Author Archives: epiphany9

The Rare Earth Hypothesis

I was inspired by Victoria’s post to think more about the Fermi Paradox, and specifically, explanations of the uniqueness of intelligent life on Earth. The Rare Earth Hypothesis is one such explanation; it postulates that conditions favorable to life (and particularly intelligent life) are incredibly rare in the universe. It is in opposition to hypotheses […] Continue reading

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Adaptive Archaea

Discovered in 1970, Archaea might be the least well-known of the three domains of life (the others being Bacteria and Eukaryota), but it is a fascinating and diverse group of organisms and quite possibly the first on Earth. Like bacteria, archaea are unicellular, prokaryotic organisms, meaning that they lack nuclei and other membrane-bound organelles in […] Continue reading

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Eight Planets or Nine?

Most of us probably remember a time when the Solar System had nine planets, with Pluto as the ninth and (usually) farthest from the Sun. In 2006, following the discovery of Eris, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) voted to reclassify Pluto as a “dwarf planet” (don’t forget the quotation marks!). However, there might one day […] Continue reading

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Songs of Space

Recently I’ve been collecting space-themed songs (for a McTyeire Hall event called the Galaxy Gala!), and then I thought of something I’ve heard of before: sounds coming from space! Because space is a vacuum, sound waves cannot travel through it. However, many objects within the Solar System do emit radio waves, and NASA scientists have […] Continue reading

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Is There Life on Mars?

Mars, our red-tinted planetary neighbor, has long attracted human curiosity. Due to its unusual color, it was named after the Roman god of war. Although it is so much smaller than our planet (only about half Earth’s diameter and one-tenth its mass), it shares certain Earth-like features, particularly volcanoes and a great canyon. These structures, […] Continue reading

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Shaving for Science – the Principle of Occam’s Razor

One of the most crucial aspects of the Scientific Method is finding a model that fits observational data. However, what happens when multiple models fit our observations equally well? Which one do we choose? Here is where Occam’s Razor comes in. This principle states that we should generally choose the simplest model in such situations. […] Continue reading

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Tycho Brahe – Historical Astronomers in Context

Tycho Brahe (December 14, 1546 – October 24, 1601) was an incredible naked-eye astronomer, whose observations far eclipsed other data of his time. Although Tycho’s own geocentric model of the solar system held no water, the data he collected paved the way for other astronomers to develop improved models of the solar system. In particular, […] Continue reading

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How Tiny Are We?

One of the most beautiful aspects of astronomy is learning about our place in the vast universe. Although we humans often feel as if we are the center of the universe, we are so tiny and so young compared to the whole cosmos. At around 20 years of age, most of us probably feel as […] Continue reading

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