Archives for April, 2013

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” -W. Shakespeare Welcome to just another Messier Monday here on Starts With A Bang! Each Monday, we’re taking a detailed look at a different one of the 110 deep-sky objects that compose the Messier Catalogue, each one a different semi-permanent wonder of…

“For I dipped into the Future, far as human eye could see; saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be.” -Alfred, Lord Tennyson This weekend, the Sun is shining here in Portland, as we’ve gotten our first annual spell of warm, sunny days recently. It’s got me thinking of the…

The Cosmic Speed Limit

“All our sweetest hours fly the fastest.” -Virgil If you’ve been around the block once or twice, you know that the speed of light in a vacuum — 299,792,458 meters-per-second — is the absolute maximum speed that any form of energy in the Universe can travel at. In shorthand, this speed is known as c to…

How far away is stuff?

“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” -Douglas Adams Well, maybe “peanuts” isn’t going to do. When you look out at the night sky, all sorts…

“[T]he entire globe will soon be wrapped in a glowing envelope through which none of the magic of the Universe can be seen by the naked eye.” -George Eslinger Welcome to still another Messier Monday here on Starts With A Bang! Each Monday, we highlight a different one of the 110 deep-sky objects that make up the Messier…

“Fluoridation is the single most important commitment a community can make to the oral health of its children and to future generations.” -C. Everett Koop Most weekends, I take on a lighter topic, as a way of taking a break from the deep physics, astronomy, and science we share during the week. But every once…

“Despite its name, the big bang theory is not really a theory of a bang at all. It is really only a theory of the aftermath of a bang.” -Alan Guth So you finally understand it. The Big Bang tells us that the Universe was hotter, denser, and expanding at a faster rate in the…

What Makes Up The Universe?

“The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us—there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, or falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.” -Carl…

Missions to Mars and Nuclear Fusion

“We are much closer today to being able to send humans to Mars than we were to being able to send men to the moon in 1961, and we were there eight years later. Given the will, we could have humans on Mars within a decade.” -Robert Zubrin Of all the planets in the Solar…

Messier Monday: The Whirlpool Galaxy, M51

“Upon one occasion, while engaged upon a seven-foot mirror, he did not remove his hands from it for 16 hours together.” -from Caroline Herschel’s obituary Welcome to another Messier Monday here on Starts With A Bang! Each Monday, we highlight a different one of the 110 deep-sky objects that Messier catalogued so that comet-hunters wouldn’t confuse these permanent…