The Galactic Inquirer

Galactic and Extragalactic Astronomy

Astrophotography: Summer 2020 Update

I just finished a little project to put some of my recent images to music in a slideshow video, most of which I showed at our recent GAAC astrophotography virtual meeting. This is my first attempt at such a video, but I think I will make them periodically, moving forward. I figured I would share it here, as you might find it entertaining or relaxing. Enjoy!

Earth & Space Report #4: Galactic Blowhards

Galaxies comprise the largest self-gravitating systems of luminous matter in the universe, swirling masses of matter and energy just looking for trouble. Over the past few decades, astronomers have come to appreciate how fervently active galaxies can be. Besides hosting roiling clouds of intense starburst activity, they often also sport supermassive black holes in their centers that can pack a powerful punch. These myriad histrionics can affect the host galaxy's subsequent evolution and even the destinies of neighboring galaxies.

Book Review: Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

In Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, popular science author Neil DeGrasse Tyson summarizes the most frequently-asked questions about the universe and how we fit into the overall cosmos. Tyson is an American astrophysicist and science communicator who was born on October 5, 1958 in Manhattan, New York.

Book Review: Dava Sobel’s The Glass Universe

Sobel’s most recent novel The Glass Universe (2016) is split into three parts, “The Colors of Starlight,” “Oh, Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me,” and “In the Depths Above.” Each part is further structured quite nicely into titled chapters that relate to the subject or person of interest. The book’s sweep is chronological, starting with Mary Anna Palmer Draper – the wife of astronomer Henry Draper.

The Multi-armed Milky Way

According to recent popular science articles, there has been something of a revival of the traditional idea that our Milky Way is a 4-armed spiral galaxy, as opposed to having two spiral arms, as seen in the currently most popular rendition of our home Galaxy.

Book Review: Michael Lemonick’s The Georgian Star

If you have never heard of the Herschels, then you are missing out on the most important astronomers of the 18 th and 19 th Century. William Herschel, discoverer of Uranus, together with his able and dedicated sister Caroline and his erudite son John revealed the Milky Way and its diverse contents as never before.

Another Giant Leap for Mankind

This year, our eyes were once again redirected to our own Solar System for a just a few fleeting minutes -- from the myriad wonders of our “seeable” Universe to a small space probe called New Horizons that at 7:49 AM (EST) on July 14 th 2015 passed within 7,750 miles of little Pluto at a record-breaking speed of 30,800 miles per hour (49,600 kilometers per hour).

When it’s Just You and the Universe

We’ve all shown Saturn to someone, or perhaps have shared a clear view of a bright globular, say, M13, with someone who hasn’t seen such a thing before. In these and similar cases, the sheer beauty of the thing is the whole point; any impressive facts are secondary.

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Astrophotography: Summer 2020 Update

I just finished a little project to put some of my recent images to music in a slideshow video, most of which I showed at our recent GAAC astrophotography virtual meeting. This is my first attempt at such a video, but I think I will make them periodically, moving forward. I figured I would share it here, as you might find it entertaining or relaxing. Enjoy!

Earth & Space Report #4: Galactic Blowhards

Galaxies comprise the largest self-gravitating systems of luminous matter in the universe, swirling masses of matter and energy just looking for trouble. Over the past few decades, astronomers have come to appreciate how fervently active galaxies can be. Besides hosting roiling clouds of intense starburst activity, they often also sport supermassive black holes in their centers that can pack a powerful punch. These myriad histrionics can affect the host galaxy's subsequent evolution and even the destinies of neighboring galaxies.

Book Review: Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe, The World You Thought You Knew

There has always been a lot of conflict and contention between religion and science, arguably since the beginning of human abstract thought. Everyone has an opinion on how the two interact, intermingle, or completely repel against each other. The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew is simply one man’s opinion written into a book.

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