Tuesday, May 03, 2016


                     A candle burning on Earth       A candle flame in zero gravity.                    
Image source for Zero gravity candle flame. Source
Yesterday was holiday here in South Africa, May day, or worker's day. That meant I was without a computer, I only am able to blog while at work. Anyway this post is my final A-Z challenge post. I looked for something to write about last week but didn't find any inspiration with regards to the letter Z. There is of course the Zodiac, constellations of stars that appear in the sky in certain seasons but which some people tend to base their lives on this appearance so that didn't appeal to me much. I looked at some stars with their names beginning with the letter "Z" but they didn't inspire me either. This morning I made up my mind to get this post written and so have settled on Zero.
The word Zero means nothing at all, it must be such a lonely word. Imagine if your name had such a lowly meaning and everyone thought absolutely nothing about you. Just joking. There is actually very little to prove that Zero even exists.
I read an article about some scientists, I think in Germany, who got temperatures in an experiment to below absolute Zero, the state where atoms are supposed to stop moving altogether. They are now trying to use this sub-absolute Zero state to build, or at least design, an engine that is more than 100 percent efficient. Check this out.
The reason I started this post was that I was thinking about Space and Zero Gravity, but Zero Gravity doesn't exist. There is something known as nano-gravity, gravity less than a millionth of normal gravity. When a space craft orbits the Earth it is Earth's gravity that holds it there. What is in fact happening is that the spacecraft is falling towards the Earth at a specific rate all the while moving forward in an arc that ensures it never hits the Earth, not all that complicated. If we get away from nano-gravity for a moment and consider gravity in outer space to have zero effect then things start to get interesting. In the image about the candle in air under normal Earth gravity burns with an upright yellow flame while in air under Zero Gravity the flame goes into a dome shape and becomes almost invisible, why is that. Well scientists who carried out these experiments say that because of the lack of gravity there is no reason for the hot gas to rise and so it just hangs around the wick until the candle goes out. Fire in Zero Gravity is self extinguishing, it just goes out.

Add caption
There is a way to get "Weightless" here on Earth. You can fall down a mine shaft, not a very pleasant experience one would think, or you can get a ride on the "Vomit "Comet." But, truth be told neither is Zero Gravity, just weightlessness. A lot of movies are shot in this strange air craft and a lot of celebrities have been up for fun including Stephen Hawking. There are some serious side effects that have come to light as far as Zero Gravity  is concerned. Firstly people who are in a weightless environment for extended periods suffer from bone mass loss, muscle dis-trophy, vision problems and brain damage. No, I'm not going on that mars mission, I would arrive a brain dead vegetable who is weak and blind.
Further to all of that, I get zero for not having this post published before the challenge ended. "O"
I did write posts for all the letters but was a late finisher so won't consider myself an A-Z Challenge survivor.
Blessings to everyone and may God keep you firmly grounded, Geoff.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting to see the flame in zero-gravity conditions. Now that I've seen the picture, it makes sense, though.

    Also, fascinating that scientists are managing to lower temperatures to below absolute zero. Now I guess it's not that absolute anymore.