Solar System

Category archives for Solar System

“The moon was like this awesome, romantic, mysterious thing, hanging up there in the sky where you could never reach it, no matter how much you wanted to. But you’re right. Once you’re actually here, it’s just a big, dull rock.” –Futurama Oh, but the big dull rocks are fascinating in their own right. Especially, mind…

“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…

“Girls blush, sometimes, because they are alive, half wishing they were dead to save the shame. The sudden blush devours them, neck and brow; They have drawn too near the fire of life, like gnats, and flare up bodily, wings and all. What then? Who’s sorry for a gnat or girl?” –Elizabeth Barrett Browning As…

“When I look at the moon I do not see a hostile, empty world. I see the radiant body where man has taken his first steps into a frontier that will never end.” –David Scott, Commander, Apollo 15 The Moon is perhaps the oldest sight known to humans and our animal ancestors here on Earth, with its…

“The dance between darkness and light will always remain — the stars and the moon will always need the darkness to be seen, the darkness will just not be worth having without the moon and the stars.” –C. JoyBell C. Yet what do you do when you discover a moon that itself straddles the border between light-and-dark? It…

“Even in hindsight, I would not change one whit of the Voyager experience. Dreams and sweat carried it off. But most of all, its legacy makes us all Earth travelers among the stars.” –Charley Kohlhase It’s a taxing enough task to launch something off the surface of the Earth, escaping our planet’s gravity and finding…

Impending Doom (Synopsis)

“From an incandescent mass we have originated, and into a frozen mass we shall turn. Merciless is the law of nature, and rapidly and irresistibly we are drawn to our doom.” –Nikola Tesla Stability: it’s the hallmark of the Solar System. The motions of all the planetary bodies are regular and periodic. The paths of…

“But even when the moon looks like it’s waning…it’s actually never changing shape. Don’t ever forget that.” –Ai Yazawa You’ve seen the iconic crescent, quarter, gibbous and full phases for yourself, and probably even an eclipse or two. For millennia, the Moon has fascinated, delighted and mystified observers of the skies. Less than 50 years…

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.” –Rainer Maria Rilke Yes, it’s true, with 2015 upon us, the new year holds a number of wonderful new things. Not only for us, but for the Universe as well! Consider all the time that’s passed, leading up to today. Consider how far…

Fixing Occam’s Razor (Synopsis)

“It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.” –Amelia Barr All things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the best. At least, that’s how Occam’s razor is most commonly phrased these days. Yet, when it comes to the headlines — whether it’s a “discovery” of dark matter or “evidence” for life on Mars…