How the Sun *really* shines (Synopsis)

“Mr. Burns: Smithers, hand me that ice-cream scoop. Smithers: Ice-cream scoop? Mr. Burns: Damn it, Smithers! This isn’t rocket science, it’s brain surgery!”  -The Simpsons I bet you’re one of those people who hears a term like “nuclear physics” and thinks that’s hard stuff, way over your head. But in many ways, it’s the easiest of all…

The Astro Alphabet (Synopsis)

“When I was having that alphabet soup, I never thought that it would pay off.” -Vanna White A couple of years ago, I had the idea to make a special entry showcasing 26 different astronomical phenomena, one for each letter of the alphabet. Today, that idea’s been built upon and improved, and I’m happy to…

“All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.” -Victor Hugo During all other full Moons, I wouldn’t dare show you a galaxy for Messier Monday. But when you get…

“I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them.” -Elizabeth Taylor You know how important music is to me, and for many of you it holds a similarly prominent place in your lives and in your hearts. A big part of that experience, going…

“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.” -Voltaire It’s been another great week over on the main Starts With A Bang blog, where we got to touch on a number of remarkable topics, including: Why are we made of matter? (For Ask Ethan #31) Trompe-l’œil Art (For our Weekend Diversion)…

“Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children.”  -Dan Quayle It wasn’t that long ago that I myself was a student, and of course over the past decade-and-a-half I’ve been very heavily involved in education — both formally and informally — at a huge variety of levels. And over time, education methods…

“Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed.” -Samuel Johnson You might look up at our Sun in the sky, delighted at its brilliance and life-giving brightness, thankful for all it’s brought to our world. But we’re all just a little bit dismayed at the crushing realization that it won’t live forever, and will…

“And everything under the sun is in tune But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.” -Pink Floyd We normally think of eclipses as rare phenomena, something that happens only occasionally. While it’s true than any particular location only experiences eclipses — particularly solar eclipses — infrequently, we actually experience these things around four times a…

“The self-same atoms which, chaotically dispersed, made the nebula, now, jammed and temporarily caught in peculiar positions, form our brains; and the ‘evolution’ of brains, if understood, would be simply the account of how the atoms came to be so caught and jammed.” -William James Summer is coming. No, not to Westeros, but to your…

“When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead. No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress. We cannot take more than one step at a time.” -Orison Swett Marden Every Messier…