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...
If you are a planetary scientist, you are having one of your best years... ever! Beyond the drama of the images, the technology that makes them possible is also amazing. How could anyone NOT be excited by the exploration of our solar system? Who needs the distant stars... for now.
It was a blistering 35 degrees Celsius, but I was so preoccupied by my new surroundings that I barely noticed the heat. As I started the ignition of my rental car, my nerves tingled. I'm alone, in the desert. I'm going to be driving around in the desert, alone.
Over the next several weeks -- as we navigate mall parking lots, fill our shopping carts and test our patience in check-out lines -- let's not lose sight of what's behind this excitement. It all comes down to the simple act of giving.