“Presently thought to be the most powerful explosions in nature… their sources have only recently been localized by observations of associated afterglows in X-rays, visible light, and radio waves, delayed in that order.” -Richard Matzner, on the dictionary entry for Gamma Ray Burst It seems like an eternity ago, but it’s been under two years … Read moreBeyond Black Holes: Could LIGO Have Detected Merging Neutron Stars For The First Time? (Synopsis)
“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.” -G. K. Chesterton Worried about the environment of Earth today? Here’s a sobering fact: we already know how it’s all going to end. Not just when the next ice age will come or the next supervolcano will blow, but on cosmic scales … Read moreHow Our Solar System Will End In The Far Future (Synopsis)
“Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.” –Benjamin Franklin Welcome to Messier Monday, where each week we take a journey into one of the 110 objects in the Messier Catalogue of non-cometary deep-sky objects. Ranging … Read moreMessier Monday: A Rich Open Star Cluster, M37
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” –Satchel Paige Today marks another year and another trip around the Sun for me. For you, and me, and everything on Earth that makes it through another year on this world, there’s a whole lot we get to experience. Some things are … Read moreAnother Trip Around the Sun
“Black holes, which have no memory, are said to contain the earliest memories of the universe, and the most recent, too, while at the same time obliterating all memory by obliterating all its embodiments. Such paradoxes characterize these strange galactic monsters, for whom creation is destruction, death life, chaos order.” –Robert Coover Our Milky Way, … Read moreWhere do Supermassive Black Holes Come From?
“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” -Neil Armstrong Here on our little wet rock in our Solar System, we … Read moreA Super-Sized Sister Solar System!
“Through that last dark cloud is a dying star… And when it explodes, it will be reborn. You will bloom… and I will live.” –The Fountain I want to start off by letting you all know that I, myself, do not have any children of my own. I have taught children, adolescents and adults for … Read moreSo, you've learned that the Sun is going to explode…
“Some painters transform the Sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the Sun.” –Pablo Picasso But the Sun will not always be a bright spot. Though it has shone for billions of years already, and will continue to shine for billions of years more, it’s currently doing this by burning its … Read moreWhen the fuel's all gone…
“We were left with a picture of part of the sky with no stars or galaxies, but it still had this infrared glow with giant blobs that we think could be the glow from the very first stars.” –John Mather When you look out at the night sky, you’re limited by the light pollution from … Read moreThe Whole Universe from One Satellite's Eyes
“You cannot, in human experience, rush into the light. You have to go through the twilight into the broadening day before the noon comes and the full sun is upon the landscape.” –Woodrow Wilson Without a doubt, one of the most spectacular light shows of the cosmos happens when stars burn out — reaching the … Read moreWhen supernovae get too big!