PDA

View Full Version : Q & BA Questions thread



The Bad Astronomer
2007-Jan-29, 07:16 AM
This thread is for questions BABlog readers have for me for the "Q & BA" feature on the Bad Astronomy Blog (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/01/28/q-ba/). If you have a question, post it here along with your name and region if you want me to use them (otherwise I'll use your BAUT handle).

Try to be succinct! I'll be reading the question on the video, and I might have to paraphrase.

Enjoy, and thanks!


Phil Plait, aka The Bad Astronomer

ritchards
2007-Jan-29, 08:20 AM
Okay, I'll go with a question (and, oh, my first post here!):

We know(*) that black holes exist, but what about white holes? Do they exist? Could they even theoretically exist?

(*) For a given value of "know".

Hmm...now, do I want to give my real name, being pretty sure you won't be able to pronounce it properly... let's see:

Jamas Enright, Wellington, New Zealand
(Jamas is like Shamus, but with a J.)

Serenitude
2007-Jan-29, 10:51 AM
I have a question. With space expanding faster than the speed of light, does a photon moving through space move in what a removed observer would see as a straight line, or is a photon moving through space affected by the expansion of space (ie, a straight line through expanding space, which to a removed observer would not appear straight?), and is this taken into account in observations of distant objects. Why or why not is light affected by expanding space?

Sticks
2007-Jan-29, 11:52 AM
Change of pace here, although I suspect it may have been covered in astronomycast so we are after your take on this one.

How do you get started in astronomy, what kind of equipment should you start out with, what is the best way to use a scope, (especially if you wear glasses do you look through the eyepiece with your glasses on or try and focus the eyepiece to your prescription)

And finally how can the dedicated ameteur contribute any discoveries to the main bodies of science.

forgot to add

Graeme Stickings - Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Laguna
2007-Jan-29, 12:54 PM
Could you answer me where the ultra high energy cosmic "radiation" (I know its particles) comes from. I heard a video blog about it several years ago, but the astronomer said, back then, they where not quite sure about it and just had some ideas.

Martin Köster, Reiskirchen, Germany

maryccc
2007-Jan-29, 02:23 PM
Can you explain galaxies to me. What is the easiest galaxy to view through a telescope and can I find a galaxy in my cheap tasco telescope? Will I actually be able to see it. I have heard that many galaxies have collided with us and we have eaten them up but will we ever be eaten up by another bigger and stronger galaxy? What does a galaxy consist of?

Thad Hatchett
2007-Jan-29, 02:56 PM
I'll throw my hat in with a first time post. I have a timely question about comet McNaught. I read in a couple of places where comet McNaught was visible (at that time, unfortunately no longer) as both a morning comet and an evening comet. How could any object that sets after the sun, possibly rise again the following morning prior to the sun? Space.com listed both morning and evening finder charts.

Appreciate the help!

Thad Hatchett
Columbus, IN

Grand_Lunar
2007-Jan-29, 03:48 PM
Here's one that really has had me scratching my head:

Why does Saturn's moon Titan have a thick atmosphere, but Jupiter's Ganymede does not, even though they are similar in size (both being larger than Mercury)?

(you might have trouble with my last name. pronouced "okra-gles-key")

Scott Okragleski
Fort Lauderdale, FL

George
2007-Jan-29, 06:34 PM
1a) Care to offer a general heliochromological prognostication? :) [You might explain why false color is indeed far superior to troublesome true color, too.]

1b) Due to solar atmospheric opacity issues, the central region of the solar disk is 1390K hotter in appearance than the limb (~6390K vs. 5000K), so would the solar disk not appear to have a slightly bluish-white center? [Assumes an astronaut is seeing the sun from space and at a light level within the normal photopic range of the eye.]

2) Will the classification of stars ever be revised significantly?

rdaneel
2007-Jan-29, 06:47 PM
As an astronomer, what is your take on the recent spate of books criticizing string theory's dominant position within physics? This would seem relevant to cosmological theories that are highly relevant to astronomy. I am thinking here of Lee Smolin's book "The Trouble with Physics", and Peter Woit's book "Not Even Wrong".

