All Blog Posts Tagged 'astronomy' (18)

Galaxies

Not to scale. "The infinitude of creation is great enough to make a world, or a Milky Way of worlds, look in comparison with it what a flower or an insect does in comparison with the Earth." ~ Immanuel Kant



Galaxies are monstrous collections of stars, plus dust, gas, light matter, dark matter, and gray matter. In a fundamental way galaxies are…

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Added by Brad Snowder on March 15, 2014 at 10:30pm — No Comments

Cosmology

001 "The drum in a dream pounds loud to the dreamer." ~ Carl Sandburg



Anisotropy: This term is frequently used to describe the temperature fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background. The word means not uniform, or not the same. Like if you dressed a calico cat with a plaid kilt then filled it with dark energy and exploded it for 13.76 billion years.



Belief:…

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Added by Brad Snowder on March 8, 2014 at 11:48pm — 2 Comments

Celestial Coordinates

altitude-azimuth I must go down to the seas again,

To the lonely sea and the sky.

And all I want is a tall ship,

And a star to steer her by.


~ John Masefield



Suppose you lived in olden times and you joined a fleet of wooden ships and iron men. Or maybe it's wooden teeth and dirty old men. Whichever. But if you didn't know the basics of using a star to steer a…

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Added by Brad Snowder on March 1, 2014 at 11:39pm — 5 Comments

Comets

Comet Hyakutake - photo by Brad Snowder Comets are essentially big dirty snowballs, the kind you throw at someone you really don't like. They are mostly made of muddy stinky ice, and bits of dust and little rocks.



Comets are about the size of cities and towns, sort of like frozen lakes in space. We've had a few that were the size of big cities like L.A. and one that was even bigger. But the majority are…

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Added by Brad Snowder on February 22, 2014 at 8:05pm — 2 Comments

Bode Titius Rule

Johann Bode and Johann Titius were best buds and they made a rule about planets.



Hubble Bubble Trouble


Okay first of all let's call it what it is. It's not really a rule. And it's not a law. It's not even a theory. It's more of a thingy. It's the Bode Titius Thingy.



It all started in the late 1700's when…
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Added by Brad Snowder on February 16, 2014 at 11:42am — 2 Comments

Black Holes

198838_568935179795155_1811269485_n A black hole is a region of space where the force of gravity is so intense that it is best pictured as having curvy criss-crossing lines on it. Nothing can escape, not even snarky comments.

If you've ever thrown a baseball into the air, you probably noticed it quickly returned to the Earth. The harder you throw it, the…

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Added by Brad Snowder on February 9, 2014 at 10:15am — 10 Comments

Aurora

Peacock Aurora - photo by RL.Dietz Aurora is a pretty thing, a real pretty thing.

If you haven't seen it, and want to, I'll tell you how. Call your local astronomy club. Those geeks will go on and on about it, and put you on a list to be called if someone sees it happening. You have to agree to receive the call at anytime of night because this stuff is very unpredictable and may only last half an hour…

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Added by Brad Snowder on January 26, 2014 at 12:03am — No Comments

Asteroids

asteroid The majority of asteroids are just silly little rocky bits of junk between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, the crumbs that fell from the plate as those planets were served up on the solar dinner table. This crumby region is known as the Asteroid Belt.

[insert suspender joke]

There are other tribes of asteroids gathered here and there. For…

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Added by Brad Snowder on January 18, 2014 at 11:00pm — 3 Comments

Analemma

analemma on globe 24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? Well yeah, maybe. Or maybe not. It probably has something to do with those pesky ancient Babylonians and their obsession with overwrought symbolism. Somehow they got onto a kick about how magical the number 60 is, and how that divides nicely by 12, and then some of the grain stock got wet and smelly, and well I think you can…

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Added by Brad Snowder on January 12, 2014 at 11:07pm — 3 Comments

More Great Star Patterns I Have Known

Snarky birds, not angry. Lyra, Aquila, Cygnus, and…

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Added by Brad Snowder on June 29, 2013 at 2:37pm — 2 Comments

