Archives for February, 2011

Weekend Diversion: Jewels of the World

“Glaciers are almost gone from Glacier National Park.” -Donella Meadows This world is full of beautiful things that are simply awe-inspiring. Some of them are very much man-made, such as this 2007 song by Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby, Crown Of Jewels.But others took thousands of years to form. In many great places all over…

The Moon As You’ve Never Seen Her Before!

“Everything has a natural explanation. The moon is not a god, but a great rock.” -Anaxagoras The Moon, as you well know, is one of the spectacular sights of the night sky, especially when it’s full. Even those of us with imperfect vision can see differences between the large, dark areas (known as maria) of…

What Newton’s 3 Laws Can Teach You

“If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent.” -Isaac Newton Born the year Galileo died, Isaac Newton is one of the most revered figures in all of physics. In addition to the work he did on optics, planetary motion and gravitation, Newton…

The Facts on Solar Storms

“Leading scientists are warning that a massive solar storm could trigger a $2 trillion ‘global Katrina’ that short-circuits power grids worldwide.” -Lesley Taylor If you’ve been keeping up with your online news lately, you may have heard that, undoubtedly, an impending Solar Storm will cause hundreds of billions — if not trillions — of dollars…

Weekend Diversion: Stand Up, Wisconsin!

“If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of…

Open Wide! (What do you mean, my eyes?)

“I’ll do my dreaming with my eyes wide open, and I’ll do my looking back with my eyes closed.” -Tony Arata Would you believe me if I told you that — in terms of your own eyes — you saw better at night than you did during the day? It’s true! But it doesn’t have…

…Like Seeing Ourselves In A Mirror

“I don’t know whether these people are going to find themselves, but as they live their lives they have no choice but to face up to the image others have of them. They’re forced to look at themselves in a mirror, and they often manage to glimpse something of themselves.” -Antonio Tabucchi It’s one thing…

Who Wants to Be A Planet?

“I have announced this star as a comet, but since it is not accompanied by any nebulosity and, further, since its movement is so slow and rather uniform, it has occurred to me several times that it might be something better than a comet. But I have been careful not to advance this supposition to…

“Dubito ergo cogito; cogito ergo sum.” (I doubt, therefore I think; I think therefore I am) -Rene Descartes I always try to give you something beautiful completely unrelated to astronomy, physics, or cosmology for the weekend. So if I’m going to talk to you about dark matter, I figured I’d better go for a particularly…

The Coolest Star. Literally.

“It seems like once people grow up, they have no idea what’s cool.” -Bill Watterson Well, at least we can all agree on what’s not cool. The Sun. With a surface temperature of around 6,000 Kelvins, the Sun is one of the hottest objects that we’re all familiar with. But when it comes to stars,…