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Our ‘Pale Blue Dot’ – a meditation

The daily grind. Global threats. Political chaos. The coronavirus … Perhaps a calming meditation? Our shared place in the cosmos, our ‘Pale Blue Dot’ – a tiny blue speck shining in space. Notes > “‘Pale Blue Dot’ shines anew in Carl Sagan Institute video to mark iconic photo’s 30th anniversary” by Chelsea Gohd (February… Continue reading Our ‘Pale Blue Dot’ – a meditation

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Celebrating Spitzer space telescope – seeing the invisible for 16 years

As noted in my post on X-rays, looking beyond what our eyes can see – seeing what is hidden to visible light – tells a better cosmic story. Multi-wavelength observations refine and extend our view of the universe beyond our familiar vision. So, today we celebrate the Spitzer space telescope, one of NASA’s great space… Continue reading Celebrating Spitzer space telescope – seeing the invisible for 16 years

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Tiny grains tell a stellar story

Imagine a grain of fine beach sand. What’s its size? Classification scales vary, but let’s say less than a tenth (0.1) of a millmeter (mm). A grain of table salt. Same question. Maybe ~0.3 mm. In either grain there are a gazillion molecules. Now imagine something a thousand (1000) times smaller – a micrometer-sized grain.… Continue reading Tiny grains tell a stellar story

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Celebrating Hubble – 30th anniversary year

Who would have expected the Hubble Space Telescope (often referred to as HST or Hubble) to still be in operation after being launched into low Earth orbit in 1990? So, NASA/ESA kickstarted its 30th anniversary with some majestic galactic photos. Wiki: Five Space Shuttle missions have repaired, upgraded, and replaced systems on the telescope, including… Continue reading Celebrating Hubble – 30th anniversary year

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Celebrating X-Ray Astronomy — Chandra

This article “NASA Unveils Amazing Cosmic Views as Chandra X-Ray Observatory Turns 20” (July 28, 2019) reminded me of the limited vision provided only with visible light. Consumer security (and other) cameras have accustomed more of us to regularly seeing infrared light (a longer wavelength part of the electromagnetic spectrum). And that “light” behaves… Continue reading Celebrating X-Ray Astronomy — Chandra

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Photographing a black hole?

As teased earlier this month, today the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project announced and presented the first ever photographs of a black hole — “the last photon orbit.” Another epic story of big science and an international team. The interplay of models and simulations, data capture, and complex processing. And funding. Much news coverage. Here’s… Continue reading Photographing a black hole?

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Feynman’s legacy — quantum originality

Much has been written about Richard Feynman. Many tributes and books. Feynman wrote some books as well. But the inspiration for this post is an exhibit promoted for Caltech’s 82nd Annual Seminar Day and Reunion Weekend May 16 – 19, 2019. The Mind’s Eye: Richard Feynman in Word & ImageIn work and play, Richard Feynman… Continue reading Feynman’s legacy — quantum originality

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Blazar neutrinos

I’ve written elsewhere about neutrinos (aka “ghost particles”). The latest news is about a particular discovery — a major team effort — as to the source of some of the most energetic ones. Many articles. Some contain illustrations. High-Energy ‘Ghost Particle’ Traced to Distant Galaxy in Astronomy Breakthrough Most of these neutrinos come from the… Continue reading Blazar neutrinos

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Beyond The Jetsons — SpaceX’s orbital car

A lot of science goes into exploring space. Great stories, with lots of people, lots of hard work, lots of challenges, lots of money. Yesterday’s historic launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is one of those stories which reflect our understanding of the Earth and beyond. A tale of 10^n. It’s an epic moment when we… Continue reading Beyond The Jetsons — SpaceX’s orbital car