There's Water on Mercury, and EVERY World Like it!

“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” –Edwin Louis Cole Our Solar System is — at least from our perspective — the most well-studied system of planets, moons, asteroids and comets in the entire Universe. And in this system, the closest planet to our Sun, Mercury, was also one … Read more

Why you must NEVER hug the Moon!

“Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.” –Hal Borland Of course you know the danger that would befall us if the Earth ever got too close to the Sun, as the Perry Bible Fellowship shows, atop. But have you … Read more

Messier Monday: A Straggling Globular Cluster, M30

“The man’s a born straggler… another lucky exception to the rules of natural selection. A million years ago he would’ve been an easy snack for a saber-toothed tiger.” -Carl Hiaasen Welcome to the latest Messier Monday, where each week we take a look at one of Charles Messier’s original catalogue of 110 deep-sky objects that … Read more

Weekend Diversion: Make Yourself Hallucinate (Safely)

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a Ride!’” –Hunter S. Thompson For those of you who’ve never … Read more

Giving thanks for our place in the Universe

“We live in an atmosphere of shame. We are ashamed of everything that is real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins.” –George Bernard Shaw All that is real about ourselves is nothing … Read more

Messier Monday: Bode's Galaxy, M81

“When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.” –Kalpana Chawla Welcome to this week’s Messier Monday, where I pick a new object out of the original catalogue of 110 “faint fuzzies” designed to help comet-hunters avoid … Read more

Weekend Diversion: Blending the "real" with 3D prints

“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.” –Niels Bohr One of the most amazing recent technological innovations is the advent of 3D Printing, where any shaped or textured object can be accurately reproduced with the right software and printing materials. The things that I’ve seen made so far … Read more

So just what is out there beyond the Standard Model?

“Other than the laws of physics, rules have never really worked out for me.” –Craig Ferguson Earlier this week, evidence was presented measuring a very rare decay rate — albeit not incredibly precisely — which point towards the Standard Model being it as far as new particles accessible to colliders (such as the LHC) go. … Read more

Is there any particle physics beyond the standard model?

“…this consensus has been brought about, not by shifts in philosophical preference or by the influence of astrophysical mandarins, but by the pressure of empirical data.” –Steven Weinberg One of the most fundamental questions we could ever ask about all of existence is “What makes up the Universe?” I don’t mean “stars and galaxies,” like … Read more

Messier Monday: An Ancient Globular Cluster, M15

“When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it’s a sure sign you’re getting old.” –Mark Twain Welcome to yet another installment of Messier Monday, where each week, I’ll pick one of the 110 Messier Objects — deep-sky objects catalogued to avoid confusion for comet hunters — to highlight for you. So far, … Read more