One Planet Hunter to Another

It wasn’t long after the discovery of exo-solar planets that scientists sent up spacecraft to look for them.  The Kepler Space Telescope (KST) was NASA’s first planet finder, which has been exceeding expectations since 2009.  It likely won’t get to continue on that road, as it is nearing the end of it’s life.  At the same time, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is just starting to open it’s eyes.  Today we say goodbye to one great planet hunter and hello to another.   KST is part of NASA’s early 2000s spacecraft approvals that saw relatively inexpensive missions pushed forward...

Back to it!

After a relatively long hiatus, I am back blogging.  I am currently more than 22 posts behind my “post every day” goal, so expect some short and sweet posts to make up the difference.  I’m not worried about it, because life gets busy, and we all have other priorities.  But I’m glad to be back.  A true love of Astronomy and Space will always keep me here, writing about the new and exciting science in a field I have loved my whole life.   If you, reading this right now, are the only person who ever reads these words, I hope it adds...

Motivation Monday: The Little Victories

The difficulties and struggles of today are but the price we must pay for the accomplishments and victories of tomorrow. – William J. H. Boetcker There’s a goal you have in mind.  It’s big, it’s difficult to achieve, and if you succeed it will look good to everyone else who sees you accomplish it.  People will envy you and wonder how you did it.  they will see the huge difference it has made in your life and it will inspire them.  But there is a lot that they don’t see. I’ve talked about the grind, the adjustment, the focus and...

Motivation Monday: The Pushback

It’s easy to talk about motivation, staying strong, staying inspired, working hard, pushing yourself, making adjustments, sticking to a plan, setting goals, and giving it your all.  But it’s hard to admit defeat.  It’s hard to tell the world that you’re struggling, and that it’s harder than you expected.  If you do, chances are you will feel ashamed, especially after being so positive about recent progress.  Nobody wants to admit to the world that they failed at anything, especially in a world where success gets the spotlight and failure is checked at the door. But this is part of the journey too, the...

Motivation Monday: Acquiring Knowledge

This past weekend, I participated in a speech contest, the theme of which was education.  I do have a lot of experience with education, but for this speech I tried to think more broadly about the topic, to find something that can relate to anybody.  It led me to think about education as more than just going to school or reading a book.  The acquisition of knowledge is about openness to new ideas and experiences, and having the bravery to try new things in order to learn.  This post is excerpts from my speech, and an analogy to education that...

Motivation Monday: Change

Change is a constant of the universe. Change will happen whether you like it or not. You have control over it, but only if you take action. Sitting back and waiting, or choosing not to decide, these will only let chance decide in your stead, and you may prefer your own choices to those left to fate. A quote from Silvia Plath says it very well: “I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One...

“Without Gravity”

It always fascinates me to see videos and photographs from the International Space Station (ISS), how simple day to day activities are so altered because of the altered Physics of constant free fall in orbit around the Earth.  Many of the videos are showing what people call the ‘effects of zero gravity.’ This is actually not the case.  There is gravity in space.  Let’s take a closer look at the situation of an ISS astronaut. If we do the math (I do realize the term ‘do the math’ turns away a lot of people, so I will keep it short),...

Motivation Monday: Opportunity

Opportunity.  It means you have a chance.  One Chance, to give it everything you have to claim what you’ve always wanted.  Chances like this don’t come along often.  You’ve spent years working hard, educating yourself, building your list of contacts, doing the work for free, all in hopes of getting a shot at the big time.  But are you willing to give everything you’ve got to change your entire life? Are you willing to take a leap and give up everything you’ve worked on just for a shot at the big time? Not everyone is willing to risk it.  We...

Rubik’s Cube Challenge: Did I do it?

The finale of the Rubik’s cube challenge was on Sunday, and yielded some interesting results. To confirm, I did not look at an actual cube or picture of one between the start of the challenge last Wednesday, and the finale on Sunday.  All I did was read the book on the cube solution.  Before I reveal the results let me give you a rundown of what I had to do. To make it work required memorizing a lot of steps, and learning the notation used by the book. In the above picture, the top side (T) is yellow, the Front...

Rubik’s Cube – My First Time Challenge

I have never, not once, in my life, solved or seriously attempted to solve a Rubik’s cube. I had all kinds of puzzles and games growing up, so I wasn’t deprived at all, it just never happened.  I feel I was just past the generation that was introduced to the cube, and maybe a quick look as a kid convinced me it wasn’t worth the time.  I also think that never seeing one in a store as a child was a factor, or maybe I was just into video games. While training for my new part time job this week...