Category Archives: astronomy

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 […]

“Calm down, Lovell”: Earthrise from Apollo 8

This clip, just posted on December 23, is one of the most stirring videos ever taken on a manned space mission. YouTube gives details and refers you to other videos and sources: NASA has produced a remarkable new video replay of the moment on December 24, 1968, when the astronauts on the Apollo 8 mission […]

Best space photos of 2013

Head over to Slate and have a look at Phil Plait’s selection of “The best astronomy and space pictures of 2013“. I’ll show you just three, but believe me, you’ll want to see them all. And most of the photos are available in very resolution so you can use them as wallpaper on your computer. […]

Earth from the ISS

A lovely time-lapse video from the International Space Station, taken with cameras inside and out.  The film speeds up as the video proceeds. TRIGGER WARNING: Grandiose music.

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