It’s Raining Diamonds!

It Rains Diamonds on Neptune?One topic of study currently in the Campbell home is astronomy. Mom and most of the children are part of a home schoolers co-op that go through science curriculum together, and this year’s topic for the middle kids is the science of space.

(My favorite! Our kids had a leg up on everyone else as we have always watched space-related documentaries, and we subscribe to several NASA video podcast feeds as well. Yes, we are that awesome!)

This past week, one of the girls said something to me about learning that it rained diamonds on Neptune. My first response was a smile and a chuckle, and a silly, “Noooooo, it does not!” Little girls who are four, six, and eight can have a different way of hearing and passing along information, right? But she insisted that it was true, and her older siblings and Mom confirmed it.


I had to look this one up, so I did.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

If experiments at the University of California, Berkeley, are any indication, future explorers of our solar system may well find diamonds hailing down through the atmospheres of Neptune and Uranus.
These planets contain a high proportion of methane, which UC Berkeley researchers have now shown can turn into diamond at the high temperatures and pressures found inside these planets.

“Once these diamonds form, they fall like raindrops or hailstones toward the center of the planet,” said Laura Robin Benedetti, a graduate student in physics at UC Berkeley.

Whoa! Neat! Are you kidding me?!

Space is just incredibly amazing. Our planet alone is amazing… then that God would create such diversity across the billions of light years of space. Holy moly.

BUT, as cool as that theory from last century is … (and I suppose it’s still possible, as most of what we know about those planets still falls under the “theory” category)

“Some scientists have claimed that diamonds may form inside both Uranus and Neptune, but I do not believe that is true since the methane is confined to the surface where the pressures are much less,” says Monash University astrophysicist Dr. Andrew Prentice. “I think that is wishful thinking. In any event, the ‘falling diamonds’ would hardly have any influence whatever on the internal heat budget of Neptune or Uranus.”

So says Mike Bessell, a professor at the Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, via this article.

Party pooper.

I thought a theory from 1999 might be a tad outdated. Ah well. It was fun while it lasted.

And I’m still holding out a little hope that this is actually happening!

There are a lot of wild theories out there! I read recently that we think that the best way to divert “Killer Asteroids” from smashing into our planet might be to spray paint them.


I think the diamond rain is cooler.

For further reading:

NASA Crushes 2012 Mayan Apocalypse

Well, leave it to the party poopers at NASA to crush the dreams of all of the big fans of Mayan prophesies and general time keeping skills.

It seems that the head of the Near-Earth Objects Program has quite handily decimated any and all the claims of global apocalypse, mayhem, end-of-the-world predictions as well as any of the happier “new beginning” prognostications based on the Mayan calendar ending with December 21, 2012.

It’s a shame, really. I was glad we knew the date… now we’ll never know!

But, leave it to the smart guys at NASA to clear things up for us. You can always count on them!


If you’re curious … enjoy the video above, or read the article.

But, if you do, your dreams will definitely be crushed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you …

Beautiful Skies

Darkened Fall Skies

I truly love the beauty of the fall season. This was the view out of my third-story window today. A very dark sky on the horizon, with fluffier white clouds above and blue sky (and sun) behind. And this was just minutes after a wet, heavy snow was showering down on us.

It’s more than just the colors of the leaves. And the sky. The angle of the sunlight this time of year does wonders with just about anything it falls upon. The colors, the shadows, and of course the contrast against magnificent skies!

And if that wasn’t enough, have you seen the skies on a clear autumn night? Beautiful full moon for most of the night. (It even accompanied me on an early morning walk just after sunrise today!) Close beside the bright large orb in the black sky you’ll find a smaller one, though seemingly just as bright. Jupiter is doing a little dance with its larger partner these last few days in November.

Somehow the sky has always fascinated me. I am drawn to it. I love to just stare up at it, marvel at its visible beauty, as well as the beauty of what we know of how it is made and how it works. Magnificent. Beautiful. Majestic. Breathtaking.

There is certainly beauty in every season, but if I ever had to be stuck in just one, I’d most definitely choose autumn!

Note: The photo does not begin to capture the beauty of the sky I saw, but the iPhone camera was all I had with me at that moment… 🙂

A Planet in “The Goldilocks Zone”

NASA scientists (among others, I’d imagine) continue searching for planets and planetary systems in our galaxy and nearby galaxies with all the tools currently available to us, and they continue to discover those greatly sought after objects. And now apparently have found the first planet that is thought to be in the so-called “Goldilocks Zone”.

The Goldilocks Zone is the orbit where—like our planet, Earth—it’s not too hot, and not too cold. Gliese 581-g is apparently such a planet. (Hopefully you’ve watched the video above already, and know all the facts…)

Our two boys and I (and a little bit with the younger kids, too) have been learning more and more about our solar system, and galaxy, and the universe in general lately. The enormity of even just our own Milky Way is mind blowing. But then to think of how much larger still is the universe, it’s just unfathomable.

The boys and I have pondered the idea of other planets out there near or far where God has placed life. It’s possible! But who knows? So far we have found nothing. Pretty “lucky” how we were placed right in the “Goldilocks Zone”…

But the search continues. And meanwhile, we still have a ton to learn about our own solar system, life or no life. (There certainly is nothing like us in our own solar system… unless they have trans-dimensional cloaking devices?) We have sent many probes out to collect data and photos and explore for us … including New Horizons that is scheduled to get us our first real, up close view of Pluto (formerly the 9th planet…) in the year 2015. I can’t wait! 🙂

So, perhaps some day—if Jesus tarries, as they say—perhaps we, mankind, will be able to achieve some sort of transport that will take us to places like Gliese 581-g. Or beyond. And who knows what we’ll find there? And elsewhere? I have no doubt that, even if we don’t find anything anywhere, the curiosity the God placed inside is will keep us searching for more, and help us find more.

