Blog Profile / Slate: Bad Astronomy

Filed Under:Academics / Astronomy
Posts on Regator:2796
Posts / Week:5.4
Archived Since:February 24, 2008

Blog Post Archive

The Daily Show’s Roy Wood Jr. Knows Exactly How Moonlight Won Best Picture: “Peak Blackness”

“What in the living fuck happened at the Oscars?” A shocked Trevor Noah posed this question to Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr., who provided a simple but convincing explanation. “Peak blackness,” Wood explained, a “rare metaphysical...Show More Summary

All Good Things

We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one. -The Doctor On Nov. 12, 2012, I posted my first blog article for Slate. This article you are reading right now is my last. After 1541 days and well over 3000 articles, I’m moving on. Show More Summary

Shaking the Fabric of Reality

Hands down, the biggest science story of 2016 was the detection of gravitational waves. Even the discovery of the planet Proxima Centauri B takes second seat to it. Gravitational waves are ripples in the very fabric of spacetime, created when massive objects are accelerated. Show More Summary

In a Week of Space Tragedy Anniversaries, We Must Continue to Venture Onward

[Today, Jan. 27, 2017, is the 50th anninversary of the Apollo 1 fire that killed three astronauts. I wrote the following article a few years ago, but my feelings have not changed at all. Space calls to us, and we must answer, even when we know we will lose people along the way. Show More Summary

The Broad Strokes of Jupiter

[This post is what Boing Boing calls a “unicorn chaser”, a bit of eye candy to cleanse the brain after a particularly off-putting article. So, after yesterday’s distressing news, here’s something to make your cerebrum a bit happier.] A...Show More Summary

Make America Gagged Again

Welcome to our new, terrifying reality: According to reports, President Donald Trump’s administration has ordered a media blackout of people who work at the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture. It...Show More Summary

Juno Makes Another Pass at Jupiter

On July 5, 2016, Jupiter acquired a new moon: NASA’s Juno spacecraft. Launched in 2011, Juno passed by the Earth in October 2013 to pick up some energy and fling itself to Jupiter. Once it arrived, it burned its main engine for overShow More Summary

Curiosity Finds an(other) Alien Visitor on Mars

The Curiosity rover has been on Mars since Aug. 6, 2102. In the more than four years it’s been there, it’s seen wonders beyond our Earthly reckoning: evidence of ancient flowing water, evidence of ancient standing water, methane in the...Show More Summary

If You Need Strength Today, Be Like Daphnis

Today is a difficult day. And it’s just the latest in what have been very, very difficult times. I’ll be honest with you: Over the past few months, in between bouts of fury and incredulity, like so many of you I have felt real despair. Show More Summary

Saturn's Moon Daphnis Creates Spectacular Ripples in Saturn's Rings

When I saw the image above, I literally gasped. It’s an amazing photo, showing the small moon Daphnis inside a gap in Saturn’s rings. The beauty of this shot is apparent, but the science behind it is even cooler. Allow me to explain. On Nov. Show More Summary

2016 Was the Hottest Year on Record

Well, it’s official: 2016 was the hottest year globally on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their numbers for the year, and there’s no way to sugar coat this: It’s bad. We've had three consecutive...Show More Summary

Apollo Astronaut Gene Cernan Has Died at 82

Apollo 17 Commander Gene Cernan has died. Besides being a Naval aviator, a fighter pilot, and an engineer, he is best known as the last human to have stood on the surface of the Moon. Like every other astronaut of the time, Cernan was quite the character, with a storied life. Show More Summary

SpaceX Returns to Flight

Over the weekend —on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017— SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 into space, successfully completing its primary mission of deploying ten Iridium communication satellites. The secondary mission? To land the first stage booster on a drone ship in the Pacific. Show More Summary

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled High-Mass Stars…

Let me tell you something funny about that picture above. Somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 light years away —estimates vary— lies the huge nebula NGC 3576. It’s very roughly 75 light years across, making it one of the bigger star forming regions in the galaxy. And that’s just the visible part of it. Show More Summary

The Clouds of Andromeda

The image above is as baffling as it is gorgeous. First, kudos go to my pal Rogelio Bernal Andreo, who took this magnificent shot. It shows the Andromeda Galaxy, the closest big spiral galaxy to our own, and in fact the other big member of our neighborhood galaxy minicluster called The Local Group. Show More Summary

Talk Nerdy: Anti-Science, Trump, and Why I Hope Science Will Help Save the World

Funny how things work out. I had already drafted an article about an interview I did over the weekend with my friend Cara Santa Maria for her “Talk Nerdy” podcast. We spent a lot of time talking about critical thinking, science, and Donald Trump. And then, as I was editing that article, a whole passel of revelations came out about Trump. Show More Summary

My God. It’s Full of Black Holes.

The image above doesn’t look like much at a glance, does it? Look again. What you’re seeing are thousands of black holes. Thousands. That image is a part of the Chandra Deep Field South, the result of a series of very long exposures of one small section of the sky using the space-based Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Show More Summary

A Distant View of Home

When I saw the image above, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Recognize them? Those are the Earth and Moon, as seen from Mars. That image was taken by the phenomenal HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which was just over 200 million km from Earth at the time. Show More Summary

That's No Ordinary Taco. It's a SPACE Taco.

People ask me a lot of questions. One of the most common, understandably, is, “Would you like to go to space?” My answer is always the same: “I’d like to be in space, but I don’t want to go to space.” The difference being the idea of...Show More Summary

New Study Confirms Sea Surface Temperatures Are Warming Faster than Previously Thought

In 2015, scientists from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a paper that angered a lot of climate science deniers. In it, the researchers found that some historic measurements of sea surface temperatures were off by a bit, and needed to be corrected. Show More Summary

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