29 on the 29th: A Birthday post for Motivation Monday

Fitting it should fall on a Monday – so we should call this a motivation Monday post.  This won’t be about me per se.  I’m not going to spend two hours writing about my life, expecting you to read every minute detail and be captivated.  The truth is, even though its been interesting and even hilarious at times, I haven’t really lived a life that’s any more captivating than anyone else’s.  I’ve had fun, and I’ve taken risks, and I’ve made mistakes, and I’ve loved and lost time and time again.  Even though every single person can say the same,...

Questions Series: How do we know the size of the Universe?

A set of questions I get from kids and adults alike while doing my Astronomy in Action planetarium shows consists of the following: Does the Universe have an end? How big is the Universe? Where is the center of the Universe? What is the ‘Observable Universe?’ How is it different from just saying ‘the Universe?’ First of all, let me say that it is really hard to imagine the Universe as it is, even with a solid understanding of large-scale Physics.  This is because there is no analogy in our lives, no reference point in our everyday experience.  It’s very...

Motivation Monday: Momentum

“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” – J.R.R. Tolkien “The Hobbit”   You can start with a step, then another.  The steps build and become a slow walk, then a fast one, and then a trot.  The next thing you know, you’re jogging, faster and faster, then it’s a run.  The energy builds as...

Meteorites make rare Diamonds!

When a large meteorite collides with the Earth, it can be travelling upwards of 40 Kilometres per second.  This collision releases a huge amount of energy, which can vaporize rocks and create interesting and unique geological structures. For decades, scientists have been debating the existence of a rare type of crystal called Lonsdaleite, which is associated with impacts.  Strange small crystals were discovered in Arizona in the 1950s around an ancient impact crater called ‘Canyon Diablo.’  It led some scientists to believe that the mineral had mechanical properties similar to diamond, but that it was structurally superior. If it existed in a pure form...

Sending Astronomers to the Arctic? No more Hawaii for my Colleagues!

As the Canadian Winter approaches and our country goes into collective hibernation, we start to remind the world how cold it gets here, and that the tourist season is in July.  Still, we Canadians are proud of our hardiness and we will welcome you with open arms if you decide to visit in January. Still, if you look at a population map of Canada, we mostly live in the southern 10% of our country’s latitudes.  There are thousands of square kilometres of open wilderness to explore.  We want to be warm, but we also love our home country.  Many Canadians...

Motivation Monday: The Quarter Life Crisis

There’s this new thing I heard of recently that people my age and nearby (20-32 roughly) are experiencing.  It’s being called a quarter life crisis.  It’s a time in a person’s life where they are making that change from young adult to ‘real’ adult, and although the trigger is different for everyone, the symptoms are similar.  They feel lost, hopeless, chained to a career that may never pan out.  They’re worried about money constantly, and question every.single.decision…. many times. Sound familiar? Let’s go back to the beginning to understand why we feel this way.  When we were young the world...

The Rosetta Comet Landing is Right Now!

For the first time in human history we are landing on a Comet! Watch the live feed and you can follow the landing as it’s happening.  It is expected to touch down at about 11:03 EST.  The lander, named Philae, already detached from the Rosetta Spacecraft at about 4am EST, and is slowly moving toward the landing site.  Once it gets close enough it will launch harpoons (yup you read it right) to grab onto the comet and pull itself down to the surface, snapping photos along the way. The Science communication world has been following this story since the Orbiter arrived...

Motivation Monday – Self-Medication

We all get tired.  We all feel lonely.  We all feel sad, jealous, envious, hurt, beaten down, unattractive, ugly, worthless, unmotivated, and shy. …Sometimes. If you feel these feelings too often, please go and find help.  I’ve been down that road.  There’s no shame in admitting you need counselling or other help. But everyone does feel this way once in awhile.  happiness is a habit, one that must be cultivated.  If anyone has ever told you to ‘just be happy’ then you should tell them to fuck off. When we do feel these emotions or tiredness, we often want to...

Partial Solar Eclipse Today!

Tonight, right around sunset, there will be a partial eclipse of the sun, visible from most of North America.  As the sun sets, skywatchers will get to see the moon gradually cover about half of the sun, before it disappears below the horizon. A map of the viewing area shows that the best spot to see it will be all the way up in the Canadian arctic. If you don’t live in the Arctic circle, you can certainly see the eclipse in the South-West near the horizon as it sets.  The moon will start to cover the sun around 5:45 EDT,...

A new Podcast and an Astronomy in Action Update

Long time no see internet.  I’ve survived a busy end of year performing my Astronomy shows for kids of all ages, and now the summer is here. I started by finishing up Part 2 of my supernova podcast.  The second part is more of the up to date stuff, and you can find it here.  I’m taking suggestions for my next podcast topic, so feel free to give suggestions. This summer is a bit of a revamp and leap for my companies.  I’m developing a new series of science shows called EPIC Science, consisting of high energy demos that are...