Category Archives: Astronomy

Svalbard Gets Totality

If I remember my geography right, Svalbard has a few thousand people living on its islands. Those inhabitants, plus some astronomical thrill-seekers got to see the year’s main total solar eclipse earlier today. For Americans, the big one is still … Continue reading

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Closing in on Ceres

The Dawn spacecraft is nearing the dwarf planet and largest asteroid Ceres. Nice pair of images on the APOD site today. Scientists are pondering the white spots on the surface, but I’ve seen things like this before. Compare Ceres (imaged … Continue reading

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True Cold Blue

One of my favorite astronomy pictures was featured yesterday on the APOD site: icy white clouds casting shadows on Neptune’s blue haze below. This planet is unimaginably cold, but has winds double the speed of a passenger jet.

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On My Bookshelf: Pearls of the Southern Skies

This is an excellent indulgence in astronomy eye candy. Photographer Dieter Willasch presents seventy-one images of galaxies and nebulae. Auke Slotegraaf adds a page of commentary on each. This is one of the better coffee table books on astronomy I’ve … Continue reading

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Priest and Scientist

I recommend the brief Crux article on people who were both priests and scientists. I suggest skipping the commentary, though. A few Jesuits were among the clergy listed, but one of my favorites was a diocesan priest: Georges Lemaître (1894-1966) The … Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf: The Copernicus Complex

Science writer and astrobiologist Caleb Scharf tackles the question of life in the universe. Is it common? Is it rare? Are we unique, here on Earth? The simple answer is: we don’t know. The more complex answer is that we … Continue reading

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Immense Heaven

The astronomy picture of the day is Laniakea, the newly discovered/defined super-structure that includes our Milky Way Galaxy. There’s already a Wikipedia entry. The massive Virgo Supercluster is now just an “appendage” in the bigger scheme of things. It’s hard … Continue reading

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