astronomy

On Aliens

Aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it. There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of different forms of life. Will they be like you and me, made up of carbon and nitrogen? Maybe not. It’s possible they’re here right now and we simply can’t see them — Read on www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jan/05/astronaut-helen-sharman-this-much-i-know

urgency trumps understanding

There’s some sort of metaphor in the story of these two photos of the Earth from the moon’s surface; one low-resolution and one high-resolution, one broadcast at the moment and the other only decoded by volunteers some forty years after the fact. It’s hard to see and transmit what’s happening right now clearly, no matter what kind of equipment we’re using; urgency trumps understanding. Source: 👀 Noticing: The Big Picture. 06/22/2018 Noticing is a great …

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Stephen Hawking Laid to Rest Between Newton and Darwin

It’s safe to say that Hawking inspired so many people of my generation (and generations after us, hopefully) with his wit and humor along with his insights into the workings of black holes and the cosmos. As a teenager who dove into the world of astronomy and cosmology as an escape from my small rural hometown, I always found Hawking as an incredible enigma with his dense articles, pop-sci books, and then appearances on The …

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NASA receives response from Voyager 1

Build things that last… “The Voyager flight team dug up decades-old data and examined the software that was coded in an outdated assembler language, to make sure we could safely test the thrusters,” said Jones, chief engineer at JPL. Source: NASA receives response from Voyager 1 spacecraft 13 billion miles away after 37 years of inactivity | Technology Startups News | Tech News

“Still discovering new things”

On board each Voyager is a golden record — and record player — that is built to last one billion years or more and contains key information about humanity and life on planet Earth, in case of an alien encounter. The sounds include the calls of humpback whales, the Chuck Berry song “Johnny B. Goode,” Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, a Japanese shakuhachi (a type of flute), a Pygmy girls’ initiation song, and greetings in 55 languages. …

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Stephen Hawking is backing a project to send tiny spacecraft to another star system within a generation

The concept is to reduce the size of the spacecraft to about the size of a chip used in electronic devices. The idea is to launch a thousand of these mini-spacecraft into the Earth’s orbit. Each would have a solar sail. This is like a sail on a boat – but it is pushed along by light rather than the wind. A giant laser on Earth would give each one a powerful push, sending them …

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Metaphor for Looking Ahead By Looking Back

By pushing NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to its limits, an international team of astronomers has shattered the cosmic distance record by measuring the farthest galaxy ever seen in the universe. This surprisingly bright infant galaxy, named GN-z11, is seen as it was 13.4 billion years in the past, just 400 million years after the Big Bang. GN-z11 is located in the direction of the constellation of Ursa Major. Source: Hubble Team Breaks Cosmic Distance Record …

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Don’t Buy Into the Myth of Human Progress

Integral calculus, like theology, are areas we imagine we have forward progress as humans… not always the case. “What is perhaps more surprising is the sophistication with which they tracked the planet, judging from inscriptions on a small clay tablet dating to between 350 B.C. and 50 B.C. The tablet, a couple of inches wide and a couple of inches tall, reveals that the Babylonian astronomers employed a sort of precalculus in describing Jupiter’s motion …

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Realizing Our Place in the Universe

“This image, captured with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is the largest and sharpest image ever taken of the Andromeda galaxy — otherwise known as M31.This is a cropped version of the full image and has 1.5 billion pixels. You would need more than 600 HD television screens to display the whole image.” via Sharpest ever view of the Andromeda Galaxy | ESA/Hubble. I had to download the 4.3 GB file. For science.

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