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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 Space.com 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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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

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Kilonovas and multi-messenger astrophysics

So many media headlines today regarding the observation of both light (EM spectrum, not just visible/optical light) and gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars. Lots of visualizations. Big science in action. Here’s a sampling of headlines: Gravitational waves from kilonova collision of neutron stars discovered – The Washington Post Gravitational waves: So many new toys… Continue reading Kilonovas and multi-messenger astrophysics