“A galaxy is composed of gas and dust and stars – billions upon billions of stars.” –Carl Sagan Perhaps the most striking feature of the night sky under truly dark conditions isn’t the canopy of those thousands of points of light, but rather the expanse of the Milky Way, streaking across the entire night sky. … Read moreBillions of Stars in the Galaxy!
“To use Newton’s words, our efforts up till this moment have but turned over a pebble or shell here and there on the beach, with only a forlorn hope that under one of them was the gem we were seeking. Now we have the sieve, the minds, the hands, the time, and, particularly, the dedication … Read moreNeutrinos and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
“Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean. Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink.” –Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner Despite the discovery of dozens of … Read moreThe Planet with Nowhere to Land
“Not explaining science seems to me perverse. When you’re in love, you want to tell the world.” –Carl Sagan Nothing lasts forever in this Universe, not even the seemingly timeless stars in the sky. At any moment, any one of the brilliant, twinkling points of light from across the galaxy could run out of fuel, … Read moreEta Carinae's 21-Year Outburst: A Cosmic Instant Replay!
“What’s that star? It’s the Death Star. What does it do? It does Death. It does Death, buddy. Get out of my way!” –Eddie Izzard Like it was for many people, the original, very first Star Wars movie was one of my favorites as a child. And while there was a lot to be in … Read moreHow The Universe Destroys Its "Death Stars"
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” –William Shakespeare Up in the night sky, just a few degrees away from Orion, one of the most identifiable constellations in the winter sky, lies a cluster of newly formed stars. 5,000 light years away, this cluster … Read moreThe Galaxy's Biggest Valentine
“The Earth’s atmosphere is an imperfect window on the universe… atmospheric turbulence blurs the images of celestial objects, even when they are viewed through the most powerful ground-based telescopes.” –John Bahcall There’s no doubt that the Hubble Space Telescope has given us some of the most spectacular, high resolution views of the Universe. From the … Read moreDefeating Hubble, from the ground!
“The diversity of the phenomena of nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.” –Johannes Kepler So said the man who, in 1604, discovered the supernova that was the last to be seen, visually, within our … Read moreOur Galaxy's Next Supernova
“When I had satisfied myself that no star of that kind had ever shone before, I was led into such perplexity by the unbelievability of the thing that I began to doubt the faith of my own eyes.” –Tycho Brahe When we look out at galaxies throughout the Universe, we find that every so often … Read moreA History of our Galaxy's Fireworks!
“We find them smaller and fainter, in constantly increasing numbers, and we know that we are reaching into space, farther and farther, until, with the faintest nebulae that can be detected with the greatest telescopes, we arrive at the frontier of the known Universe.” –Edwin Hubble While large parts of the internet are blacked out … Read moreLearning all about the Eagle, all over again