• Neptune rising

    with the skies darkening and the most distant planet in our solar system shining high in the sky, we thought the next few weeks would be a good time to launch our new Pop-Up Astronomy Club – a series of impromptu events around East London that take place when there’s something good to see and the skies are clear. our first target will be Neptune, which reaches opposition tonight – making it brighter and easier to see. if you’d like to come see it with us in the coming weeks, check out the project page for more

    ps: it will look nothing like this image


    Neptune's Great Dark Spot imaged by Voyager 2 in 1989 from a distance of 1.7 million miles


    NASA / Jet Propulsion Lab

    speaking into space


    20 October 2015

    humanity regularly sends information from Earth out into the universe that may be picked up by potential extraterrestrial intelligence – but should we be sending such messages? and if so, how do we represent ourselves? in searching the universe, what do we find out about ourselves?

    join us as we explore these ideas with Dr Jill Stuart – an academic based at the London School of Economics who specialises in the politics, ethics and law of outer space exploration and exploitation. beyond serving as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Space Policy, Dr. Stuart is a trustee of METI International, an organisation that focuses on sending messages from Earth to potential extraterrestrial life

    Second Home
    68 Hanbury Street / London / E1 5JL
    tickets are free for Second Home Members and £3 for non-members – please RSVP here

    Micro Museum of Sleep


    we’ve teamed up with our pals at Bompas & Parr to explore the world of dreams for citizenM. one of the world’s smallest museums, this tiny temple (designed by Bompas&Parr) allows guests to peer inside and explore the science of sleep in a series of miniature dioramas we created. working with an astronomer, two artists and a neuroscientist, our contribution to the Micro Museum of Sleep celebrates the science and significance of slumber through a variety of artistic mediums

    the surreal and otherworldly nature of sleep – a period where we mentally enter a personal universe for up to eight hours per day – is the focus of a diorama representing the Mesopotamian God of Dreams created by Olivia Bargman. the diorama is paired with an animation by video artist Alice Dunseath where we see an abstract interpretation of the sights and sounds we experience whilst in a restful dream-like state. a thought-provoking vision of future sleep by astronomer Dr Marek Kukula imagines what a night would be like in zero gravity, and the final video examines the physiology of sleep, as told by neuroscientist Dr Simon Jones, discussing the many theories about how your brain behaves during nocturnal hours

    read more



    Tuesday 13 September 2016

    in September 2006 we published our first zine and began a journey into science and culture. since then we’ve taken creative types to Iceland and Tenerife in search of natural and scientific wonders, explored design vs science, watched the Transit of Venus in Sweden, visited CERN in Switzerland and Super K in Japan, held a conference about greening space exploration, explored the history of space booze in Mexico, published a book about crystals, camped in a concrete utopia in the Arizona desert and partied on an environmental research ship

    plus a bunch of other stuff

    join us next month to celebrate a decade of discerning science with the launch of a retrospective book, ten

    Ace Hotel London
    100 Shoreditch High Street / E1 6JQ
    7-11pm / music from BEAT Magazine’s Hanna Hanra

    is our universe a hologram?

    image by Matthew T. DiVito / http://mrdiv.tumblr.com/

    Tuesday 20 September 2016

    join Dr. Andrew O’Bannon on a journey to the cutting edge of theoretical physics. holography is the bold idea that all the information in our 3D universe may be contained in a mysterious 2D image, like a hologram. promising not only to unite Einstein’s relativity with quantum physics, it also has the potential to provide us with cleaner energy, faster computers, and novel electronics

    Second Home
    68 Hanbury Street / London / E1 5JL
    £5 | book here

    read more

    heads up


    the annual Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend, and this year could see more shooting stars in the sky than usual. we asked Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer Marek Kukula for the low down

    “like the weather, all meteor showers are a bit unpredictable by nature,” he told us, “but the annual Perseid Shower in August is normally one of the most reliable in terms of putting on a good show. it’s caused by a stream of dust particles left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle that the Earth ploughs through every August, causing them to burn up high in the atmosphere. normally we just clip the edge of the dust stream but this year we should pass through a denser section – leading to predictions of a more spectacular display than usual. as always, predictions like this need to be taken with a pinch of salt. for a start, the Moon will be up in the evenings this week and its light tends to drown out the fainter meteors. but, even so, if you look up for 15 or 20 minutes on the nights around August 12th you should have a good chance of seeing some bright meteors streaking across the sky – always an amazing sight”

    rooftop astronomy at Ace Hotel

    with the skies getting darker earlier, our ever-popular astronomy nights are back high atop the Ace Hotel London Shoreditch. come take a close up look at the planets, the lunar surface and other wonders through the hotel’s in-house 203mm Dobsonian telescope, customised by super/collider