Dr Nigel
2007-Jan-29, 08:19 PM
Here's a couple* for you to think on, BA:
1) How were gamma-ray bursters first discovered/noticed/identified?
2) What are they?
3) How did we find this out?

Nigel Depledge
County Durham, England

*Edited to add: alright, three.

Sticks
2007-Jan-29, 08:31 PM
Here's a couple* for you to think on, BA:
1) How were gamma-ray bursters first discovered/noticed/identified?
2) What are they?
3) How did we find this out?

Nigel Depledge
County Durham, England

*Edited to add: alright, three.

apologies for stealing Phils thunder on this one, but I posted a link here (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=52290&) to a Horizon programme that covers this.

JonFM97
2007-Jan-30, 04:54 AM
I was wondering about your opinion on the idea that the universe is not only stranger then we image but stranger then we can image. I know that's more of a Cosmology question but I'd like to know what the general opinions are among the scientific community on this idea. Thanks.

Mr. Maxwell
2007-Jan-31, 03:01 AM
I am a 4th grade math and science teacher. One of my students, Ashllee Garza, (it would be cool if you could say her name on your reply) asked me, "Why is it the larger planets that have the rings around them, not the smaller ones?"

I told her that I thought it was because the larger planets have stronger gravity allowing them to grab more stuff as it floated by, thus forming rings, but that I should probably ask a real astronomer.

Hope you choose this question.

Regards,
Jason Maxwell
Houston, Texas
Tipps Elementary

bassmanpete
2007-Jan-31, 03:46 AM
How do spacecraft make use of the slingshot effect? I can understand how the pull of a planet will accelerate the craft but once it's passed by won't the planet decelerate it by a similar amount? Or does the craft fire it's rockets to add to the effect?

Matty
2007-Feb-01, 11:14 PM
I have read that if you take a teaspoon of a neutron star it will weigh around 1000kg.

My question is that if you could actually extract a teaspoon of neutron star, what would happen to it?

thaumaturge
2007-Feb-02, 04:14 AM
What did you think of the "supernova" depicted in the recent Battlestar Galactica episode (3x12)? It seemed kind of hokey to me.

satori
2007-Feb-02, 08:21 PM
I threw this question allready at the community but got little resonance :
What about blowing a (glas-) bubble in space to confection a HUGE spherical mirror.... Could that work ? Could it be of any use ? Is that a total whacky scrab sort of an idea ?
Assemble an expert commission , please .........
(and remember you got it from me )

Charlie in Dayton
2007-Feb-03, 12:19 PM
Do we 'celebrate' the beginning of the seasons on the wrong days?

The traditional first day of summer is around June 21, the 'longest day' of the year...but that ought to be the MIDDLE of summer, being the high point of the curve...

The traditional first day of winter is around December 21, the 'shortest day' of the year...but that ought to be the MIDDLE of winter, being the low point (so to speak) of the curve.

Some quick calculations and/or googling the concept 'cross quarter days' gives us the following information and "corrected" seasons:

A cross-quarter day is a day falling approximately halfway between one of the four main solar events (two solstices and two equinoxes) and the next one. These originated as pagan holidays in Northern Europe and the British Isles, and survive in modern times as neopagan holidays.

The cross-quarter days traditionally mark the start of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, respectively, and are:

* Imbolc or Imbolg (February 1) RELIGIOUS: Candlemas
* Beltane or Bealtaine (May 1) Walpurgis Night (Apr 30) / May Day (May 1)
* Lughnasadh or Lunasa (August 1) Lammas
* Samhain (November 1) Halloween (Oct 31), All Saints' Day (Nov 1), All Souls' Day (Nov 2)

Technically, the cross-quarter day is the start of a season -- the equinox or solstice marks the MIDDLE of a season.

