Huge Asteroid Headed For Close Encounter With Earth

A huge asteroid will pass closer to Earth than the moon Tuesday, giving scientists a rare chance for study without having to go through the time and expense of launching a probe, officials said.

Earth’s close encounter with Asteroid 2005 YU 55 will occur at 6:28 p.m. EST Tuesday, as the space rock sails about 201,000 miles from the planet.

“It is the first time since 1976 that an object of this size has passed this closely to the Earth. It gives us a great — and rare — chance to study a near-Earth object like this,” astronomer Scott Fisher, a program director with the National Science Foundation, said Thursday during a Web chat with reporters.

The orbit and position of the asteroid, which is about 1,312 feet in diameter, is well known, added senior research scientist Don Yeomans, with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“There is no chance that this object will collide with the Earth or moon,” Yeomans said.

Thousands of amateur and professional astronomers are expected to track YU 55’s approach, which will be visible from the planet’s northern hemisphere. It will be too dim to be seen with the naked eye, however, and it will be moving too fast for viewing by the Hubble Space Telescope.

“The best time to observe it would be in the early evening on November 8 from the East Coast of the United States,” Yeomans said. “It is going to be very faint, even at its closest approach. You will need a decent-sized telescope to be able to actually see the object as it flies by.”

Scientists suspect YU 55 has been visiting Earth for thousands of years, but because gravitational tugs from the planets occasionally tweak its path, they cannot tell for sure how long the asteroid has been in its present orbit.

Track the asteroid, YU55, and track it’s journey as it passes by Earth on the NASA Asteroid & Comet Watch! 

Get Asteroid Fun Facts Here! 



Honoring The Two-Time Nobel Prize Winner Marie Curie On Her 144th Birthday!


To honor one of the most enduringly inspiring scientists ever to grace a lab, France and Poland declared 2011 to be the Year of Marie Curie.

Now, Google joins the welcome pageant of prominent tributes.

The California company’s search-engine home page on Nov. 7 celebrates the 144th anniversary of Madame Curie’s birth with a pastel-colored “Google Doodle” so evocative of her era.

Curie is the latest science figure to join Google’s pantheon of “Doodled” researchers, including Thomas Edison and “father of genetics” Gregor Mendel and “Vitamin C” scientist Albert Szent-Györgyi.

The laurels accorded Curie are numerous and still accumulating a century after she won her second Nobel Prize — the first of only two people ever to win the prize in multiple fields (the other being Linus Pauling). She was also the first woman ever to win the Nobel, and the first researcher to win in multiple sciences (physics and chemistry). But the breadth and depth and influence of her career — as well as the triumphs and tragedies of her life — paint a much fuller picture of the groundbreaking figure who in a 2009 New Scientist poll was voted “the most inspirational woman in science.”

Born in Warsaw in 1867 as Maria Sklodowska, Curie left her native Poland after she was deemed too poor to marry her would-be fiance, future esteemed mathematician Kazimierz Zorawski. So with her sister’s help, she relocated to France in the 1890s, studying at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and meeting her scientific “soulmate,” Pierre Curie. As they both studied the science of magnetism, they discovered, too, their own personal magnetic attraction.

Together, Marie and Pierre Curie did pioneering work in radioactivity (a term she coined), working with uranium, isolating radioactive isotopes and discovering the elements radium and polonium — the latter named for her native land.

The Curies shared in the 1903 Nobel for physics, bringing them fame as side by side, they grew their professional and personal lives. They had two daughters before Pierre’s untimely death when he was struck by a horse-drawn vehicle on a rainy street in 1906.

Rendered “wretched” and lonely by the tragedy, Marie Curie poured herself into her work, becoming the first woman to become a Sorbonne professor. In 1911, Curie received her second Nobel, this time for chemistry.

Several years later, during World War I, Curie helped set up mobile field hospitals that featured primitive X-ray equipment to help detect shrapnel in soldiers. She worked in the field with her teenage daughter Irene, who — with her husband, Frederic Joliot-Curie — would later win the 1935 chemistry Nobel for her work on artificial radioactivity.

Exposed to so many radioactive materials throughout her career, Marie Curie died of aplastic anemia in 1934.

In addition to her many honors, she founded the Curie Institutes in France and Poland; co-founded the Warsaw Radium Institute; and headed the Pasteur Institute.

