Let’s be serious for a moment: nothing dire is going to happen on December 21st. Rest easy. But in celebration I’ve decided to count down my top five favorite astronomical doomsday scenarios, ordered from most to least plausible.
I recently attended a two-week crash course in the “Astrophysical Applications of Gravitational Lensing”. In this post, I overview a few of the ways astronomers employ lensing to study the Universe, from extrasolar planets to distant quasars and large-scale structure.
Fact: Jupiter is the best planet. What’s not to like? Big, beautifully stripey, four exciting moons, hurricane three times the size of the Earth, lots of fascinating hydrodynamics…I could go on. But Jupiter isn’t just awesome on its own. It was also the site of the first observed extraterrestrial impact event, and is routinely struck [...]
A coalition of willing billionaires, spaceflight professionals, and scientific advisors under the banner of Planetary Resources have announced their intention to go out there and mine themselves some asteroids. Are they serious? What’s going to happen? What does it mean for astronomers and planetary scientists? What contributions will the scientific community make, and what data do we stand to gain?
The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) data release promises many new and exciting discoveries!
I like Cracked. You probably do too. But like that old adage that every newspaper story is true except for the ones for which you happen to have firsthand knowledge, I found their recent article on 6 Real Planets That Put Science Fiction To Shame to be . . . lacking. Not lacking in funny, or facts, but lacking in my favorite planets, and some of the weirdest specimens the universe has yet to offer up. So, without further ado, here are 6 more real planets (plus a bonus) that any sci-fi editor would have rejected as “too out there” just a few decades ago.
If Kepler does not obtain additional financial support, it will “close its eyes forever.” – Natalie Batalha.
An overview of how astronomers identify and interpret light echoes.
You’ve probably heard the old quote from Cosmos that “we are all made of stardust.” But that’s not the whole story. How that dust gets made is an intricate tale that spans a wide range of stellar processes and masses. This is the field of nucleosynthesis, the making of the chemical elements, and it is what allows us to make the simple statement: toothpaste comes from neutrinos.