likethebeer: (Andromeda Galaxy)
This is the interview in which Neil DeGrasse Tyson answers the question from the interviewer of what the "most astounding fact" was that he could share him about the universe, w/music behind it. It's beautiful & I thought I had it elsewhere on here, but it's probably buried in years of entries. So here it is, on Vimeo:

His transcription of what he says is below (this if for me if I don't have the time to see the whole video)Read more... )
likethebeer: (Andromeda Galaxy)

I'm still trying to figure out where I should view the night sky. Considering everything about the new place, overall I'm happier being near other humans than being in a place with a good night sky.
likethebeer: (Andromeda Galaxy)
Light is the fastest-moving stuff in the universe. It travels at an incredible 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per second. That’s very fast. If you could travel at the speed of light, you would be able to circle the Earth’s equator about 7.5 times in just one second!

A light-second is the distance light travels in one second, or 7.5 times the distance around Earth’s equator. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year. How far is that? Multiply the number of seconds in one year by the number of kilometers (or miles) that light travels in one second, and there you have it: one light-year. It’s about 9.5 trillion kilometers (5.88 trillion miles).

A light beam needs only 8 minutes to travel the 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from the sun to the Earth. Image via Brews OHare on Wikimedia Commons.

Few of us can comprehend such a humongous number. Is there any way for us mere mortals to really understand how far a light-year is?

As a matter of fact, there is. The 20th century astronomer Robert Burnham Jr. – author of Burnham’s Celestial Handbook – devised an ingenious way to portray the distance of one light-year. He did this by relating the light-year to the astronomical unit – the Earth-sun distance.

One astronomical unit equals about 150 million kilometers (93 million miles). Another way of looking at it: the astronomical unit is a bit more than 8 light-minutes in distance.

Quite by coincidence, the number of astronomical units in one light-year and the number of inches in one mile are virtually the same. For general reference, there are 63,000 astronomical units in one light-year, and 63,000 inches in one mile. This wonderful coincidence enables us to bring the light-year down to Earth. If we scale the astronomical unit – the Earth-sun distance – at one inch, then the light-year on this scale represents one mile.
Here's the website it coems from more more, and nice graphics:
likethebeer: (Andromeda Galaxy)
  1. The Bible, to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself
  2. The System of the World by Isaac Newton, to learn that the universe is a knowable place
  3. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth
  4. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos
  5. The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine, to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world
  6. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself
  7. The Art of War by Sun Tzu, to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art
  8. The Prince by Machiavelli, to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it

I've read Gulliver's Travels & tried to read the Bible (don't read the Book of Kings), but haven't read any of the others.
likethebeer: (Andromeda Galaxy)
Fun article:

I learned the pronunciation of his name as "Tie-ko Bra-hay". Is that how other people who pronounce it? I'm a little disappointed that we didn't spend a lot of time talking about the metal nose (but maybe that was just best - I was in high school & you've got enough to worry about).
likethebeer: (Andromeda Galaxy)
The Bad Astronomer posted a link to a computer graphic movie showing real places in our solar system. The link to the Bad Astromer's page, explaining the video is below:

And it's got Carl Sagan's voice :)
likethebeer: (Andromeda Galaxy)
Nice, informative lecture (although 50 minutes long). It's a good reminder of things & goes into some quantum physics, Einstein, & the nature of particles.
likethebeer: (2001 lolcat)
The explanation of how this space craft has, after 10 years, gotten up to land on a comet:

From what I've been hearing, it's just about happened (here's The Bad Astronomer with more details).
likethebeer: (Andromeda Galaxy)
The folks at Futility Closet go into the "Wow" signal, and what caused the astronomer to write "Wow" next to this printout from a radio telescope.
The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977, while he was working on a SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope of The Ohio State University, then located at Ohio Wesleyan University's Perkins Observatory in Delaware, Ohio. The signal bore the expected hallmarks of non-terrestrial and non-Solar System origin.!_signal
likethebeer: (Andromeda Galaxy)
Woah. Trippy (and it makes sense to me; I hope it's illustrated right):

Edit: No, it's wrong. Here's the Bad Astronomer on it:

The thing that made the most sense from Phil Plait's writing about it is, "The planets go around the Sun, and the whole shebang moves around the galaxy as a unit, tipped by that 60° angle."
likethebeer: (Andromeda Galaxy)
I was talking to immemor last night when the sunset was going on, so if the sky clears up tonight, hopefully I'll see this:
likethebeer: (Andromeda Galaxy)
"...and (sadly) it behaves exactly as the Standard Model predicts"

It's at times like these that I'm just glad my interests slowly evolved into the arts & deep studies about a house by a world-famous architect; not science & astrophysics.


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