How Does Helium Get Underground In The First Place? (Synopsis)

“I have this one little saying, when things get too heavy just call me helium, the lightest known gas to man.” –Jimi Hendrix The second lightest and second most abundant element in the Universe, helium, is incredibly rare on Earth. Practically none of the helium that Earth was formed with still exists, since was too easy … Read moreHow Does Helium Get Underground In The First Place? (Synopsis)

Could no new particles at the LHC be exactly what physics needs? (Synopsis)

“We have made the discovery of a new particle – a completely new particle – which is most probably very different from all the other particles. It’s nearly a once in a lifetime experience, I would say.” – Rolf-Dieter Heuer At the end of its second, high-energy run, the Large Hadron Collider appeared to display … Read moreCould no new particles at the LHC be exactly what physics needs? (Synopsis)

NASA’s New Horizons Views First Distant Kuiper Belt Object Beyond Pluto (Synopsis)

“It used to be that Pluto was a misfit. Now it turns out that Earth is the misfit. Most planets in the solar system look like Pluto, and not like the terrestrial planets.” -Alan Stern The combination of New Horizons and Hubble to work together allow us to create the longest-baseline parallax images of all … Read moreNASA’s New Horizons Views First Distant Kuiper Belt Object Beyond Pluto (Synopsis)

Comments of the Week #115: from sunbeams to scientific consensus

“All sins have their origin in a sense of inferiority otherwise called ambition.” -Cesare Pavese After another Universe-investigating week here at Starts With A Bang, I’m pleased to make two simple but very satisfying announcements: The latest Starts With A Bang podcast, on Interstellar Travel, will be going live next week, so look for it soon! I … Read moreComments of the Week #115: from sunbeams to scientific consensus

Ask Ethan: Does Earth really have a second Moon? (Synopsis)

“You can be the Moon and still be jealous of the stars.” -Gary Allen Earlier this week, NASA announced the discovery of Asteroid 2016 HO3, calling it Earth’s second moon. And it turns out that this is an object in a stable orbit, the same distance from the Sun as the Earth, that can be … Read moreAsk Ethan: Does Earth really have a second Moon? (Synopsis)

What does ‘scientific consensus’ mean? (Synopsis)

“Those who know that the consensus of many centuries has sanctioned the conception that the earth remains at rest in the middle of the heavens as its center, would, I reflected, regard it as an insane pronouncement if I made the opposite assertion that the earth moves.” –Nicolaus Copernicus There are certain words that simply … Read moreWhat does ‘scientific consensus’ mean? (Synopsis)

Origin Of LIGO’s Merging Black Holes Finally Discovered! (Synopsis)

“Black holes can bang against space-time as mallets on a drum and have a very characteristic song.” -Janna Levin If you had told an astrophysicist five years ago that binary black holes were common, that would’ve been news, but not surprising. If you had told them that ~30 solar masses was a good estimate for … Read moreOrigin Of LIGO’s Merging Black Holes Finally Discovered! (Synopsis)

What is the future of gravitational wave astronomy? (Synopsis)

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” -T.S. Eliot Now that not just one but two gravitational wave events have been directly detected, we’re officially in the era of true gravitational wave astronomy. LIGO … Read moreWhat is the future of gravitational wave astronomy? (Synopsis)

Humanity may be alone in the Universe (Synopsis)

“There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you’ve made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery.” -Enrico Fermi Given the huge number of stars, planets, and chances at life that the galaxy and the Universe has given us, it seems paradoxical that … Read moreHumanity may be alone in the Universe (Synopsis)