Summer Solstice -- June 21
Winter Solstice -- December 22
Spring Equinox -- March 20
Autumn Equinox -- September 20

NOTE -- the above are for the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Equinox seasons are reversed -- Spring in Sept, Autumn in March

The Year Wheel
Winter Solstice -- December 22 -- midWinter
Imbolc -- February 1 -- first day of Spring
Spring Equinox -- March 20 -- midSpring
Beltane -- May 1 -- first day of Summer
Summer Solstice--June 21 -- midSummer
Lughnasadh -- August 1 -- first day of Autumn
Autumn Equinox -- September 20 -- midAutumn
Samhain -- November 1 --first day of Winter


SO -- are our seasonal celebrations about 45 days off from where they really ought to be?

Charlie Cotterman
Dayton OH

Charlie in Dayton
2007-Feb-03, 12:33 PM
Can you explain galaxies to me. What is the easiest galaxy to view through a telescope and can I find a galaxy in my cheap tasco telescope? Will I actually be able to see it. I have heard that many galaxies have collided with us and we have eaten them up but will we ever be eaten up by another bigger and stronger galaxy? What does a galaxy consist of?

I'm going to steal a tad of the BA's thunder too...
1 -- the easiest galaxy to see at all is the Milky Way, because we're inside it. It's visible to the naked eye on a dark night as a band of stars running from Sagittarius up across the sky to Canis Major on the other side, according to my northern hemisphere star wheel (the MW continues on past these constellations, but is below the horizon then).
The easiest galaxy to see other than ours is M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. It is approximately 2.7 million light years away (ballpark math -- 186,000 miles per second X 60 seconds X 60 minutes X 24 hours X 365 days x 2,700,000 = miles), and is the furthest object visible to the naked eye. It is visible to the naked eye on a dark nite from a dark site, and easily visible even in small binoculars (the ubiquitous 7x35's).

2 -- in a few odd billion years or so, if I have the figures correct, the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way will "collide" and rearrange each other. At this stage, no one's sure if the end will be two new galaxies, or one. See below for additional on this.

3 -- a galaxy consists mostly of empty space, so there are few if any actual planetary/star collisions. Other than that, there are hundreds upon thousands of stars (and there's no doubt that some of those stars have their own planets), and large clouds of dust and gas. There is a lot of change in orbits due to gravitational interactions, but there's not expected to be anything(s) running into each other.

Hope this helps, and an in-advance 'sorry about that, chief' to the BA if i'm in error somewhere or a toe got stepped on.

VoijaRisa
2007-Feb-04, 05:54 PM
Here's a simple but rather deep one that I think might be worthwhile:

How has being a skeptic improved your life?

Brad.C
2007-Feb-05, 06:50 AM
Question: So how do astronomers decipher a "moving dot on a slide"?

Seems like every day someone is announcing some exciting new Kuiper belt object, discovered by seeing a moving dot in successive pictures of the same region of space.

These announcements, though, seem to always be accompanied by:

A precise orbital path
Distance from the sun
Size of the object
What the object is made of
Rotational period
Contents of any atmosphere


How do astronomers figure these things out? How accurately do they really know these figures? Are some of them just guesses?

Brad Corbin
St. Louis, MO

Follow up question along the same lines: If I had a big enough amateur telescope, could I discover new Kuiper belt objects? How can I tell if I'm seeing something someone else has already found, or if it is something new? If it is new, can I name it? How does that work?

The Bad Astronomer
2007-Feb-05, 07:30 AM
The first Q and BA is now up! (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/02/04/q-ba-episode-1-galaxies/)

Please let me know what you think. And keep sending me questions!

crowman
2007-Feb-05, 03:55 PM
Hi Phil, hi everyone, I'm crowman aka. Rick.
This is my first time at B.A's.

There's one qestion bugging me for some time now:

SINCE SPACE-TIME IS EXPANDING, EVEN ACCELERATING
- HOW CAN GALAXIES COLLIDE?

Any Ideas?

rick

crowman
2007-Feb-05, 04:01 PM
Rick again and by the way:
I just love this site
and Q&A is one heck of an idea, Phil! Great Work!

