I get it: Ender’s Game is not a science movie, or even a hard sci-fi movie. In many ways it’s barely sci-fi at all, falling closer to the coming-of-age hero fantasy narratives of Percy Jackson or (ducking) The Phantom Menace.
If you enjoy a dramatic spectacle in the sky, you have probably heard about Comet ISON, currently streaking toward the sun.
There is a monster at the center of our galaxy: A black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, weighing 4.3 million times as the sun and measuring about 25 million kilometers (15 million miles) across.
Saturn is probably the single most iconic image in all of astronomy–so iconic that it was, literally, the official Discover magazine icon for a number of years.
Four months ago, NASA issued what the agency—in all its acronym-loving glory—called an “RFI for the Asteroid Grand Challenge.” Translated into English, that means the agency was opening its doors to outside ideas about how to locate, study, and deflect potential Earth-threatening asteroids.
I don’t mean any disrespect when I say that the Higgs Boson is yesterday’s news. In some ways, that is the very definition of what qualifies something for a Nobel Prize: a discovery that has already established its importance and shown the way toward deeper insights.
When you take a science geek to a science-fiction film, no good deed goes unpunished. Throw together a bunch of narrative nonsense linked by sheds of technobabble and the boffins will enjoy your movie as high camp (see The Core, Armageddon) or indulge it as well-meaning drama (I’m looking at you, Prometheus).
I’ve had black holes on the brain lately.* There’s been a flurry of related research announced lately, even the discovery of black hole-like vortexes in the Atlantic Ocean, and astronomers are keenly watching as a gas cloud is ripped apart by the monster black hole at the center of our galaxy.
I?ve had black holes on the brain lately.* There?s been a flurry of related research announced lately, even the discovery of black hole-like vortexes in the Atlantic Ocean, and astronomers are keenly watching as a gas cloud is ripped apart by the monster black hole at the center of our galaxy.
A general rule of skygazing is that the farther you look, the less things change. Clouds? Different from one minute to the next.
A conversation with NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver is always livelier than her title would suggest.
What’s up with that crazy giant hole on the sun? That’s the question I was addressing during my short appearance on Fox News last week.
This question came up as part of a new Q&A column running monthly in DISCOVER magazine. I love responding to reader queries; answering them in a meaningful way almost always leads to some interesting new ideas.
Earlier this week, the visionaries who operate NASA’s Cassini spacecraft released a remarkable snapshot of Earth as seen from Saturn.
For three decades, astronomers have been waging war with the air around them, and slowly winning. A succession of increasingly advanced technologies–under the name active optics, and more recently adaptive optics–compensated for the continuous blowing, flowing, shimmering, and general blurring of Earth’s atmosphere.
They come from somewhere in the distant universe–probably some 6 billion to 11 billion light years away.
Director Roland Emmerich is responsible for some of the most deliriously enjoyable abuses of science on the big screen: Independence Day’s dimwitted aliens, 2012’s physics-defying astrophysical disasters, and Jake Gyllenhaal’s panicked flight from homicidal tendrils of cold air in The Day After Tomorrow, which is one of cinema’s great unintentional comedy scenes.
Like a really good book–or a really intense hangover–attending the World Science Festival is an experience that sticks with you.
There are many way to celebrate your 70th birthday. You could sit down in front of a cake packed tight with flaming candles.
…and there is also a human figure, several faces, a bunny rabbit, a gun, a small chair, a large forest, and pretty much every other shape the human eye can piece together given a very large number of random shapes to contemplate.