We could see Star Wars happening right now!

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. Not just the star wars intro, but a true statement if you’re an astronomer.  You see, once we start to look deep in space at the more distant objects in the universe, we are actually looking deep in time as well.  It all begins with a light year. A light year is not a measure of time, it’s a measure of distance.  When you turn on the light in a dark room, the light appears to fill the room instantly.  But it actually takes a small amount of time, as light has...

A Space Laser to Destroy Space Junk – It’s Not Star Wars

Space Junk is a growing problem.  Even though there is a lot of room in low Earth orbit, it’s estimated that 3,000 tons of space debris is floating around at different altitudes and speeds, posing a significant threat to present and future orbital infrastructure.  The number of objects classed as space junk doubled in 2014 to 4000 individual pieces, mostly due to collisions between objects already in space.  Most of this space junk is old derelict satellites and rocket bodies and engines leftover from 50 years of space exploration.  Because of the wide variety of altitudes, trajectories, and speeds, it can...

Motivation Monday: The Dark Side of the Self

Pop Culture is saturated with the old story of a Hero’s journey.  The Hero is a great person, capable of so much good, but their strength also leaves them capable of great evil.  They undergo a journey of great struggle and are tested, seduced by the darkness, the easier path.  In the end they always come out on the side of good.  Star Wars was a perfect example of this, but you can find the same lines of thought in most heroic adventures. But our fascination with the light and dark sides of the self are because of our intimate...

The Halloween-Themed Universe

I did a short presentation last night for a group of families at a Halloween event.  My job was to talk space but make it as spooky as possible and use some Halloween themes for the kids.  There really is a fine line between teaching Science and being entertaining, but here’s some of the things I did. Lets start with the following image….What does this look like to you? Did you say the head of a witch? Then yes you are right! This is known as the Witch Head Nebula. A nebula is a place where gas and dust in...