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Waking The Dead

In Astronomy by Brian Koberlein5 Comments

Every star dies. Our Sun will shine for about 5 billion more years, but the time will come when it swells to a red giant for a time, then collapse to become a white dwarf. Larger stars live shorter lives, and can eventually collapse to become neutron stars. Read More

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More Big Science

In Big Science by Brian Koberlein

Another video in the Big Science Observations series has been released. We’re filming a few more next week, so look forward to them.

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Life Is Possible On Trappist-1 Exoplanets

In Exoplanets by Brian Koberlein7 Comments

In all the cosmos there is only one planet known to harbor life. While Earth is special to us, there are countless similar worlds orbiting other stars. Since life arose early in Earth’s history, it seems likely that life could arise on other potentially habitable planets. But as we learn of both exoplanets and the history of life on Earth, we’ve found that things are a bit more complicated. Read More

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Testing Einstein’s Theory With A Triple Play

In Gravity by Brian Koberlein3 Comments

Einstein’s theory of gravity has been tested in lots of ways, from the slow precession of Mercury’s orbit, to the detection of gravitational waves. So far the theory has passed every test, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s completely true. Like any theory, general relativity is based upon certain assumptions about the way the universe works. The biggest assumption in relativity is the principle of general equivalenceRead More

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Just-So Story

In Pseudoscience by Brian Koberlein60 Comments

If there’s one thing I’ve learned by writing about science, it’s this: alternative physics folks love an argument. They particularly love if you make a statement about their model that they think is wrong. Then they can focus on your error rather than defending the merits (or lack thereof) of their model. This is particularly true of some of the more popular fringe models such as the electric universe, planet Nibiru, or the flat Earth. Rather than a single work by a lone genius, these models have dozens of books and websites, hundreds of videos, and a myriad of often contradictory claims. If you aren’t absolutely accurate about every minor detail of their model, if you haven’t read and fully understood everything about their model, then may God have mercy on your lying little soul. Case in point: the great neutrino debate of 2014 – 2018.

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Planetary Disks Don’t Need Planets To Make Waves

In Exoplanets by Brian Koberlein1 Comment

One of the biggest challenges in astronomy is observing the cold, dark dust surrounding a young star. These planetary disks, as they are known, are the birthplace of planets. Understanding them helps us understand how planetary systems form. But much of the gas and dust is so cold that they emit light mostly in the microwave range, which is difficult to detect. But with the construction of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) we can finally start to see details. Read More