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...

An Extra Leap Day

I decided to take my own personal leap day on writing about the leap day.  Partly due to being busy at work, and partly due to lack of mental faculties.  All that aside, it’s only another 1,459 days until the next leap day, so we better start preparing. A leap year occurs because the solar system seems to slightly disagree with the way we manage time.  Earth’s trip around the Sun, a year, doesn’t take exactly 365 days each lasting 24 hours.  It takes a bit longer.  A year is actually 8,765 hours, or 525,949 minutes, which is 365 days, 5...

2015: A Calendar Year of Blogging

This is it, my 365th post of 2015.  I didn’t post every day, but I produced one post for each and every day.  Some days I was on vacation, with family, having adventures, sick, tired, working, or any of a hundred other reasons for not posting.  But regardless of the reason, I took the day, got up the next day, and worked extra hard to keep up with it.  This is the first time I have ever completed a New Year’s Resolution, and it was certainly an ambitious one. Maybe my writing has improved, and maybe it hasn’t, but 2015...

The Expanse of Time – Galaxies, Evolution, Lifetimes

Have you ever seen those amazing composite images that people will post, showing the same picture every day or every year for a long period of time.  We see how children age, how people transform their bodies, and how their day to day experiences, though seemingly small, add up to incredible changes as the years go by.  I personally love time-lapse photography, representing a long period of time in a shorter instance.  For me the beauty is showing those changes that are subtle in human experience and communicating them in a way that shows how significant they are when we...

Happy Solstice 2015!

The Winter Solstice is a strange time of year in Canada.  It’s often forgotten being so close to Christmas and the end of the year, and even though the astronomer in me recognizes the significance of the event, it’s so dark and dreary outside that I curse it!  The good news is that the Solstice, being the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, means that the days will get a bit brighter from here on in.  Even though the coldest months of January and February are still to come, I’m glad to have made it past the darkest day....

365 Days and 365 Posts – My Year of Blogging

Today is the day that one year ago that I sat down and decided I wanted to improve my writing skills.  I decided I wanted to keep up with the latest news in the world of astronomy and space science.  I decided I wanted to learn astrophotography and renew my passion for astronomy, a passion I have had since I was 6 years old.  I decided I would write an article every day, or at least post something. And even though I didn’t write a post every 24 hours, due to vacations, family events, and life getting in the way,...

Once in a Blue Moon, Twice in a Month

Hey hey! It’s a blue moon today!  For all those people who have used the phrase ‘Once in a blue moon,’ it finally happened.  Turns out that phrase means ‘about once every 2-3 years.’  A blue moon doesn’t mean the moon is changing colour anytime soon, just like a supermoon doesn’t mean the moon actually gains superpowers or gets noticeably bigger.  A blue moon is simply the second full moon in a calendar month. The moon orbits the Earth in approximately 29.5 days.  This was how months were originally formed.  But 12 months x 29.5 days means that we are...

Motivation Monday: Why New Years Resolutions don’t Work (And why we think they will)

Ah 2015, a new year, a new chance to do things right.  This year life is going to be better, this year I’ll do everything I’ve dreamed of, this year is the year of great changes!  Sound familiar? Maybe you said that this year, or at the start of 2014, or 2013, or every year prior. It’s okay, we all make resolutions, even if we aren’t the type of person who makes resolutions.  There’s just something about the New Year that inspires us to make a fresh start and shed all of the hardships from the previous year.  We have...