Astronomy

Category archives for Astronomy

“What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.” –Victor Hugo When stars are born of a certain mass — between about 10 and 40 times the mass of the Sun — they can evolve into yellow supergiants when they burn through the hydrogen in…

“This method of viewing the heavens seems to throw them into a new kind of light. They are now seen to resemble a luxuriant garden, which contains the greatest variety of productions, in different flourishing beds; and one advantage we may reap from it is, that we can, as it were, extend the range of…

“Men of genius are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, is only a stone.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow And yet, not all meteors nor all meteor showers are created equal. Some showers are duds, with the meteors being infrequent, inconsistent, short-lived and dim. Hardly worth mentioning. On…

“Studying whether there’s life on Mars or studying how the universe began, there’s something magical about pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. That’s something that is almost part of being human, and I’m certain that will continue.” –Sally Ride When you travel some hundred-million kilometers through space to land, softly, on another world, you deserve…

“The radiation left over from the Big Bang is the same as that in your microwave oven but very much less powerful. It would heat your pizza only to -271.3°C, not much good for defrosting the pizza, let alone cooking it.” –Stephen Hawking Imagine you traveled out into empty space. Away from any and all…

“We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.” –W. Somerset Maugham This past Monday (thanks, PJ), I celebrated the completion of my 37th orbit around the Sun. This is something we all have the opportunity…

“That, then, is loveliness, we said, Children in wonder watching the stars, Is the aim and the end. Being but men, we walked into the trees.” –Dylan Thomas Yet when you look at the night sky, it isn’t watching the stars that reveals all of the Universe’s secrets, nor by looking with what you can…

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” -Neil Armstrong This past week saw a whole lot of interesting things happen, including…

“To be is to be the value of a variable.” –Willard Van Orman Quine Those constant, fixed points of light in the night sky — the stars — turn out not to be so constant if you looked with great precision at them. A star like our Sun varies in brightness, periodically, by about 0.1% over the…

When you close your eyes and picture a galaxy, what pops into your mind? For most people, it’s a beautiful, spiral shape, where a bright central region fans out with arms that wind around and around, over and over, littered with brilliant, glittering stars. And in almost all the pictures you see, there are two…