Category Archives: astronomy

Philae has landed!

by Greg Mayer Qapla’!! Philae has landed! The European Space Agency’s Philae lander has successfully landed on Comet P67, and begun transmitting data. If you rewind the live feed, the success signal is received at exactly 3:00:00 (17:03 CET in Darmstadt), so you can see the reaction in the control room. Here’s the BBC coverage, […]

We land on a comet today! (10:47 EST)

[UPDATE] Some more links to watch: Here is the website of the team who are operating the lander, they also have livestream footage on their site. Their Twitter feed is: or @DLR_de for updates in German. And don’t miss the Lander’s twitter feed : And the current xkcd update:   Make your plans now to be […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

We have not only some wildlife today, but also some astronomy, as this seemed the appropriate place to put it. Apparently there was a partial solar eclipse yesterday, and reader/photographer Ben Goren caught some nice images on his camera: Here’s the haul from today’s partial solar eclipse. First up is from a little after the […]

Swell space pictures: A space probe catches up with a comet

  Landing on a comet! That’s the goal of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe, which for ten years (three of them spent dormant) has been speeding toward the Comet 67P, which comes around the sun once every 6.5 years.  Once it’s near the comet, and in orbit around it, the probe will launch a […]

Google Doodle celebrates meteor shower

Today’s animated Google Doodle, one of the nicest I’ve seen, celebrates the Perseid Meteor Shower. Sadly, I’ve always been a city boy and have never seen it, but I’m sure many of you have. From the animation, the meteors appear as quickly-disappearing streaks of light. As Time Magazine notes, you have to move quickly: If you […]

Big solar flares yesterday

If you’re an astronomy buff, you’ll already know that we had three big solar flares in the last two days. According to NASA, they were classified in Class X, the biggest ones of all. We happen to be in a peak year of an apparent 11-year cycle for these eruptions. First have a look: What is […]

Cosmic inflation one more time—well, two

Reader Sergio called this comic to my attention (via  Twi**er: @JenLucPiquant and @phdcomics), which gives a good explanation of the meaning of the recent evidence for cosmic inflation.  Maybe you understand those scientific findings by now, but just in case you didn’t read this, from Jon Kaufman and Jorge Cham at PhD Comics (Kaufman was a […]

BICEP, gravitational waves et al.

Reader Justin sent a link to this animated video by MinutePhysics that tries to explain what the BICEP project really revealed about the Big Bang (I say “tries” because I’m not a physicist). Do note, though, that Official Website Physicist™ Sean Carroll was an advisor on the science, so it must be right!. One thing […]

Neil deGrasse Tyson identifies the greatest physicist of all time—in slow motion

I don’t know why I—or reader Gregory, who sent the link to me—find this video so funny, but I suspect it’s because it makes Tyson sound like he’s been smoking wacky tobacky.  What the astonomer says is right on (he’s describing his hero Newton), but the slowing down—2/3 speed, I think—makes one think that as […]

The new Cosmos, and Neil deGrasse Tyson on science vs. religion

You might not have known that Carl Sagan’s famous television series, “Cosmos: a Personal Voyage” (13 episodes, first aired in 1980) was, at least according to Wikipedia, “the most widely watched series in the history of American public television until The Civil War (1990). As of 2009, it was still the most widely watched PBS […]


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