NASA releases Ultra-HD video of the Sun

the sun in hd

It is always shining, constantly alight and blazing with energy. The Earth is awash in an endless tide of its particles.  The Sun’s energy and light drives our weather, biology and more. But in space, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) keeps an eye on our nearest star 24/7. SDO captures images of the Sun in 10 different wavelengths, each of which helps highlight a different temperature of solar material. In this recently released video we experience images of the Sun in unprecedented detail captured by SDO. Presented in ultra-high definition video (4K) the video presents the nuclear fire of our life-giving star in intimate detail, offering new perspective into our own relationships with grand forces of the solar system.

Continue reading

Why A Mysterious Dimming Star Doesn’t Mean Aliens


For the past several days there has been a lot of talk about this mysterious star located some 1,480 light-years away called KIC 8462852, located in the constellation Cygnus .  This star appears to be flickering at irregular intervals.  Some have gone so far as to hypothesize that the dimming is a sign of an advanced alien presence, suggesting the possible presence of advanced satellite orbits or a Dyson sphere.  This has been a hot news story in the reaches of astronomy.  But I waited to post anything about it, choosing not to jump on the train of speculation until further news came in.

Continue reading

Earth as a Marble – the First Timelapse of the Solar System to Scale

solar system size comparison

When we see depictions of the solar system, we often see an inaccurate representation of its size and scale.  Some of the planets are often enlarged, other planets are minimized to a degree, while the orbital paths are shrunken down to be closer to the sun.  This is done because, when viewing the entire solar system, you want to see everything that is there.  Not only is there an enormous amount of space between the planets–especially between the rocky inner planets and the outer gas giants–but the scale between the inner and outter planets are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  After all, you can fit over a thousand Earths inside Jupiter.
Giving an accurate depiction of the solar system’s scale is a very difficult task.  It is a task that was recently tackled by filmmakers Alex Gorosh and Wylie Overstreet, using the “Earth as a marble” concept.

Continue reading

Mars Mission Experiment: Scientists Isolate Themselves in a Dome for a Year

year long isolation

On a northern slope of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano, six scientists have isolated themselves from the rest of the world for a year.  They are attempting the longest Hawaii Space Exploration and Analogue Simulation (HI-SEAS) mission ever, spending 365 days cut off from Earth as if they were on Mars.  The idea is to test the psychological effects that come with the extended periods of isolation astronauts would have to endure in a Mars mission.

Continue reading

Did Stephen Hawking Crack the Information Paradox to Black Holes?


On Tuesday, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking presented his new theories on black holes to a gathering of esteemed scientists and members of the media at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.  Hawking focused on something called the information paradox, an aspect of black holes that has been puzzling scientists for years. Basically, the paradox involves the fact that information about the star that formed a black hole seems to be lost inside it, presumably disappearing when the black hole inevitably disappears. However, according to how the universe works and what physicists believe, these things cannot be lost. But where does the information go when the black hole that’s absorbed goes down the drain?

Continue reading

Gemini Discovers Most Jupiter-Like Planet Yet

Eridani 51 b

The majority of exo-planets discovered are called “Super Jupiters.”  They’re the most discovered because their great size contributes to the slight tug, or wobble, of the star they orbit–much like an Olympic athlete when competing in the hammer throw.  And in this orbit, they’ll annually pass in front of their star, dimming the starlight output from our relative view, alerting us to its presence–like a bug flying in front of a lightbulb.  Unlike most “Super-Jupiters,” which have the characteristics of very cool stars, 51 Eridani b is much more like a gas giant planet. It orbits its star about 13 times the diameter of Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The 51 Eridani system lies about 100 light years away.

Continue reading

The Dark Side of the Moon…from a Million Miles Away

dark side of the moon

We’ve become accustomed to seeing the face of the moon in its tidal locked rotation around the Earth.  In fact, the dark side of the moon has become a mystery and a thing for fictional devices.  It’s not that the dark side of the moon has never been photographed or explored, but it sure looks great when see from a million miles away, crossing in front of Earth.

Continue reading