Physical Science

“Just as a Chihuahua is still a dog, these ice dwarfs are still planetary bodies. The misfit becomes the average. The Pluto-like objects are more typical in our solar system than the nearby planets we first knew.” -Alan Stern The last week here at Starts With A Bang saw some great articles that went from Pluto to stars…

“What was scattered, gathers. What was gathered, blows away.” –Heraclitus When you’re looking around in our Solar System, we’ve got the Sun at the center, the planets orbiting them, and then moons orbiting the planets in turn. But why is that necessarily the limit? Couldn’t we have “moonlets” or some other, smaller satellites orbiting the…

Another week, another set of posts at Forbes to link here: — Why Do Solids Have Energy Bands? A conceptual explanation of why putting together lots of atoms with electrons in well-defined energy levels leads to a solid with electrons filling broad energy bands. — This Is The Key Distinction Between Magic And Advanced Technology:…

“Man loves company — even if it is only that of a small burning candle.” –Georg C. Lichtenberg The Sun, like all stars initially, burns hydrogen fuel into helium through the process of nuclear fusion. But as the Sun ages, as do all stars over a certain mass, it starts burning those heavier elements in its core,…

When it comes to the fabric of our Universe, we live in four dimensions: three space and one time. At least, that’s what it seems like. But it’s possible that at very high energy scales — or at very small distance scales — not only might even more forces unify, but we might discover that…

Is Pluto A Planet Now? (Synopsis)

“Words are the source of misunderstandings.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Back in 2006, the International Astronomical Union officially defined the word “planet” for the first time, claiming that as long as something met all three of the following criteria: It was in hydrostatic equilibrium (pulled itself into a spherical/spheroidal shape under its own gravity), It didn’t orbit…

“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” -Ernest Holmes When you’ve got a gas cloud in space that emits light, it’s only for one of two reasons: Either it’s at high enough temperatures that its atoms are excited and it’s emitting its own light as the electrons…

Why is Pluto not a planet?

Short answer: Pluto has only two of the three necessary characteristics to be called a planet. Pluto has not cleared its neighborhood, or orbit. But, of course, there are additional details. The simplest reason that Pluto is not a planet is that planet experts say so, and this is their job. But you may be…

“Life is a festival only to the wise.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson Last weekend, I was actually away from the blog for a few days, something that hasn’t happened except for one brief trip in March. Only this time, it was 100% for fun, as I was away at the 25 annual High Sierra Music Festival. For…

“If somebody’s going to pay money to come see you perform, then it should be something to see.” -Michael Trent The past two weeks at Starts With A Bang have been awesome for all we’ve covered, even with a (brief) vacation on my part thrown in there. (Don’t worry, you’ll get the best of it this weekend!) Here’s…