Archives for December, 2010

“I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” -Harry Truman It’s the end of the term here at my college, as well as most colleges across the nation. And while the students are freaking out about finals,…

Black Hole Q&A

“Black holes are where God divided by zero.” -Stephen Wright Yesterday, I told you about all the evidence for the Black Hole at the center of our galaxy. In particular, we see multiple stars orbiting a single point that emits no light of any type at all. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the comments became very active.…

“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 Black holes. You’ve all heard them before, and you can visualize them pretty easily. How so? Start by thinking about the Earth. Held together…

“If we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.” -Gus Grissom, who perished in the Apollo 1 fire. Every once in a while, I…

The Best Stars You Might Never See

“The image is more than an idea. It is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas and is endowed with energy.” -Ezra Pound Back in the 1800s, observational astronomy was already entering its heyday. We had already discovered Uranus, the first planet not visible to the naked eye, knew of a number of comets and…

“Keep up the good work, if only for a while, if only for the twinkling of a tiny galaxy.” -Wislawa Szymborska You all know about shooting stars. Seen from Earth, mostly during meteor showers, these aren’t stars at all, but are tiny fragments of rock that hit the Earth’s atmosphere, and streak across it, leaving…