Every Planet Surprises Secular Astronomers, I: Inner Planets
May 3, 2014
"Surprise" or "puzzling" are the most common words in news reports about bodies in the solar system. Here are recent examples that discuss the inner planets.
The Spin on Planets
February 18, 2014
As the orbs whirl around Sol, human understanding of our space neighborhood rises and falls.
Venus: 80% of Its History Is Missing
January 2, 2014
In spite of being called Earth's twin, Venus is vastly different. Scientists are struggling to fit its young surface to 4.5 billion years.
Cosmic Whacks as Creative Forces
October 17, 2013
Asteroid impacts are some astronomers' answer to everything, except when they are shown to be unworkable.
Extrasolar Planets: Bigger and More Mortal
June 10, 2013
Many of the stars and planets found by the Kepler spacecraft are not earthlike. Also, astronomers have seen planets destroyed by their stars.
Astronomy Grab Bag
December 29, 2012
For year's end, here's a clean-out of astronomy articles—from planetary science to cosmology—to motivate further inquiry.
Venus Transit Recalls Adventures of Yore
June 5, 2012
Today's transit of Venus, in which our sister planet appears to cross the disk of the sun, will be the last till 2117. As observatories and millions of people watch the rare planetary alignment, few may know the stories of astronomers who predicted them and explorers who risked life and limb to observe them.
Astronomers Wrestle with "Endless Mysteries"
June 3, 2012
Some of the biggest questions in the universe remain completely baffling to astronomers, a leading journal admitted.
Tilt-A-World: Another Constraint on Habitability
January 12, 2012
Did you ever ride a Tilt-A-Whirl, one of those cheap carnival rides that makes you dizzy and sick? Our planet would be like that if its inclination were out of control. Without tilt stability, a new study reveals, we wouldn't be sick, we'd be dead, or never alive in the first place. It's not enough to be in the Habitable Zone. Would-be inhabited planets need to avoid a new problem, called “tilt erosion.”
Earth’s Twin: What Does “Potentially Habitable” Mean?
December 5, 2011
The Kepler spacecraft has found dozens of “potentially habitable” planets around other stars, but this week announced one that some news sources are calling “Earth’s twin.”
Science Without an Object: Astrobiology, Alien Science
September 6, 2011
Can science exist without an observable object? In recent years we have seen serious scientists ponder alternate universes and parallel universes, dark matter, dark energy and other imponderable entities. String theory has yet to rest on observable data, and physicists at CERN are getting worried about not finding the hypothetical Higgs boson. Sooner or later, these theories need to detect their subjects or lose credibility in the science club. Perhaps nowhere else has the disconnect between hype and observation reached the absurd limits of astrobiology and alien science.