Friday June 23rd 2017

‘Astronomy’ Archives

Brave New Jupiter

Brave New Jupiter

For the last five years, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been barrelling towards its final destination: Jupiter, king of the planets. On 4 July this year, the four tonne, spinning craft – which looks like an oversized propeller that has abandoned its plane – will fire its [Read More]

The Mars Anomaly

The Mars Anomaly

The presence of water isn’t the only Mars mystery scientists are keen to probe. Another centers around a seemingly trivial characteristic of the Red Planet: its size. Classic models of solar system formation predict that the girth of rocky worlds should grow with their [Read More]

How we got to Ceres

How we got to Ceres

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft recently reached the orbit of Ceres, a dwarf planet and the largest object in the asteroid belt. Read more about the journey here. [Read More]

Science behind the scenes

Science behind the scenes

  Jerry Zucker! Natalie Portman! Arthur C. Clarke! My article about the Science & Entertainment Exchange is now up at PNAS. [Read More]

Living Long Beneath the Sea

Living Long Beneath the Sea

  In the muck beneath the ocean floor, there’s something alive. Lots of somethings. But don’t worry: You’ll never see them. Instead, these tiny, one-celled germs are content to hunker down in very old clay, for a very long time, eating just enough to stay alive. [Read More]

Are we alone?

Are we alone?

  If aliens ever sent us a message, scientists hope to pick it up in a remote part of northern California.   There, in a clearing nestled amid the volcanoes of the Cascade Range, 42 radio dishes point together at the sky. The dishes, each 20 feet across, form a [Read More]

Bringing down the trash

Bringing down the trash

The density of junk orbiting the Earth is at or near a critical value beyond which this man-made debris will self-perpetuate, forming many smaller pieces that are even more of a problem.I wrote this article for Physics World about the latest ideas about how to bring down [Read More]

Worlds beyond the solar system

Worlds beyond the solar system

Once upon a time — about 20 years ago — kids in school learned about nine planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The Nine orbited the sun, and they were the only planets that mattered. Any others existed in the imagination of [Read More]

Moon twinkles

Moon twinkles

If you ever travel to the moon, don’t forget to pack a heavy-duty umbrella. It’s not for downpours: With no atmosphere, there’s no chance of rain. But hundreds of times each year, small space rocks smash into the lunar surface, flashing brightly enough to be seen from [Read More]

Mapping the invisible

Mapping the invisible

Most maps show places you can visit and how to get there. Most maps, however, were not made by astronomers — physicists who study stars and galaxies far, far, far away. At a recent meeting in Texas, three teams of these scientists presented new maps unlike any atlas, [Read More]

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Latest Topics

Auto-focus eyeglasses rely on liquid lenses

Auto-focus eyeglasses rely on liquid lenses

With round lenses set in super-thick frames, these new eyeglasses look like they belong on a cartoon character. But [Read More]

How Bose–Einstein condensates keep revealing weird physics

How Bose–Einstein condensates keep revealing weird physics

A Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), the first of which was shown experimentally 22 years ago, isn’t your garden variety [Read More]

Seeking a Second Opinion

Seeking a Second Opinion

In November 2012, when she was 52 years old, Shannon Semple was diagnosed with a disease she didn’t have. She credits [Read More]

How nonequilibrium thermodynamics speaks to the mystery of life

How nonequilibrium thermodynamics speaks to the mystery of life

In his 1944 book What is Life?, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger argued that organisms stay alive precisely by [Read More]

Solving a math problem to create art

Solving a math problem to create art

Optimization is the mathematical quest for the best way to do something, from finding the shortest distance between two [Read More]

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