Astronomy

Category archives for Astronomy

“All I want is blackness. Blackness and silence.” -Sylvia Plath Even on the darkest night skies from the most pristine locations on Earth, the night sky is never truly dark. Not even if you look away from the plane of the galaxy, on a moonless night, between the stars and away from any human-made or…

“It may be that ultimately the search for dark matter will turn out to be the most expensive and largest null result experiment since the Michelson-Morley experiment, which failed to detect the ether.” -John Moffat Dark matter is a puzzle that’s now more than 80 years old: the presence of all the known, observable, detectable…

That’s no comet, that’s Pluto! (Synopsis)

“Maybe some people don’t feel scared when they think about comets and supernovas. Maybe they think it is wonderful.” -Lydia Netzer What, in our Solar System, has a long tail from boiled-off frozen ices? What simultaneously leaves an X-ray signature when the solar wind collides with those boiled-off atoms, kicking electrons out and causing X-ray…

“We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.” -Alan Turing The Cosmic Microwave Background data gave us an unprecedented picture of our Universe in terms of accuracy, with the latest Planck results showing us our Universe is 68% dark energy, 13.8 billion years old…

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” -J.K. Rowling From 19,000 light years away, Terzan 5 looks a lot like pretty much any globular cluster you’d expect to find: it’s massive, concentrated, with a huge number of stars at right around 12 billion years of age. But mixed in…

“I have lost tolerance for things without meaning. There is no time for them. Does that make sense?” -Sara Seager The discovery of a potentially habitable planet around the nearest star to our own — Proxima Centauri — has brought up the tantalizing possibility that this might be closest Earth-like world ever found. But it’s…

“Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.” -Dag Hammarskjold A black hole is a region of space that’s got so much mass in such a small volume that the escape velocity within a specific…

“Otherwise we are trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t exist with a system which doesn’t work.” -Philip K. Dick When it comes to the now famous “Alien Megastructures” star, the observations didn’t add up. There were huge, irregular flux dips, but not a hint of infrared radiation that would indicate a circumstellar disk. Infrared radiation…

“These galaxies are among the most massive galaxies in the universe and are believed to have rapidly formed their stars a long time ago. However, how these galaxies formed and why have they stopped forming new stars remain mysteries.” -Tao Wang, lead author on this new study There was once a time early on in…

Exoplanets: from fluke to fact

“How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them. A very fit consideration, and matter of Reflection, for those Kings and Princes who sacrifice the Lives of so many People, only…