on Europa

I’m pretty sure I’ve complained before on this blog about budgets and the disconnect between NASA, the public, and Congress. NASA is largely run by folks who grew up on either Star Trek, the moon landings, or Star Trek: The Next Generation, and wants to do all the crazemazing things a space agency ought to…

in which I watch a supernova explode

The Crab Nebula was a supernova that exploded in 1054. It is, in a manner of speaking, still exploding today. Don’t believe me? Voila! The animated .gif above shows two composite images – one from the Palomar Optical Sky Survey I, the other from the imaginatively named Palomar Optical Sky Survey II, which have both…

on Strength in Numbers and the exo-moon-rings of J1407b

Recent news from Dr. Eric Mamajek and Dr. Matthew Kenworthy is that a relatively nearby star has a massive, massive disk. It’s genuinely enormous, dwarfing the rings of Saturn. The disk around J1407b (full name 1SWASP J140747.93-394542.6, which is also its sky coordinates) something like 200 times larger, so it’s no fluke. You can read…

on the death of Dr. Charles Townes

By most accounts, Dr. Charles Townes was a remarkable man. Co-recipient of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work developing the maser, and then the laser, and THEN he went on to have a 40 year long career in astronomy. That career was distinguished by more pioneering work on interferometry, which (as far…