Solar System

Category archives for Solar System

“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.”  -Judith Thurman You’d think that landing on a comet for the first time, with all ten instruments functioning, and collecting more than two full Earth-days worth of data would be…

“I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” -Henri Nouwen So, maybe you’ve been living under a rock, but whether you have or haven’t, the news is still amazing: we’ve just landed on our first not-a-rock in space,…

“It is not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, that the lover of knowledge is reluctant to step into its waters.” -Friedrich Nietzsche Out beyond Neptune, the last of our Solar System’s gas giants, the icy graveyard of failed planetesimals lurks: the Kuiper Belt. Among these mixes of ice, snow, dust and…

“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.” -Wayne Dyer We like to think of our Solar System as typical: a central star with a number of planets — some gas giants and some rocky worlds — in orbit around it. Yes, there’s some variety, with binary or trinary star systems…

“I sometimes catch myself looking up at the Moon, remembering the changes of fortune in our long voyage, thinking of the thousands of people who worked to bring the three of us home. I look up at the moon and wonder, when will we be going back, and who will that be?” -Tom Hanks Imagine,…

“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 The story of where everything came from in the Universe — of how we came from empty, expanding space to…

The Astrologer’s Triumph (Synopsis)

When you think of astrology today, you probably think of someone who makes false promises and proclaims either platitudes or fabrications as though they were preordained truths. But for many millennia dating to just a few centuries ago, astrology was anything but. In fact, by many metrics, it was the very beginning of what has…

The Planets that Never Were (Synopsis)

In 1992, scientists discovered the first planets orbiting a star other than our Sun. The pulsar PSR B1257+12 was discovered to have its own planetary system, and since then, exoplanet discoveries have exploded! But did you know that long before that, back in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, a scientist studying Barnard’s Star — the second-closest…

The Inconstant Moon (Synopsis)

“O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, That monthly changes in her circled orb, Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.” -Romeo & Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2 Tonight holds a full Moon in store for skywatchers everywhere. Not just any old full Moon, mind you, but a Supermoon, the last one of the…

“We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.” -Bill Anders, Apollo 8 astronaut When you think about the most amazing sights available to humanity here on Earth, you probably don’t think about leaving Earth in order to capture them. But sometimes, doing exactly that…