    the season kicked off on August 9th with a session featuring the Moon, Mars and Saturn overhead. the evening featured astronomer Jeni Millard, art installations from Isobel Church and Dario Villanueva and a talk by Louise Alexander, a planetary scientist from the University of Birkbeck

    sign up for updates on future events

    making plastic precious

    Studio Swine

    inspired by nautical craftsmanship and folk art, the designers at Studio Swine went in search of plastic in the ocean for their Gyrecraft project – and found a lot to choose from. sailing 1000 nautical miles from the Azores to the Canary Islands, they passed through through the North Atlantic Gyre: one of five points on the planet where swirling megacurrents concentrate vast quantities of floating debris, including plastic

    “it’s one of the biggest problems facing our civilisation,” says Studio Swine’s Alex Groves, “plastic is in every part of the ocean and the effect it’s having on plankton is only just beginning to be investigated. plankton are the base of the entire planet’s food chain, and they are responsible for producing one third of the oxygen we breath. if we lose plankton we are headed for another mass extinction. in the swirling gyre, most of the plastics have broken down into tiny fragments which are spread over massive stretches of the ocean. due to their size, they are incredibly difficult to recover in any large quantity – making this once disposable material very precious”

    read more

    saved 🌴

    Corinne Staley

    good news on the rainforest front this month, with the Democratic Republic of Congo declaring a vast new national park covering 2.2 million acres of virtually pristine forest that’s home to Bonobos, Okapis, Forest Elephants, Congo Peacocks and a newly discovered monkey, the Lesula

    now, alongside the new Lomami National Park, the Rainforest Trust and local partner the Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation are looking to safeguard another 1.1 million acres next door by establishing the Balanga Forest Reserve. together, this will form a massive joined up area to help stabilise the region for people and wildlife, safeguard the forest and promote sustainable livelihoods

    super/collider firmly believes that protecting pristine rainforests like those found in the Congo is one of the most effective strategies for protecting biodiversity and mitigating climate change. we will be making a donation and invite you to join us – with an anonymous benefactor matching donations, your donation of just £15 can save 50 acres!

    donate now



    as the nights draw in, join super/collider and guests for a season exploring the dark side…

    Wednesday 3 August 2016

    join Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer Marek Kukula and curator Melanie Vandenbrouck at Second Home to explore the role of darkness in art and science. blackness can reveal as well as conceal: today’s astronomers seek out the darkest sites on Earth in order to see further into the universe, while the Hubble Space Telescope’s 10-day stare into the darkness in 1995 produced the dazzling vista of the Hubble Deep Field

    from art to astronomy and beyond, Marek and Melanie will trace the changing face of darkness from its traditional use as a symbol of the mysterious and unknown to the modern day quest for ultimate darkness in the form of Surrey NanoSystems’s ultra-dark Vantablack coating

    Second Home
    68 Hanbury Street / London / E1 5JL
    £5 / book now

    read more

    2016 Icelandic expedition

    photo by Tom Sewell

    7-12 September 2016

    as late summer lingers over the North Atlantic, join a small group of like-minded creative explorers as we travel across, around and underneath Iceland in search of the Northern Lights and other natural wonders in our most ambitious Icelandic adventure to date

    amid the stark beauty of the country’s surreal landscapes, we’ll spend the dark nights watching for the Aurora Borealis and the days exploring the country’s geological, volcanic and natural diversity. we’ll hike to towering glaciers, visit slumbering volcanoes, watch erupting geysers, relax in natural hot springs, venture behind tumbling waterfalls and descend under the surface of Iceland’s constantly shifting topography

    join the waiting list

    read more

    species of the week


    marine biologists announced the discovery this week of what could be among the oldest living organisms on Earth. a massive sea sponge about ‘the size of a minivan’ was photographed last summer over 2km down in the depths of the Papahānaumokuākea marine reserve – a massive protected area the size of Germany located northwest of Hawaii. although not dated yet, it’s the largest specimen yet found. similar, smaller sponges in shallow waters can be over 2000 years old, making this slow-growing deep sea discovery a potential contender

    rock and roll


    just another rock on Mars

    profile: Lightning and Kinglyface

    Lightning + Kinglyface

    Lightning and Kinglyface are Anna Fulmine and Victoria Shahrokh, a team of designers whose work mixes the subtleties of design with scientific principles to create lush, dense and vivid objects, sets and exhibitions. based in Dalston, their work involves collaborations with photographers Thomas Brown and Ryan Hopkinson as well work with clients ranging from Bompas & Parr to Zaha Hadid. our new contributor Bobby Jewell spoke to them to find out more

