Not to scare you, but you’re getting hit with radiation constantly. First, there’s just regular old light (yep, that’s a kind of radiation). Then there are low levels of higher energy radiation like the kind in nuclear reactors, including particles coming out of the soil and off of bananas. But the highest-energy radiation is the weirdest stuff. It’s literally out of this galaxy.
If you were to rank the wildest things in the universe, there are a few obvious contenders: gamma rays, fast radio bursts, and quasars, for example. But no list would be complete without black holes and the black hole’s less-dense cousins, the neutron star. These hyper-compressed things can do some mind-boggling warping to the shape of space itself. So, what happens if one were to eat the other?
On Monday, August 21, 2017, the world will go under, or so it might well feel like if you position yourself along a 70-mile-wide swath of the US from South Carolina to Oregon. From here you can witness the moon move in front of the sun in the middle of the day and darken the skies above you. A total solar eclipse is a spectacular event that has struck fear into people throughout history, and at the same time has enlightened us in our quest to understand the cosmos. Our ability to predict this year’s event with such specificity is thanks to scientific inquiries dating back thousands of years.
As things here on Earth become increasingly more Theater of the Absurd, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft whizzes millions of miles away, unaffected by our intra-human squabbling. After 20 years of heading toward and exploring the Saturn system, on September 15th, Cassini will plunge itself into the planet’s atmosphere, broadcasting the whole thing like a tearfully beautiful sequel to The Iron Giant.
Scientists trying to unlock the secrets of our universe’s origin need to look no further than the photography studio of Thomas Blanchard and Oilhack. By mixing nothing more than paints, oil, and soap, the artists manage to create colorful miniature universes full of strange, tiny alien worlds.
We’re all clamoring to get into space these days, but lost in our excitement to fly to the Moon and colonize Mars is a brutal truth: the final frontier is a cold, inhospitable wasteland that’ll kill you at the first opportunity it gets. Astronauts already know this, but for the rest of us, here are just a few of the potentially lethal dangers faced by spacefaring pioneers.
Humanity hasn’t done a ton of good in our short stint on Earth, though we’ve definitely succeeded at turning this planet into a trash pit of despair. Today, researchers from NASA’s Kepler space telescope team announced we might get to bring our garbage party to another planet—perhaps a bunch of them.