Astronomy

Category archives for Astronomy

“Her will tells nearly all. She left an estate worth $314.91, mostly in Liberty Bonds, with a few items such as a desk valued at $5. She never married and had few living relatives. She also left behind a legacy of a great astronomical discovery.” –Jeremy Bernstein, on Henrietta Leavitt Today is International Women’s Day,…

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” –Boris Pasternak When it comes to theoretical physics, you might realize the entire point is to set up a framework to predict what phenomena are going to occur in the Universe. So if you rewind the clock back to very early times, set up the…

“Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.” –St. Augustine When you look up at the sky, all the twinkling lights — the stars — appear to be fixed. But littered…

“Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.” –Albert Camus There’s nothing quite like the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Some 200-400 billion stars are located there, including our own Sun. From our…

Death is not the end (Synopsis)

“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.” –J.R.R. Tolkien No matter how well we care for our bodies, they eventually wear down, give out, and…

Numbers Game (Synopsis)

No one science can stand wholly on its own. For inquiry about the Universe to give a correct, complete picture, it requires that we bring in a whole slew of evidence, often from tangentially related fields. The interplay between three fields in particular — astronomy, physics, and math (not a science, but the tool used…

“These spots have never been observed by anyone before me; and from my observations of them, often repeated, I have been led to the opinion which I have expressed, namely, that I feel sure that the surface of the Moon is not perfectly smooth, free from inequalities and exactly spherical… but that, on the contrary,…

Observing Night (Synopsis)

“For my confirmation, I didn’t get a watch and my first pair of long pants, like most Lutheran boys. I got a telescope. My mother thought it would make the best gift.” –Wernher von Braun A telescope is only as good, mind you, as the amount of time you spend looking through it. And for…

“In the year 1456 … a Comet was seen passing Retrograde between the Earth and the sun… Hence I dare venture to foretell, that it will return again in the year 1758.” –Edmond Halley When ESA’s Rosetta mission “caught” its target, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August, 2014, one of its main science goals was to watch…

“We like to admit to only that which already glows, although it is nobler to support brightness before it glows, not afterwards.” –Dejan Stojanovic When we look back to greater and greater distances in the Universe, we’re looking back to earlier and earlier times as well. At some point, we can see far enough back…