Solar System

Category archives for Solar System

Scientific Paradoxes are Omens of Advance

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” -Charles Darwin There are problems with science today, no doubt. With all the knowledge we’ve accumulated about the Universe, from…

Ask Ethan #2: Meet the Oort Cloud

“The great oak of Astronomy has been felled, and we are lost without its shadow.” -Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, on the passing of Jan Oort In our new semi-regular series, readers from all over the world (and in low-Earth orbit, too, because why not!) are invited to send in their questions and suggestions for a chance to…

Where do Rogue Planets come from?

“Like all animals, human beings have always taken what they want from nature. But we are the rogue species. We are unique in our ability to use resources on a scale and at a speed that our fellow species can’t.” -Edward Burtynsky It’s really a romantic notion when you think about it: the heavens, the…

“Being told about the effects of climate change is an appeal to our reason and to our desire to bring about change. But to see that Africans are the hardest hit by climate change, even though they generate almost no greenhouse gas, is a glaring injustice, which also triggers anger and outrage over those who…

“We make the world we live in and shape our own environment.” -Orison Swett Marden If you had never heard of global warming before, how would you figure out whether it’s real or not? And if it is real, how would you figure out what humanity’s role in it is? To answer this, I’ve decided to…

“There is no question that climate change is happening; the only arguable point is what part humans are playing in it.” -David Attenborough It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything on this blog about global warming, climate change, or most Earth-based environmental topics in general. After all, I’m a physicist — an astrophysicist…

“Next to reasoning, the greatest handicap to the optimum development of Man lies in the fact that this planet is just barely habitable. Its minimum temperatures are too low, and its maximum temperatures too high. Its day is not long enough, and its night is too long… These factors encourage depression, fear, war, and lack…

“What was most significant about the lunar voyage was not that men set foot on the Moon, but that they set eye on the Earth.” -Norman Cousins What would life on Earth be like without the Moon? Our nearest neighboring body in the cosmos has a profound effect on us. It’s helped not only shape…

The Rarest Eclipse of Them All

“You can’t exactly bake a man to your specifications… A hybrid of Einstein, Tarzan and Inge Meysel doesn’t exist.” -Peer Steinbruck Of course, if you create enough chances, all the things that could eventually happen will come to pass. This is as true for human beings as it is for the physical Universe. And for our…

What is a meteor shower, anyway?

“That’s why I enjoy taking myself out of my own element, my own comfort zone, and hurling myself out into the unknown. Because it’s during those scary moments, those unsure steps taken, that I am able to see that I’m like a comet hitting a new atmosphere: suddenly I illuminate magnificently and fire dusts begin…