Archives for March, 2013

“Every star may be a sun to someone.” –Carl Sagan Welcome back to yet another Messier Monday! Each week, we highlight one of the 110 deep-sky objects that make up the Messier catalogue: Charles Messier’s legacy to comet-hunters and amateur astronomers, pointing out some of the most easily visible deep-sky objects as seen from our…

Weekend Diversion: A Green Fire

“Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.” –Terry Pratchett Whether it comes from without or within, there are few things in this life that captivate our attention better than a brilliant, hot and colorful display.…

“If you’re a reporter, the easiest thing in the world is to get a story. The hardest thing is to verify. The old sins were about getting something wrong, that was a cardinal sin. The new sin is to be boring.” –David Halberstam It was only a few months ago that both collaborations at the…

The Unseen Lights in Our Backyard

“As a boy I believed I could make myself invisible. I’m not sure that I ever could, but I certainly had the ability to pass unnoticed.” –Terence Stamp When we look up at the night sky from a dark location here on Earth, somewhere around 6,000 stars greet you on a clear night. This is…

“When you run the marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time.” –Haile Gebrselassie Welcome to a very special Messier Monday, which just happens to be the twenty-first consecutive week we’ve taken a look at one of the 110 fixed, deep-sky objects that Messier and his collaborators…

Weekend Diversion: A Second Language

“When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.” –Niels Bohr Although I may write to you exclusively in English, I am fully aware that around half of my readership comes from outside the United States, and…

“You wait for a gem in an endless sea of blah.” –Lawrence Grossman On the one hand, we have General Relativity, our theory of space, time, and gravity. It describes the Universe on both large and small scales perfectly, from the hot Big Bang to our cold accelerating expansion, from vast superclusters of galaxies down…

An Atom in the Universe

“The atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, and then go out – there are always new atoms, but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday.” –Richard Feynman Here you are, a human being, a grand Universe of atoms that have organized themselves into simple monomers, assembled together into giant…

“Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will forever bubble up, if forever you dig.” –Marcus Aurelius Welcome back to yet another Messier Monday! Each week, we’re taking a look at one of the 110 fixed, deep-sky objects — not to be confused with comets — that made up Messier’s original catalogue.…

“I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.” –John Steinbeck One of the great joys I’ve gotten to experience…