September 28, 2014

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Stardust and What To Do About It

What is the nature of interstellar dust? How does it affect the starlight that passes through it? What can be done to locate and catalog the numerous, small, tenuous dust clouds that populate our galaxy at the higher latitudes? Is it possible to somehow vacuum under my refrigerator without moving the damn thing? The nature […]

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August 20, 2014

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Dad and Me and the Communist Spies

Today I learned something. It’s about something that happened to me about 40 years ago. I was 18 and went to see my dad. He was in his barn, tending to his favorite cow. I said I was planning to go to college. He said if I went to Free Will Baptist Bible College in […]

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August 19, 2014

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The Bible According to Brad

GENESIS 01:01   Adam & Eve   In the Big Inning 04:01   Cain & Abel   Don’t bring God fruits 06:07   Noah’s Ark   We’re gonna need a bigger boat 11:10   Abram & Sarai   She works hard for the money 18:01   Sodom & Gomorrah   If I knew that you […]

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May 18, 2014

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The Drake Equation

Intelligent Life

The significance of the “Copernican Revolution” is that as soon you embrace the Sun as a star, you are immediately faced with the possibility that when you look out into space, someone or something is looking back. Before Copernicus most people thought the Earth was pretty much the whole Universe so the idea of aliens […]

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April 6, 2014

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HR Diagram

The Hertzsprung Russell Diagram is the “Rosetta Stone” of stellar astronomy and it’s simple, very simple. So to put it simply, it’s just a graph that plots lots of stars’ luminosities against their surface temperatures. As simple as that sounds, it is the key to understanding stellar evolution. In case you thought “Rosetta Stone” is […]

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March 30, 2014

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History of Astronomy Part 2

Edmund Halley 1656-1742 Among his many studies are tides, magnetism, and trade winds. He cataloged 341 southern hemisphere stars and discovered a star cluster in Centaurus. He also made the first complete observation of a transit of Mercury on November 7, 1677. He also invented the diving bell. But his most famous accomplishment is that […]

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March 23, 2014

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History of Astronomy Part 1

There have been thousands of science geeks contributing to astronomy over the centuries and millennia. Here are a mere handful that have been selected from some of the most significant figures. Some of these people are real icons of human history, big thinkers. As Isaac Newton once said “If I have seen farther than others, […]

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March 16, 2014

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Galaxies

“The infinitude of creation is great enough to make a world, or a Milky Way of worlds, look in comparison with it what a flower or an insect does in comparison with the Earth.” ~ Immanuel Kant Galaxies are monstrous collections of stars, plus dust, gas, light matter, dark matter, and gray matter. In a […]

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March 9, 2014

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Cosmology

“The drum in a dream pounds loud to the dreamer.” ~ Carl Sandburg Anisotropy: This term is frequently used to describe the temperature fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background. The word means not uniform, or not the same. Like if you dressed a calico cat with a plaid kilt then filled it with dark energy […]

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March 2, 2014

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Celestial Coordinates

I must go down to the seas again, To the lonely sea and the sky. And all I want is a tall ship, And a star to steer her by. ~ John Masefield Suppose you lived in olden times and you joined a fleet of wooden ships and iron men. Or maybe it’s wooden teeth […]

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February 23, 2014

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Comets

Comets are essentially big dirty snowballs, the kind you throw at someone you really don’t like. They are mostly made of muddy stinky ice, and bits of dust and little rocks. Comets are about the size of cities and towns, sort of like frozen lakes in space. We’ve had a few that were the size […]

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February 16, 2014

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Bode Titius Rule

Johann Bode and Johann Titius were best buds and they made a rule about planets. Okay first of all let’s call it what it is. It’s not really a rule. And it’s not a law. It’s not even a theory. It’s more of a thingy. It’s the Bode Titius Thingy. It all started in the […]

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