Author Archives: andyastronomer

What If Extremophiles Were Not First?

A recent and exciting discovery for scientists is the existence of extremophiles. Extremophiles are organisms that thrive in environments previously thought to not support life. Currently, the prevailing thought is that the first forms of life were some form of extremophile – potentially thermophiles. However, what if most extremophiles (or all of them for that […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Let’s Talk About Carl Sagan (Remix)

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” These are the only words I really remember of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series when I watched it in high school physics class. However, Carl Sagan left a much greater legacy than his musings on apple pie. Carl Sagan inspired an […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Rocky Planets Shouldn’t Get This Big…

Planetary formation theorists are scratching their heads at the recent discovery of the largest rocky world found to date – BD+20594b. This exoplanet is a rocky world with a diameter half that of Neptune. With a planet that size, one may think that we were talking about a gas giant, but we’re not. According to our present […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Terraforming Venus: An Alternative Look At Terraforming

After exploring terraforming on Mars and finding a good amount of information on Venus in the process, I thought it would be interesting to explore the prospects of terraforming Venus in the hopes of one day making it habitable. As I mentioned in my previous blog, Carl Sagan published an article in 1961 advocating for […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Terraforming Mars: Exploring The World Of Cosmic Cosmetics

If there is anything we have learned from observing the universe, it’s that Earth is incredibly unique. Of course, we could find out soon enough how utterly ordinary we are should we discover Earth-like planets bearing life beyond our Solar System, but until, we seem to be pretty special. Nasa’s Kepler Mission has discovered tens of […] Continue reading Continue reading

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In Other News: We Can Analyze Atmospheres of Super-Earths

(Feature Image courtesy of ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser) In the past week, the big news in astronomy was the first detection of gravitational waves, a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity. No doubt within a few years students will be reading in textbooks about how the LIGO experiment measured the gravitational […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Aliens, astro2110, blog4, Class, Dwarf Planets, Exoplanets, Galaxies, General, Historical, Instruments, Jovians, Light, Moons, Observables, Outreach, physics, Planet Rings, public policy, science, Small SS Objects, SolarSystem, Space travel, Stars, Sun, Terrestrials, Universe | Comments Off on In Other News: We Can Analyze Atmospheres of Super-Earths

Mayan Astronomy

  At the end of 2012, the whole world was abuzz with the news that on December 21st, the Mayan calendar would end. Some claimed this ominous event signaled the end of the world, while others simply suggested the Mayans would have likely extended their calendar if they were still around. Who Did It Better: […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Aliens, astro2110, blog3, Class, Dwarf Planets, Exoplanets, Galaxies, General, Historical, Instruments, Jovians, Light, Moons, Observables, Outreach, physics, Planet Rings, public policy, science, Small SS Objects, SolarSystem, Space travel, Stars, Sun, Terrestrials, Universe, venus | Comments Off on Mayan Astronomy

Johannes Kepler In Context

Johannes Kepler (b. December 27, 1571 – d. November 15, 1630) Important Historical Events (Courtesy of Frank E. Smitha) 1616 – The death of William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare is one of the most important literary figures/playwrights of all time. 1620 – Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower arrive at what would become Plymouth, MA. This was one […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Common Misconception: The Earth’s Tilt At An Equinox

Upon visiting Dr. Grundstrom with a homework, I caught myself making a pretty silly error regarding the Earth’s Equinoxes. Looking at one of the homework questions for the seasons, I was asked to rank the order of several globes in order of how much daylight they received. One of the globes stood straight up, rotating […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Common Misconception: The Earth’s Tilt At An Equinox

Upon visiting Dr. Grundstrom with a homework, I caught myself making a pretty silly error regarding the Earth’s Equinoxes. Looking at one of the homework questions for the seasons, I was asked to rank the order of several globes in order of how much daylight they received. One of the globes stood straight up, rotating […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in astro2110, blog2, Class, equinox, Observables, Time | Comments Off on Common Misconception: The Earth’s Tilt At An Equinox