Archives for September, 2011

What makes a supernova so super, anyway?

Daughter, age 7: “Daddy, will the Earth always go around the Sun forever?” Louis CK: “Well no, at some point the Sun is going to explode.” Daughter: (starts crying) Louis CK: “Oh honey, this is not going to happen until you and everyone you know has been dead for a very long time.” Daughter: (continues…

News Flash: James Webb Space Telescope SAVED!

The news has just come in: the United States Senate has decided to fully fund the James Webb Space Telescope, and it should be set to launch in 2018, which is the earliest it can possibly go ahead at this point. Universe Today has the full story, and reports: The 2012 fiscal year appropriation bill,…

The Color of Space

“We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry.” -Maria Mitchell When you look up at the vastness of the night sky, if you’ve got few clouds, no Moon and sufficient darkness, you won’t merely see thousands of tiny white pinpricks illuminating the black…

“Nothing in the universe can travel at the speed of light, they say, forgetful of the shadow’s speed.” -Howard Nemerov I know many of you are still mad at the night sky because of the full Moon preventing you from seeing the recent, close-by supernova in the Pinwheel Galaxy, at least until the end of…

Weekend Diversion: A Canadian and a Pole…

“O, how glorious would it be to set my heel upon the Pole and turn myself 360 degrees in a second!” -Joseph Banks This weekend, perhaps more than most, I think we’re all going to need something fun, inspiring, and different to enjoy. So I present to you an extremely talented but not well-known Canadian…

“After your death you will be what you were before your birth.” -Arthur Schopenhauer If only every star’s death could be as glorious as a supernova, rocketing anywhere from thousands to millions of Earth-masses out of a star and into interstellar space. When we get one in our galaxy, like we do every few hundred…

“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” -John Burroughs The greatest tool for astronomers of the past 20 years has, without a doubt, been the Hubble Space Telescope. Since its launch in 1990, it’s no stretch to say more scientific knowledge has come out…

A world where your footsteps never fade

“We have found a strange footprint on the shores of the unknown.” -Arthur Eddington Since the dawn of mankind, we’ve left innumerable footsteps across the lands, as we’ve traveled far and wide across the globe. But (with very rare exceptions) these footsteps don’t last. With winds and/or rains abundant all over Earth, among many other…

A Labor Day Big Announcement

“But I’m also talking about American businessmen doing what they were born to do. Make things. We’ve stopped making and become a country of consumers. Well, I, for one, am done consuming. And I’m ready to make.” -Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock I don’t normally write about what’s going on in my personal life, but this…

Weekend Diversion: Protecting the Night Sky

“As long as one person lives in darkness then it seems to be a responsibility to tell other people.” -Bill Hicks If you’ve ever been out in the wilderness at night, in a place where it truly gets dark, and where you’ve got, as the English band Keane would tell you, Clear Skies,you will find…