Tonight on April 4, 2015 I walked the streets of downtown Los Angeles. I was walking down Spring Street on the night of the full moon and a lunar eclipse. I'm not surprised that it was a night of discovery, of the unexpected, of something new.
An odd phenomenon that's descriptively called a "fast radio burst" is the latest celestial discovery to capture the attention of both astrophysicists and the media -- and be labeled by some as the work of crafty extraterrestrials.
Most art collectors have their niche -- one medium or period that they particularly gravitate toward. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, too much of the same style can lead to some awfully monotonous walls.
Just as a hurricane drives rain, wind, and floods, the space weather arising from a solar eruption can come in different forms. First comes the light from a solar flare, disrupting high-frequency radio communications more or less immediately.
Light is one of those things that we almost inevitably take for granted. In fact, many of us might not realize the extent that we overlook its contributions to our lives, because it's hard to see - literally -- just how much it does.
Astronomers have known about these objects for decades, but in the depths of cosmic time, it's hard to understand how they can grow so quickly -- or maybe not!
Except for a few notable exceptions, nearly all stars appear as mere points of light because their distance simply precludes our current capabilities from seeing otherwise. Let's look at a cool analogy to understand the issue and how it relates to planets.
New data from the Planck satellite indicates that the cosmic microwave background pattern once thought to be from gravitational waves is an artifact of galactic dust.
Astronomers have been waiting for this for a long time, and at some time in the not so distant future the brilliant red star in the constellation Orion will explode. What will it look like?
Looking at our own Solar System helps us understand how the placement of an Exoplanet within the habitable zone of its star will drastically affect its climate.
Have you ever looked out on a damp and dreary January day and considered that everything you see around you -- from the bare trees and the frost-fringed asphalt to the discarded newspaper -- is the culmination and product of nearly 14 billion years of cosmic history?
It also discusses the future of beauty as we progress into a more technologically advanced and digital world. Here's the condensed version of the second half of the speech.
A recent Hubble image of the galaxy IC 335 shows it to be a star-filled galaxy with a flat shape not unlike our own Milky Way. But whereas the Milky Way contains vast collections of nebulae and dust clouds, IC 335 seems to have none. A look behind the curtain gives us clues to how two similar galaxies like IC 335 and the Milky Way could turn out so differently.
The planets Venus and Jupiter return to the evening skies this January. Jupiter will be rising in the east as Venus sets in the west. Both planets will be so incredibly bright that you might mistake them for something else...