Supernova Condensate is a blog about our place in the Universe. Of astronomy, chemistry and life in the big bad bubble of academia.
Invader Xan is a molecular astrophysicist and part-time alien invader, who spends life looking at very small things on very large scales, and trying to better understand the chemistry of interstellar space.
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Tag Archives: astrophysics
I have a lot of respect for planet hunters. It’s not an easy job. Discovering and confirming the existence of a planet requires a lot of patience, and I’d imagine it must be frustrating at times. So I’m sure a … Continue reading
I fear that even contemplating writing the tirade of geekery that’s about to ensue might forever concrete my reputation as a mad scientist. Although I don’t really have a reputation as a mad scientist. Yet. This started out as a … Continue reading
Thermodynamics may be very good at putting freshers to sleep during Monday morning lectures, but it really is a fundamental piece of modern physics. Bluntly, you don’t argue with thermodynamics. Originally developed to increase the efficiency of steam engines, the … Continue reading
Everything in the Universe likes to go in circles. Moons orbit planets, planets orbit stars, stars orbit other stars — and in each case all parts of the system are interrelated. The speed at which one star orbits another, for … Continue reading
Remember IBEX? NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer has been mapping the outer limits of the solar system from a highly eccentric Earth orbit for almost a year now. It was designed to observe the Sun’s heliosphere — the bubble blown in … Continue reading
While you were reading this sentence, several hundred muons passed straight through your body. In fact, around ten thousand pass each square metre of Earth’s surface every minute. Slightly disconcerting, isn’t it? A muon is essentially a bigger, fatter version … Continue reading
It’s bad luck if a black hole crosses your path. Actually it’s very bad luck, particularly if you happen to be a star like SDSS J090745.0+024507. Known by some as “The Outcast Star”, it had the misfortune tens of millions … Continue reading
I remember reading an article when I was just a kid called “The Hunt for Wobbling Stars”. I can’t have been much more than 8 years old, but the concept seemed simple enough even then. Any planet tugs on a … Continue reading
This rather beautiful image is a picture of the Milky Way taken in Hydrogen alpha (H-α) emission. In other words, this is what the Milky Way would look like to you, if the only things you could see were hot … Continue reading