Category Archives: Astronomy

What’s Beyond the Universe?

We don’t know. But whatever it is, it’s big. I was chatting once with Michael Anissimov and somehow we got onto the subject of parallel universes, and whether we could ever know anything about them. Michael’s answer was no, we can’t. By definition, he explained, a separate universe is an entity we can’t get any […]

What's Beyond the Universe?

We don’t know. But whatever it is, it’s big. I was chatting once with Michael Anissimov and somehow we got onto the subject of parallel universes, and whether we could ever know anything about them. Michael’s answer was no, we can’t. By definition, he explained, a separate universe is an entity we can’t get any […]

Mercury as Seen from Orbit

A new view of the planet closest to the sun. Spacecraft sends a new view of Mercury NASA has released the first image ever obtained from a spacecraft in orbit about the solar system’s innermost planet, Mercury. The image was captured at 5:20 a.m. EDT Tuesday. The dominant rayed crater in the upper portion of […]

Why Did Pluto Change Color?

All the ink and pixels spent in recent years on the question of whether Pluto ought or ought not be considered a planet missed the most interesting development in the story of this distant rock (or whatever it is.) Astronomer Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology puts it this way: “You’re looking at […]

Ah, Andromeda

She’s lovely. She overwhelmed us when we first saw her — literally opening up whole new universes of possibility: Andromeda, a hop and a skip away in galactic terms at 2.5 million light years, was the first galaxy to be recognised outside the Milky Way, and the nearest spiral galaxy to our own. Its discovery […]

Black Hole Eats Star

Very well made, and frightening to contemplate: I note that the star keeps glowing at about the same level of luminosity throughout. At some point, the mass of the star would be less than the threshold required for fusion — but I’m not sure at what point the fusion process would begin to shut down. […]

What Tycho Saw

It’s a little bit of time travel and a whole lot of cool astronomy: Ancient Supernova Explosion Glimpsed Anew A supernova explosion first seen from Earth 436 years ago has come back to life for astronomers in a time-travel-like astronomical twist. By observing light from supernova SN 1572 that was slowed on its trip to […]

Seeing Is Believing

When I was a kid, we didn’t know for sure whether there were any planets outside the solar system. It seemed likely that there would be planets out there, and one could assert that it was highly probable that they were out there, but we didn’t for sure. Then, suddenly, we did know. Astronomers began […]

Dramatic Climate Change

It’s happening faster than anyone would have guessed — with average temperatures rising 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the results of the spike in temperature is unprecedented violent storm activity, unlike anything that has ever been witnessed in several centuries of observation. And it’s all happening on Jupiter. The Hubble provides this gorgeous image, showing […]