Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded.

And the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand.

It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust.

You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements - the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life - weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode.

So, forget Jesus.

The stars died so that you could be here today

—  Laurence M. Krauss

A Look Inside a Meteorite

Ever wonder what a meteorite looks like inside? These image were made in cross-polarized light, where a polarizer between the light source and the microscope slide is rotated. The beautiful effect, called birefringence, causes the colors of the crystals in the meteorite’s minerals to change, creating amazing colors, as the polarizer is rotated.

Astronomers and planetary geologists study meteorites in thin section to determine their material makeup. The colors and angles of refraction of the light through the crystals help identify the crystals. Some of the material inside meteorites are quite likely as old as, or older than, the Earth itself.

1,2) The Allende meteorites (named after a pueblito in Mexico called Allende where they fell in 1969) contain interstellar dust particles which are thought to be the oldest unaltered particles in our Solar System.

3) This meteorite is called NWA 4292 and was found in the Sahara Desert in Africa in 2005.

source 1, 2, 3


The Amazing Life, Nose, and Twice-Exhumed Corpse of Tycho Brahe

A Danish nobleman, Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), was the most famous astronomer of the 16th century. Brahe is known for making the most accurate measurements of stars and planets without the aid of a telescope, proving that comets are objects in space and not in Earth’s atmosphere, and hiring the not-yet-famous German astronomer Johannes Kepler as his assistant.

Brahe’s Nose

He allegedly challenged a fellow student to a duel with swords in a dispute over who was the better mathematician. Brahe lost the duel. The tip of his nose had been cut off. He was said to wear a silver and gold prosthetic nose upon which he would continually rub oil. His nose appeared somewhat deformed and became a trademark for many artist renderings of him.

Brahe’s Twice-Exhumed Corpse

Brahe was long thought to have died from a bladder infection caused by not excusing himself to use the bathroom during a royal banquet in October 1601. By not emptying his bladder during the banquet, his bladder supposedly ruptured.

However, scientists who opened Brahe’s grave in 1901, to mark the 300th anniversary of his death, claimed to find mercury in his remains. This began fueling rumors that the famous astronomer had been murdered by ingesting mercury. Some even accused a jealous Kepler of the crime. The murder theory lasted for over one hundred years until Brahe was exhumed from his grave for a second time.

In 2010, Tycho Brahe was exhumed from his grave again. Chemical analyses of his corpse showed that mercury poisoning did not kill the prolific 16th century astronomer. The results should dispel the rumors that Brahe was murdered when he most likely died of a burst bladder. The same explanation that was given when he died over four hundred years ago.

Additional tests also revealed that Brahe’s famous silver and gold prosthetic nose was actually made out of brass.

okay well I wrote the word “astronomists” (not a real word) instead of “astronomers” (actually a word) and I didn’t notice for like 15 minutes so I think sleep is something my brain needs right now


For the first time in ages, I’m really eager about doing the artifact project in my Design Coding class. 

Topic: To make an educational website for kids ages 6-12 based on a specific STEM topic.

 After hours (just kidding more like 30 minutes) of researching topics I decided to do it on constellations, a topic I’ve always been fascinated about. The way stars are able to convey a certain type of image struck me. It’s mesmerizing how the human brain is able to take something from nature and make it into something relatable to us. I mean, how did early astronomists find such things? Magic. I can only say that to me it seems like some sort of sorcery.  Now I’m just going off a tangent. I should stop. Back to my original discussion of my topic. Right now I have so many ideas running through my head. With the ideas I have, hopefully, the end result will be surprising and satisfying to me and my peers. 

PS. Will be trying to write more personal blog posts starting today. My vocabulary and writing skills seem to have deteriorated from the lack of writing. (because I finished my required writing courses early.)

Say cheese! Hubble Telescope spots smiley face in space

Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s an emoticon?

It sure looks like a smiley face beaming down from the heavens, but actually it’s a massive galaxy cluster known as SDSS J1038+4849.

The image, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, looks like two glowing yellow eyes and several curved lines forming a face and a smile.

For more than 20 years, the Hubble Space Telecope has circled quietly above us, capturing a dark, secret world billions of light years away.

Thousands of those stunning photos are available in the Hubble database. This particular one was spotted Judy Schmidt and sent to the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures competition.

The two glowing eyes are actually two distant galaxies. And the smile? That’s a result of what astronomists call “strong gravitational lensing.”

That happens because the gravitational pull between the two galaxy cluster is so strong it distorts time and space around them.

The “ring like structure” forming the smiley face is known as an “Einstein Ring” — named after the man whose theory of general relativity explains even mysteries as great as a space emoticon.

For more on the smiley face, go here.

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via Greensboro NC News and @NewsGSONC

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