The Entire Universe, One Picture, and One Year

The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. –Carl Sagan If the story of our entire Universe’s history, from the last stages of inflation and the Big Bang up to the present day, were to be compressed into one calendar … Read moreThe Entire Universe, One Picture, and One Year

The Best of Starts With A Bang: Top 10 for 2011

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” –Dr. Seuss 2011 has been an amazing year over here. After more than two hundred new posts this year here on Starts With A Bang, where we covered everything from the science of tiny snowflakes to the earliest, farthest and most spectacular galaxies in the Universe, … Read moreThe Best of Starts With A Bang: Top 10 for 2011

Weekend Diversion: The Physics of Santa Claus

(This post first appeared on December 23, 2009, but has been reproduced, edited, and improved for 2011.) 089:32:50 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. [No answer.] 089:33:38 Mattingly: Apollo 8, Houston. 089:34:16 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8, over. 089:34:19 Mattingly: Hello, Apollo 8. Loud and clear. 089:34:25 Lovell: Roger. Please be informed there is a Santa Claus. 089:34:31 … Read moreWeekend Diversion: The Physics of Santa Claus

Are We Trading Away the Education of Future Astronomers?

“Just as I did some 25 years ago, my graduate student is right now using one of the NOAO telescopes, learning how to do observational astronomy… Closing down one of these observatories in the next few years would likely lead to long term problems with producing adequately prepared astronomers in the future, and they are … Read moreAre We Trading Away the Education of Future Astronomers?

First Exoplanet Smaller Than Earth: Why I'm Not Surprised

“Continue to surprise those who would put you in a neat demographic. Be insistently curious.” –Gordon Gee Twenty years ago, our Solar System was the only one we knew of that we were certain had planets orbiting around a main-sequence star. Perhaps surprisingly, it wasn’t until 1995 that the first Extra-Solar Planet (exoplanet) — or … Read moreFirst Exoplanet Smaller Than Earth: Why I'm Not Surprised

How to make the Slowest Slow-Motion Video Ever!

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.” –May Sarton It’s unbelievable how much more amazing the world becomes in slow-motion. You’ve probably seen some high speed cameras that shoot at astounding frame rates, such as the video (below) of a … Read moreHow to make the Slowest Slow-Motion Video Ever!