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Make Me Dream, Under the Stars

One of the things I love best is when someone looks through a telescope for the first time. Even better when it’s a kid; a simple glance through the eyepiece, a single moment, and a lifetime of joy and wonder is theirs. During the week...Show More Summary

Bubbly Hurricane

I used to play a lot with soap bubbles. Long after I grew up, I mean. Scientifically, they’re very interesting; they explore such topics as thin film surfaces, optical interference, least-area surfaces, shape packing, and all kinds of...Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: Low Mass Stars and the Fate of the Sun

It’s time to take a step out into the greater Universe in Crash Course Astronomy. Sure, exoplanets and brown dwarfs got us out of the solar system, but when you want to understand what’s going on in the cosmos, you have to look at stars. We dipped into them in Episode 26, but now it’s time to start poking into their guts in detail. Show More Summary

A Spritely Thunderstorm from Space

You’d think that by now, deep into the 21 st century, we’d have a pretty good handle on how something as common as lightning works. But in fact there are still lots of mysteries to these gigantic bolts of electrical current, and a lot...Show More Summary

OK, Fine: One More Gorgeous Perseids Photo

I know, I put up some photos of the Perseid meteor shower a couple of days ago, and again yesterday. But c’mon. Look at this! It was taken by astrophotographer Brad Goldpaint (who has been featured on this blog many times) on Aug. 13, 2015. Show More Summary

Global Warming Is Here and Now: July 2015 Was the Hottest Month on Record

Both NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency are reporting that July 2015 was the hottest July on record—and those records go back to before 1900. The Japanese chart makes this most clear: That last dot on the right is last month, July 2015. Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: Brown Dwarfs

Last week’s Crash Course Astronomy was particularly fun for me, because I love the topic of exoplanets. It’s one of my favorite new fields of astronomy. But not my only favorite. Another is brown dwarfs, objects between the masses of planets and stars. Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: To Explore Strange, New Worlds

One of my favorite topics in astronomy is exoplanets: planets orbiting other stars. Astronomers have been looking for them for decades, and there were lots of false alarms, but no true planets found … until 1992, when pulsar planetsShow More Summary

Experimenting With Megan Amram

Being funny is hard. But Megan Amram is good at it. She was a writer for Parks and Rec, and I could probably stop there because cripes, do you need anything else on your CV? But it’s important to note that the show straddled a fine line...Show More Summary

An EPIC View of the Moon Transiting the Earth!

Just a few days ago I wrote about the DSCOVR satellite delivering gorgeous views of the Earth from space, but it just massively one-upped itself: Here’s an animation of the Moon passing in front of the Earth as seen by the satellite’s...Show More Summary

Colorado High

If you ever wonder why I love living in Colorado, well, maybe this’ll help. That video was shot by Daniel Lowe as he drove through western Colorado and eastern Utah. Where I live there’s substantial light pollution, but out by Gunnison...Show More Summary

The Summer of ’82

David: You knew enough to tell Saavik that how we face death is at least as important as how we face life. Kirk [sadly, resigned]: Just words. David: But good words! That's where ideas begin. In June of 1982, I found myself waiting in a long, long line at a mall. Show More Summary

The Densest Galaxies Ever Discovered

I think one of the most interesting facts in astronomy is a simple one to state: Galaxies are cannibals. They eat each other. The Milky Way grew huge this way; our galaxy is in the top tier of spirals in the Universe. (Many are bigger,...Show More Summary

Hey! It's Not Rocket Science!

I mentioned in a recent post that I met astronaut Chris Hadfield at Comic Con in early July. Chris is the real deal: He is a friendly, funny, warm, intelligent, and hard-working human being who truly and passionately wants to make the world a better place. One way to do that is to get more people interested in science. Show More Summary

New Horizons Looks Over Its Shoulder at Pluto

I’ve been expecting — and seeing — amazing images of Pluto from the close approach flyby of the New Horizons probe from mid-July. And even though I knew the images taken once the spacecraft was past Pluto would be lovely, I still wasn’t...Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: Stars

You’re the only star in heaven, You’re the only star that shines, You’re the only star in heaven, Now that only star is mine. Frankie Goes to Hollywood, “The Only Star in Heaven” Stars are the building blocks of the visible Universe....Show More Summary

Space Walking at Comic Con with Adam Savage

Every year, I go to San Diego Comic Con, the annual nerd bash where something like a mole of people converge on the town to celebrate pop culture. It’s a lot of fun, and one of the joys for me is to get together with friends I don’tShow More Summary

What’s in Store for the Doctor in Season 9?

As you might know, I’m a pretty big Doctor Who fan (as in OHMYGODILOVETHISSHOW), and I’m really looking forward to the next season. While the last season had some issues (arg, “Kill the Moon”) there were several great episodes, and tons of lovely scenes. Show More Summary

Pluto and Charon Keep Getting WEIRDER

If there’s one thing we always find when we see a solar system object up close for the first time, it’s something surprising. Or somethings. Or lots and lots of somethings. New images and data were released today from the New Horizons probe, now well past Pluto and its system of moons. Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: How Far Is Far?

Astronomy is weird. Everything we study is really, really far away. So far away really, that for most of history we didn’t know how far away they were. It was impossible to measure. But then some Greeks decided to figure out how bigShow More Summary

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