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Category Archive: cosmology

Dec 09 2011

Lunar eclipse offers rare treat for some in the wee morning hours

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The image above courtesy of Anthony Ayiomamitis gives an idea of the treat in store for star-gazer tonight. In the wee morning hours a beautiful full moon will offer up a rare show in crystal winter skies as it sets gently wrapped in red and gold in the west: the 2011 lunar eclipse. Cosmic Log has a great rundown …

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Dec 07 2011

Aren’t they all God particles?

Thanks to the Higgs rumors I’ve already read enough God Particle articles to last me a lifetime. Besides, technically, given an a priori belief in a cosmic creator/planner, wouldn’t every particle be a “God” particle? But I do understand the Higgs is hard to understand, so its significance to physics is difficult for the layperson to …

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Dec 06 2011

Rumors swirling of major announcement on Higgs boson

I don’t know anything beyond that. Other than a physicist just tipped me off a major announcement would be forthcoming in the near future and there’s a lot of press speculation on it. Prepare for endless reviews of the God Particle… Update: Here’s what I’ve been told “two experiments see a big enhancement in 2-photon …

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Dec 05 2011

Kepler bags a twin earth candidate 600 light-years away!

This diagram compares our solar system to Kepler-22, a star system containing the first "habitable zone" planet discovered by the Kepler mission. (NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

It may be the first of many, but it will always be the first. It was inevitable, inasmuch as we all thought it would happen sooner or later, but a chill still ran down my spine when I read what the Kepler planet finder discovered.

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Dec 05 2011

The swingin Cancri’s

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Researchers using sophisticated computer models suggest a giant exo-solar planet may be quite the swinger:

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Dec 01 2011

Grandma got run over by a gamma ray burst

The Hypernova model of a gamma ray burster, click image for more GRB info

On July 2, 1967 two top secret US survelliance satellites, Velas 3 and 4, spied an alarming phenomenon. The Vela sats were designed to detect the telltale radiation of nuclear tests by the USSR. But on that day these two picked up a flash of gamma rays from the other direction, not here on earth, but …

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Dec 01 2011

The most magical time of the year

Solar noon marked voder the course of a single year as seen from the Urkraine. The figure is called an Analemma, featured on APoD

Believe me, if you grew up in Texas, where summer heat tops the century mark for weeks on end and even the morning lows offer little relief, you’d feel December was pretty damn magical. This month dawn and dusk stretch out, as the sun marches steadily to the Winter Solstice. The solstice was  a magical time for …

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Nov 29 2011

Amateur astronomer wows professionals with photo of exosolar disk

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An amateur astronomer using a homemade 25 cm (10 inch) telescope has recorded an exquisite image of a nearby star and surrounding planetary disk. Beta Pictoris is 63 light-years away and resembles a slightly more massive, hotter version of our sun and primeval solar system in the early stages of planetary formation. The New Zealand star-gazer, named Rolf …

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Nov 26 2011

Cosmology is the new mythology … really?

The Hubble Deep Field View courtesy of NASA/JPL

As someone who has picked a lousy title on many occasions, I sympathize with the author of this piece at IFPpress. Nevertheless, I can think of a great many differences between the most profound mysteries in cosmology and supernatural cosmogonies the world over. The first mythology-cosmology item given in the article looks somewhat defensible: String theory, …

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Nov 16 2011

The meaning of life and then some

Great topic brought up by Ed Brayton at Dispatches, who writes in part: The entire span of a person’s existence on earth is not even a blip on the radar in the context of the physical and temporal existence of the universe. But just because our lives have no grand, universal meaning doesn’t mean they …

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