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OK Go Defies Gravity

OK Go is a band that’s a bit hard to define; Wikipedia lists them as “American alternative rock” which is possibly the least specific adjectival phrase I can think of (besides maybe “mostly carbon-based”). They make ridiculously catchy songs, and are better known for their quirky and astonishing videos. Show More Summary

LIGO Sees First Ever Gravitational Waves As Two Black Holes Eat Each Other

Better start shining up some new Nobel Prize medals: Scientists have reported that, for the very first time in history, they have detected gravitational waves. And oh my yes, this is a very big deal. It will open up an entirely new field of astronomy, a new way to observe the Universe. Show More Summary

Music of the Spheres

When space and astronomy based time-lapse animations started becoming popular a couple of years ago, all it took was some cool imagery to get noticed. But over time we’ve seen a lot of such animations, and (unless the footage is really...Show More Summary

Sometimes They Come Back: Giant Gas Cloud On Collision Course with the Milky Way

In 27 million years, you’d better fasten your seat belt: Sometime around then, a gas cloud with enough mass to make two million stars like the Sun will come crashing into the Milky Way. Given the time frame, I’m not too concerned personally over this galactic train wreck. Show More Summary

"Let's Make Sure That History Never Forgets the Name… Enterprise"

This year marks the 50 th anniversary of the most influential science fiction series of all time: Star Trek. I’m a pretty big fan (Evidence A/B, Evidence 2, ad inifinitum), and I could go on and on about its influence, the characters, the music, and all that. Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: Outtakes 5

The final episode of Crash Course Astronomy went up last week, but if you miss it already, we have one final video for you: the fifth outtakes reel, which basically features me trying to pronounce common words as if I have a mouthful...Show More Summary

So, About that Video of the Space Station Passing in Front of Saturn…

Last week, a seemingly spectacular astronomy video went viral. It was created by a German astrophotographer named Julian Wessel, and it showed the International Space Station passing directly in front of Saturn. I saw links to it all over Twitter and Facebook, and no wonder: Catching such an event takes an extraordinary amount of skill and planning. Show More Summary

2015: The Hottest Year on Record

I know it’s funny to read this when the east coast of the US is shoveling out from under a blizzard, but that doesn’t make it any less true: 2015 was the hottest year on record for the planet. And not only the hottest, but blasting through the previous record, held by… the year before. Show More Summary

From Beneath the Earth to Above the Sky

Regular readers know that when it comes to science, my two loves are astronomy and geology. That love is multiplied when they come together. … like in the photo above, a six-panel mosaic taken by master photographer Rogelio Bernal Andreo (you can purchase a print, too). Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: Everything, the Universe…and Life

So. 48 episodes, over eight hours of content, 100,000 words, a year and a half of work, topics ranging from quantum fluctuations to the death of the Universe… and, finally, here we are. The last episode of Crash Course Astronomy. When...Show More Summary

More (and Best Yet) Evidence that Another Planet Lurks in the Dark Depths of Our Solar System

Yesterday (Jan. 20), a pair of astronomers announced potentially very exciting news: They have found evidence that another, massive planet may exist in the outer solar system. If it exists, it’s likely to have roughly 10 times the mass...Show More Summary

See Five Naked-Eye Planets in the Sky At the Same Time!

If you get up very early over the next couple of weeks, there’s a treat waiting for you outside: All five naked-eye planets known since antiquity are visible in the dawn sky at once. This is actually pretty cool, and it’s visible from anywhere in the world. Show More Summary

How Turbulence Fuels the Most Violent Explosions in the Universe

In the final seconds of a massive star’s life, a lot happens all at once. But the outcome is inevitable: BOOM. Just how big a boom depends on the details of everything going on. The core of a star is where the action is; that’s where lighter elements are fused into heavier ones, creating energy that holds the star up against its own powerful gravity. Show More Summary

A Game Is Lost on the Torque and Parabola of an Isotropic Disk

Over the weekend, the Green Bay Packers lost in a heartbreaking overtime (American) football game to the Arizona Cardinals. In a game filled with a lot of odd events (a Hail Mary pass to the end zone that led to a tie-making point after...Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: The Death of the Universe

I’ll be honest with you, folks: I’ve been anticipating this moment with some trepidation. I’ve always been fascinated with big explosions, doomsday stuff, apocalyptic scenarios. It’s one of the reasons I studied supernovae for my degree, and then became interested in asteroid and comet impacts. Show More Summary

No, Senator Ted Cruz, Satellites Are NOT Our Best Way to Measure Global Warming

Last December, GOP Senator, Presidential hopeful, and outrageous science denier Ted Cruz held a Senate panel about climate change that could charitably be called a farce. He empaneled a series of people who ranged from lukewarmers (believing...Show More Summary

How Sensitive is Global Warming to Carbon Dioxide?

Another global warming denial talking point has — as so many have before it — apparently bit the aerosol. This time it has to do with climate sensitivity and a concept called “forcing”. These factors are critical to taking action about...Show More Summary

Is Glass a Liquid? 

There are a lot of sciencey factoids floating around the world that are actually wrong. I’d give a litany of examples, but hey, I literally wrote the book on some. One of the most tenacious is the idea that glass is actually a liquid. Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: A Brief History of the Universe 

I love playing hashtag games on Twitter. Someone gives a topic, makes it a hashtag, and then others come up with something that fits. Usually they’re funny (the TV show @Midnight does a hashtag war every weeknight, and I won once!), but they can be poignant, too. Show More Summary

An Interactive Crash Course Tour of the Solar System

During the course of making the Crash Course Astronomy series, our animators at Thought Café and I put together a fun poster of the solar system with little factoids about the various members of our Sun’s family. Building on that, the...Show More Summary

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