Category Archives: cosmology

A three-dimensional map of the Universe

Well, I can’t say I fully understand what’s being shown here, except that it depicts the detectable galaxies in the Universe (some not seen because the Milky Way hides them).  Cosmos has an explanation that I put below the video. If you’re an astronomy buff, you’ll probably understand this, and I’m hoping the cosmology mavens […]

Star “outburst”

I originally gave this timelapse series the title “star explosion,” but in fact it’s not clear what the deuce is going on here. What is clear is that it’s something spectacular.  The YouTube notes describe what we’re seeing and how the montage was made: The unusual variable star V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon) continues to puzzle […]

New evidence for the multiverse—and its implications

As skeptical as I am, I think the contemplation of the multiverse is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the nature of science and on the ultimate nature of existence: why we are here…. In looking at this concept, we need an open mind, though not too open. It is a delicate path to tread. […]

Does the nature of the Universe show that there’s no God?

That, at least, is the contention of Emily Thomas, an assistant professor of philosophy at Durham University, in an essay at RealClear Science (“Does the size of the universe prove God doesn’t exist?“) This point has been made by many people before, including, as I recall, Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins: the Universe is unbelievably […]

Sean Carroll on “The Life Scientific”

You can listen for free to this 27-minute BBC podcast (and download it)  in which Jim Al-Khalili interviews Sean Carroll on cosmology. There’s no direct link, but go to the page by clicking on the screenshot, while you’ll find it at the top. (Note: the second reader’s comment below gives a link to the direct download.) […]

Hubble space telescope breaks distance record for seeing stuff in space

NASA announced today that the Hubble Space Telescope has visualized an object (a galaxy) 13.4 billion light years away. That mans, of course, that the light we see left the galaxy only a bit after the Big Bang. This is all more or less above my pay grade, but it’s still cool: By pushing NASA’s Hubble Space […]

Feser to Krauss: Shut up because of the Uncaused Cause

I didn’t know anything about the Witherspoon institute, where Catholic religious philosopher Edward Feser has published a strident piece called “Scientists should tell Lawrence Krauss to shut up already“, but it appears to be a right-wing think tank. According to Wikipedia: The Witherspoon Institute opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and deals with embryonic stem cell research, […]

Cosmic inflation one more time—well, two

Reader Sergio called this comic to my attention (via  Twi**er: @JenLucPiquant and @phdcomics), which gives a good explanation of the meaning of the recent evidence for cosmic inflation.  Maybe you understand those scientific findings by now, but just in case you didn’t read this, from Jon Kaufman and Jorge Cham at PhD Comics (Kaufman was a […]

BICEP, gravitational waves et al.

Reader Justin sent a link to this animated video by MinutePhysics that tries to explain what the BICEP project really revealed about the Big Bang (I say “tries” because I’m not a physicist). Do note, though, that Official Website Physicist™ Sean Carroll was an advisor on the science, so it must be right!. One thing […]

In less than an hour, scientists will announce their discovery of the Big Bang’s echo

by Matthew Cobb For the last few days, Tw*tter has been abuzz with speculation about a press conference around a ‘major discovery’ that’s being held today at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, at noon US Eastern Standard Time (16:00 GMT/UTC).  There will be a live-stream of the presser from 11:55 am EST/15:55 (as of now, the […]