Ask Ethan: How Do Black Holes Make Such Bright Quasars? (Synopsis)

“Twinkle, twinkle quasi-star. Biggest puzzle from afar. How unlike the other ones. Brighter than a billion suns. Twinkle, twinkle, quasi-star. How I wonder what you are.” -George Gamow One of the most interesting classes of objects in the entire sky is one that’s invisible to the naked eye, yet appears brighter than anything else in … Read moreAsk Ethan: How Do Black Holes Make Such Bright Quasars? (Synopsis)

Happy birthday, Edwin Hubble (Synopsis)

“Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.” -Edwin Hubble Back in the 1920s, Einstein’s general relativity had just come out and gained acceptance, and a debate was raging over whether the spirals in the sky were within our own galaxy, or were entire galaxies unto themselves. … Read moreHappy birthday, Edwin Hubble (Synopsis)

The Moon’s Two Sides Look So Different Thanks To 4.5 Billion-Year-Old Physics (Synopsis)

“Cheap little rhymes A cheap little tune Are sometimes as dangerous As a sliver of the moon.” -Langston Hughes 4.5 billion years ago, a giant object collided with our proto-Earth, kicking up debris that eventually coalesced into the Moon. While the near side contains dark maria and lunar lowlands, the far side is almost exclusive … Read moreThe Moon’s Two Sides Look So Different Thanks To 4.5 Billion-Year-Old Physics (Synopsis)

Can we test dark energy using the Solar System? (Synopsis)

“There are still so many questions to answer. When you look at any part of the universe, you have to feel humbled.” -Saul Perlmutter Discovered in 1998 from the observation of distant supernovae, dark energy determines the eventual fate of the Universe, leading to a “Big Freeze” scenario, where all the galaxies, groups and clusters that … Read moreCan we test dark energy using the Solar System? (Synopsis)

Mostly Mute Monday: A Tribute To The Greatest French Nebula In Space (Synopsis)

“Truth is more valuable if it takes you a few years to find it.” -Jules Renard Of all the star-forming nebulae in our galaxy, the Trifid Nebula — Messier 20 — is thought to be the newest and youngest. Named “Trifid” for its threefold appearance, the blue reflection nebula, the red emission nebula, and the … Read moreMostly Mute Monday: A Tribute To The Greatest French Nebula In Space (Synopsis)

Averaging inanimate objects can produce human faces (Synopsis)

“Every great work makes the human face more admirable and richer, and that is its whole secret.” -Albert Camus It’s well known that by aligning and averaging a wide variety of human faces together, an eerie “average” human face can be arrived at. But we see faces in things all the time, from natural scenes … Read moreAveraging inanimate objects can produce human faces (Synopsis)

Comments of the Week #85: From betting your scientific life to black hole entangelment

“You are all wave particles when I close my eyes. I am no more entranced by your entanglement than a butterfly is to a bee.” -Solange nicole This past week at Starts With A Bang saw a flurry of activity, including a wonderful variety of new stories, like: Would a scientist bet their life on a theory? (for … Read moreComments of the Week #85: From betting your scientific life to black hole entangelment

Ask Ethan: Can We See Our Galaxy’s Supermassive Black Hole? (Synopsis)

“Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.” -Dag Hammarskjold One of the great discoveries of the past few decades was that of a supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way. No … Read moreAsk Ethan: Can We See Our Galaxy’s Supermassive Black Hole? (Synopsis)

Gravity’s Most Extreme Effects Can Now Be Tested In A Laboratory (Synopsis)

“It’s not the job of the theorist to defend his model at all costs!” – Joel Primack One of the more puzzling phenomena in our quantum Universe is that of entanglement: two particles remain in mutually indeterminate states until one is measured, and then the other — even if it’s across the Universe — is … Read moreGravity’s Most Extreme Effects Can Now Be Tested In A Laboratory (Synopsis)

Comet Catalina to pass by Earth for the final time (Synopsis)

“I have worn myself thin trying to find out about this comet, and I know very little now in the matter.” -Maria Mitchell Originating from the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud, comets are generally thought of as periodic objects, with their initial trajectories having been perturbed by either Neptune, another distant object or a … Read moreComet Catalina to pass by Earth for the final time (Synopsis)