The Night the Universe Changed

“I conclude, therefore, that this star is not some kind of comet or a fiery meteor… but that it is a star shining in the firmament itself one that has never previously been seen before our time, in any age since the beginning of the world.” –Tycho Brahe I want to take you back in … Read moreThe Night the Universe Changed

How to find your very own supernova

“Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can’t even express these things properly because I have to – I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws! And feel the wind of a supernova … Read moreHow to find your very own supernova

Messier Monday: The First Messier Supernova of 2013, M65

“I wouldn’t dream of working on something that didn’t make my gut rumble and my heart want to explode.” –Kate Winslet Welcome back for another Messier Monday! At the start of each week, we take a detailed look at one of the 110 deep-sky objects that make up the Messier Catalogue. This week, we’ve got … Read moreMessier Monday: The First Messier Supernova of 2013, M65

Giving thanks for our place in the Universe

“We live in an atmosphere of shame. We are ashamed of everything that is real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins.” –George Bernard Shaw All that is real about ourselves is nothing … Read moreGiving thanks for our place in the Universe

Where do Type Ia Supernovae come from?

“You have to have a canon so the next generation can come along and explode it.” –Henry Louis Gates When it comes to stars, their fates are very well known. Every single star that’s massive enough to fuse hydrogen into helium in its core will someday run out of fuel and die. The very brightest … Read moreWhere do Type Ia Supernovae come from?

Messier Monday: The Crab Nebula, M1

“This nebula had such a resemblance to a comet in its form and brightness that I endeavored to find others, so that astronomers would not confuse these same nebulae with comets just beginning to shine.” –Charles Messier Let’s take a journey back in time to when our known Universe was a lot smaller. The only … Read moreMessier Monday: The Crab Nebula, M1

A Spectacular Chance for Gravitational Waves

“There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.” -Isaac Asimov One of the most spectacular and successful ideas of the 20th Century was Einstein’s General Relativity, or the idea that matter and energy determines the curvature of spacetime, and the curvature of spacetime in turn determines … Read moreA Spectacular Chance for Gravitational Waves

Where do Supermassive Black Holes Come From?

“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?

One does not simply "believe" in Dark Energy…

This is an enhanced version (with some upgraded images and text) of an article I first wrote over two years ago. It is just as valid today as it was back then, only today, I have a special offer to go with it. Next week, a bunch of cosmologists and myself are getting together and … Read moreOne does not simply "believe" in Dark Energy…

Practically Everything Leaves Something Behind

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people … Read morePractically Everything Leaves Something Behind