Geostationary Revolution

For 4.5 billion years, life evolved on planet Earth.  Not once were the inhabitants of this tiny blue mote of dust able to gaze upon their home as one entity.  To them it had always been an endless land without borders and an endless supply of food and resources.  Most of them were blissfully unaware that they could ever venture further, and so they accepted the boundaries of their existence unquestionably.  Once humans started making tools, we were taken down a path of discovery that would let us escape the bounds of our shrinking world. Finally, just over 70 years...

Science > Written History > Fortune Telling

One of the reasons I love science is that it actually does allow us to look into the past and future, beyond our existence in the present.  Written history gives us a perspective of a person who was around before any human currently living on Earth, and allows us to piece together the history of our culture.  This is very important, so no disrespect to historians and their work.  Much disrespect to fortune telling though.  It’s a waste of energy involving a person who fishes for information for a living.  But let’s talk about Science. Since we just passed Canada...

Everlasting Light

Light is beautiful.  It illuminates a world of beauty for us to appreciate while giving us a tool to decipher the riddles of the universe.  In astronomy, it’s always about more photons! Because more photons = more data = better results.  But in an increasingly technological world, more photons can be a bad thing.  Especially when the artificial photons overpower the natural. I was lucky to spend most of my youth living away from the bright lights of the city, but with the sprawling metropolis of Toronto to the South, I could always see the orange glow that blocked out...

Solar Burp

We know that the giant bright light in the sky that keeps us warm is so much more than we can see.  A star, like countless others in the sky, close enough to outshine all of them.  The Sun is a dynamic object, endlessly churning and burping plasma beyond it’s boundaries into the solar system and beyond.  NASA spacecraft and ground-based telescopes have been keeping eyes on the Sun for years to characterize its 11-year magnetic cycle.  And every so often they have a front-row seat to the massive blasts that just can’t be seen with human eyes. The first...

Motivation Monday: What do you want out of Life?

What drives you? What is it that makes you get up early? Go to work? Eat well? Do you want a lot of money? Do you want to find love? Be successful? Live a long time? Why? What is your reason? Do you want to be happy? Do you want others to respect and revere you? Or do you just want to be better than other people? Maybe you want to provide a good life for your family, impress your parents, or show off to the world.   Do you want to be remembered? Chances are, something in the last few...

Solitary Supernova in Vast Intergalactic Space

A supernova is the only event in existence that happens on both astronomical and human scales (If you think of others – tell me).  It involves a massive stellar explosion and release of energy that can match the output of an entire galaxy, yet this release happens in the blink of a cosmic eye, about two weeks.  For all that could live in the incredibly vast amounts of empty space between galaxies, a supernova is a great indicator that stars do in fact inhabit this space.  Recently, the Hubble Space Telescope confirmed that two such supernovae have been discovered. In...