Archives for September, 2013

Ask Ethan #2: Meet the Oort Cloud

“The great oak of Astronomy has been felled, and we are lost without its shadow.” –Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, on the passing of Jan Oort In our new semi-regular series, readers from all over the world (and in low-Earth orbit, too, because why not!) are invited to send in their questions and suggestions for a chance to…

Where do Rogue Planets come from?

“Like all animals, human beings have always taken what they want from nature. But we are the rogue species. We are unique in our ability to use resources on a scale and at a speed that our fellow species can’t.” –Edward Burtynsky It’s really a romantic notion when you think about it: the heavens, the…

Messier Monday: The Wild Duck Cluster, M11

“Being born in a duck yard does not matter, if only you are hatched from a swan’s egg.” –Hans Christian Anderson Welcome back for another Messier Monday! There are 110 deep-sky objects in the Messier catalogue, some of the most prominent night-sky fixtures, as seen from Earth, running the gamut of astronomical phenomena from within…

Weekend Diversion: The Bear Necessities

“Some days you go bear hunting and you get eaten. Some days you come home with a nice rug to roll around on, and bear steaks. What they don’t tell you as a kid is that sometimes you get the rug and steaks, but you also get some nice scars to go with them. …once…

Ask Ethan #1: Back-to-school advice

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.” –Oscar Wilde As many of you know, last weekend I launched a suggestion box here on the site, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the response: about fifty of you have sent something in to…

“One sees qualities at a distance and defects at close range.” –Victor Hugo A couple of weeks ago we took a look at the most distant galaxy (so far) in the known Universe, a galaxy so far away that it takes exclusively infrared observations from our most power space telescopes (Hubble and Spitzer) in order…

“We find them smaller and fainter, in constantly increasing numbers, and we know that we are reaching into space, farther and farther, until, with the faintest nebulae that can be detected with the greatest telescopes, we arrive at the frontier of the known universe.” –Edwin Powell Hubble With 110 deep-sky objects scattered throughout the heavens,…