A Galaxy of Planets

As far as we know, it was Galileo who first aimed a telescope at the night sky. This is easy to believe, since we can imagine that most other men of Galileo’s time were interested more in enemy encampments, brothel windows, and then, maybe, and a very distant third, the night sky.* Galileo was a…

Stunning Time Lapse from the Space Station

This thing is just stunning. One of the unsung benefits of digital SLR cameras–and the almost limitless storage space and ease of processing digital offers–is a resurgence of time-lapse photography. This one was taken from the Space Station. It really gives you a sense of what it looks like out one of the portal windows…

Life where there was no life…

The short story: over the past two decades, humanity’s space probes to Mars, Saturn, comets and other planets, as well as our space-based telescopes like Hubble have collected millions of images. Like those boxes of family photos sitting in flea markets across the world, many of those images have never been seen. There are several…

Build Your Own Space Ship (DIY Astronautics pt. 1)

Astronautics is “the theory and practice of navigation beyond the Earth’s atmosphere”. Sounds like something that only government agencies with huge budgets (or Billy Bob Thornton, an empty barn and federal dairy subsidies) could tackle? Well, think again. Amateur astronautics is real and here. Over the next few posts, I’ll show you how it’s happening.…

How big is the biggest star? Freakin’ BIG!

One of the great challenges, and thus joys, of studying the universe is getting a sense of the scale of what you’re looking at. We are very tiny. The universe is very large. Language begins to fail here. Large is the smallest cup of coffee you can get at most American coffee shops. We’re talking…