Hubble has nothing on ALMA: Planets forming around a star captured in finest detail ever

The Hubble Space telescope produced the finest Astronomical images in a generation, but Hubble’s time in the limelight has ended, and now it’s time for a new generation of both space- and ground-based telescopes to take over with their own jaw-dropping images and revolutionary science. Recently the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) has taken the leap and used its full power to take an astonishing image of the protoplanetary disk of the young star HL Tau. This image is of a very young star, only about a million years old (Which is really young compared to the 4.5 billions year old...

Dark Matter may be more Massive than it already is!

Dark Matter; Dark Energy; We basically use the term ‘dark’ as a cool sounding version of ‘We have no clue what this is.’ But Dark Matter is a better name than ‘We haven’t a clue’ Matter. Over the years, Astronomers have been trying to pinpoint what the stuff actually is that seems to permeate the universe and makes up 26.8% of the entire total energy-mass (Compare this to a paltry 4.9% of ordinary matter, ie the stuff we can see). But now, as per usual, theorists have come up with another possibility for the source of dark matter: moderately sized,...

How last night’s Antares Rocket Launch was delayed by a guy in a boat

One of the funnier parts of the scientific method, at least during work in the field, is that nature is a cruel prankster.  The smallest things can derail the greatest of experiments. More often than not this results in catastrophe, yet some of the greatest leaps in Science have come from something that seemingly went wrong. Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin when he noticed that a bacterial culture had been contaminated with mold, but the bacteria did not spread anywhere near the mold. Penzias and Wilson discovered the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation when they were trying to detect faint radio waves...

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,...

Top 5 comet breakups in History

When comets breakup it can be an emotional time for Astronomers, amateur and professional alike.  Though not like a breakup with a significant other, we get our hopes up that the next comet will be a comet of the century.  We do this because comets are very unpredictable, and any given close approach to Earth could be spectacular….or terrible. Comet ISON is about to pass behind the sun on November 28th, and could potentially break into pieces from the sun’s incredible tidal forces.  In honour of a new potential breakup, here are the top 5 comet breakups in history: #5...

An Explosive new Podcast

A Commander Chris Hadfield returns home tonight, the York Universe crew will be focusing on his voyage with a special show, featuring talk of the incredible and inspiring exploits of the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station.  Featured in this episode will be an interview with one of the newest Canadian Astronauts, Jeremy Hansen.  I was lucky enough to be a part of this interview, and am excited that it will finally reach air time tonight! Also debuting tonight after the York Universe episode, will be my second ‘What’s The Latest?’ podcast, entitled ‘Supernova part 1.’  Find it in...

Fairwell fair Herschel

The Hershel Observatory, an ESA telescope for which NASA helped build instruments and process data, has stopped making observations as it has finally run out of its liquid Helium coolant, as expected.  This is a good time to remember the multitude of data that a space based telescope can churn out, and the incredible scientific advancement that comes from such missions. On the heels of the NASA proposed budget, it reminds us how important scientific funding and advancement are, especially for countries that have a good standard of living.  The high end technology that comes from developing missions like this...

Post to promote blog + New Career Developments

Technocrati claim token VVY3PGW9WXGJ Okay to Actually make this a post sort-of worth viewing, I’ll quickly talk about a couple of new ideas and developments on my end. 1. In preparation for this blog and my usual astronomy related activities, I’ve been reading and paraphrasing one astronomy article every day, faithfully, since February. In the spirit of sharing and still getting practice, I’m going to blog about many of these articles with the goal of ‘making them accessible to the public.’ So I’ll take each article and talk about the concepts, to give me some practice in my ability to communicate...

Productivity, YorkUniverse 150, and Leftover comet water on Jupiter

Rather than post a bunch of simple tiny posts, I decided to go for the gusto and post something a bit more massive.  I realized recently that I blog barely once a week, which would be fine for an astronomy-only blog, but I also want to blog about interesting things in my life, which are slightly more common than ‘weekly.’ So to productivity, which for me has been lacking as of late.  I spend plenty of time doing valuable things, but not many of those things are valuable to me in the long term.  I get to work out a...

The first Podcast of ‘What’s the Latest?’

Over the past month I’ve been developing a new podcast entitled ‘What’s the Latest?’  Each show a particular topic in Astronomy is discussed from its discovery, through history, all the way up to the latest news and developments.  Also at the end some big questions are asked and future developments are discussed. The first podcast will air Monday, April 15th, on Astronomy FM after York Universe, but if you’d like to hear the show before then, it is live here on RyanMarciniak.com.  You can find it by clicking on ‘Podcasts.’ The podcast will air on a biweekly basis. If there...