Not so fast: why there likely isn’t a large planet out beyond Pluto (Synopsis)

“Finding out that something you have just discovered is considered all but impossible is one of the joys of science.” -Mike Brown Earlier today, the team of Pluto-killer Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin announced that they had found evidence of a ninth planet in our Solar System beyond the orbit of Pluto, larger and more … Read moreNot so fast: why there likely isn’t a large planet out beyond Pluto (Synopsis)

Are Cosmologists Fooling Themselves About The Big Bang, Dark Matter And More? (Synopsis)

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” -Benjamin Franklin The history of science is rife with stories of cases where a person or team, usually with a lot of clout, reached a conclusion that seemed incontrovertible. When that occurs, we often find that subsequent measurements agree with that conclusion, even if that … Read moreAre Cosmologists Fooling Themselves About The Big Bang, Dark Matter And More? (Synopsis)

The Closest New Stars To Earth Are In A Place You’ve Never Looked (Synopsis)

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” -Albert Camus If you ask the average person where you can find new stars in our galaxy, they might (correctly) identify the Orion Nebula, a hotbed of … Read moreThe Closest New Stars To Earth Are In A Place You’ve Never Looked (Synopsis)

Have Astronomers Found Alien Megastructures After All? (No, Probably Not) (Synopsis)

“Thou shalt not embarrass thyself and thy colleagues by claiming false planets.” -Bill Cochran Last year, Penn State astronomer Jason Wright made headlines by claiming that one of the stars being observed by NASA’s Kepler mission might contain alien megastructures around it. The large dips in its light curve didn’t make sense in the context … Read moreHave Astronomers Found Alien Megastructures After All? (No, Probably Not) (Synopsis)

Physicists Must Accept That Some Things Are Unknowable (Synopsis)

“To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” –Nicolaus Copernicus As we peel back the layers of information deeper and deeper into the Universe’s history, we uncover progressively more knowledge about how everything we know today came to … Read morePhysicists Must Accept That Some Things Are Unknowable (Synopsis)

Comments of the Week #94: from nuclear bombs to the changing culture of astronomy

“Observing quasars is like observing the exhaust fumes of a car from a great distance and then trying to figure out what is going on under the hood.” -Carole Mundell Enjoying what we’re putting out at Starts With A Bang? There was a whole lot that we saw this past week, including a few tour-de-force pieces on … Read moreComments of the Week #94: from nuclear bombs to the changing culture of astronomy

Ask Ethan: How Fast Do Gravitational Waves Travel? (Synopsis)

“Einstein’s gravitational theory, which is said to be the greatest single achievement of theoretical physics, resulted in beautiful relations connecting gravitational phenomena with the geometry of space; this was an exciting idea.” -Richard P. Feynman When Einstein’s theory was first proposed as an alternative to Newtonian gravity, there were a number of subtle but important … Read moreAsk Ethan: How Fast Do Gravitational Waves Travel? (Synopsis)

What All The Harassment Stories In Astronomy Really Mean (Synopsis)

“Beauty provokes harassment, the law says, but it looks through men’s eyes when deciding what provokes it.” -Naomi Wolf Geoff Marcy. Tim Slater. Christian Ott. And a great many more who are just waiting to be publicly exposed for what they’ve done (and in many cases, are still doing). Does it mean that astronomy has … Read moreWhat All The Harassment Stories In Astronomy Really Mean (Synopsis)

The Universe’s Dark Ages May Hold The Secrets To Dark Matter, Inflation, And Even String Theory (Synopsis)

“When their eyes grew dim with looking at unrevealing dials and studying uneventful graphs, they could step outside their concrete cells and renew their dull spirits in communion with the giant mechanism they commanded, the silent, sensing instrument in which the smallest packets of energy, the smallest waves of matter, were detected in their headlong, … Read moreThe Universe’s Dark Ages May Hold The Secrets To Dark Matter, Inflation, And Even String Theory (Synopsis)