Solar System

Category archives for Solar System

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…

“To disagree leads to study, to study leads to understanding, to understand is to appreciate, to appreciate is to love. So maybe I’ll end up loving your theory.” -John Wheeler Out there in the Universe, there’s a lot to marvel at. Over billions of years, gravity has attracted different portions of the expanding Universe together…

“…because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there is no such thing really as professional photographers.” -Marissa Meyer Before you get irate, I don’t actually agree at all with that quote above; I have no talent for photography at all and a tremendous respect for those who do, and who cultivate it to produce something…

The Far Future of our Solar System

“No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” -Alan Watts “They do not see what lies ahead, when Sun has faded and Moon is dead.” -J.R.R. Tolkien One of the most amazing facts about the Universe is that, despite only having spent a few hundred years…

Missions to Mars and Nuclear Fusion

“We are much closer today to being able to send humans to Mars than we were to being able to send men to the moon in 1961, and we were there eight years later. Given the will, we could have humans on Mars within a decade.” -Robert Zubrin Of all the planets in the Solar…

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…

The Physics of Sunsets

“It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.” -Carl Sagan I would argue the exact opposite, in fact: the beauty of a sunset, in all of its varieties and variations, is only enhanced the more you know about it. The next time you watch the Sun…

The Solar Storm of a Lifetime

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” -Alexander Graham Bell Imagine a beautiful, clear day. The Sun is shining, the skies are clear, and you couldn’t ask for a nicer day. All of a sudden, the Sun itself appears to brighten, just for…

Weekend Diversion: The Methuselah of Mars

“In any field, find the strangest thing and then explore it.” -John Archibald Wheeler Sometimes, things get difficult. Sometimes, there are challenges you have to face that you never even expected, much less were prepared for. And sometimes, it seems like there’s no point in even holding on to hope that things will get better.…

How Many Planets Are In The Universe?

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” -Ray Bradbury It wasn’t all that long ago — back when I was a boy — that the only planets we knew of were the ones in…