Author Archives: d51blog

Living the fast life: Kepler-70b

The Kepler spacecraft (which was feared lost earlier this week) has discovered a veritable treasure trove of exoplanets over its seven year mission. Some of these planets may even be habitable. Kepler-70b is decidedly not one of them. Kepler-70b is the closer of two terrestrial planets to KOI-55, a subdwarf star which was once a red giant. […] Continue reading Continue reading

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The moon of Europa, or your practical guide to ice skating in space

Do you love astronomy? Do you also love ice skating? (I’m looking at you, Dr. G..) What if I told you that you could have the best of both worlds? You can(!), albeit approximately 4.2 AU away from Earth. Enter Europa, Jupiter’s icy sixth (both largest and closest) moon. Europa is an extremely young moon despite being […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Forgotten, but not always gone: the various fates of planetary probes

  Bad news: your favorite space probe has been deactivated or worse – its power ran out. What’s the next step? For us as humans, tears for what we’ve lost but ultimately, hope – as long as the government (or Elon Musk) cares, more things will be shot into space. For the space probe, well, that can […] Continue reading Continue reading

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I’ve got this giant telescope and I don’t know where to put it: a guide for all your telescope placement needs.

Hey, where should I put my giant telescope? Ideally, you would put your telescope into space! Space is most advantageous for observing the stars because most types of non-visible light are blocked by our atmosphere; this wider spectrum of detectable light allows for more detailed study of some of the universe’s greatest extremes. Some of […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Aliens, astro2110, blog4, Class, Dwarf Planets, Exoplanets, Galaxies, General, Historical, Instruments, Jovians, Light, Light Pollution, Moons, Observables, Outreach, physics, Planet Rings, public policy, science, Small SS Objects, SolarSystem, Space travel, Stars, Sun, telescopes, Terrestrials, Universe | Comments Off on I’ve got this giant telescope and I don’t know where to put it: a guide for all your telescope placement needs.

Celestial NASCAR: Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion

Before 1609, the scientific consensus in Europe was that the planets orbited the Earth in perfect circles; even dissenting views such as Copernican heliocentricism relied upon perfect circles to guide objects around the Sun. Johannes Kepler, however, motivated by minute errors in planetary distances discovered when attempting to construct Copernicus’ model, revolutionized astronomy with his laws of […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Aliens, astro2110, blog3, Class, Dwarf Planets, Exoplanets, Galaxies, General, Historical, Instruments, Jovians, Kepler, Light, Moons, Observables, Outreach, physics, Planet Rings, planets, public policy, science, Small SS Objects, SolarSystem, Space travel, Stars, Sun, Terrestrials, Universe | Comments Off on Celestial NASCAR: Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion

More than just a Queen lyric: Galileo and his part in 17th century Europe

Portrait of Galileo Galilei by Justus Sustermans – Source Galileo Galilei (15 Feb 1564 – 8 Jan 1642) played an integral role in the astronomical community’s transition from the Aristotelian geocentric model of the universe to the heliocentric model of the universe, which, although still incorrect, was a more accurate representation of the heavens. While he did […] Continue reading Continue reading

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The best way to propose to an astronomer: Solar eclipses

  A solar eclipse, which is the only acceptable way to propose to an astronomer, is a fairly uncommon event which occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. Although the Moon is much smaller than the Sun, it is able to completely block the Sun because it is much closer to the […] Continue reading Continue reading

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So, is a light-year some kind of diet plan or whatever? The speed of light and space

To answer the titular question in a word: no. So then, what exactly is a light-year and what does it have to do with the speed of light? A light-year is the amount of distance that a given light wave (light, radio waves, X-rays) travels in a year. Because the speed of light is approximately 300,000 meters per second, […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Aut viam

“Aut viam inveniam aut faciam” “I will either find a way or I will make one” – Hannibal Barca, before crossing the Alps with his army Continue reading Continue reading

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