The Galactic Inquirer

Galactic and Extragalactic Astronomy

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.

Musical Explorations of the Messier Catalogue of Star Clusters and Nebulae

“It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it?” -- Richard Feynman (1918 – 1988)

Our Elusive Milky Way

For most of human history, the night sky demanded our attention. The shape-shifting Moon, wandering planets, pointillist stars, and occasional comet enchanted our sensibilities...

Naked-eye Exoplanet Host Stars

Spot naked-eye exoplanet host stars! Want to see something new in the night sky? To date, more than 700 exoplanetary systems have been identified in...

Galactic and Extragalactic Astronomy: an Introduction

Introduction: If you look skyward on a clear moonless night, you can immediately see that you and all of your fellow Earthlings live in a...

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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.

Earth & Space Report #11: Surfing the Galactic Froth

This edition combines fun and science as only Dr. Waller can do, as we take a colorful look at what's going on in supposedly empty space between the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

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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.

Interstellar Communications

Introduction: It took less than two billion years for our...