Hopefully when we do, we can come up with a slightly better name… 😉

Space Exploration in the News?

Saw this interesting article today. I used to talk about cool things we were learning from and doing in space… until I got too busy! 🙂 Have been cutting back on the schedule though, and hoping to have more time to read and pass along things I read, AND even write some of my own stuff??? Can it be??


If you are into space exploration, July was an interesting month (as the article explains) and there should be more to come in the near future. Check out the link if you have time.

Saturn And Mars

The Planets

I watched an episode of PBS’ Nova recently titled, “Voyage to the Mystery Moon”. It was the story of NASA’s Cassini mission to explore Saturn and land on its enormous moon, Titan. Very cool show about a pretty fascinating project. I am definitely very interested in space and space exploration.

Well, that show led me to do a bit more research on the internets, and while there, I discovered that right now (at least where we live) you can look up in the western sky, just after sunset, and see Saturn and Mars really really close together. It’s pretty cool. You should try it.

This article gives a bit more detail, but it’s basically July 9-11 that the planets will appear to be close together in the sky.

So if it’s a nice night where you are (and you’re near where we are) get out and enjoy the view!

Interesting Articles: Space, The Web & Miracles

I found a couple articles that interested me in my news feed this morning…

One Small Step Toward a Mars Landing … at Sea
Reid Stowe and Soanya AhmadReid Stowe is a “professional adventurer” (what exactly is that?) who is 100 days into a 1000 day stay on a small boat in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. His goal is to help NASA prepare for what it will be like to have a very small group of people on a small vessel for close to three years. Interesting research project. He also has a website aptly named 1000 Days At Sea.

How Mark Zuckerberg Turned Facebook Into the Web’s Hottest Platform
FacebookWith my recent delve into the world of Facebook (finding and reconnecting with friends whom I have not had any contact with for over 20 years!) I noticed this headline, and found the article quite interesting. I had heard earlier that Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, had refused a $1 Billion purchase offer, but did not know the rest. Including the estimate that Facebook is now worth at least $5 Billion. Good job, Mark.

‘Minor Miracle’ For Everett
Bills TE Kevin EverettThis is the best article, at least regarding the substance of its content. As you likely know, Buffalo Bills TE Kevin Everett suffered a life-threatening spinal injury on Sunday during the Bills/Broncos game. We were there. It was awful. Even worse was the report from the doctor who performed surgery the next day. (Watch Monday’s press conference at But last night, reports began surfacing that Everett was able to move his arms and legs, and doctors are actually optimistic that he will walk out of the hospital. That’s just insane!

If it’s true.

I would suggest guarded excitement as I am having trouble corroborating this story. There are no updates on, which is extremely suspicious. I’ll keep digging, but the linked article above does seem quite hopeful, and credits a few trustworthy sources. We shall see. From what I heard on Monday, even Kevin’s survival is a “minor miracle”.

More Kevin Everett Links:

Cool Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse Coming SoonI was listening to the Science@NASA podcast last night and heard about an upcoming sky event your folks in the western US might be interested in knowing about. Actually, I guess it will be visible from most everywhere except Europe and Africa. But the Western US will have a fairly good view of the total lunar eclipse.

Here’s what the NASA story says about the event:

The event begins 54 minutes past midnight PDT (0754 UT) on August 28th when the Moon enters Earth’s shadow. At first, there’s little change. The outskirts of Earth’s shadow are as pale as the Moon itself; an onlooker might not even realize anything is happening. But as the Moon penetrates deeper, a startling metamorphosis occurs. Around 2:52 am PDT (0952 UT), the color of the Moon changes from moondust-gray to sunset-red. This is totality, and it lasts for 90 minutes.

So, if you’re feeling like pulling a late night (or all nighter?) seems like a cool reason to do it! And we here on the eastern side of the country will see it too, it will just be cut short by the sun. Oh well. If I can be awake then, I’ll be there!

Made It

Perseid Meteor Shower
Well, I made it. After finishing my book, then writing about it a bit here… I did another fun project, and then watched the movie World’s Fastest Indian. Good movie.

Well, all of that took me up to about 4:30am. PERFECT for catching a sky full of meteors! 🙂

I only saw maybe 6 or 7, but they were pretty cool. Unfortunately, there was a bit of cloud cover. But when there were holes, I saw some meteors! And, I did get a nice view of Mars, too.

Well, I suppose I should head to bed now… 🙂

By George, You May Be Right!

Black Holes
Tonight as I listened to a podcast about black holes and the research some folks are doing surrounding the somewhat theoretical existence of such things, I thought, “What if we get to heaven and the guys who work so hard to figure out how stuff got started actually turn out to be more right than wrong? That’d surprise AIG a bit…”

I am certain that once things are no longer seen “through a glass dimly“, many will be shocked at how things really are. Including me. And I really think it would be neat to find out that God in fact did somehow create these super enormous galaxies with black holes inside of them to somehow balance all that needed balancing in them.

And, regarding the billions of years… what if somehow God did take that long… but somehow also did it in a day? The Bible does reference God being unhindered by time (1000 years is like a day is like 1000 years). It’s entirely possible that it is both things simultaneously. I still contend that we just can’t know.

But I do love to see all the stuff we do figure out, or at least… sort of figure out. If you’d care to read the article, click the photo above. Pretty cool stuff. (The piranha thing is a bit strange, though…)