Archives for June, 2016

“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” -Mario Andretti One of the toughest things to wrap your mind around in the natural world is the idea of special relativity: the faster you move, the closer you get to the speed of light, the more difficult it becomes to increase your speed at…

“That what wrong with the media today. All they have is questions, questions, questions. They never have cookies.” -Cookie Monster There are lots of things to worry about in this Universe, including falling into a black hole. But unless you happen to fall directly into the event horizon, an incredibly small region of space for…

Why Dark Matter? (Synopsis)

“The Universe is made mostly of dark matter and dark energy, and we don’t know what either of them is.” -Saul Perlmutter When we look out at the Solar System, the Sun dominates in terms of both light and mass. Responsible for nearly 100% of the light and for 99.8% of the mass, it stands…

“Not only does God play dice, but… he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.” -Stephen Hawking The New York Times ran an article on Stephen Hawking promising there was a possible escape route from a black hole, after all. In the text, Hawking asserts, “They are not the eternal prisons they were once…

“The cosmic game changed forever in 1992. Before then, logic told us that there had to be other planets besides the nine (if you still count poor Pluto) in our solar system, but until that year, when two astronomers detected faint, telltale radio signals in the constellation Virgo, we had no hard evidence of their…

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” -Muhammad Ali You might not think that boxing, the sweet science, and physics, the most fundamental of all the sciences, have much in common on the surface. But look a little deeper and…

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” -Muhammad Ali After a week of travel here at Starts With A Bang — where we appeared at Balticon 50 and had a fantastic time — it’s time to catch up on all the news that the Universe had to offer. That includes…

“Until the 1990s, there were few reliable observations about movement at the scale of the entire universe, which is the only scale dark energy effects. So dark energy could not be seen until we could measure things very, very far away.” -Adam Riess Just thirty years ago, scientists argued over the value of the Hubble…

“What’s really exciting is what comes next. I think we’re opening a window on the universe — a window of gravitational wave astronomy.” -Dave Reitze On September 14, 2015, LIGO directly detected gravitational waves for the first time, from the inspiral-and-merger of two quite massive black holes. Despite the fact that no electromagnetic radiation signal…

“There is no question that climate change is happening; the only arguable point is what part humans are playing in it.” –David Attenborough If the Earth didn’t have any global warming at all, our planet’s mean temperature would be 255 K, or about -1º Fahrenheit: the mean temperature of the Antarctic continent. As it stands…