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Galaxy-Spangled Banner Unfurled

The Hubble team has unveiled a new deep field image of distant galaxies, the “Hubble Ultra Deep Field Infrared WFC3/IR.”  The image, available at the HubbleSite, was taken with the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) installed during the latest servicing mission.     It’s been 5 years since the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (03/09/2004; […]

Is the Universe Evolving Upward?

It’s intuitively obvious that to get from a big bang to intelligent astronomers looking for evidence of the bang through telescopes, the amount of organization in the universe must increase over time dramatically.  Lately, astronomy has uncovered much more dynamism in space than previously recognized – but much of it seems destructive, not creative. Orion […]

Cosmic Accounting Is Wildly Inaccurate

Counting faint celestial objects is admittedly hard, but the task should be within the capabilities of expert astronomers.  It is, after all, as simple as counting.  So much theoretical work relies on accurate counts of what’s out there, they need to get at least in the ballpark.  Recent indications hint that their counts have been […]

Early Large Galaxies Stun Cosmologists

Cosmology has a kind of Cambrian Explosion of its own to grapple with.  Contrary to expectations, some of the earliest galaxies appear as large as current ones, if not larger.  Astronomers, using the Subaru telescope in Hawaii, examined five galaxy clusters with ages estimated at 5 billion years after the Big Bang.  Statements in a […]

Star Children for Darwin

Why should we be looking for alien intelligence around other stars when it is right behind your eyeballs?  You may not have known that you are a star child, but that’s what a leading astronomer called you.  As a good star child, you need to pay tribute to Charles Darwin.     In New Scientist, […]

Dating Stars as Models

Many have dreamed of dating a star, but the way astronomers do it is less glamorous.  For one thing, they need to know how old she is first, and how good a model she makes.  In a Perspectives piece for Science,1 David R. Soderblom of the Space Telescope Science Institute explained the requirements for stellar […]

2009 Is Looking Up

Astronomy is looking up this year; in fact, it’s looking heavenly.  The United Nations and the International Astronomical Union have designated 2009 the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009).  The IYA2009 website explains, The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) will be a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, highlighted by the […]

Water, Water Everywhere

A press release from the Max Planck Institute says that water has been detected at a distant quasar 11.1 billion light-years away – the farthest detection of water yet.  “The water vapour is thought to exist in clouds of dust and gas that feed the supermassive black hole at the centre of the distant quasar,” […]

It Takes a Stellar Village

Do galaxies embark on a purpose-driven life?  The language in an article about galaxy evolution in Science Daily makes such seamless use of personal terms with natural processes, it’s hard to know where the data ends and the interpretation begins.     “Galaxy Zoo, which uses volunteers from the general public to classify galaxies, and […]

SETI Could Find Design in Neutrinos

Most of the scientists involved in SETI research are very antagonistic to Intelligent Design.  Nevertheless, they find the design inference perfectly “natural” when looking for ways to comb through natural phenomena for intelligently-designed signals.     Two new methods for detecting alien messages were reported by Science News in the Oct. 11 issue.1  Both involve […]

Bangin’ Around to Get Something New Under the Sun

You’ve heard of the Big Bang, and the Cambrian Explosion.  Now, to get the solar system started, astronomers have added a Little Bang to move things along in the naturalistic path from nothing to everything.  Science Daily, Space.com and PhysOrg all reprinted a press release from the Carnegie Institution claiming that a nearby supernova led […]

Star Death Amazing – but Puzzling

Twinkle, twinkle, little stBOOM!  The explosions of some dying stars are so powerful yet so rapid, mere measurements seem inadequate to describe them.  Two death-star events were reported in recent articles.  Despite the bravado of textbook orthodoxy, the articles both mentioned that astronomers really don’t understand what’s going on all that well.     Eta […]

Describing Star and Galaxy Growth Without Looking

Astronomers seem to know a lot about star birth and galaxy growth.  This is a strange thing, since no one has watched the process from start to finish.  Stars and galaxies are clearly observed in various shapes, sizes, and patterns.  How reliable is it to arrange them into an evolutionary sequence?     One way […]

What Mean These Stars?

There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in current astronomical models.  Two articles recently underscored the fact that astronomers still have a lot to learn. Cluster generation conundrum:  The members of globular star clusters were long thought to be old stars of the same age, like seniors at a care […]

Star Light, Star Bright, I Wish I Knew What’s Going On

Astronomy is fun, if for no other reason than it gives one endless opportunities to be shocked and surprised. Pulsar outside the box:  Theory has it all laid out nice and neat.  Pulsars form when a red giant drops matter onto a binary companion, making it go boom in a supernova, leaving behind a spinning […]
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