Archives for November, 2009

Dark Energy: Beyond Supernovae (Part 4)

Follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. -T.H. Huxley We’ve spent a little bit of time talking about dark energy, including what we think of it, how we first discovered it, and how we knew that there wasn’t just something out there blocking the light. It seems to…

Weekend Diversion: Doing Something Thankful

Saying thanks is one of the best things we can do to appreciate the good things in our lives. This goes for our partners, friends, families, coworkers, acquaintances, and for some of us, our dear readers. (Thank you all!) There are many musicians who’ve said thanks over the years, too, and so here’s Led Zeppelin‘s…

Colliding Galaxies For Fun and For Science!

If you’ve never been to the Galaxy Zoo website, you have been missing out. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is a pretty impressive telescope, but the wide-field camera system on it is what’s truly amazing. Have you ever seen a telescope that looks like this before? This telescope surveys a huge area of the sky,…

A Black Hole without a Singularity

All that matters, in the real world, is that something is both massive and compact enough so that, within a certain radius, light cannot escape from it. That is the astrophysical definition of a black hole. -me We’ve been talking about black holes a lot recently, and with good reason. They’re fun to think about.…

The Lights Stay On Inside a Black Hole!

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. -Vladimir Nabokov Last Friday, I posed a question to you, and you kindly responded by voting as to whether, when you crossed the event horizon of a black hole,…

Weekend Diversion: Beard Contest!

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man. -Shakespeare Far be it from me to take advice from Shakespeare, though. I prefer my advice from bluegrass musicians. If you want beards, you can’t do much better than Jerry Garcia and David Grisman.…

Believe it or not: A Black Hole Question!

Black holes have come up a couple of times this week, and I’ve always wondered something. When you fall into a black hole, all sorts of strange things happen. The most well-known one is that nothing — not even light — can ever escape once it falls in. Well, my question is, if you fell…

Falling into a Black Hole sucks!

Why it is that of all the billions and billions of strange objects in the Cosmos — novas, quasars, pulsars, black holes — you are beyond doubt the strangest? -Walker Percy When you watch someone fall into a black hole, what you actually see is pretty surprising. You see, a black hole’s gravity distorts the…

Are Black Holes Forbidden Mathematically?

In the comments on one of my posts, someone pointed me towards Stephen Crothers, who gives the following argument (in a nutshell) as to why black holes cannot possibly exist: General Relativity is our theory of gravity, which relates the curvature of space to the gravitational acceleration of objects. This theory only works in certain…

Look up tonight: Leonid Meteor Shower 2009!

Some meteor showers are spectacular, while most are mundane. If you sit around during a typical shower, you might see anywhere from 50 to 100 meteors an hour, if the Moon isn’t out. If you take a time-lapse photograph and look for meteors, you will, sometimes, get a great view of what’s going on. Although…