A Young, Dusty, Disk-Bearing Star Debunks ‘Alien Megastructures’ Theory (Synopsis)

“Otherwise we are trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t exist with a system which doesn’t work.” -Philip K. Dick When it comes to the now famous “Alien Megastructures” star, the observations didn’t add up. There were huge, irregular flux dips, but not a hint of infrared radiation that would indicate a circumstellar disk. Infrared radiation … Read more

Exoplanets: from fluke to fact

“How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them. A very fit consideration, and matter of Reflection, for those Kings and Princes who sacrifice the Lives of so many People, only … Read more

Comments of the Week #124: from phantom stars to solar storm catastrophes

“Because practical applications are so remote, many people assume we should not be interested. But this quest to understand the world is what defines us as human beings.” -Yuri Milner It’s been another big week here at Starts With A Bang, with stories covering the Universe near and far. First off, thanks to our generous Patreon supporters, we … Read more

Ask Ethan: How Do We Know The Universe Is 13.8 Billion Years Old? (Synopsis)

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” -H.P. Lovecraft There’s a unique relationship between everything that exists in the Universe today — the stars and galaxies, the large-scale structure, the leftover glow from the Big Bang, the expansion rate, etc. … Read more

NASA’s Revived STEREO-B Could Save Us From A Trillion Dollar Disaster (Synopsis)

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” –Alexander Graham Bell In 1859, the Sun surprisingly increased in brightness so significantly for just a brief while that it was noticeable from Earth during the day. Less than 24 hours later, aurorae were visible … Read more

How the last great American eclipse almost shocked Einstein (Synopsis)

“Astronomers are greatly disappointed when, having traveled halfway around the world to see an eclipse, clouds prevent a sight of it; and yet a sense of relief accompanies the disappointment.” –Simon Newcomb Next year, on August 21st, 2017, millions of Americans will delight in the first total solar eclipse to go from coast-to-coast in 99 … Read more