Friday, June 27, 2008

UT: Dark Matter is Denser in the Solar System

Dark matter was theorized to exist relatively recently, and we've come a long way in understanding what makes up a whopping 23% of our Universe. Our own galaxy is surrounded by a halo of dark matter that adds to its mass. A recent paper on the dark matter closer to home – right here in our own Solar System – reveals that it is denser and more massive than in the galactic halo. More...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

UT: Homer's 'Odyssey' May Chronicle Ancient Eclipse

I love writing this story, and how much it's stirred stuff up in the comments. Ah, writing about literature and astronomy together. If I could fit bicycles in there somehow, that would cover all three of my major passions...

Homer's 'Odyssey' May Chronicle Ancient Eclipse
It's likely that sometime in your education career, an English teacher had you enjoy (or suffer through, depending on your tastes) at least part of that classic of classics, Homer's Odyssey. It tells the story of Odysseus, a Greek general, who embarks on a 10-year journey back home after battling in the fall of Troy. The tale is filled with imagery that is referenced often in contemporary films and books. As old as it is, one would think that we've learned pretty much all we can from the book, but a new analysis of celestial events referenced in the Odyssey reveals that Homer may have documented a total solar eclipse. More...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

UT: Map of Milky Way Redrawn (again)

Just yesterday Fraser wrote about the Milky Way's demotion from a 4-arm spiral galaxy to a 2-arm. This isn't the only change we'll have to accept about our home galaxy: a Milky Way mapping project has discovered stars in the galaxy moving slower and in more elliptical orbits than predicted. This means we might have to redraw the map we have of our own neighborhood yet again. More...

Monday, June 2, 2008


Despite the flooding that we experienced last week, my first few days in Ames have been pretty uneventful. Working at the bike shop every day is freaking great. I missed the shop and all of the people that worked there very, very much. It's nice to be back.

I'm finally getting caught up on my astronomy reading, though my podcast queue is getting ridiculously long. So much to do, all the time...

Eric and I got our garden in, and it seems to be surviving all of the pounding rain we've been getting. We planted tomatoes, corn, beets, cucumber, peppers, watermelon, pumpkins, and broccoli. I hope we get to eat at least most of it. The fence we constructed seems pretty rabbit-resistant, though if there are deer milling around we just might have to make the fence taller. I guess we'll know soon enough.

Not much else to report, other than that it's weird to be speaking English all of the time, and having everybody else do the same. Can't wait to start up a French club.

Oh, and if you're on the evil, pointless thing called Facebook, I posted some pictures of my bike trip and my trip with my mother over there. Once I get mine developed and scanned in, I might put up a mini-journal here about all of that jazz.