June 2, 2020

Review: Magnificent Principia by Colin Pask

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Thank Newton for orbital mechanics. This week, we’ll take a look at the masterpiece that started all with Magnificent Principia by Colin Pask out from Prometheus Books. Sir Isaac published his Philosphiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica on July 5th, 1687. And although every high school physics student is (or hopefully, should be) familiar with the three laws of motion that it advanced, few have ever actually read the original work. [Read more...]

22.06.10- Nicholas Copernicus Revealed.

A new chapter in the final saga of one of astronomy’s greats concluded recently, as the remains of Nicholas Copernicus were reburied at Frombork Cathedral last month. The ceremony came after years of forensic detective work to positively identify the astronomer’s remains. Copernicus is famous for introducing the Sun-centered or heliocentric theory of the solar system in his landmark work, De Revolutionibus, which was later banned by the church. It was known that Copernicus was buried underneath the church, but gaining a positive ID from the dozens of skeletons interred had proven difficult. Copernicus was known to have died at age 70, a rarity in the 16th century. This narrowed down the field of “Copernicus skeleton candidates” to two unearthed in 2005. But the real breakthrough came when a hair was discovered in the pages of a book contained in Copernicus’s personal library. The DNA allowed a positive match to the anonymous remains of a man who shook the foundations of medieval thinking and led the way for modern astronomy…it always amazes us how they simply “lost” things in the olden days! On May 22nd, 2010, nearly 467 years to the date of his death, Copernicus was given a proper burial at Frombork with all of the pomp he was due. The sarcophagus will now be overlain with a glass viewing tile, and the original marker and monument to Copernicus will remain. This symbolic gesture is representative of the long reconciliation process that has occurred over the last few decades between the Roman Catholic Church and science. While some may see it as superfluous, such examples of the church coming to terms with Copernicus, Darwin, or Galileo represent a confluence of ideologies and show that religious dogma does not always have to be anathema to science.

Space Telescopes, Part I: Optical.

This weeks’ expose will kick off our four part series on orbiting space telescopes. For starters, we’ll begin with the most familiar; the optical wavelength. True, we as humans are biased towards this narrow band of the spectrum; we love to see pretty pictures that we can relate to.  But beyond this, telescopes that operate in the visual wavelengths have no less than revolutionized astronomy, as well as laid promise for perhaps giving us images of exo-Earths in our lifetimes. What follows is a rapid fire list of what was, is, and what to look for up and coming in the realm of optical astronomy in space:

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Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed; A Review.

This one will be a tough one for us here at Astroguyz to review; faithful followers of our blog already know our stance on this issue. We’ll make every attempt to be as even-handed as possible and not hurt too many feelings.  Recent court rulings threw Intelligent Design (ID) out of the classroom. And yet the debate persists and continues to pop up world wide; should ID be taught along side of Evolution?

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