Archives for July, 2009

Meet our Second Moon!

The inner Solar System is a pretty bizarre place. Think about the giant planets in our Solar System — the Jovian planets — that weigh in from tens to hundreds the mass of Earth. These giant balls of gas are orbited by all sorts of interesting things, from moons so giant that they have their…

Go Look At The Moon!

This is the coolest thing online I’ve seen in a long time. A team of amateur astronomers took over 1000 pictures of tiny areas of the Moon. 288 of them were chosen and mosaiced together. They describe the result far better than I do: The end result is a high resolution 87.4 megapixel image of…

By the 1980s, our view of the Universe was pretty close to what it is today. We had confirmed the Big Bang Theory and even had some understanding of what must’ve caused the Big Bang. There were some mysteries around, such as dark matter, the age of the Universe, and the solar neutrino problem, but…

How to Fake your own Moon Landing

Okay, so you’ve seen the famous photos from the Apollo Moon landings: And you’ve been around the block enough to know why we really landed on the Moon. But let’s say you wanted, for some reason, to stage your own fake jaunt on the Moon. The band Rammstein did an excellent job with the first…

We have come so far in the last 100 years, and so has our picture of the Universe. From an island galaxy ruled by Newton’s gravity and classical electromagnetism, we’ve come through the discovery of general relativity, the expanding Universe, the need for dark matter, the big bang, the synthesis of all the elements in…

Weekend Diversion: A New Kind of Hero

I’ve only recently become musically acquainted with the artist Slaid Cleaves, born in Maine and living in Texas. This weekend, I present to you a heartbreaking song, Lydia, about a kind, wise old woman who can’t quite pull her life together after the death of her son. Oh, Lydie, let him go. The boy is…

Could we Garden on Mars?

Earlier this week, the most obvious scientific news in recent memory was reported: there’s Uranium on the Moon. This has been, pretty much, a slam-dunk since Apollo 11. Why? Because we’ve brought moonrocks back to Earth, and we’ve analyzed them thoroughly. What did we find? That they’re made of the same stuff that Earth-rocks are…

Just a few weeks ago, the Herschel Telescope was launched into space and successfully deployed. Herschel is larger than the Hubble Space Telescope, but instead of measuring visible light, it measures far-infrared light. This means that, when you look at any object in the Universe, the Hubble Space Telescope sees (mostly) visible light, or light…