Category Archives: Astronomy

I See No Blood Upon The Moon

I hadn’t realized there was such a fuss about this morning’s eclipse. Of course the moon turns red. That’s a good sign: the Earth possesses an atmosphere. A black moon would be trouble–it would mean someone sucked all the air … Continue reading

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Looking Up At Two Crosses

Did you know there are two crosses in Earth’s sky? This image from Astronomy Picture of the Day today captures both of them. But you have to get as far south as Hawaii. We talked about one of the crosses … Continue reading

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Cosmos Episode 4: Telescope as Time Machine

I’m falling behind in regular viewing of the Cosmos reboot with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. My wife and I viewed the 4th episode earlier tonight. Telescope as time machine: very true and accurate premise, but not everybody thinks in this way. … Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf: Dreams of Other Worlds

This is a good tome if you are looking for well-written astronomy books that are comprehensible to the average intelligent reader. (I’m thinking people who are or were comfortable with high school-level science.) Each chapter is devoted to one space mission, … Continue reading

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Great Lake

Yesterday’s big news in astronomy: the positing of a lake under the south pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Nobody actually saw a lake. Admittedly, it’s a best guess given the data from Cassini’s flights by the small moon. It’s not … Continue reading

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Cosmos Episode 3

I missed the network airing of episode 3. I watched it earlier today. Four is on a bit later tonight. But I might catch that later. A confession: I never watched the Carl Sagan series. I have no reference to … Continue reading

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Astronomy Conference

This looks interesting. The Vatican Observatory Foundation is offering a five-day conference in Tucson next January: What can modern astronomy tell us about creation – and its Creator? Guy Consolmagno, SJ, on it: Our hope is that this can become … Continue reading

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Things That Happened Fast

1. The expansion of the early universe. 2. Newark priest banished to the lay state. The earlier event pumps some life into the cosmology branch of astronomy. Exoplanets were getting a lot of attention. But scientists win the Nobel Prize … Continue reading

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Cosmos, The Next Generation

I’ve been noticing the advance media (like here) on the Cosmos reboot one-third of a century after Carl Sagan popularized astronomy for the tv masses. It’s a good idea. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the right choice to front the show. … Continue reading

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Small Planets

These are small planets, relatively speaking. 715 confirmed. A bounty larger than any single discovery in space. I don’t think a passel of comets or asteroids this large has ever been announced. These planets are smaller than Neptune and bigger … Continue reading

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Just a Little Hot Weather

The latest story of astronomy curiosity is the mapping of clouds on the nearest brown dwarf, Luhman 16B, only 40 trillion miles away*. Universe Today has an in-depth feature. The weather report of 1700-degree winds and iron rain is considered … Continue reading

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Deep Life

If my Catholic friends and foils think I’m an outlier for asking difficult questions and goring sacred cows like Gregorian propers, you should also know I take the same approach to the discussion of life beyond Earth. I don’t think … Continue reading

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Crescent2

Driving home tonight from the parish, the crescent moon hung in the southwestern sky. Venus below. Nice photo at UT showing both the moon and the much smaller crescent Venus. By the time of this writing, you might think about … Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf: Five Billion Years of Solitude

Lee Billings has written a very worthy first book, one of the best science volumes I have ever read. This young science journalist manages to describe the search for life in the universe with intelligence–but unburdened by technical details. One … Continue reading

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An Infusion of the Holy into Holiday Music

On the drive to Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, we tuned in to two of central Iowa’s “Christmas stations.” I told my wife about my plan to count mentions of Jesus in holidays music. I think she’s amused by little projects like … Continue reading

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