“I admitted, that the world had existed millions of years. I am astonished at the ignorance of the masses on these subjects. Hugh Miller has it right when he says that ‘the battle of evidences must now be fought on the field of the natural sciences.’” –James A. Garfield, future U.S. President, in 1859 You … Read moreHow you can figure out the Age of the Universe!
“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” –Helen Keller If you’ve been paying attention, you heard that the Kepler mission, earlier this week, announced the discovery of 706 candidate planets orbiting stars in its field of view. And … Read moreHow lucky would Kepler have to be to see us?
“We are all captives of the pictures in our head — our belief that the world we have experienced is the world that really exists.” –Walter Lippmann For a long time, humans have wondered about life on other worlds, and about worlds around other stars. Until the 1990s, this was mostly speculation and hope. But … Read moreHow many planets are out there? First Results from Kepler!
“A good heart is the Sun and the Moon; or, rather, the Sun and not the Moon, for it shines bright and never changes.” –William Shakespeare Did I ever tell you how lucky you are? Lucky, indeed, to have the Sun for a star? Our Sun — the ultimate source of all the light, heat, … Read moreThank Your Lucky Star!
“Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the Earth.” –Ptolemy When you look up at the stars in the night sky, perhaps the most striking thing that … Read moreHow Far to the Stars?
“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” –Jack London Most of you have seen a shooting star … Read moreHow to Make a Real Shooting Star!
“From the intrinsic evidence of his creation, the Great Architect of the Universe now begins to appear as a pure mathematician.” –Sir James Jeans Last time we met, I posed a mystery to you: why are globular clusters the smallest in the Universe? And what’s more than that, we never find them in isolation! We … Read moreWhy Globular Clusters are the Smallest
“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?
Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own. –Georg Lichtenberg We’ve been going through the history of the Universe — from inflation to the present day — and you can read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 here. The last thing that happened … Read moreThe Greatest Story Ever Told — 10 — The lights are on, can you see?