AAS Epilogue: The After Hours Party
Building Community, One A** Grab at a time?

AAS Epilogue: The After Hours Party Building Community, One A** Grab at a time?

scov-kirsh.jpgBack in 2003, I attended the AAS for the first time as a member of the media. In this new role, for the first time in my life, I was one of the cool kids. I wasn’t quite sure how the transition happened, but I wasn’t going to question. One of the results of getting to run with the fast crowd was being invited to the AAS after-hours party. Now, truth be told, as much as I’ve heard the admonishment, “Be careful who you tell about the party,” I don’t know of anyone who is turned away as not cool enough. All I really know is some people are more aggressively invited than others, and that year, I was one of the people who was taped on the shoulder, handed a little card with directions, and told, “You really need to be there…”

Hosted by Gina, Jake, Emilie and Sara (forgive me if I missed someone), the unofficial after-hours party seeks to change the face of astronomy one cocktail at a time (see their website here.

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Astrology vs String Theory

Astrology vs String Theory

dragon.gifThe scientific method requires good scientific theories to build theories based on observations/experiments that make specific predictions about the outcomes of future observations/experiments. It’s okay if we don’t currently have the technology to make an observation. Theories are perfectly capable of sitting on shelves waiting to be proven right or wrong. What matters – what makes the theory science – is that the theory is eventually provable (or disprovable).

So, how do I deal with string theory?

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Star Formation

Star Formation

pillar-m16.jpgA couple more posts on the AAS are coming, but for now I want to take a moment to answer a question asked by a reader yesterday. Paul asked “I have a question about how stars form. I’m confused about the answers I’ve read or heard about. Some people say that stars “condense” from molecular space gas. As they do, they heat up and ignite. Others say they “collapse” from gas. Still others say that the gas is “compressed” by a nearby supernova. … Can you help explain how stars are formed?”

Sure. I can do that.

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The Explosive Universe

The Explosive Universe

picture-1.pngNOTE: more links will be added tomorrow.

Many things are in the pipeline for production. In the past 24 hours I have recorded numerous different interviews and tidbits with people working on supernovae, in science reporting, and astronomy education. I have so much material I’m not quite sure when I’ll find the time to edit it together, but time will be made, and Astronomy Cast will have some great new material in weeks to come.

Today’s press conferences spanned a wide gamut, talking about everything from dwarf galaxies to disk formation to, I kid you not, hot chocolate…

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When Galaxies interact, it’s Not all Fun and Games

When Galaxies interact, it’s Not all Fun and Games

qqqcol3icon2.jpgToday’s round of press conference started with the story of three systems that have mutually triggered fireworks in one another’s cores. Specifically, a gravitationally bound system of three quasars has been located at a distance of roughly 10.4 billion light years (z = 2.076). This is the first such triple quasar system that has been located.

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