Archives for April, 2014

“Iron helps us play!” -The Simpsons If you were to peel back the layers of a supermassive star, before it went supernova, what you’d find were a slew of layers abundant in the even-numbers elements up to iron, but little else. Well, this weekend, have I got a fun little find for you! First off, enjoy the…

“All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer.” -Robert Louis Stevenson It’s been another wonderful week in the Universe, and there’s been so much to share together. New this week on the main Starts With A Bang blog over at Medium, we’ve talked about: Are our…

“Don’t get involved in partial problems, but always take flight to where there is a free view over the whole single great problem, even if this view is still not a clear one.” -Ludwig Wittgenstein You know how bad light pollution is for astronomy, and how hard we try to escape it. We search for…

“Other than the laws of physics, rules have never really worked out for me.” -Craig Ferguson When you think about the Standard Model of particle physics, you very likely think about all the matter, energy, particles, antiparticles, forces and interactions of the Universe. And you might legitimately worry that this is all there is. Never fear; it can’t…

How the Sun *really* shines (Synopsis)

“Mr. Burns: Smithers, hand me that ice-cream scoop. Smithers: Ice-cream scoop? Mr. Burns: Damn it, Smithers! This isn’t rocket science, it’s brain surgery!”  -The Simpsons I bet you’re one of those people who hears a term like “nuclear physics” and thinks that’s hard stuff, way over your head. But in many ways, it’s the easiest of all…

The Astro Alphabet (Synopsis)

“When I was having that alphabet soup, I never thought that it would pay off.” -Vanna White A couple of years ago, I had the idea to make a special entry showcasing 26 different astronomical phenomena, one for each letter of the alphabet. Today, that idea’s been built upon and improved, and I’m happy to…

“All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.” -Victor Hugo During all other full Moons, I wouldn’t dare show you a galaxy for Messier Monday. But when you get…

“I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them.” -Elizabeth Taylor You know how important music is to me, and for many of you it holds a similarly prominent place in your lives and in your hearts. A big part of that experience, going…

“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.” -Voltaire It’s been another great week over on the main Starts With A Bang blog, where we got to touch on a number of remarkable topics, including: Why are we made of matter? (For Ask Ethan #31) Trompe-l’œil Art (For our Weekend Diversion)…

“Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children.”  -Dan Quayle It wasn’t that long ago that I myself was a student, and of course over the past decade-and-a-half I’ve been very heavily involved in education — both formally and informally — at a huge variety of levels. And over time, education methods…