Imaging Spotlight: Thor’s Helmet in Space

In Canis Major, nearly 12,000 light years from Earth, lies an emission nebula that always makes me think of a particular comic book character.  NGC 2359 is 30 light years across, and is colloquially known as Thor’s Helmet. The complex structure of Thor’s helmet consists of bubbles and filaments, and is due to a series of bursts from the massive star HD 56925.  This star is a rare Wolf-Rayet star, which consistently expels its outer layers of gas at high velocities, and is characterized by its very high temperature. The blue bubble in the above image is a result of...

Do You Weigh Less When the Moon is Above You?

Everything in the universe that has mass, has gravity.  It’s easy to understand that the Earth has gravity and pulls on us all day every day.  It’s just as easy to understand that the Moon and the planets and the Sun have gravity too, and they are all pulling on us. It’s much harder to understand that every person on Earth has gravity too.  You exert a force on the Earth, and on every other human.  You also exert a force on every rock, tree, and creature that roams the Earth, and they all exert a force on you.  The...

Motivation Monday (on Tuesday): Following Through

When I was in University, I was a frosh week rep / spirit leader, meaning we played games and got new students excited about being part of an educational community.  It also gave them a chance to get out of their norm and shake it up, while making some new friends. As part of the training for this, every rep in the school saw a motivational speaker before the week began.  I’ve seen motivational speakers before, in high school,  but I never remembered them.  This guy stuck with me.  It wasn’t because he was funny, he didn’t have some gimmick,...

Non-Expert Post: Biology: Human DNA Shows 40 MY Battle between Primate and Pathogen

I am an astronomer, and have spent vast amount of my time studying Space and Astronomy, and even a bit of Planetary Geology.  As a Science communicator and someone interested in how the world works, all types of Science fascinate me, and sometimes stories pop up that are really interesting to me.  It also helps that the current exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre is about the Brain.  This has me spending a lot of time learning how the Brain works and how it has evolved over the generations that led to our current human brains and bodies. So in the...