The Galactic Inquirer

Galactic and Extragalactic Astronomy

GAAC Meeting September 11 2020: Jeremy Parker and The Comet Chronicles

A photo/video account of comet NEOWISE by Gloucester Area Astronomy Club astrophotographer Jeremy Parker, and a review of some of the more recent Great Comets.

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.

Latest news

Statistical Properties of Fast Radio Bursts from the CHIME/FRB Catalog 1: The Case for Magnetar Wind Nebulae as Likely Sources

Fast Radio Bursts are flashes of radio emission lasting for several milliseconds. The time of arrival of signals depends on the radio frequency, called the dispersion measure (DM), which depends on the environment through which the signals travel, specifically the number of free electrons in their path. Very few FRBs have matches with sources observed at other wavelengths (Wikipedia - Fast Radio Burst).

Sensing the Biochemical Character of Galactic Ecosystems

...What we have come to appreciate is the seminal role played by clustered star formation in driving the physical and chemical evolution of the galaxies that host these stellar nurseries. Such concentrated sites of newborn stars along with their nebular environs constitute what are known as galactic ecosystems. These energized realms represent vital “crucibles” for growing the chemical complexity that is necessary for biotic processes.

Earth & Space Report #12: Exploring our Cosmic Origins

Carl Sagan wrote that "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” We wish to know our home, so back we go, to the Big Bang, and step by step to today.

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Book Review: Andy Weir’s The Martian

Andrew Taylor “Andy” Weir is an American novelist born on June 16, 1972 in Davis, California, USA. He is best known for his science fiction novel, The Martian, which was written and self-published in 2011. Three years later, Crown Publishing purchased the rights and re-released it.

GAAC Meeting, February 12 2021 — Astrophoto Night

Some of GAAC's best Astrophotographers each show off a few of their favorite astro images.

How to Talk to Aliens

If we ever make contact with an alien civilization,...