Archives for April, 2008

Ethan on the Radio Tonight!

Tonight, from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM Pacific Time, I will be Dr. David Livingston’s guest on his radio program, The Space Show! I have no idea how it’s going to go or if I’ll be able to communicate clearly on an audio-only format, as I’ve never tried before, but I’m really looking forward to…

Do all Stars Eventually Explode?

What’s going to happen to all the stars in the Universe as they get older? Well, just as nothing can live forever, stars can’t live forever also. Why? Because they run on fuel: burning hydrogen into helium, for example. When they run out of fuel, something’s gotta give. Barbara Ryden reminds us of an excellent…

A new view on the Horsehead Nebula

Ever seen the Horsehead Nebula? If you look at the easternmost star in Orion’s Belt through a telescope, you’re likely to see something like this (the star is just off the image to your left): A pretty little nebula, to be sure, but it doesn’t look all that spectacular. I mean really, there’s a fancy…

Weekend Diversion: Bright vs. Dim

Take a look at this picture, and tell me where the brightest parts and dimmest parts are: Well, obviously, just to the left of the color gradient, it gets darker than anywhere else. Also, just to the right, it gets lighter than anywhere else. And that’s the way it is, isn’t it? Or is this…

The right job for Ethan?

First things first: this week’s Carnival of Space is up at Brian Wang’s site, Next Big Future. You can find my post on Mars or Arizona? up there. Now, what comes next for me, since I don’t like it here in Arizona? Well, the Dangerman audition didn’t work out (I never heard back), and I’ve…

A Discovery of Gravitational Waves?

Two summers ago, I was in Les Houches, France, for a summer school that turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. Seriously, we’d wake up every day and this was the view from the school: Well, the University/Institution that ran the school sends periodic updates to me. And they linked…

The youngest planet ever discovered?

Starts with a bang reader Dumb Ass Dave points us to this BBC article about the discovery of a planet that’s only just forming around a new star. The planet is surely less than 100,000 years old, although the 1,600 year old figure quoted in the article is probably hogwash. How do you find it?…

Why doesn’t Light Age?

There’s a graduate student that I’m sort-of mentoring/working with at Arizona, named Xiaoying Xu (hi Xiao!). She’s bright and curious, and she asks some very good questions. She asked me one yesterday that’s pretty tough to wrap your head around: How do I explain to someone why light doesn’t age? Well, here on Earth, time…

April Foo — oh, you were serious?

There was a paper posted today that I thought was an April Fools’ Day joke, entitled Was There a Big Bang? Ha ha, thought I, of course there was; I just wrote all about it two weeks ago. But no, this is a legitimate paper, or at least is attempting to be. (There was even…

Cosmic Conspiracies!

There are a number of parameters that we deal with in cosmology that have no dimensions; that is, they’re just numbers. And yet, there are a remarkable number of coincidences that just “happen to be that way” in our Universe. Douglas Scott, in this paper, points out some of the more puzzling ones, including: The…