Did 'Avengers' really own box office records?
May 18th, 2012
05:30 PM ET

Did 'Avengers' really own box office records?

Editor's Note: Matthew Lane is a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at UCLA, and is the founder of Math Goes Pop!, a blog focused on the surprisingly rich intersection between mathematics and popular culture.  He is also a contributor to the Center for Election Science.  You can follow him on Twitter at @mmmaaatttttt.

When the Avengers assemble, the world opens its collective wallet.  In just under three weeks since its international opening, "Marvel's The Avengers" has earned more than $1 billion worldwide.  In America, it blew through the $200 million mark over opening weekend alone, and now holds the title of best three-day opening in film history.  Or does it?

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Filed under: Commentary • Math • On Earth
May 18th, 2012
03:46 PM ET

Get ready for the eclipse!

Folks in the western U.S. are gearing up for the a full annular solar eclipse this Sunday evening, May 20.

The eclipse will first begin over China as the Moon begins to pass between the Sun and the Earth, and it will first become visible to the West Coast of the U.S. at 5:12 pm PDT, Sunday evening.

Annularity, or the time when the Moon obscures the Sun the most, will begin at 6:23 pm PDT for the coasts of northern California. That spectacular view will only last a few minutes, and residents of West Texas will be the last to view the annular eclipse as the Sun drops below the horizon.

The last time a full annular solar eclipse was visible to the U.S. was May 10, 1994.

The next annular eclipse visible to the U.S. will not happen again until October 14, 2023, so if you have a view, you don’t want to miss this one!

Planning to view the eclipse? Share your photos with CNN iReport and they could be featured on CNN.

Psychedelic Space Redux
May 18th, 2012
10:44 AM ET

Psychedelic Space Redux

"This is a composite of a series of images photographed from a mounted camera on the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, from approximately 240 miles above Earth.

Space station hardware in the foreground includes the Mini-Research Module (MRM1, center) and a Russian Progress vehicle docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment (right). Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit said of the photographic techniques used to achieve the images: "My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then 'stack' them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure."

A total of 47 images photographed by the astronaut-monitored stationary camera were combined to create this composite."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
May 18th, 2012
10:22 AM ET

SpaceX Dragon to launch Saturday

Elon Musk has a lot on his mind these days. “I’m simultaneously excited and nervous,” says the CEO and founder of commercial rocket company SpaceX.

If all goes as planned, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon capsule on top will lift off from Cape Canaveral on Saturday on a mission never before attempted by a private rocket company.

From the moment the engines ignite, there will be high drama, quite literally.

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Filed under: Hardware in Orbit • In Space

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