A ball of "cotton fluff" or seeds released by poplar trees is shaped by the wind into a sphere and blown about a concrete walk this week. Credit: Bob King

The Universe Loves A Sphere

Just as the remnant energy of the Big Bang fills the present day universe with a subtle static called the cosmic background radiation, I’m convinced that leftovers of all the grand processes at work in the world from remote past to current day remain with us. They’re built into everyday events. Case in point. Two mornings ago, I…
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Did Distant Comets Quench A Thirsty Earth?

A beautiful, bright sun shines outside my window this morning. It was preceded by the setting moon and the onset of dawn, both of which I saw while hunting for Comet Elenin. In the briefest of intervals, I watched the sky go dark around 5:45 a.m. and then the lights slowly come back up with…
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Comet Hartley 2 Leaves A Trail Of Fluffy Snowballs

Recent photos taken NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer or WISE has revealed that Comet Hartley 2 is dropping golf-ball sized fluffy ice balls in its wake as it orbits the sun. Dust following in the wakes of comets isn’t new, but scientists were surprised to see that the pieces seen close up by the EPOXI…
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Moon Brews Up A Little Earthshine Tonight

With Daylight Saving Time out of the way, you probably noticed how early the sun went down yesterday evening. Around here, it’s gone by 4:45 p.m., and night begins at 6:30. That’s great for getting out early to see things like the space station – there’s a pass at 5:16 p.m. today – as well…
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Can’t Seem To Shake Off This Comet Dust

With our attention focused on Comet Hartley 2 yesterday, I forgot all about Thursday morning’s crescent moon. OK, I should have arisen earlier when the moon was even more striking in a darker sky, but the sight was refreshing nonetheless. I hope you saw it. Tonight the moon is new and will return as a…
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