Astronomy

Category archives for Astronomy

Striking Cosmic Gold (Synopsis)

“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold.” -Bob Marley Going back to ancient times, it’s hard to think of a more commonly coveted element than gold. In fact, trying to transmute other elements into it was perhaps the holy grail of the pseudoscience of alchemy, the forerunner…

“The line that describes the beautiful is elliptical. It has simplicity and constant change. It cannot be described by a compass, and it changes direction at every one of its points.” -Rudolf Arnheim It’s not every day that a nearby, well-studied galaxy turns your understanding of an entire class of common objects — in this…

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…

“Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed.” -Samuel Johnson You might look up at our Sun in the sky, delighted at its brilliance and life-giving brightness, thankful for all it’s brought to our world. But we’re all just a little bit dismayed at the crushing realization that it won’t live forever, and will…

“And everything under the sun is in tune But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.” -Pink Floyd We normally think of eclipses as rare phenomena, something that happens only occasionally. While it’s true than any particular location only experiences eclipses — particularly solar eclipses — infrequently, we actually experience these things around four times a…

“The self-same atoms which, chaotically dispersed, made the nebula, now, jammed and temporarily caught in peculiar positions, form our brains; and the ‘evolution’ of brains, if understood, would be simply the account of how the atoms came to be so caught and jammed.” -William James Summer is coming. No, not to Westeros, but to your…

“When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead. No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress. We cannot take more than one step at a time.” -Orison Swett Marden Every Messier…

“I recognize my limits, but when I look around I realise I am not living, exactly, in a world of giants.” -Giulio Andreotti There are a huge number of deep-sky objects visible from Earth, and every Monday — with the Messier Monday series — I’ve made it my goal to tell you about one of…

“A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” -Max Planck It’s been a great week for learning a little more about our Universe, from fundamental particles to scales beyond…