Saturn Double Shot 1/2: Less-Than-Ancient Moons

It’s always funny explaining astronomical time to a non-scientist.  I often get the craziest looks when I mention a million years as being a ‘blip on the radar.’  Perhaps there is some immortal alien race out there who would understand how nothing much happens on the scale of the universe in a million years.  To humanity and our ever-accelerating advancement, a million years is thrice the age of our entire species.  But I guess Einstein was right when he said that ‘it’s all relative.’ This brings us to Saturn, a planet as ancient as the solar system.  Moderately old in...

Universe Radio on Repeat

Looking at the universe in radio waves is a fascinating sight.  For one, the radio sky is very weak; If you placed your cellphone on the Moon facing back at Earth, it would be brighter than all other radio sources in the entire sky by a factor of a million.  But as with every other part of the electromagnetic spectrum, it has scientific value in studying the sky.  Over the past decade, astronomers have been identifying several Fast Radio Bursts (FRB), short bursts of radio waves from different places in the universe that last for a few short seconds.  These are...

Valentine’s ‘Holiday’

I think valentine’s day is a waste of time and money.  It’s great to show someone that you love them, but do we all have to buy a bunch of stuff on one particular day because ‘it’s the norm?’ I am not single, but when I was, I spent just as much time loathing this pointless day.  So in the spirit of saying no to a useless commercial ‘holiday,’ here is a picture of a lonely star, instead of some heart-shaped astronomical object. The star pictured is Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, and although it is part of a...

Extreme Events: When Black Holes Collide

New science has come forward from a team of astronomers who, earlier this year, discovered a pair of black holes in a close orbit, heading toward a cataclysmic merger.  The new results suggest that this incredibly powerful collision will occur much sooner than previously thought, as little as 100,000 years from now (A blip on the radar of astronomical timescales). By precisely calculating the individual and relative masses of the black holes, the team was able to predict how the merger would take place, giving a time line for the collision. The astronomers, from Columbia University, saw bright flashes of light...

A Lot Going on in One Galaxy Image

Maybe I am a starry-eyed dreamer, or maybe I just treat astronomy like a little kid opening birthday presents, but every time I see a new Hubble image I am blown away by it.  Today’s mind-blowing photo is of Messier 63, the Sunflower Galaxy, located in Canes Venatici. It shows the central region of the galaxy and out tot he spiral arms.  The arms are clearly visible due to the bright blue clusters of newly formed stars intermixed with dark patched of thick gas and dust.  In between the arms lie older, redder stars.  Closest to the centre, the yellowish...

Hubble Ultra Deep Field – Amazing Image!

You need to see this animation.  It’s an amazing picture showing the Hubble Ultra Deep Field and the small patch of sky Astronomers had to aim at in order to photograph it.  The moon is there for comparison.  The patch of sky is about the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. Courtesy of gfycat.com, it really puts things in perspective.  The crazy part is that if you look in any direction in the universe, in patches of sky as small as this one, you see the exact same thing.  There are more galaxies in the Universe than we...