on Eclipses

Today, a total solar eclipse will pass over the United States, from Oregon to Georgia, cutting a path that will dim the Sun an appreciable amount for everyone in the Continental United States. It’s something that hasn’t happened in 38 years, since an eclipse in 1979. It’s going to be an event shared by an…

on the Proxima Centauri planet

According to ESO’s latest press release, there is indeed a small slightly-larger-than-Earth-mass planet (1.3 earth masses) in orbit of the closest star to the solar system, Proxima Centauri. It’s even close enough to the star that liquid water could exist on the surface. That’s mighty close indeed – the year is only 11 days long!…

on what’s going on with Astronomy

  In the past four months, four high profile cases of sexual harassment in astronomy have come to light, prompting such headlines as “Astronomy’s snowballing sexual harassment scandal picks up even more cases”, “Astronomy’s sexual harassment problem gets Congressional attention” and “Astronomers Are Finally Doing Something About Sexual Harassment” and (with a thesis very similar…

on the Kepler KIC 8462852 objects and things they might be (Part 2)

Back when I first posted about the star KIC 8463852*, the star many news sources decreed was hosting alien megastructures, I said that further work would need to be done to figure out just what those objects are.  Well, those studies are already coming in. The first two published follow-up studies make for an interesting…

in which NASA finds water on Mars

NASA has discovered water on Mars! There’s actual signs that liquid water is currently flowing on the planet, in tiny channels, before it evaporates. If this past week’s news has given you a case of deja vu, there’s good reason for it. Over the past few years, NASA has made a string of announcements that…

is there Life on Mars?

…in David Bowie’s discography? Definitely yes. …as viewed on images from the Curiosity rover? No. The internet is increasingly abuzz with supposed UFOs, iguanas, and people sitting on the surface of Mars. There’s a lot of them now.

on whether your Exoplanet is Earthlike

This week, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler 452-b, the newest candidate for Most Earthlike Exoplanet Ever. Most of my astrophysical colleagues are bit annoyed about that. I want to be clear: It’s not like the Kepler people are lying… far from it; in the ways that Kepler looks for planets, this one really does…