Curie’s accomplishments in the lab led to her being interred (with her husband) at the Pantheon, Paris — the first woman so honored based on her work.

Curie helped forever change not only how science thought about radioactivity, but also how the world perceived women in science.

Happy birthday, Madame Curie.
Watch the Live Google Doodle Here

National Sandwich Day- Discover the Science of a Sandwich!


Science of the Sandwich: turn your favorite, triple-decker into a tower of nutritional power!

Here’s how not to build a sandwich: Start with wimpy white bread, smear on the mayo really thick, and then pile on an entire package plus a dozen individually wrapped slices cheese. Instead of a hero, you’ve got yourself a nutritional supervillain. The good news is, it’s simple to recast that sandwich. Here’s how to do it right, whether you want to ensure a nutritional lunch, additional muscle growth or just plain old good health.


Image Source:

All great sandwiches start with great bread. The more nubs and nuggets you see–which indicate fiber content–the better. When shopping, select varieties whose ingredient lists start off with “whole-grain wheat” or “whole-wheat flour.” But know that “wheat flour” isn’t the same thing as “whole-wheat flour”–it’s the “whole” part that contributes the fiber. And don’t go just by color; some wheat breads made with refined white flour (wheat flour that’s been stripped of the coarse, fiber-rich kernel) are colored to look tike whole-wheat bread. Kaiser rolls, baguettes, focaccia, and most pitas (except whole-wheat pitas) are considered “white” bread. Even sourdough, rye and pumpernickel are often actually colored and flavored white-flour breads. A good benchmark is a nutritional score of at least two grams of fiber per slice. Whole-wheat breads may have a smidgen of fat, but not enough to worry about.

Smart bread choices include Freihofer’s Stone Ground 100% Whole Wheat, Wonder 100% Whole Wheat, Nature’s Cupboard Natural l0-Grain, Arnold Country Wheat, and Rubschlager Danish Style Pumpernickel.


Image Source:

Most manufacturers of reduced-fat cheese have finally figured out how to make a product that maintains its classic flavor after the calories and fat have been minimized. More good news: Trimming the fat from these cheeses doesn’t keep them from remaining valuable sources of calcium that keep your bones strong and healthy.

Deli counter: Take a number at the deli counter, it’s worth waiting in line for the likes of Yarlsberg Light Swiss and Alpine Lace Swiss.

Prepackaged aisle: In the prepackaged-cheese aisle, check out Sargento Light Deli Style Sliced Provolone and Sargento Light Deli Style Sliced Swiss. Kraft makes a very serviceable fat-free American cheese product called (surprise!) Fat Free Singles. Kraft also makes Fat Free Swiss Singles, but the flavor seems indistinguishable from that of their American slices (the possibility exists, of course made of stone).


Image Source:

With all the lean choices now available, why to heavily processed, high-fat deli meats oozing with nitrites? Roasted and smoked turkey breast, baked ham and lean roast beef are all better picks.

Just make sure to buy actual meat and not meat blends (baked ham versus ham luncheon meat, for example). The first place to go is the deli counter, where a guy in a white smock will actually weigh and cut the fresh chunks of meat for you into any thickness your heart desires.

For great deli-counter meats, try Healthy Choice Honey Maple Ham, Healthy Choice Honey Roasted and Smoked Turkey Breast, Healthy Choice Italian Style Roast Beef, Boarshead Ovengold Turkey, and Boarshead Baked Ham.

If you insist on shopping in the prepackaged-meat aisle, be careful: If it looks like it’s been preserved in hair gel, perhaps it’s a bit too processed. When you buy pure meat (such as turkey breast, ham carved from the bone, and roast beef), you can actually pull the slices apart with the “grain.”

Some tasty and healthy prepackaged-meat options are Healthy Choice Deli Traditions Garlic & Herb Roast Beef, Healthy Choice Deli Traditions Cooked Ham, Healthy Choice Oven Roasted Turkey Breast Variety Pack, Butterball Fat Free Honey Roasted & Smoked Turkey Breast, and Butterball Fat Free Smoked Turkey Breast.


