View Post

The New Site

In Meta by Brian Koberlein3 Comments

This website is undergoing a few changes. To begin with, new blog posts can now be found at It should load faster and be more secure. Eventually the whole site will shift over to the new design, but for now it’s just the blog posts. This also means the mail list and rss feeds will be silent for a while. They will be converted as well, and (hopefully) it should all go smoothly.

The biggest change, however, is that comments are going over to a general forum rather than individual posts. This should reduce the amount of driveby spam while allowing comments to be more community moderated than dictated from upon high. So pardon the dust, check out the new posts, and thanks for visiting.

View Post

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.

View Post

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

View Post

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

View Post

Just-So Story

In Pseudoscience by Brian Koberlein79 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.

Read More

View Post

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

View Post

A Billion Miles Further

In Solar System by Brian Koberlein1 Comment

The New Horizons Pluto flyby was an ambitious mission. At the time of launch, its destination was known only as a blurry distant body.  We knew some of its properties, such as its mass and rough surface coloring, but we weren’t even certain of its exact size. But the laws of gravity are extremely precise, so we could ensure New Horizons would reach its target. The mystery was what it would find. Read More