Astronomy

Category archives for Astronomy

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…

“Motions of the stars tell you how much matter there is. They don’t care what form the matter is, they just tell you that it’s there.” -Pieter van Dokkum Everything in the Universe was born with the same ratios of dark matter to normal matter: approximately 5-to-1. It shows up in everything from the cosmic…

“Our existence in this place, this microscopic corner of the cosmos, is fleeting. With utter disregard for our wants and needs, nature plays out its grand acts on scales of space and time that are truly hard to grasp. Perhaps all we can look to for real solace is our endless capacity to ask questions…

“To consider the Earth as the only populated world in infinite space is as absurd as to assert that in an entire field sown with millet, only one grain will grow.” -Metrodorus of Chios Later tonight, the European Southern Observatory is expected to make an announcement, and the smart money is on the discovery of…

“Astronomers are greatly disappointed when, having traveled halfway around the world to see an eclipse, clouds prevent a sight of it; and yet a sense of relief accompanies the disappointment.” –Simon Newcomb Next year, on August 21st, 2017, millions of Americans will delight in the first total solar eclipse to go from coast-to-coast in 99…

“For something to collapse, not all systems have to shut down. In most cases, just one system is enough.” -Robert Kiyosaki Do supermassive black holes form from the merger and growth of many smaller black holes, falling towards a cluster/galactic center where they find one another and grow into a behemoth? Or is there a…

“All the atoms of our bodies will be blown into space in the disintegration of the solar system, to live on forever as mass or energy.” -Carolyn Porco Launched in 1997, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has shed unprecedented views on our Solar System’s majestic, ringed world. From the discovery of new, outer rings to infrared hazes…

“Honestly, if you’re given the choice between Armageddon or tea, you don’t say ‘what kind of tea?” -Neil Gaiman Enjoying the Perseid meteor shower this year, as perhaps you do every August? As you look up, the great cosmic show might have a lot more to offer than mere streaks of light, due to cometary…

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” -Leonardo da Vinci The Universe is an awfully big place, but how certain are we that we couldn’t travel in a straight line for a very long…

“Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes When isolated stars like our Sun reach the end of their lives, they’re expected to blow off their outer layers…