Image Source:

Sandwiches give you the perfect opportunity to sneak in a few of those five servings you’re supposed to eat each day. Start with dark-green lettuce (such as romaine or red leaf), and choose vine-ripened tomatoes for the most flavor. Great additions to any sandwich include roasted red peppers (from water-packed jars), bottled sweet and hot peppers, water-packed artichoke hearts, red-onion slices, fresh basil, fresh watercress leaves, fresh baby spinach leaves, shredded carrots, and even cucumber slices for extra water, fiber and bulk, a triad that increases satisfaction without increasing calories. In fact, one whole cup of vegetables has only 50 calories, but can be loaded with vitamins and minerals. Options include:

* 1 cup carrots–19,000 IU of vitamin A

* 1 tomato–138 mg potassium; lycopene

* 1 cup red peppers–282 mg vitamin C

* 1 cup spinach–245 mg calcium


If you’re a true mayonnaise lover, there’s no need to go without. Fat-free and reduced-fat varieties of mayonnaise and Miracle Whip can just as creamy and fat-laden as their oily counterparts. Besides the classic French’s yellow mustard, try country-style honey mustard or any of the gourmet varieties now available in most markets.  Fortunately, plenty of healthy and tasty toppings are out there, although some of them can carry hefty amounts of sugar.

Fat-Free Sauces (two tablespoons)

* Salsa-

* Tomato-basil sauce-

* Fat-free Italian salad dressing-

* Black bean sauce-

* Light soy sauce-

* Teriyaki sauce-

* Hickory-smoked barbecue sauce-


To add zip to your fat-free mayo, mix in some cayenne pepper.


Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip: At 11 grams of fat per tablespoon, mayonnaise should come with a prescription for Lipitor. Try fat-free varieties–or mustards, tomato sauces, steak sauces, soy or most Asian sauces.

Full-Fat Cheese: There’s no reason to buy full fat-cheese anymore, not when the reduced-fat selections taste just as good. However, because of their higher water content, fat-free varieties typically don’t melt as well, so keep an eye on the stove to prevent burning.

White Bread: Need we remind you that white bread is lacking in many nutrients? Ease the switch to whole grains by opting for whole-wheat bread before graduating to grainy, multigrain slices.


Mayonnaise-Free Cole Slaw: Combine one cup of prepackaged cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) and a quarter-cup of ranch dressing.

Tropical Fruit Salad: Combine two cups of mixed fresh fruit (you can use any combination of cubed melon, papaya, mango, pineapple, berries and oranges).

Brown Rice/Black Bean Salad: Toss together one cup of cooked instant brown rice, one-third cup of canned black beans, two chopped green onions and two tablespoons of  Italian salad dressing.

Discover more about National Sandwich Day on ABC or read about the top 31 sandwiches in America

Mr. Sonic Shares The Wonder of Butterflies to Students Across San Antonio


Image Source:

High Touch High Tech of San Antonio shares the wonder of butterflies in the most recent Write On Imagination Magazine. Write On Imagination is a quarterly magazine published for kids by kids. It is a free publication, distributed all across San Antonio & surrounding areas to elementary students in grades K-5.

The October issue of Write On Imagination magazine was themed around butterflies. Popular HTHT Scientist, Mr. Sonic, makes science fun as he brings to life the catapillar’s transformation and how it becomes a beautiful butterfly.  Check out his column from this months issue:


In the San Antonio area? Learn more about your local High Touch High Tech by visiting them online at or contact them at:

phone – 210.359-8648

email –

Find them on Facebook! 

HTHT of Dallas/Ft.Worth Has Fall Festival Erupting with FUN!

High Touch High Tech of Dallas/Ft. Worth oozed and erupted fun into the wonderful Fall Festival concocted by the Waters Edge Family of Faith and the HOA of Glen Oaks in Allen, Texas.

Neighbors gathered from all through the community to join in games, pumpkin decorating, costume fun, and bounce houses, and our Sizzlin’ Scientists were on hand to cap off the activities with powerful volcano eruptions. Children and parents alike enjoyed the mixing, measuring, pouring and wafting, but of course the highlight was the actual eruptions! What a wonderful evening, and HTHT of DFW was honored to join in the fun!

To get more information about High Touch High Tech of Dallas/Ft Worth visit their website or contact them at:

phone – 972.369.0304

email –

Find them on Facebook!