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19 posts tagged with science and astronomy. (View popular tags)
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Astronomy 101

Cosmos has me very intrigued. Assume I know less than a 5th grader. I am looking for: book recommendations for basic astronomy concepts; blogs; podcasts for beginners; good audio books; and documentaries. If you wanted to teach an adult about astronomy where would you start?
posted by morganannie on May 5, 2014 - 13 answers

I have no IDeaL what I'm doing (IDL programming for absolute dum-dums)

So, I recently got selected to do undergraduate physics research this summer. Great! Awesome! Yay me! However, my research advisor has asked me to use something called IDL to analyze tomographic images of compounds and turn them into 3D images. This is good news, because IDL is used a lot by astronomers to analyze astronomical data, and I want to continue my education in astronomy. But, I've never used IDL ever before. I'm not even sure exactly what it is (a programming language?). My question is this: how do I get up to speed so that I can hit the ground running with my research? Difficulty: Research begins in two weeks. Details: [more inside]
posted by runcibleshaw on Apr 25, 2014 - 12 answers

Fire On Exoplanets?

How likely is it that fire (as in open flame) will exist on extra-solar planets? [more inside]
posted by quin on Sep 13, 2013 - 7 answers

Can you collect meteorite dust in your backyard? How?

I've been told recently that collecting micrometeorites is as easy, basically, as placing a clean surface outside and picking through the debris you collect because thousands of tons of space dust and debris fall to Earth every day. That can't be all there is to it, can it? How do you know whether you're looking at Earth dust or space dust? [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Feb 27, 2013 - 4 answers

Dark sky, cheap telescope, totally inexperienced operator. What can I see?

Astronomy/Skygazing Beginner: I'm gonna be camping out in a dark place, and I have access to a cheap low-consumer-grade telescope. Is it worth it to take it? What could it see? What could I reliably find? Three technically-competent operators, but zero experience/familiarity with the use of any telescope. [more inside]
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj on Jun 19, 2012 - 14 answers

With whom are we sharing the rest of eternity?

If I've gotten the right impression, much of our currently visible universe will eventually be expanded away from us, never to be seen again. Do we already know how much and what parts of our present neighborhood we'll be left huddling with?
posted by Anything on Dec 4, 2011 - 12 answers

Are giant steps what you take, walking on The Sun (apologies to The Police)?

Can anyone tell me, well, ANYTHING about a person (hypothetically) standing on the sun? [more inside]
posted by argonauta on May 16, 2011 - 44 answers

From Mars to Earth??

I was listening to this Fresh Air interview today and wondered how they know a meteorite is from Mars. [more inside]
posted by Rad_Boy on Apr 4, 2011 - 8 answers

Backups during solar storms

What's the best way to safeguard my backups from the effects of a solar storm? Should I worry about that at all? [more inside]
posted by lord_yo on Sep 11, 2010 - 9 answers

How does the idea of the scientific method inform our modern culture and life?

What is the advantage of scientific thinking? What practical difference does it make to live in a culture that believes in using evidence to explain the world? [more inside]
posted by danceswithlight on Apr 28, 2010 - 38 answers

Uh...hang on, just give me a minute.

What is the most important scientific question of our time? [more inside]
posted by Demogorgon on Oct 12, 2009 - 44 answers

I want to be a scientist in my spare time!

How can I be use my spare time to advance a scientific cause? [more inside]
posted by adverb on Oct 6, 2009 - 16 answers

So ET won't be picking up the Olympic Games in 1936 Berlin?

Do radio waves attenuate and become noise or do they go on forever? [more inside]
posted by MrMulan on May 12, 2009 - 14 answers

Hydrogen coalescence in formation of solar system?

I've been rewatching Carl Sagan's Cosmos since I found out it's available on Hulu. Last night, I was watching the episode in which Carl describes how the solar system was formed via the coalescence of particulate matter. But, something struck me as rather odd: if hydrogen and helium are lighter than the heavy elements (duh!) why is it that THEY coalesced into the center of the solar system to become the Sun? It seems to me the heavier elements would migrate towards the center of the maelstrom a bit faster than the lighter ones. Haven't been able to find out the reason for this, hoping the hive can help.
posted by Spoonman on Mar 31, 2009 - 30 answers

It's not the end of the world...

Reading this article (and a USA Today story linked in it) this morning, and I'm curious about an astronomical event mentioned in it. [more inside]
posted by jasondbarr on Feb 10, 2009 - 12 answers

To inifinity and beyond!

What are some topics in astronomy or cosmology that you find fascinating and mind blowing? [more inside]
posted by tomcochrane on Jul 3, 2008 - 17 answers

Twinkle, twinkle big fat star; how I wonder what you are.

In my view of the sky from Mobile, AL - looking southward - there is a star shimmering brightly in red, yellow and even green. What is it? [more inside]
posted by magnoliasouth on May 31, 2008 - 25 answers

How do I find cool screen savers that are safe for download?

Help me find a cool screen saver that won't infect my computer. [more inside]
posted by Flying Saucer on May 15, 2008 - 11 answers

What would be the effects on the earth if the moon exploded?

What would be the effects on the earth if the moon exploded? [more inside]
posted by tcobretti on Aug 28, 2006 - 29 answers

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