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How Big is the Biggest Possible Planet?

Last week, a team of astronomers reported the first potential discovery of an exomoon--a satellite orbiting a planet around another star.

The Strangest (and Second-Strangest) Star in the Galaxy

There’s an old saying: "Great discoveries don’t begin with ‘eureka!’; they begin with ‘that’s funny…’" I’ve long attributed the quote to the renowned science popularizer Isaac Asimov.

The Strangest (and Second-Strangest) Star in the Galaxy

There’s an old saying: "Great discoveries don’t begin with ‘eureka!’; they begin with someone muttering, ‘That’s odd…’" I’ve long attributed the quote to the great science popularizer Isaac Asimov.

What if We Discovered an Alien Civilization Less Advanced Than Our Own?

Readers of this blog know that I'm a big fan of Quora, because it lets non-experts raise the kinds of speculative questions that don't normally come up in formal scientific discussions.

Real Genius

If you are going to create a television show called Genius, you had better grapple with the nature of genius.

Calvin the Martian, and the True Meaning of LIFE

LIFE the movie is both predictable and full of surprises, much like...er...life itself. In the broad sense, it is a monster-run-amok genre film.

Calvin the Martian, and the True Meaning of LIFE

LIFE the movie is both predictable and full of surprises, much like...er...life itself. In the broad sense, it is a monster-run-amok genre movie.

Gore Verbinski Diagnoses His Own "Cure for Wellness"

If you feel like there is something deeply unhealthy about the modern world, director Gore Verbinski has just the movie for you.

Rebirth and Recovery in the Shadow of Chernobyl

Regular readers of this blog know that I normally focus on cosmic topics: comets, exoplanets, dark matter, the search for alien life, and the like.

Taking the Measure of Nothing in the Universe

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about nothing. Not just because focusing on nothing is a helpful, meditative antidote to obsessing over the recent barrage of anxiety-inducing news, but also because nothing is the most common thing in nature.

Taking the Measure of Nothing in the Universe

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about nothing. Not just because focusing on nothing is a helpful, meditative antidote to obsessing over the recent barrage of anxiety-inducing news, but also because nothing is the most common thing in nature.

January 1, 1925: The Day We Discovered the Universe

What's in a date? Strictly speaking, New Year's Day is just an arbitrary flip of the calendar, but it can also be a cathartic time of reflection and renewal.

Shhhh...the Real Stars of "Passengers" are a Robot and a Spaceship

By now you've probably seen those soulful faces staring out at you from the ads for the new movie Passengers: Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt playing Aurora Land and Jim Preston, two would-be interplanetary colonists who wake up from hibernation way, way too early.

The Human Footprint on Mars is Expanding...Sometimes Faster Than We'd Like

It will be a long time until humans put boots on Mars--at least until the 2030s and possibly a lot longer, depending on what the incoming Trump administration thinks about NASA's unfunded exploration plans.

The Human Footprint on Mars is Expanding...Sometimes Faster Than We'd Like

It will be a long time until humans put boots on Mars--at least until the 2030s and possibly a long longer, depending on what the incoming Trump administration thinks about NASA's unfunded exploration plans.

On TV: A Tale of Two Red Planets

I'll confess, I came to Mars, the new National Geographic miniseries that debuted last night, with a good dose of skepticism.

Living and Dying With a Comet

Like many other space enthusiasts around the world, I woke up today in a bittersweet mood as I read the reports about the death of the European Space Agency's Rosetta comet probe.

Living and Dying With a Comet

Like many other space enthusiasts around the world, I woke up today in a bittersweet mood as I read the reports about the death of the European Space Agency's Rosetta comet probe.

The Race to Proxima Centauri (Part 1)

Sometimes it takes a while for the meaning of a new scientific discovery to really sink in. In the case of the planet Proxima Centauri b, announced last week, it may take decades or even centuries to fully grasp the importance of what we have found.

The Race to Proxima Centauri

Sometimes it takes a while for the full meaning of a new scientific discovery to sink in. In the case of the planet Proxima Centauri b, announced last week, the process may take decades or even centuries.


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