating objects by the reflection of sound waves. It is used naturally by such animals as BATS and DOLPHINS to locate food and obstacles.

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Space Technology

An agreement signed with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) led to the launching of a series of 4 Canadian satellites, beginning with Alouette 1 (on 29 Sept 1962) from the Western Test Range in Vandenburg, California.

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