Great Star Patterns I Have Known

Dippers come in many sizes. Big Dipper

The most famous of all the dots ever connected. So well-known that people pretend to see it even when they don't. There are seven stars, eight if you count correctly. One of them is tiny, little, and wee, and is attempting to hide behind the…

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Added by Brad Snowder on June 22, 2013 at 11:06am — No Comments

Deep Sky Zodiac

The beaten path that the Sun appears to trod on its yearly trek among the stars is the oldest known method of mapping our way around the sky. So the Sun was the center of celestial attention even before people promoted it to admin of the solar system. That makes a lot of sense to me. I could argue (without much effort) that out of all the thousands of gods that people have ever prayed to for a little help, the Sun is the one that delivers the most tangible… Continue

Added by Brad Snowder on May 20, 2013 at 11:29am — 1 Comment

Ten Commandments of Star Parties

Moving it ahead for daylight savings time was a real bitch.

  1. Shatter not the darkness at the site of observing. Man-made lights thou shalt eschew, save the faint of red.

  2. Thou shalt not illuminate thy headlights of thy automobile, nor the car door shalt thy open before the disconnecting of thy dome light. Even a match strucketh in haste is…
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Added by Brad Snowder on May 6, 2013 at 11:59am — 1 Comment

The Scale Of The Universe

This is for all the lay people out there. Of course, we all know the  universe is big. But this paragraph (paraphrased below) in the book I'm  currently reading: Chris Impey's "How it Ends", crystallizes that fact  more dramatically than I've ever heard before.

 

Shrink the universe by a factor of 300 million. Earth reduces to the size of a golf ball. The Sun is a 3-meter ball 400 meters away. But the nearest star is still 35,000km (20,000 miles) away.

 

Now, shrink the universe… Continue

Added by Mike Glickman on June 11, 2011 at 11:33am — 5 Comments

A Space Opera





ESO VLT Space Opera.



Starring: Helix Nebula, Gliese 667, stellar cluster NGC 2467, R Coronae Austrinae, protostar HH34 (Orion), Chamaeleon I complex, Eagle Nebula, Lagoon Nebula, southern Milky Way band, Trifid Nebula, the first image of an exoplanet (2M1207 system).





The Very Large Telescope (VLT) is made up of four separate optical telescopes (the Antu telescope, the Kueyen telescope, the Melipal telescope, and the Yepun telescope)… Continue

Added by Monica McGee (Monicks) on January 12, 2010 at 4:30pm — 1 Comment

The Fabric of Space-Time





The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, formerly GLAST, will open this high-energy world to exploration and help us to answer these questions. With Fermi, astronomers will at long last have a superior tool to study how black holes, notorious for pulling matter in, can accelerate jets of gas outward at fantastic speeds.



Physicists will be able to study subatomic particles at energies far greater than those seen in ground-based particle accelerators. And… Continue

Added by Monica McGee (Monicks) on January 11, 2010 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

Planet 'spotted' in Andromeda galaxy



Astronomers believe they may have discovered the first planet ever detected in another galaxy. The new world was apparently glimpsed in the closest giant spiral galaxy to the Milky Way, Messier 31 in the constellation of Andromeda.



It lies an incredible 2.5 million light-years away - too far normally to be seen.



But it revealed itself thanks to a phenomenon called microlensing where the gravitational field of an object… Continue

Added by Rev. Tom Hicks, D.D. on June 16, 2009 at 10:19am — 4 Comments

Pseudoscience

This is an extract from my latest blog post, titled "Pseudoscience".




So, I guess I should've done this one sooner. Pseudoscience is pretty much the pinnacle of anathema to everything I'm struggling for on this blog (hey, writing dozens of words about stuff as often as five or six times a month is a real struggle sometimes). I'm all about… Continue

Added by Cubik's Rube on May 2, 2009 at 2:11pm — No Comments

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