We Are All Covered in Star Stuff

(Image via It's Okay to be Smart)Adam Frank talks about Sagan's immortal line, and its more prosaic but no less remarkable corollary. He does the math to describe just how much space dust is falling on us right this minute. It's enough to make you want to stay in the shower.(I'm actually working with some micrometeorite slides at the moment. I'm tediously scanning them, looking for the tiny craters caused by collisions with space dust. And of course the f'n stuff is all around me.) … [Read more...]

The Font of Life, The Ground of Being

... the force without which there would be no life, and thus no meaning or purpose ... the Sun:http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=piuKlpJmjfg#!In the three years since it first provided images of the sun in the spring of 2010, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has had virtually unbroken coverage of the sun's rise toward solar maximum, the peak of solar activity in its regular 11-year cycle. This video shows those three years of the sun at a pace of two images … [Read more...]

Interactive Drake Equation

BBC Future has provided us with a colorful application for twiddling with the variables in the Drake Equation. The Equation is a thought experiment meant to give a very rough idea as to the number of inhabited planets and technological civilizations existing within the Milky Way galaxy. This version is divided into four sections, allowing you to see how many potentially habitable planets exist in the galaxy, how many are inhabited, etc.(This is only an image. Go to BBC Future for the … [Read more...]

Solar Tornadoes

I'm feeling very small and vulnerable right now.http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=r-zt8qnTcLM#!The swirling, writhing shapes seen in the video are solar flares caught by the sun's magnetic magnetic field. The images were captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. They started on Feb. 7th, and lasted for 30 hours. According to Open Culture, the 'tornadoes' are roughly the size of planet earth itself. … [Read more...]

Birth of the Moon

The last video on an astronomical ... excuse me, "astronomical" topic was strangely unpopular. So here's a more respectable piece from Cosmic Journeys on some of the latest findings about the nature and history of our closest neighbor, the moon. Including the tricky question of how the moon got there in the first place.http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WGTBJHFNywI#!Via Open Culture … [Read more...]