There are different sorts of magnets. The strongest permanent magnets are made from a material called Neodymium (Nd). They are made from this material, iron and boron. They can be nearly 8000 times stronger than the Earths magnetic field at it’s poles. An electromagnet can be a lot stronger but are not permanent as they need a huge electric current to produce a magnetic field. The strongest magnets we know of in the universe are magnetars. These are very rare magnetic neutron stars. Their magnetic field is so strong they could stop a train from 250,000 miles away. Steve
Current estimates, using data from the Hubble Space telescope, reveal a number around 100,000,000,000 (100 billion) galaxies in the observable universe. It’s only an educated guess and could be as high as 200 billion. Of course, that’s the observable universe. There’s also the universe we can’t see because the light from there hasn’t had chance to reach us yet….
Within our own galaxy, scientists have so far found 3527 planets outside our solar system. (That’s todays number – 21/3/2018. That number will continue to rise.) Of these planets, nearly 50 have been recognised as being rocky (like Earth) and at the right distance from their parent star to possibly host life. With current data however, scientists estimate there maybe as many as 40,000,000,000 (40 billion) Earth like planets in their stars habitable zone (the Goldilocks zone). Steve
Blimey, where do you start. Right, stellar black holes form when a star (at least 3 times the mass of our Sun) reaches the end of it’s life and collapses in on itself due to the pull of gravity. Sometimes, it collapses to a point known as a singularity which has a gravitational pull so strong, not even light can escape, hence the name ‘blackhole’. The area around this point, that once you pass you can never escape, is called the ‘event horizon’. One theory suggests that if you were to pass across the event horizon, you’d be stretched out into a long line of atoms like a string of spaghetti. Which is why that’s called ‘Spaghettification’. Some one looking on from outside though would just see you frozen in time. We can detect blackholes by looking for their effect on the space around them. This could be by detecting huge x-ray glows of material being accelerated towards the black hole or by the way it bends the light of a star it might pass in front of. Astronomers estimate there’s around 10,000 black holes in our galaxy, including a super massive one right at the centre. This one is millions of times the mass of the Sun.
The Earth has four main sections: the Crust, the Mantle, the Outer Core and the Inner Core. The crust is the solid surface we live on. Under this is the mantle which is both melted and solid rock and can be up to 3000C. Next, the Outer core is liquid and mostly iron and nickel. It is around 5-6000C. The inner core is also made of iron and nickel and can be up to 7000C – the same as the surface of the Sun
That’s true. The other 7 planets all spin on the same plane as the Sun but Uranus is completely tilted on its side. No one is really sure why this is but one popular explanation is that when the Solar System was forming, it was hit by an Earth sized body, knocking it over. Steve
No one really invented science in the same way no one invented light or sound or smells. Science is as old as the Universe and it’s all about discovery. Great scientists continue to discover more and more secrets the universe is hiding from us and sometimes new types of science are invented but, science has been around forever
That’s a tough one but I think my favourite scientist is Galileo who was born in Pisa, Italy in 1564. He was the first scientist to point a telescope towards the sky and record his results. He was the first person to see the 4 major moons of Jupiter called the Galilean moons, after him. His ideas were considered so outlandish he was placed under house arrest in 1633 and was only forgiven in 1992, some 350 years after his death. A maverick and a genius. Steve, although I can't speak for the rest of the Blast team
Sun spots are areas on the surface where the temperature is slightly lower than its surroundings. They are caused by loops of magnetic field lines arcing up from the sun and back down again in a different spot. Because of this, sun spots come in pairs; one where the lines leave and one where they touch down again. The spots are cooler (around 4000c-5000c instead of 6000c-7000c) because the magnetism stops the usual processes that happen on the suns surface. Every 11 years, there are periods of extremely high sun spot activity, then it slows right down again, sometimes to almost nothing. No one yet knows why this 11 year cycle exists. Steve
Jupiter is what we call a ‘gas giant’. It doesn’t have a solid surface so doesn’t have seas or oceans like we know here on Earth. There are however traces of water vapour in its atmosphere, but only a very tiny amount. There maybe a dense, rocky core right at the centre but it’s highly unlikely there’s any water there. Steve
On average, the Earth is 150,000,000 km from the Sun. The orbits of the planets aren't circles but ellipses so sometimes they are closer, sometimes further away from the Sun. Planet Earth is the right distance away from the Sun to be the right temperature range for life and have liquid water on its surface. Steve
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Our team of Scientists...
As Director of Blast Science and a Primary Science Teacher for more than 15 years, Lydia has answered unending questions about Science from hundreds of children for over a decade and has a wealth of Primary Science classroom experience. She has a particular passion for Wizard Science, Chocolate Science and all things Gross!
is a Primary Science Teacher and Space Enthusiast. Alongside being a full time teacher he runs Star Gazing evenings, is a Science Advisor, has established a Darwin Garden in his school in Caterham and won Primary Science Teacher of the Year in 2013/14. Watch the video here!
has recently joined Blast Science as a performer after working for several years at Herstmonceux Observatory. He knows a huge amount about physics, chemistry, space and.... Star Wars! So can answer all your intergalactic questions..
has helped Sussex 'stay curious' by coordinating the Brighton Science Festival for three years. She's passionate about sharing science in simple
and engaging ways; without all the big words.
Keita's also a keen supporter of campaigns
like Let Toys Be Toys that encourage toy makers and retailers to stop limiting children's imagination by branding things for 'girls' or 'boys'. Astronaut suits and dinosaurs for all!
Dr Sarah Newnham
I am 26 and have a degree and PhD in biochemistry. I enjoy learning new things and have spent 7 years at university studying and experimenting with molecules and microorganisms. I mainly like to play with bacteria and get them to do new things and produce different chemicals. I also enjoy helping with Science projects in schools and enthusing children about my subject.
Dr Matt Edwards
Dr Matt decided to become a doctor when he ran out of his own scabs to pick. He used to work in Accident and Emergency in Brighton, pulling broken bones back into place and sewing up cuts. He now works in Brisbane, Australia as a Family doctor. This involves cutting out lots of funny lumps and sticking his fingers in every hole that people have. In his time he has been covered in every body juice you can think of, and once juggled with three hearts. Ask him anything about bodies and Gross Science.
(Engineer at Ricardo) Had a strange fascination with all things mechanical from an early age and would often spend time 'fixing' his Dad's car without telling his Dad first. Rarely did it end happily, so of course he decided to continue this into a career than now spans almost 2 decades of designing engines for big names the world over. Having studied Mechanical Engineering at university he has been working since at a world leading technology consultancy, principally creating models and simulations of engines big and small for everyone from McLaren to Volvo. These days you're as likely to find him on a ship or looking at a tidal turbine, but it's still engines that keep him running.
Ivan is a experienced all-round scientist. He studied astrophysics after a childhood of being obsessed with going to the moon, and now works at the Natural History Museum in London using technology to explain Science to young and old audiences. Ivan is interested in the science of music and is keen to help people understand the natural world, how it works, and what it has to offer. He is looking forward to your questions about nature, space, music, sound & the meaning of life.
With A-levels in Pure Maths, Applied Maths, Physics and Chemistry he went to Uni to read Nuclear Physics, but in the end switched to Law. He nevertheless retained a great interest in Science and has an encyclopedic general knowledge about nearly everything. Alex is also the linchpin of the Blast Science props dept but helps out answering complicated questions about Science for light relief from complicated carpentry.