Building Galaxies

Building Galaxies

I just finished watching the Universe series episode on “Alien Galaxies.” I have to admit that their constant use of the word “Alien” forced me to look up the word alien in the dictionary (or at least on dictionary.com). I have to admit that while it is legitimate to call galaxies alien, it’s probably a bit of a stretch of the definition. That aside, this episode did a good job high lighting all the different types of galaxies that are our there. What it didn’t discuss (let’s face it, you can only do so much in 50 minutes), is how this zoo of galaxies represents a continuum of evolution. A paper published by Searle and Zinn in 1978 and substantiated by countless papers since then, states one of the possible explanations...

Read More

In search of time

It is T-1 week to the beginning of classes. My syllabus are written (I’ll photocopy what needs photocopied tomorrow). I still need to set up websites, but I have a shell in place at least. I’m really frustrated that summer is over. I’m honestly a bit concerned that it is going to be hard for me to keep writing every day as classes and conferences couple to eat my days. I’m going to try as long as I can, but already I fell off the wagon yesterday  as I let myself get caught up in grant writing, and project planning, and just hanging out on a Satuday with humans (it happens). Oh well, I’m sure my students are sadder than I am. But still, can’t I just have one more day in this weekend?

Read More

Citizen Scientists

My Astronomy Cast co-host Fraser Cain wrote an amazingly illustrated piece on amateur astronomers and their observing rigs for Wired online. My first reaction was, “Wow, that telescope as itty bitty wheels,” (seriously, take a look at the scope on the right. It has itty-bitty tiny wheels and looks heavier than my Jeep!) My second reaction was, “Wow, most small colleges don’t have equipment that nice!” The citizen scientists in Fraser’s piece don’t have PhD’s in Astronomy or related fields, but they have the capabilities of obtaining the same high quality images that I was trained to take in graduate school. (And they weren’t forced to take 4 semesters of calculus!) Astronomy historically has been a career only...

Read More

Space Carnival #15

The traveling show has landed on my little blog for week 15. Please check out all the acts. A Babe in the Universe discusses how the private space industry has long believed that they can explore Space for less cost than NASA. This article discusses a plan that would service a lunar observatory and incidentally return people to the Moon. Advancednano discusses a trio of proposals for $500/kg or less launches to space in this post Ram accelerators are variations on big cannons and could be very cheap to develop. Magnetic ring launch is similar but more expensive for infrastructure but would be cheaper to operate. Plasma hypersonic is interesting, has a credible promoter but has secret core technologies. Alfa King Memories asks the question, is their life on Mars?...

Read More

Finding Dark Galaxies

Finding Dark Galaxies

One of the great mysteries of our universe is whether there are dark matter galaxies, devoid of stars, haunting the universe. From the COSMOS survey, we know that dark matter and visible matter are not always located in the same place. This implies that there may be galaxies out there made entirely out of dark matter. The question is: how can we prove they do or don’t exist? Proving they completely don’t, never ever, no where in the visible universe exist is actually impossible. No matter how hard we look, it will always be possible for one dark galaxy to be hiding. On the other hand, proving the do exist, is tedious but possible. This is because even dark galaxies exert a gravitational pull on the stuff around them. In a recent survey, lead by Igor...

Read More
Now live! Expect the Unexpected.
Currently offline.