Author Archives: JSpin

Never Tell Me The Odds

One of the best getaway scenes in movie history is in The Empire Strikes Back, when Han Solo navigates the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field, with TIE Fighters in hot pursuit. The scene starts with the Falcon getting hit by two asteroids. The asteroid field appears to have thousands of asteroids all flying around … Continue reading Never Tell Me The Odds Continue reading

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Reducing Sky Glow

Stargazing is awesome! But sometimes, the night sky is not visible due to light pollution. In cities like Nashville, a common type of light pollution is “sky glow”. Sky glow is the brightening of the entire night sky, especially in populated areas. The light pollution around Nashville inhibits our view of zodiacal light, airglow, and … Continue reading Reducing Sky Glow Continue reading

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Gravity and Sun Size

Gravity as the Driving Force The Sun has a mass of 2 * 10^30 kg. Gravity exerts a compression force on the Sun proportional to this immense mass. So why doesn’t the sun collapse under the weight of its gravity? The pressure of the center of the Sun is about 340 billion times the air … Continue reading Gravity and Sun Size Continue reading

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Why is the Sky Blue?

Some Background In the image above, a beam of light passes through a medium. The medium slows down the light and causes it to refract. And the degree of refraction is dependent on the wavelength of light: shorter wavelength light will slow down more and therefore have a greater angle of refraction. See Cauchy’s equation … Continue reading Why is the Sky Blue? Continue reading

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Copernicus in Context

Nicolaus Copernicus Nicolaus Copernicus was born February 19, 1473 and died May 24, 1543. Copernicus‘ most important contribution to astronomy is his heliocentric model of the solar system that placed the Sun at a fixed point in the center, and depicted the planets orbiting the Sun. In this model, Earth was just another planet. The … Continue reading Copernicus in Context Continue reading

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