Author Archives: justinrstevens

What are cosmic rays?

WHAT ARE COSMIC RAYS? One of the more mysterious subjects from our last reading was that of cosmic rays.  To be quite honest, before encountering this in our textbook I had never considered cosmic rays outside of the context of the Marvel Universe.  But it turns out that cosmic rays are more than just a…

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What is a pulsar?

              WHAT IS A PULSAR? Pulsars are some of the most interesting astronomical objects out there and are the subject of intense study by teams of scientists around the world. Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars that emit beams of intense energy from their magnetic poles.  Here, it is…

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Historical Astronomers in Context

Tycho Brahe (Dec. 14, 1546 – Oct. 24,1601) One of Brahe’s most acclaimed achievements was the observation of a supernova in 1572.  He used this event, along with a later observation of a comet, to refute the widely-accepted idea of celestial immutability.  Yet Brahe’s most important contributions to astronomy existed in the seemingly-mundane.  He recorded…

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Oumuamua – space rock or spaceship?

Some scientists called it an asteroid.  Others theorized that it was an alien spacecraft.  Still others cast it off as a mere “space cucumber.” This mysterious space rock known as Oumuamua (Hawaiian for “first messenger”) has captivated scientists since its discovery in mid-October of 2017.  Oumuamua was discovered in Hawaii, hence its awesome name. This…

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