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“A single tiny light creates a space where darkness cannot exist. The light vanquishes the darkness. Try as it might, the darkness cannot conquer the light.” –Donald L. Hicks While it might seem like there are an endless supply of stars in the Universe, the process that powers each and every one requires fuel to…

“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.” –Longfellow The cosmic microwave background is a thing of beauty, as not only does its uniform, cold temperature reveal a hot, dense past that began with the hot Big Bang, but its fluctuations reveal a pattern…

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” –Terry Pratchett If you want, you can imagine back in the Universe to a time before it looked anything like ours did. Before there…

“Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.” –Robert Frost We’ve come…

“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” –Vaclav Havel When you take a look at the planets in our Solar System, one of the most striking features about them is that they all orbit in almost exactly the…

“Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.” –Alfred A. Montapert You might not think of falling into a black hole as a choice, but in the case of this week’s Ask Ethan, someone is choosing to explore exactly that! Imagine, if you will, taking a solid object that’s completely outside of an…

“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…

“Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.” –Alan Watts Neutron star matter is the stuff of legends: it’s the densest three-dimensional material to exist in our Universe. With a density…

“It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing — a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind.” –Albert Einstein On the one hand, we have matter — things with mass — in the Universe, ranging all the way from planets, stars and galaxies on…

“A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with.” –Tennessee Williams The depiction of dying in space — by exposure to its terrifying vacuum — is incredibly varied, from freezing to swelling and bulging to simply exploding. For this week’s Ask Ethan, we take on…