NASA unveils greatest views of the aurorae ever (Synopsis)

“You cannot rob me of free nature’s grace, You cannot shut the windows of the sky Through which Aurora shows her brightening face.” -James Thomson The northern (aurora borealis) and southern (aurora australis) lights are caused by a combination of three phenomena on our world, that make our aurorae unique among all worlds in our … Read moreNASA unveils greatest views of the aurorae ever (Synopsis)

99.8% Wrong: How NASA’s Fermi Scientists Are Fooling Themselves About Gamma Rays From Black Holes (Synopsis)

“That’s the next step: to simultaneously see [gravitational waves] with three, four or five interferometers, localize it quickly, within minutes, and have other observatories catch it instantly, and catch it in the optical or the X-ray bands. That’s going to provide a whole new understanding in these cataclysmic events.” -Dave Reitze, executive director of LIGO … Read more99.8% Wrong: How NASA’s Fermi Scientists Are Fooling Themselves About Gamma Rays From Black Holes (Synopsis)

Mars gears up for its closest approach to Earth in over a decade (Synopsis)

“This is the plan. Get your ass to Mars, and go to the Hilton Hotel and flash the fake Brubaker I.D. at the front desk, that’s all there is to it. Just do as I tell you.” –Total Recall Every two years, Earth passes Mars in orbit, as the inner, faster world overtakes the outer … Read moreMars gears up for its closest approach to Earth in over a decade (Synopsis)

Comments of the Week #106: From Jupiter’s bombardment to the StarShot

“Not going to the Moon and banging on it with my own hammer has been the biggest disappointment in life.” -Gene Shoemaker, co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Don’t fret about your taxes here at Starts With A Bang; I’ll continue to bring you the Universe for free! (Although I do take donations, and one reward you’re sure … Read moreComments of the Week #106: From Jupiter’s bombardment to the StarShot

Ask Ethan: Why don’t you look like a scientist? (Synopsis)

“If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” -John F. Kennedy No one likes being denied an opportunity — or told they shouldn’t do something they want to — solely because of the way they are. That’s especially true when it comes to something that’s … Read moreAsk Ethan: Why don’t you look like a scientist? (Synopsis)

Is Stephen Hawking’s ‘StarShot’ really possible? (Synopsis)

“Fundamental physics is like an art more or less. It’s completely non-practical, and you can’t use it for anything. But it’s about the universe and how the world came into being. It’s very remote from your daily life and mine, and yet it defines us as human beings.” -Yuri Milner In one of the boldest … Read moreIs Stephen Hawking’s ‘StarShot’ really possible? (Synopsis)

How to tell a child that the Sun will someday die (Synopsis)

“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness, that is life.” -Jean-Luc Picard The cosmic story common to all of us — where we came from, how we got here and where we’re headed into the future — is both amazing and daunting. But when we’re first exposed … Read moreHow to tell a child that the Sun will someday die (Synopsis)

Winning a Nobel Prize two kilometers under the Earth (Synopsis)

“It’s ironic: in order to observe the Sun, you need to go kilometers underground.” -Art McDonald Imagine you finally thought you understood how the Sun worked: how light elements fused into heavier ones, emitting energy in the process. And when you finally completed your calculations, you got nuclear physics results that matched what you observed … Read moreWinning a Nobel Prize two kilometers under the Earth (Synopsis)

How we’ll finally wind up testing quantum gravity (Synopsis)

“There was a long history of speculation that in quantum gravity, unlike Einstein’s classical theory, it might be possible for the topology of spacetime to change.” -Edward Witten Quantum gravity is one of the holy grails of physics, and showing that gravitation is an inherently quantum force would be a tremendous step towards validating our … Read moreHow we’ll finally wind up testing quantum gravity (Synopsis)

The Biggest Problem With The Expanding Universe Might Be Trouble For Dark Energy (Synopsis)

“That’s all regular matter, just five percent. A quarter is “dark matter,” which is invisible and detectable only by gravitational pull, and a whopping 70 percent of the universe is made up of “dark energy,” described as a cosmic antigravity, as yet totally unknowable. It’s basically all mystery out there – all of it, with … Read moreThe Biggest Problem With The Expanding Universe Might Be Trouble For Dark Energy (Synopsis)