Messier Monday: The Owl Nebula, M97

“A wise old owl lived in an oak The more he saw the less he spoke The less he spoke the more he heard. Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?” –The Immortal Poet Bromley To your naked eye, the night sky appears littered with thousands of individual points of light: the … Read moreMessier Monday: The Owl Nebula, M97

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?

The lives and deaths of Sun-like stars

“Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed.” –Samuel Johnson But the stars, as opposed to humans, are born shining, with hundreds (or more) of brothers and sisters, shine ever more brightly over their lifetimes, and die in spectacular fashion. As far as we can tell, here’s the past, present and future story … Read moreThe lives and deaths of Sun-like stars

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

How to make a Black Hole

You and I have lived on planet Earth long enough to know that if you want to launch something into space, it needs to travel fast enough to escape the pull of Earth’s gravity. Launch it with too slow of a speed, and it crashes back into Earth. Launch it with a little more speed, … Read moreHow to make a Black Hole