Solar System

Category archives for Solar System

“Most estimates of the mortality risk posed by asteroid impacts put it at about the same risk as flying in a commercial airliner. However, you have to remember that this is like the entire human race riding the plane — it is one of the few risks that really could wipe us all out.” -Nathan Myhrvold Yes,…

“It took less than an hour to make the atoms, a few hundred million years to make the stars and planets, but five billion years to make man!” -George Gamow Whenever Earth Day comes around, I see a lot of different reactions from people. Some express their passion for the environment, others express disdain for…

“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…

“I have announced this star as a comet, but since it is not accompanied by any nebulosity and, further, since its movement is so slow and rather uniform, it has occurred to me several times that it might be something better than a comet. But I have been careful not to advance this supposition to…

Ask Ethan #20: Is the Mars One crew doomed?

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” -Antoine de Saint Exupéry It’s the end of the week here, so it’s time for another Ask Ethan column! Today’s question…

Top 6 Facts about the year’s final Solstice

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” -Albert Camus As the year draws to a close, we approach a very special time of year, at least from an astronomical perspective. This Saturday, December 21st, will mark the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere (or the Summer…

“I have announced this star as a comet, but since it is not accompanied by any nebulosity and, further, since its movement is so slow and rather uniform, it has occurred to me several times that it might be something better than a comet. But I have been careful not to advance this supposition to…

The Story of Mars

“Mars once was wet and fertile. It’s now bone dry. Something bad happened on Mars. I want to know what happened on Mars so that we may prevent it from happening here on Earth.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson Oh, it’s true alright, something bad did once happen on Mars. And although there isn’t any real danger…

Ask Ethan #9: Why everything rotates

“Galileo got it wrong. The Earth does not revolve around the Sun. It revolves around you and has been doing so for decades. At least, this is the model you are using.” -Srikumar Rao It’s the end of the week, so that means its time to take on another one of your questions from the…

Ask Ethan #8: The Comet of the Century?

“I have just gone over my comet computations again, and it is humiliating to perceive how very little more I know than I did seven years ago when I first did this kind of work.” -Maria Mitchell Well, it’s getting close to the end of October, the Moon is waning towards its new phase, and…