Archives for April, 2010

When I had satisfied myself that no star of that kind had ever shone before, I was led into such perplexity by the unbelievability of the thing that I began to doubt the faith of my own eyes. -Tycho Brahe One of the great things that the Hubble Space Telescope has given us is a…

Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own. -Georg Lichtenberg We’ve been going through the history of the Universe — from inflation to the present day — and you can read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 here. The last thing that happened…

To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit. -Stephen Hawking Stephen Hawking is in the news today, big time. Why? He says that intelligent aliens almost certainly exist, and that we should definitely not try to contact them. In fact, he argues, we should stay as quiet as possible…

Weekend Diversion: Midori and the Arts

Last night, I had the absolute pleasure to hear Midori, one of the top violinists in the world, play with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra. (For those of you wondering, she was spectacular.) What does Midori sound like? Here’s her playing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto fifteen years ago with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. While I recognize that…

Where there is an observatory and a telescope, we expect that any eyes will see new worlds at once. -Henry D. Thoreau 20 years ago tomorrow, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit. It doesn’t look that impressive, and maybe it shouldn’t. After all, what is a space telescope? It’s a couple of mirrors,…

Happy Earth Day (from Space)

Note: This article first appeared here on Scienceblogs one year ago today. There are many ways to celebrate Earth Day, from sustainability efforts to simply appreciating nature. And while this is a beautiful shot of Forest Park right here in Portland, it doesn’t compare — in my eyes — to the perfection of Earth as…

Big Bang Alternatives, anyone?

[The Big Bang] is an irrational process that cannot be described in scientific terms … [nor] challenged by an appeal to observation. -Fred Hoyle Contrary to popular public opinion, the Big Bang is one of the most sound, well-tested and verified scientific models of all time. It’s right up there with Evolution, General Relativity, and…

If you are caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron. -Lee Trevino, golfer who actually has been struck by lightning. Today’s astronomy picture of the day is absolutely gorgeous. Of course, this is the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, erupting…

Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations…If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won’t exist because you’ll have already shut it out … You can hear other people’s wisdom, but you’ve got to re-evaluate the world for yourself. -Mae Jemison, first African-American woman astronaut It’s always difficult to break down barriers, but those…

A New Space Vision: What I think

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth. -John F. Kennedy, 1961 The entire human endeavor of spaceflight is — without a doubt — one of the greatest achievements in the history of…