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 … Read more

Messier Monday: The Owl Nebula, M97

“A wise old owl lived in an oak The more he saw the less he spoke The less he spoke the more he heard. Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?” –The Immortal Poet Bromley To your naked eye, the night sky appears littered with thousands of individual points of light: the … Read more

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. … Read more

Messier Monday: The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, M83

“Modern man must descend the spiral of his own absurdity to the lowest point; only then can he look beyond it.” –Vaclav Havel But the spiral is more than a metaphor or a mathematical shape, it’s also the most common feature observed in the galaxies out there in the Universe. There are 27 spiral galaxies … Read more

Why the Universe needs Dark Matter (and not MOND) in one graph

“The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us—there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, or falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.” –Carl … Read more

The Evolution of Starlight

“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 … Read more

Messier Monday: Messier's Oldest Open Cluster, M67

“The ruins were just a reminder that what had been was no longer. That everything we are will be gone someday. That I will be forgotten.” -Megan Miranda Some four-and-a-half billion years ago, a ultra-massive cloud of cold gas and dust collapsed, giving rise to thousands of stars of all different types, from hot, massive, … Read more