Stars

Category archives for Stars

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” -Albert Camus If you ask the average person where you can find new stars in our galaxy, they might (correctly) identify the Orion Nebula, a hotbed of…

“Thou shalt not embarrass thyself and thy colleagues by claiming false planets.” -Bill Cochran Last year, Penn State astronomer Jason Wright made headlines by claiming that one of the stars being observed by NASA’s Kepler mission might contain alien megastructures around it. The large dips in its light curve didn’t make sense in the context…

“Mars is much closer to the characteristics of Earth. It has a fall, winter, summer and spring. North Pole, South Pole, mountains and lots of ice. No one is going to live on Venus; no one is going to live on Jupiter.” -Buzz Aldrin When a planet passes in front of its star from our…

“You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.” -Samuel Beckett In 2012, astronomers announced that the nearest star system to us, the Alpha Centauri system, possessed at least one exoplanet around it. A periodic signal that recurred just every 3.24 days was consistent with an Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting and gravitationally tugging on the second largest…

“The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.” -Harlan Ellison Shortly after the Big Bang, the Universe was filled with 99.99999993% hydrogen and helium, with the rest being lithium. But stars change everything, by fusing those elements — the lightest ones — into heavier ones, climbing the periodic table and enriching…

“Truth is more valuable if it takes you a few years to find it.” -Jules Renard Of all the star-forming nebulae in our galaxy, the Trifid Nebula — Messier 20 — is thought to be the newest and youngest. Named “Trifid” for its threefold appearance, the blue reflection nebula, the red emission nebula, and the…

When you take a large amount of mass and put it all together in a small volume of space, you fully expect gravity to do its thing, and eventually collapse things down as far as they’ll go. You can imagine that for compact masses with large distances between them — like planets in the solar system…

“Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?” –Rose Kennedy It’s a good thing that sunlight doesn’t reach us simply from its moment of creation in the core of stars, otherwise we’d be bombarded with lethal gamma rays, rather than the life-giving UV, visible…

“What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.” –Victor Hugo When stars are born of a certain mass — between about 10 and 40 times the mass of the Sun — they can evolve into yellow supergiants when they burn through the hydrogen in…

“Aristotle taught that stars are made of a different matter than the four earthly elements — a quintessence — that also happens to be what the human psyche is made of. Which is why man’s spirit corresponds to the stars. Perhaps that’s not a very scientific view, but I do like the idea that there’s a little starlight in…