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A Sunday Morning Brain Teaser For You

Hey, I know just you want on a Sunday morning! A physics problem! If it helps, think of it as a brain teaser. Like many such, it’s deceptively simple, but when you start to think about it a lot of concepts collide and it’s not as obvious as you might suppose at first glance. Here’s my friend Dianna Cowern, aka Physics Girl, with the brain-stumper. Show More Summary

On the Ball of the Midnight Sun

Imagine you are on a large sphere. Got it? Now imagine that sphere is spinning. As it does, two poles are defined: You can call them what you like, but “top” and “bottom” work. Halfway around the sphere from the top one toward the bottom is the sphere’s midsection. Show More Summary

A Strip of Pluto

I know, that image above doesn’t look like much, does it? But go ahead, click it. I dare you. Because I took the original 1,000 x 15,000 pixel image, rotated it, and shrank it to fit the width of the blog. It’s a jaw-dropping close-up...Show More Summary

What Causes Stripey Clouds?

Sixty Symbols is a great effort: A group of professional scientists of various stripes putting out short videos, each one tackling a different symbol in science. ?F, -K, kg… each one is explained clearly and simply by actual scientists. The videos proved so popular (more than 53 million views as I write this!) that they kept going. Show More Summary

Fireball: Couch-Sized Rock Lights Up the Sky Over Arizona

Last Thursday, June 2, 2016, at 10:56:32 UTC (03:56 local time), a rock the size of a typical living room recliner burned up over Arizona, bright enough to light up the sky and spark a lot of social media chatter and 911 calls. There are quite a few videos of it online. Show More Summary

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert Will Save Us From Gay Space Colonies

Are you sitting down? Good. Comfy? Excellent. I wouldn't want you to be hurt when your jaw hits the floor watching this video. Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, everyone: Just in case you missed —and how could you?— here’s the fun bit: I really...Show More Summary

Lies Trump Reality

At this point, it’s painfully clear that Donald Trump is incapable of telling the truth. Listening to him talk is actually rather amazing; just by the laws of statistics he should randomly say something accurate just once, at least by accident. Yet, here we are. On Friday, May 27, 2016, Trump was in Fresno, California to give a stump speech. Show More Summary

Ride Along With a SpaceX Rocket Back to Earth

On Friday (May 27, 2016) SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket with the THAICOM 8 satellite into orbit. The launch went off right on time (after a one-day delay due to an unusual reading from the upper stage on the Thursday launch attempt),...Show More Summary

A Dozen (Or So) Ways to Die in Space

Macabre? Sure. But my sense of humor runs dark sometimes, and I love science fiction, so this (very) short animation (very) briefly depicting a bunch of ways hapless space explorers can undergo Death in Space cracked me up. I could nitpick...Show More Summary

Cards Against Humanity Just Paid for a Young Woman’s College Tuition

In April 2015, I wrote about a new expansion pack for the ridiculously popular game Cards Against Humanity. The new pack was the brainchild of Zach Weinersmith, who asked me to help come up with some of the funny science-based questions...Show More Summary

Transit Transit

OK, one more Mercury transit video. But trust me. You'll like this one. Thierry Legault is a genius when it comes to solar and lunar transits. He's caught just about everything that orbits the Earth crossing the Sun, including the space station, Hubble, space shuttles, and more. Show More Summary

Sic Transit Gloria Mercury

Yesterday, Mercury passed directly between the Earth and the Sun, the last transit it will make until November 2019. Judging from my Twitter and Facebook feeds, it was watched by approximately eleventy bazillion people. I got to watch...Show More Summary

Watch the Transit of Mercury on Streaming TV (tonight, May 9)

2 months agoAcademics / Astronomy : Astroblog

Transit of Mercury as seen from Australia in November 2006 at around 8:30am, click to enlarge. Mercury is the tiny dot roughly in the centre-top. Tonight, May 9 2016, is a rare Transit of Mercury, where Mercury crosses the Sun's face. Show More Summary

SpaceX Nailed Its Most Difficult Landing Yet

On Friday morning, May 6, 2016, at 05:21 UTC, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket roared away from its launch pad in Florida, carrying a Japanese satellite into orbit. Eight minutes and 40 seconds later, the first stage booster set down on a barge...Show More Summary

Did a Super-Mega-Ultra Neutrino Come from a Black Hole Gobbling Down Matter 10 Billion Light Years Away?

[Why yes, I did have fun writing that title. Thank you for asking.] Astronomers may have solved a mystery that started a few years ago. Or 9.5 billion years ago, depending on how you look at it. Even better? This mystery involves, in...Show More Summary

How to Watch the Rare Transit of Mercury Across the Sun on Monday

On Monday, May 9, a very cool astronomical event occurs: the smallest planet, Mercury, will appear to move across the face of the Sun. This relatively rare event, called a transit, happens on average only about 13 times per century. Mercury...Show More Summary

Jimmy Kimmel: Climate Hero

I have so much to say about it, but really, just watch this (note: lots of bleeped swearing for comedic effect, including from a kid, if that kind of thing offends you): There are so many great lines in this segment, but I think my favorite...Show More Summary

Three Earth-Size Planets Found Orbiting a Nearby Ultracool Star

The search for Earth-like planets continues, as astronomers scour the sky examining stars for telltale clues of orbiting worlds. Most of the exoplanets found are big, like Jupiter, because they’re the easiest to detect. But our technology...Show More Summary

SpaceX Wants to Go to Mars—And It Actually Can

So, SpaceX wants to land a spaceship on Mars in 2018. Wait. Seriously? Yup. Last week, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, made the startling announcement on Twitter: He wrote, “Planning to send Dragon to Mars as soon as 2018. Red Dragons will...Show More Summary

The Earth Is Getting Greener… But That’s Not a Good Sign

A new study just published in the journal Nature Climate Change reached an interesting, if not totally surprising, conclusion: The Earth has become significantly greener over the past 33 years. The main reason? All the extra carbon dioxide...Show More Summary

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