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Crash Course Astronomy: Meteors!

I’m not gonna lie to you: This is one of my favorite episodes of Crash Course Astronomy we’ve done so far. It was a lot of fun, and this is just such a fantastic topic to talk about. So here you go: “Meteors, Meteoroids, and Meteorites,...Show More Summary

Which Hunt?

In early June, Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt was asked to speak at a luncheon sponsored by the Korea Federation of Women’s Science and Technology Associations at a science communications meeting in South Korea. What he said there is now Internet history. Show More Summary

A Refreshing Illusion: Flat Glass of Water

I love fun illusions, and I happened upon one that’s pretty interesting to see: An artist draws a glass of water that is startlingly 3D: Oddly, the illusion is actually more convincing to watch at lower resolution and with a smaller window; that washes out the pencil strokes and actually makes the illusion more realistic. Show More Summary

What Lurks in the Outer Solar System?

Where does the solar system end? You might think of the solar system as being the Sun, a bunch of planets , and various asteroids and comets. But it’s more complicated than that. Nothing in the Universe ever really has sharp boundaries when you look at it closely. Show More Summary

The 2015 Earth and Sky Photography Winners

The good folks at The World at Night — dedicated to preserving the night sky and raising awareness about light pollution — have announced the winners of the 6 th annual International Earth and Sky Photo Contest, and as usual they are...Show More Summary

Dancing Lights Against the Sky

When you look up in the sky enough, you'll see some really, really weird things. YouTube user QuadeM13 was out riding his bike and noticed a strange light beam flashing and twisting around above a cloud. He stopped and took some video...Show More Summary

What Do We Do About Misogyny Online?

Not surprisingly, the issue of misogyny on the Internet has hit the news again. The blatant and horrid misogyny women face online has been an issue for as long as there’s been an Internet. Recently, though, with the advent of GamerGate,...Show More Summary

Are Volcanoes Still Erupting on Venus?

There are a handful of known currently tectonically active objects in the solar system: Earth, of course, plus Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Neptune’s moon Triton, Jupiter’s moon Io (the actual most active body known) and (most likely) Jupiter’s moon Europa. And now we may be able to add Venus to that list. Show More Summary

To Pluto

Why is it so many of us are excited about the New Horizons mission to Pluto? This. This is why. That video was created by Erik Wernquist, the brilliant mind behind Wanderers, what I consider one of the best paeans to exploration ever made. And like Wanderers, all the places in the New Horizons video are real. Show More Summary

Vulcan Is an Angry God. A Very, Very Angry God.

On April 22, 2015, the Chilean volcano Calbuco erupted, providing the most dramatic and awe-inspiring photographs I’ve ever seen of such an event. On that day, photographer Martin Heck was right on the scene, by happenstance taking time-lapse footage on the neighboring Osorno volcano. Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: Comets

When it comes to exciting solar system exploration right now, comets are right there at the top. With Rosetta orbiting the comet 67P for nearly a year now, and hearing once again from the nearly-lost Philae lander, it’s a great timeShow More Summary

Bad Astronomy Video: Rainbow Falls

A video of an astonished crowd at a restaurant overlooking Niagara Falls went semi-viral recently, showing a circular rainbow created by spray from the water. Seeing a circular rainbow is rare, since you need fairly particular circumstances...Show More Summary

Iridium Attack on Jupiter!

I really need to stop being surprised by Thierry Legault. He’s an astrophotographer who specializes in getting ridiculously difficult real-time events. He excels at capturing satellites transiting (crossing in front of) astronomicalShow More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: Outtakes 2

When you watch an episode of Crash Course Astronomy, I’m sure you think to yourself, “Wow, this is surely the most polished and amazing series that has ever graced YouTube, nay, all of media since time immemorial!” because most people...Show More Summary

Incredible Video of a Stationary Supercell over South Dakota

On June 1, 2015, photographer Nicolaus Wegner was in South Dakota and saw a rare sight: a stationary supercell. Normally these system move, blown by winds, but this huge rotating thunderstorm squatted over the landscape like an angry god. Show More Summary

Video Ridealong with a Soyuz Capsule Docking with the Space Station

This is very cool: high-resolution video taken from the Soyuz capsule that brought astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka to the International Space Station in March 2015: That opening shot is very 2001! The Earth dominates the frame, with the ISS hanging nearby. Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: Asteroids

For this week’s Crash Course Astronomy episode, we take a skidding halt at the edge of the planetary solar system and scream back inward to the vast space between Mars and Jupiter. Before I go on, I need to fess up to an error: I said that Earth’s Trojan asteroid, 2010 TK7, is 800 million km from Earth. Show More Summary

Rainbow Falls

Rainbows are one of the most breath-taking outcomes of simple geometric wave optics. I stand by this position. After all, white sunlight enters a raindrop, gets bent and dispersed (broken up into colors) due to Snell’s law, reflectsShow More Summary

Do Toilets Really Flush the Opposite Way in the Southern Hemisphere?

Does water drain in different directions in different hemispheres? You’ve almost certainly heard about this before. The idea was used as the basis for an episode of The Simpsons, about toilets flushing the opposite way in the southern...Show More Summary

Space Weird Thing

I recently wrote about Thing Explainer, a book by my friend and xkcd author Randall Munroe that explains complex scientific ides using only the most common 1000 words in the English language (originally motivated by his flippin’ brilliant...Show More Summary

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