Author Archives: johnjohnb4

Blog 8 – Life on Enceladus?

Several Jovian moons are candidates for extraterrestrial life.  One of these is Enceladus, a medium-sized moon of Saturn.  Like Europa, there is strong evidence for a subsurface ocean, which is likely 30-40 kilometers below the moon’s surface, and then extends down another 30 kilometers.  Due to the suspected ocean’s thickness, it is more likely that […]Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog 7 – Interplanetary Life Travel

From the title, you might think the subject of this blog is about human space travel, something that isn’t very developed today.  However, it is possible that some life forms before us have experienced travel between the planets.  There are theories that support the idea that life originated on either Venus or Mars, and then […]Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog 6 – Is the Solar System Unique?

Among the most asked questions regarding space are ‘is there intelligent life outside of Earth’ and ‘is our solar system unique’?  So far, science has not found a planetary system quite like our own.  This makes one wonder if our existence is rare or even unique, or if not enough data been found to make […]Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog 5 – Comet Composition

Comets are the relatively small, icy objects that orbit a star.  They are classified as “small solar system bodies”, as are asteroids.  Along with ice, they contain rocky dust and other complex chemicals, leading them to be described as “dirty snowballs.”  Spectra can be used to determine the composition of comets.  From them, we know […]Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog 4 – The Sunspot Cycle and Earth’s Climate

For this blog I thought I’d write about how sunspots affect the Earth’s climate, as I am studying environmental sciences and I recently took Professor Gilligan’s Global Climate Change course (highly recommended and it counts for AXLE).  Sunspots are the most interesting feature on the sun’s surface.  They are the dark patches that periodically appear […]Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog 3 – Electromagnetic Spectrum

For this blog I thought I would further look into the electromagnetic spectrum.  As in the picture below, we can see that the light that humans see is only a small portion of the full spectrum of light, collectively known as the electromagnetic spectrum.  Light itself is technically radiation, but only certain types of light […]Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog 2 – Occam’s Razor

For my second blog, I thought I’d discuss the idea of simplicity in astronomy; specifically, the idea of Occam’s Razor.  One of the hallmarks of science is the progression of creation and testing of models of nature that explain scientific observations as simply as possible.  This idea, that scientists should prefer the simpler of two […]Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog 1 – Cosmic Calendar

For my first blog, I wanted to discuss the cosmic calendar.  From the picture below, you can see, from a human bias, the five most important events in universal history, symbolized in the julian calendar: the big bang in january, the formation of the milky way in march, the development of the solar system in […]Continue reading Continue reading

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