Author Archives: matthewrbirnbaum

Astronomy, we need it!

Throughout two semesters of astronomy I have always been torn about its importance. On one hand the problems we face on Earth seem to trump anything that can happen is space, but on the other hand the more knowledge we obtain the more we are able to understand. What I started to realize towards the […] Continue reading

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Is the Drake Equation Useful?

The idea behind the Drake equation is perfectly logically. Take the variables that most likely determine whether or not life exists, assign a value to those variables and calculate the number of civilizations. And to put the Drake equation in perspective I will quote the one, the only, Drake “I’ve never been reckless – always calculated.” That […] Continue reading

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Gamma-ray Bursts

Let’s start this post with what gets everyone’s attention during class: mass extinction. This somber topic always seems to turn heads. If collisions and exploding suns aren’t enough to make you fear extinction billions of years away, a new paper introduces us to a new threat that potentially could have wiped out most of life […] Continue reading

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Beyond Pluto

Not long after a couple of astronomers announced hints of a giant planet prowling beyond Pluto, a team in Spain says there may actually be two supersize planets hiding in the outer reaches of our solar system. After the discovery of a potential dwarf planet 2012 VP113 in March, astronomers started questioning the curiously aligned […] Continue reading

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An Ode to Gravity

Oh, gravity.  You have kept me grounded my whole life.  Where ever I have traveled you have kept my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds.  I can not see you but feel your presence in all aspects of life.  While some look to defy your laws, I look to embrace […] Continue reading

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Historical Astronomers in Context

Isaac Newton – January 4, 1643 – March 31, 1727 In 1692 in France a severe winter and too wet of spring a summer caused a very poor harvest and led to a famine. 2 million people died as a result of the famine. In 1718 the city of New Orleans was founded my the […] Continue reading

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Star Walk

As a student in the astronomy lab last semester I was told to download the Star Walk application because it would help during observing labs.  When I first downloaded it I assumed I would use it for a couple of labs and then delete it and use the space for a new version of Flappy […] Continue reading

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Andromeda Galaxy

This picture…Wow.  Cliché as it may be, this 1.5 Billion pixel picture fascinates me.  To view this picture in its entirety, one would need 600 HD TVs.  While the picture is cool and would look great above my bed, I wonder if there are any implications of this picture.  According to NASA, this picture will […] Continue reading

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