Archives for October, 2012

“History is full of people who out of fear, or ignorance, or lust for power has destroyed knowledge of immeasurable value which truly belongs to us all. We must not let it happen again.” -Carl Sagan From the streets and people of our hometown to the nations, planets, stars and galaxies (and beyond) of our…

“A colour is a physical object as soon as we consider its dependence, for instance, upon its luminous source, upon other colours, upon temperatures, upon spaces, and so forth.” -Ernst Mach Our Sun, like all Sun-like stars, will come to the end of its life someday. All the hydrogen fuel in its core will eventually…

“It’s Dr. Evil, I didn’t spend six years in Evil Medical School to be called “mister,” thank you very much.” -Dr. Evil, from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Graduate school is hard work, and Ph.D. programs in Physics and Astronomy are some of the most demanding and competitive ones out there. It’s well-known that…

The Astrophysicist’s Alphabet

“When I was having that alphabet soup, I never thought that it would pay off.” -Vanna White Ever want an A-to-Z illustrated alphabet of astrophysics? Turns out that — other than writing your own via Galaxy Zoo — it doesn’t yet exist. So I thought it would be delightful to make one for you… right…

“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” -Carl Jung During the daytime, light is plentiful and abundant, and the majority of our waking lives are optimized for that. But more and more of us are active late into the…

“It took less than an hour to make the atoms, a few hundred million years to make the stars and planets, but five billion years to make man!” -George Gamow Earlier today, a video (from last month) was released where one of the members of the US House of Representative — a member who sits…

“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” -Joan of Arc Regardless of what intrinsic differences any person or group of people have from another, everyone deserves to…

The lives and deaths of Sun-like stars

“Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed.” -Samuel Johnson But the stars, as opposed to humans, are born shining, with hundreds (or more) of brothers and sisters, shine ever more brightly over their lifetimes, and die in spectacular fashion. As far as we can tell, here’s the past, present and future story…