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Everyday science

Lunar eclipse, most popular time to order take-away and Emmy Noether’s theorem

27 Jul 2018 Michael Banks
Turning the Moon red
Turning the Moon red (Courtesy: NASA Ames Research Center/Brian Day)

Tonight marks the longest lunar eclipse this century with the spectacular event being visible for most people except those in North America. A total lunar eclipse is when the Sun, Earth and Moon perfectly line up. The Moon then turns a reddish brown because some of the sunlight going through Earth’s atmosphere is bent around the edge of our planet and falls onto the Moon’s surface. For those in the UK, the eclipse will begin around 9pm BST. For more information, see this BBC story.

You might be thinking to order take-away to enjoy tonight’s lunar spectacle. You might remember last month when we wrote about the physics of pizza, well now a team of scientists at Aberdeen University have analysed a database of Google searches to determine when people are mostly likely to think about ordering food. They looked at food-related queries such as “pizza delivery” or “Chinese delivery” that were made in five countries: Australia, Canada, India, the UK and US. They discovered that there is one particular time when people wanted take-away — 7pm, which was consistent across the five countries. This was then followed by another spike at 2am, which we guess is likely to be university students.

And finally, 23 July marked 100 years since Emmy Noether published her theorem relating conservation laws to symmetries in nature. The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, have put together this handy guide that explains the idea for those from kindergarten to PhD.

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