Nicely done video giving a quick tour of the Universe, with clips taken mostly from the National Geographic documentary ‘Journey to the Edge of the Universe’. My personal favourite is the scene where the ‘camera’ flies directly into the jet of a quasar. Can you identify all the objects shown?
Cost overruns in large-scale scientific projects occur more frequently than not, with NASA being one of the biggest culprits. The most recent high-profile casualty is of course the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). There are serious concerns that the entire project may be cancelled, after proposals for… Read More Have We Stopped Dreaming?
I had an opportunity last week to listen to two separate talks about two of the most influential radio astronomers in Australia. The talks were given by Dr. Miller Goss, the former director of the Very Large Array telescope in New Mexico, and who still works for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). One was… Read More On the Shoulders of Giants…
I’ve been wondering why no one bothered making a video demonstrating the science drivers for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – and it’s about time someone did one. And someone has! Thanks to the people at the Swinburne Astrophysics and Supercomputing group, we now have a complementary science video to accompany the awe-inspiring SKA video.
Cosmogeny (as opposed to Cosmogony in the previous post) is the study of the birth or creation of the universe, and has long been accepted as a domain of philosophy, mythology and theology. Nowadays however, scientific enquiry intrudes upon this once sacred turf, and may even have something to contribute. The universe is a unified… Read More Reflections in Cosmology 20: Cosmogeny and the Birth of the Universe
Cosmogony is the study of the evolution of the universe during its infancy. It’s really amazing how we can ‘know’ so much about the early universe. Cosmologists are slowly piecing together a wonderful sketch of its13.7 billion year history, at timescales of microseconds, picoseconds and less! How confident are we of this scientific picture of… Read More Reflections in Cosmology 19: Cosmogony and the Early Universe
Sounds simple enough. Every kid should be able to answer that shouldn’t they? But it isn’t as straight forward as many of us would imagine it to be. This question, also known as Olber’s paradox, baffled scientists for centuries. If the universe is infinte, and there are an infinite number of stars, every line of sight… Read More Reflections in Cosmology 18: Why is the Sky Dark at Night?
The theory of inflation, proposed by Alan Guth, posits that the Universe went through a short period of highly accelerated expansion early in its history. Although it has yet to be confirmed observationally, it is generally accepted as a standard model by many cosmologists, mainly because it solves some of the most perplexing problems in… Read More Reflections in Cosmology 17: Inflation Does Solve a Lot of Problems!
For the reader resolved to eschew theory and admit only definite observational facts, all astronomical books are banned. There are no purely observational facts about the heavenly bodies. Astronomical measurements are, without exception, measurements of phenomena occuring in a terrestrial observatory or station; it is only by theory that they are translated into knowledge of… Read More Reflections in Cosmology 16: Measuring the Universe
A lot of things don’t make sense in Christianity. They contradict our common sense view of the world. How can a person be both fully God and fully man? What do we mean when we talk about a Trinity – a God in three persons? A lot of things don’t make sense in physics. They… Read More When Common Sense Fails…