“The Universe is made mostly of dark matter and dark energy, and we don’t know what either of them is.” –Saul Perlmutter When I was starting out as a graduate student, one of the most exciting (and daunting) tasks facing me was to piece together a scientifically accurate and useful picture of the Universe, including … Read moreConvincing a Young Scientist that Dark Matter Exists
“It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice — there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.” –Frank Zappa There are many websites around telling you that the world is going to end on the winter solstice — December 21st — in the year 2012. And … Read moreWhat’s going to happen when the Earth passes through the Galactic Plane?
“Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?” –the Wicked Queen For a galaxy, though, it’s really not fair to ask which one’s the fairest. It’s simply too subjective of a question. But size, now that’s something we can measure. So, I ask you — galaxies of the Universe — to step … Read moreGalaxy, Galaxy on the Wall…
“I may be an old lion, but if someone puts his hand in my mouth, I can still bite it off.” –Wilhelm Steinitz When you look at a typical galaxy, you usually find a disk, a bulge, and a few dots diffusely strewn about the exterior. Like an old lion, these dots have been around … Read moreGlobular Clusters: A minor mystery?
“What is art but life upon the larger scale, the higher. When, graduating up in a spiral line of still expanding and ascending gyres, it pushes toward the intense significance of all things, hungry for the infinite?” –Elizabeth Barrett Browning I don’t mean to ask why the Milky Way is a spiral in an existential … Read moreWhy are we a Spiral Galaxy?