Gravity

Category archives for Gravity

“Despite its name, the big bang theory is not really a theory of a bang at all. It is really only a theory of the aftermath of a bang.” -Alan Guth So you finally understand it. The Big Bang tells us that the Universe was hotter, denser, and expanding at a faster rate in the…

What Matters about Dark Matter?

“A cosmic mystery of immense proportions, once seemingly on the verge of solution, has deepened and left astronomers and astrophysicists more baffled than ever. The crux… is that the vast majority of the mass of the universe seems to be missing.” -William J. Broad Three classic observations — the Hubble expansion of the Universe, the…

How Big is Our Observable Universe?

“The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes When General Relativity supplanted Newton’s work as our theory of how gravity works in the Universe, it didn’t just change how we view how masses attract, it gave us a new understanding of what the questions where…

The Physics of a Bottomless Pit

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.” -Edna St. Vincent Millay I’m sure you’ve thought about it before: what would happen if you dropped something into a bottomless pit? No, not one of those fake bottomless…

For the love of science

“When I say, ‘I love you,’ it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand…

The Universe Just Keeps Trying to Kill Us

“Don’t wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.” -Roger Zelazny It’s always the ones you least expect that get you the worst, it seems. I went to bed last night excited that Asteroid 2012 DA14, a 200,000 ton asteroid, was going to pass within just 28,000 km (or…

How can we see black holes?

“According to the special theory of relativity nothing can travel faster than light, so that if light cannot escape, nothing else can either. The result would be a black hole: a region of space-time from which it is not possible to escape to infinity.” -Stephen Hawking You may have encountered objects that are the same…

“The thing’s hollow—it goes on forever—and—oh my God—it’s full of stars!” -Dave Bowman, 2001: A Space Odyssey Back in October, we began a new, weekly series here called Messier Monday. Each Monday, we’ve taken a look at one of the 110 deep-sky objects that make up the Messier Catalogue, nebulous objects that might potentially be…

From Nothing to You in 10 Sentences

“It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination. It’s a crazy world out there. Be curious.” -Stephen Hawking One of the most existential questions humanity has ever asked is the question of our origins: where do I come from? Inspired by…

“The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us—there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, or falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.” -Carl…