Astronomy

Tag archives for Astronomy

The one and only true “Space Needle”

“If you don’t like what you’re doing, you can always pick up your needle and move to another groove.” -Timothy Leary Up in the night sky, shortly after sunset, the night sky holds some spectacular sights. Some are permanent, some are transient, some have been known for thousands of years, and some are still being…

How Big is the Entire Universe?

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” -Stephen Hawking The Universe is a vast, seemingly unending marvel of existence. Over the past century, we’ve learned that the Universe stretches out beyond the billions of stars in our Milky Way, out across billions of light years, containing close to…

What is this all about?

“You don’t use science to show that you’re right, you use science to become right.” -Randall of xkcd In January of 2008, I began writing this blog, Starts With A Bang, both for myself and for all of you, because we all have something in common. The same planet, the same heavens, the same laws of nature and the…

How long does a Solar Eclipse last?

“The moon shuts off the beams of the sun as it passes across it, and darkens so much of the earth as the breadth of the blue-eyed moon amounts to.” -Empedocles, ~450 B.C. Less than two weeks ago, I saw my first annular eclipse, with some spectacular results at the moment of maximum eclipse. This…

“This seems to be the law of progress in everything we do; it moves along a spiral rather than a perpendicular; we seem to be actually going out of the way, and yet it turns out that we were really moving upward all the time.” -Frances Willard As spring gives way to summer here in…

Q & A: Inside a Gas Giant

I’m always happy to receive questions from those of you interested enough to ask them, and every once in a while one of them feels just right to write up an article about it. Today’s comes from Brad Walker, who asks about the inside of gas giants. Specifically, The question pertains to the insides of…

Want to be a Professional Astronomer?

We need one of those propaganda videos, like the Marines had when I was a kid: Seriously, I remember watching that and actually thinking it would be awesome to be a Marine! (And for those of you who don’t know me that well, I loathe armed conflict.) Well, I’m a scientist. Can’t we do anything…

Hole in the Universe? What Hole?

Some of you who’ve been following astronomy for awhile might remember this report, where a group of astronomers reported finding a giant “void” in the Universe. What is a void? Well, galaxies are distributed pretty randomly, but because of gravity, they cluster together. A small example is our local group which looks like this, and…

Astronomers make use of… molecules?

When I think of molecules, I think of Conan O’Brien doing his skit where he plays Moleculo… the molecular man! I don’t think of astronomy, and I certainly don’t think of the leftover radiation from the big bang (known as the cosmic microwave background)! But somebody over at the European Southern Observatory put these two…

How to Destroy the Entire Universe

Since the dawn of time man has yearned to destroy the sun. – C. M. Burns There’s no need to stop at the Sun, though. Since yesterday was Earth day, I thought it was only appropriate to spend today telling you how not only to destroy the Earth, but to effectively destroy the entire Universe.…