The Rarest Eclipse of Them All

“You can’t exactly bake a man to your specifications… A hybrid of Einstein, Tarzan and Inge Meysel doesn’t exist.” –Peer Steinbruck Of course, if you create enough chances, all the things that could eventually happen will come to pass. This is as true for human beings as it is for the physical Universe. And for our … Read moreThe Rarest Eclipse of Them All

Messier Monday: The Great Pinwheel of Virgo, M99

“Pinwheel, pinwheel spinning around. Look at my Pinwheel and see what I found. Pinwheel, pinwheel, breezy and bright. Spin me good morning, spin me good night.” –Janet Gardner It’s time for another Messier Monday, where each week, one of the 110 deep-sky objects that make up the famed Messier Catalogue — the first large, accurate catalogue of non-cometary … Read moreMessier Monday: The Great Pinwheel of Virgo, M99

Weekend Diversion: If you hate mosquitoes…

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” -Anita Roddick There’s a lot to enjoy when it’s warm and tropical, which it is many places this time of year. The flowers are out, the Sun often shines, and there’s no shortage of spectacular music. Have a … Read moreWeekend Diversion: If you hate mosquitoes…

What is a meteor shower, anyway?

“That’s why I enjoy taking myself out of my own element, my own comfort zone, and hurling myself out into the unknown. Because it’s during those scary moments, those unsure steps taken, that I am able to see that I’m like a comet hitting a new atmosphere: suddenly I illuminate magnificently and fire dusts begin … Read moreWhat is a meteor shower, anyway?

Why observatories shoot lasers at the Universe

“But certainly the laser proved to be what I realized it was going to be. At that moment in my life I was too ignorant in business law to be able to do it right, and if I did it over again probably the same damn thing would happen.” –Gordon Gould, inventor of the laser … Read moreWhy observatories shoot lasers at the Universe

Messier Monday: A Galactic Sliver in the Big Dipper, M108

“Most writers spend their lives standing a little apart from the crowd, watching and listening and hoping to catch that tiny hint of despair, that sliver of malice, that makes them think, ‘Aha, here is the story.’” –Ayelet Waldman Welcome back again to another Messier Monday, where we’re all set to take an in-depth look at one … Read moreMessier Monday: A Galactic Sliver in the Big Dipper, M108

(Long) Weekend Diversion: Northwest String Summit 2013

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” –Victor Hugo Well, they say that man cannot subsist on bread alone, nor should he want to, and I suppose I’m no different. You all know I’m a big fan of music, particularly live, and with outstanding musicianship. You … Read more(Long) Weekend Diversion: Northwest String Summit 2013

The second most abundant particles in the Universe are undetectable!

“These neutrino observations are so exciting and significant that I think we’re about to see the birth of an entirely new branch of astronomy: neutrino astronomy.” –John Bahcall You’ve been around here long enough to know about the Big Bang. The vast majority of galaxies are speeding away from us, but more than that, the … Read moreThe second most abundant particles in the Universe are undetectable!

Messier Monday: A Very Unusual Globular Cluster, M71

“The image is more than an idea. It is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas and is endowed with energy.” –Ezra Pound It’s time for another Messier Monday, where we profile one of the 110 deep-sky objects that make up the Messier catalogue! This was the first large, accurate catalogue of fixed, non-transient objects to … Read moreMessier Monday: A Very Unusual Globular Cluster, M71