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1210 posts tagged science


I look up — many people feel small because they’re small and the Universe is big — but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars. There’s a level of connectivity.

That’s really what you want in life, you want to feel connected, you want to feel relevant, you want to feel like a participant in the goings on of activities and events around you.

That’s precisely what we are, just by being alive…

- Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson [ x ]

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Space Shuttle Photography by Dan Winters


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Earth’s Siblings: Inside The Planets

Click each for a neat and informative view of the neighboring planets in our Solar System.



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Sky Tapestry, by Cordella Lackey

A tapestry jewelled hangs over the night;
Have you looked up to see where it gleams?
There are rubies and sapphires and diamonds white
Interwoven with mists of lost dreams.

This tapestry ancient was hung up for you
Before Time tried to reckon with Space;
And for ages to come it will hang in the blue,
Starry jewels each one in its place.

Each star has a story, each mist is alight;
If you seek to know each priceless fold
You will treasure this tapestry hung up at night
By the Weaver of tapestries old.

Eric Becklin and Zach Urbina


SOFIA at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Facility

SOFIA, NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy flies out of Dryden in Palmdale, California. After climbing to 40,000 feet elevation, a door slides back and the mirror is oriented toward star-forming regions like the Orion constellation to use infrared astronomy and get a look at how and why stars form.

Eric Becklin is the Chief Science Adviser on SOFIA and has shepherded the project from its inception in 1996, to its current operations. He’s also my uncle.

The infrared detectors that work to document various organic compounds in Orion and other star-forming regions are highly modular, meaning they can be upgraded over time, making SOFIA’s instrumentation much more technologically agile than space-based telescopes.

It’s frustrating to consider the divisiveness of politics after being reminded that some of the world’s brightest minds are using some of the most advanced technology, to look at stars thousands of light years away.

It was a pleasure to check out the inside and outside of the aircraft. On site, there were also two U-2s which NASA uses for research purposes (no-go on photographing them) and a DC-8, which is occasionally used as a chase plane. SOFIA’s next flight is planned for January 15th, 2014. Eric fields some questions about SOFIA in the video below.


NGC 7293, better known as the Helix nebula, is the nearest example of a planetary nebula, which is the eventual fate of a star, like our own Sun, as it approaches the end of its life. As it runs out of fuel, the star expels its outer envelope of gas outward to form a nebula like the Helix.
Images: different views of NGC 7293. Credit: ESA, NASA, ESO.

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Yesterday, NASA released this infographic for the 15th anniversary of the International Space Station.

image credit: National Aeronautics and Space Administration - NASA

MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) was launched today at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41. An Atlas V rocket sent it on its 10-month journey to explore the Red Planet’s climate history.

More on MAVEN

NASA Kennedy Space Center

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