Archives for August, 2009

Paper Folding to the Moon

Okay, as many of you had heard, I’ve got a new job as a full-time Professor. And not only am I pretty excited about it, I thought I’d share with you one of the more interesting things I taught on the first day. I got this idea from talking to Michael, the chair of the…

Weekend Diversion: One Weekend Between Jobs

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone. It’s not warm when she’s away. Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone And she’s always gone too long anytime she goes away. Bill Withers’ song Ain’t No Sunshine has been covered by over 100 major artists since its release in 1971, but I think the original is still the…

Just a quick, little picture…

Yesterday, I showed you a picture of 100,000 nearby galaxies, which made me feel small, even when we just look at our (relatively) local Universe. Today, let’s go down to the other end of the spectrum. Electron microscopes have been around for a long time, and they’ve let us see some very advanced structures at…

Just a quick picture…

Ever wonder what it would look like if you took about 100,000 nearby large (i.e., Milky Way sized and larger) galaxies, reduced each one to a point, and mapped them? Well, at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, they did this, from the point of view of where we are in the Universe. We are…

Why Our Analemma Looks like a Figure 8

On Monday, I posed a question to you as to why, when you photograph the Sun at the same exact time every day for a year, you get something that’s shaped like a figure 8, like so: We got a good number of thoughtful comments, many of which are on the right track, and many…

Understanding the importance of E=mc^2

There’s a new book out there, Why Does E=MC2 (and Why Should We Care?), by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw. One of Seed’s editors, Elizabeth Cline, took a read through it and wrote about her experiences and what she learned. Is relativity, particle physics, and all the related science really incomprehensible to all except the…

A Question of Why: The Analemma

I’m trying something new here: I’m going to give you a little bit of information and a teaser, and we’ll see — in the comments section — whether any of you can figure it out. Imagine that you went outside, each and every day at the same time, and mapped the position of the Sun.…

Carnival of Space #117 is Live

Once a week, all the top astronomy/space writers from around the net get together — thanks to Fraser Cain at Universe Today — and contribute their top stories to the Carnival of Space. This week, Mike Simonsen of Simostronomy hosts, and brings together some great stories in this week’s Carnival of Space. Go and check…

Weekend Diversion: Have a seat, CSI

New technology has led to breakthroughs in practically every aspect of our lives since the dawn of the industrial revolution. In nearly every case, it’s for the betterment, in some way, of society. (And yet, I like my music best when it’s acoustic, unprocessed, and barely produced at all.) Take a listen to Song for…

Recently, a discussion started in one of my comment threads about whether the Big Bang was necessarily valid or not, and whether there were any reasonable alternatives. The answer is that not only is the Big Bang the best theory to explain the start and evolution of the Universe, it’s the only one that doesn’t…