Monthly Archives: February 2013

First look at Comet PanSTARRS

2013 could be a banner year for comets, with not one, not two, but three of them being visible to the naked eye. Two are already visible in the Southern Hemisphere, as seen in the video, and they’ll be coming … Continue reading

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The Magic Spreadsheet, or, Self-discipline = 250 words per day

One of the hardest parts of being a writer is finding enough time to write. Writers are busy people, with any number of things like day jobs, classes, families, and always being within arm’s reach of the Internet on their … Continue reading

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Rise of the mini-planets

I’ve said before that when looking for planets, we must expect the unexpected. NASA’s latest discovery, Kepler-37b, was not unexpected, but it raises interesting questions nonetheless. Kepler-37b is a hot, rocky planet, but it’s not a super-Earth, because it’s smaller … Continue reading

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Improbable meteor causes chaos in Russia

If you had told me 24 hours ago that this would happen in my lifetime, I would have been skeptical–most of all that a meteoroid of this size could punch deep enough into the atmosphere to do any serious damage. … Continue reading

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2012 DA14 will pass us by, but what is the risk from elsewhere?

You may have heard that an asteroid called 2012 DA14 will pass close by Earth this Friday, dipping below our ring of communications satellites at just 28,000 km (17,000 miles). At 50 meters wide (half the size of a football … Continue reading

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Astronaut records first song from space

Chris Hadfield, Commander of Expedition 34 on the International Space Station, joined Ed Robertson, lead singer of Barenaked Ladies, to perform the first song composed and recorded (partly) in space. The result: I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing). Check it out. This … Continue reading

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Carbon planets

We may be carbon-based life forms, but carbon is actually pretty rare on Earth. If fact, only 0.03% of Earth’s crust is made of carbon, hundreds of times rarer than the foundations of the planet–silicon, aluminum, iron, and, oddly enough, … Continue reading

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Book review: The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter

Now for a little bit different kind of book: alternate history. Yale law professor Stephen L. Carter asks, what if Abraham Lincoln had survived being shot by John Wilkes Booth on the night of April 14, 1865? If he had, … Continue reading

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