    so what are your backgrounds and why did you decide to work together?
    we both met during our time at university in Epsom at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design. we were studying graphic design and were becoming increasingly dissatisfied by the work that we were producing. so in a bid to create larger work that was straddling the worlds of art and design we began to look into theatre and set design. at the core of our partnership was this need to make three dimensional, creatively-inspiring, sculptural work. working as a duo helps in this sense because we are both constantly challenging one another and bringing new references to the pot. also it motivates both of us to have another person to answer to and discuss ideas with

    your designs often influenced by science, what is it about these principles or ideas that inspire you?
    there is something about the rigidity of science that guides our creative minds; theories that are set in stone that cannot be argued with, or tampered with. we like the continuity of science, the permanence of it for explaining our intriguing planet and perhaps some of our more philosophical and fantastical ideas. scientific ideas have visually been quite poorly represented for some time, which upsets us because the principles of science are so visual and so exciting and the overly intellectual world of science should be opened up to creative minds

    read more


    Hughes_Untitled, from NEOP, 2015_2

    opening today in Berlin, Aether brings together a number of international artists and photographers inspired by astronomy. curated by super/collider’s Louise Beer and Melanie King, who also heads up the London Alternative Photography Collective, the exhibition showcases various methods of photography; both experimental and direct, real and imagined. we caught up with Melanie to find out more

    read more

    blue flowers


    just in time for Valentine’s Day, our pals at Bompas & Parr have only gone and created the world’s first colour changing flowers. hand painted with a thermochromatic ink, the roses, anemones, lilies and orchids shimmer as you (and/or your lover) exhale on them due to fluctuations in temperature. the flowers come in two forms: one is based on a liquid crystal dye process that changes at 27°C from a deep satin black to Champagne bottle green, “exhibiting all the hues regularly seen on the backs of beetles”. the second uses a black thermochromatic dye that transforms at 31°C. the flower is then spritzed a crystal elixir and ignited – revealing the various pigments in the heat of the flame

    you can take a closer look at these wonders of botanical chemistry today and all this weekend in a series of hands-on workshops at the Edition Hotel in London

    waves ⚫️⚫️〰〰〰〰〰


    researchers working on the LIGO experiment in America are due to make a historic announcement at 15:30 GMT today that we expect will be confirmation they’ve detected gravitational waves

    operating since 2002 but recently upgraded, the facility consists of two separate L-Shaped laser observatories which measure the ultra-tiny distortions caused by passing gravitational waves. we should be able to detect these ‘ripples in space time’ when they emanate from massive objects like orbiting neutron stars and black holes, but they’ve never been seen before now. if LIGO has detected them, it would mark the first direct observation of a phenomenon first posited by Einstein exactly 100 years ago, opening up a new chapter in physics and a whole new way of observing the universe

    read more

    profile: Liliane Lijn

    Crystal Clusters Rhomboid, 1972, Liliane Lijn

    TATE Modern and the Institute of Physics recently got together to curate a series of events entitled Light and Dark Matters, which saw leading artists and scientists, philosophers and theorists debating our contemporary experience of light, darkness and dark matter

    Liliane Lijn was in conversation with mathematical physicist Robbert Dijkgraaf and Professor Sean Cubitt, in a talk which examined the transformative and unifying qualities of light in both art and science. Lijn is an American-born artist who has been exploring the phenomena of light in her work since the 1960s. she is well known for pioneering the interaction of art, science and technology. we caught up with Lijn at her London-based studio, to find out more about the use of light in her practice…

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    with Virgin Galactic and Y-3 collaborating on a new range of flightsuits and apparel, we take a closer look at the high-tech material inside…

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    overwatch 🔭


    for the first time, NASA has consolidated all of its planetary impact detection projects into a single organisation to help keep us safe from asteroids and comets: the Planetary Defense Coordination Office. beyond liasing with various ground and space-based systems, like the Arecibo Radio Telescope and the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System shown above, the new office will oversee asteroid deflection missions and provide input to agencies like FEMA to prepare an emergency response to predicted impacts. with more than 90% of Near Earth Objects bigger than 1km across already discovered, NASA is now focused on finding objects that are slightly bigger than a football field – 140m or larger

    related: Death From Above / Adventures in the Asteroid Field / Arecibo

    Jochen Lempert at Between Bridges


    a trained biologist, Hamburg-based Jochen Lempert began taking photographs in the early 1990s and has since embarked on “an ongoing project that deals with the perception of nature and creatures within the blurry contexts of scientific research, subjective perception and man-made environments: from an analogy between the glossiness of the berries of the Deadly Nightshade plant and the eye of a squirrel, to the visualisation of his own breath by way of long exposures of small segments of night sky”

    his work is currently on show at Wolfgang Tillmans’ Berlin gallery, Between Bridges