Category Archives: Physics

solar system superlatives: Planet 9

Welcome back! Today, we are going to learn about the current leader in our Solar System’s ongoing game of hide-and-seek: Planet Nine. First, a disclaimer. No one actually knows if Planet Nine is real or not. It’s existence is only hypothesized, and we have literally never seen it. But, for now, let’s assume its realContinue reading “solar system superlatives: Planet 9” Continue reading

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Black Holes and White Holes and Wormholes, Oh My!

They’re some of the most formidable entities in the universe: their strength is unmatched, they make their own rules, and if you get into a serious tussle with one, you’re almost guaranteed to lose.  No, I’m not talking about moms.  I’m talking about black holes, of course!  Duh… If you’ve ever learned about astronomy, chancesContinue reading “Black Holes and White Holes and Wormholes, Oh My!” Continue reading

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Pivoting from Principle

Astronomy is awesome.  It lets us make cool observations (e.g., things that inform our understanding of the foundations of the universe, like the Cosmic Microwave Background), helps us ask big questions (e.g., why does the universe exist?), and reminds us that not all questions have answers (e.g., we can’t really expect an answer to theContinue reading “Pivoting from Principle” Continue reading

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Binary Stars

A binary star is a star system of two stars that orbit around the central point, called the barycenter. In conversation, binary stars are sometimes casually referred to as double stars. Binary star systems or multiple star systems (3+ stars in orbit in the same system) are actually way more common than you might think.Continue reading “Binary Stars” Continue reading

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Evolution of Spectroscopy

Spectroscopy describes the study of the interaction between matter and the wavelength of the light it produces, although this definition has been updated to include anything measured as a function of frequency or wavelength. Isaac Newton was one of the first people to demonstrate that light from the Sun could be scattered into a spectrumContinue reading “Evolution of Spectroscopy” Continue reading

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Newton and His Laws

Isaac Newton is a household name for his invention of calculus, laws of motion, and realization that gravity exists in the heavens (contrary to Aristotle’s beliefs!). College students that have studied introductory physics or math may have been exposed to Newton’s three laws of motion, but how exactly are they relevant in the context of … Continue reading Newton and His Laws Continue reading

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Tidal Friction: a 5 hour long day to a month long day

Due to the Universal law of gravitation, we know that objects of equal mass have a larger gravitation force between them when they are closer together. Because the near side of the Earth is closer to the Moon than the far side of the Earth, the force between the Moon and the near side ofContinue reading “Tidal Friction: a 5 hour long day to a month long day” Continue reading

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Tides

In 1687 Sir Issac Newton discovered that the tides of the ocean on Earth are primarily caused by the gravitational pull of the Sun and the Moon. This idea was supported by his universal law of gravity that asserts that any piece of matter in the universe will attract any other with a force varying directly asContinue reading “Tides” Continue reading

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Muons and Time Dilation

In my opinion, one of the coolest parts of astronomy is relativity, the theory describing the warping of spacetime.  If you’ve ever seen Interstellar, you’ve been exposed to one part of the theory: time dilation.  In short, time dilation is a phenomenon that causes time to pass more slowly in one place than another (relativeContinue reading “Muons and Time Dilation” Continue reading

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The Discovery of the Speed of Light

While Aristotle believed that light could travel instantaneously, the first experimental attempt to measure the speed of light came from Galileo Galilei in 1667. He placed two people with covered lights on the top of hills that were about a mile apart. The first person was instructed to uncover his light, and when the second … Continue reading The Discovery of the Speed of Light Continue reading

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