Category Archives: Astronomy

Pavane

The solar system’s early days were chaotic.  Our celestial neighborhood began as a rotating cloud of gas and dust.  Some 4.6 billion years ago, the massive center of this cloud condensed into the sun.  Leftover gas and dust, spurred by … Continue reading

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Divining Rod

Another Earth, full of life.  The idea inspires awe and wonder, as well as sober reflection on the savage thrashing we give our own blue oasis.  These notions are fuel for science fiction.  But recent missions have inched Earth-like planets … Continue reading

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Memento Mori

2012 DA14 will pass close to Earth around midday today (Seattle local time), right as I’ll sit down to lunch.  The 190,000-ton asteroid, identified only last year, will wander within 17,000 miles of us, closer than some of our satellites.  It … Continue reading

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The Burst

The years 774 and 775 were eventful times in human history.  Charlemagne conquered the Lombards and began his campaigns into Westphalia.  Heizei, a future emperor of Japan, was born, while Byzantine Emperor Constantine V died and was succeeded by his … Continue reading

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Down in the Valley

With blistering days, frigid nights, and parched features, Mercury has long suffered in sun-scorched obscurity.  Ancient astronomers strained to observe the diminutive orb through the sun’s glare.  Their modern counterparts were tempted more by the terrestrial (“rocky”) planets closer to … Continue reading

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The Ice Commander

Neil Armstrong, the first human being to set foot on another celestial body, has died.  Just 43 years after his historic 2 hours and 31 minute walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, he was 82. The Economist, … Continue reading

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