Serenitude
2007-Feb-05, 07:14 PM
That was superb! Keep up the good fight!

munky99999
2007-Feb-06, 05:37 PM
Hey, I heard you on Penn Jillette's radio show. You were pretty great. I then checked out your youtube blog and found this. Now I'm a pretty big geek and have done quite a bit of research.

I have 2 questions I can't seem to find an answer on these 2:

1. Now at the big bang. I thought it was a single infinitely small point. Smaller then a tip of a needle. However, more recently I have discovered that it was more like a very large mass which suddenly exploded. Which brings me to my question. How large was this very large mass? and did it just suddenly appear as a large mass?

Hat Monster
2007-Feb-09, 01:05 AM
Computers are everywhere, aren't they?

Sojourner, for example, was a MIPS R1200 with a few megabytes of flash RAM, years before we started using flash RAM in our USB sticks.

Everyone here has a computer and most of us are quite interested in them.

Tell us, Phil, what computers go where, compare them to the home computer (Hubble uses a 486) and talk about how computers enable astronomers to do the astronomy they do. Talk to us about how CCDs are temperature dependent for noise and how a computer reconstructs the images on a CCD or CMOS sensor. Just a few ideas.

If you want to credit me, wayne at hattix.co.uk is both a decent credit and an email address that will find its way to me. But you don't have to.

Sticks
2007-Feb-09, 10:27 AM
Are you still going to consider questions posted before the first Q&BA?

This one (http://www.bautforum.com/showpost.php?p=914836&postcount=4) would benefit new entrants in to astronomy

rwedens
2007-Feb-09, 01:06 PM
I have a question. I have heard some answers to it but I still do not fully understand, so some help would be appreciated. The question: When we look at a galaxy and determine it is, let's say 10 billion light years away, that means the light left that galaxy 10 billion years ago and has taken that long to get to us. If the Big Bang happened (using round numbers) 14 billion years ago, how did a galaxy get 10 billion light years away from us in only 4 billion years? I know it has to do with the expansion phase and the fact that space itself is expanding, not just objects in space, but it still does not make good sense to me. How long was the rapid expansion phase? How far did the early universe expand during that time? And how fast is space expanding now? Thanks in advance for the help. Love your web site :D and thanks for turning me on to the Skeptics Guide to the Universe. That is a great pod cast.

Richard.

jonb
2007-Feb-12, 02:04 PM
a question for Q&BA - and my first post so i hope it ends up where intended !

if the aim of the Ulysses misssion is to collect data from above the polar regions of the sun,why is it placed in an orbit that spends so little time in those regions and sends it to cold places where it risks power failures ? is there some special problem in putting instruments into orbit in a plane at right angles to the plane of the earth around the sun ?

if the great Phil is unable to put this into his reply slot, is anyone esle able to offer a reason ?

thanks for all the fish

John from Kent, UK

gGriffeth
2007-Feb-14, 05:05 PM
Change of pace here, although I suspect it may have been covered in astronomycast so we are after your take on this one.

How do you get started in astronomy, what kind of equipment should you start out with, what is the best way to use a scope, (especially if you wear glasses do you look through the eyepiece with your glasses on or try and focus the eyepiece to your prescription)

And finally how can the dedicated ameteur contribute any discoveries to the main bodies of science.

forgot to add

Graeme Stickings - Newcastle upon Tyne, England


I think that this is a perfect question....just to get it out of the way. I think you should do this in the beginning, since it's only going to be episode 3.

shanek
2007-Feb-14, 11:40 PM
This I think would make for a very interesting one:

How large and how old is the universe, and how do we know?

Damien Evans
2007-Feb-19, 02:00 AM
I'm going to steal a tad of the BA's thunder too...
1 -- the easiest galaxy to see at all is the Milky Way, because we're inside it. It's visible to the naked eye on a dark night as a band of stars running from Sagittarius up across the sky to Canis Major on the other side, according to my northern hemisphere star wheel (the MW continues on past these constellations, but is below the horizon then).
The easiest galaxy to see other than ours is M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. It is approximately 2.7 million light years away (ballpark math -- 186,000 miles per second X 60 seconds X 60 minutes X 24 hours X 365 days x 2,700,000 = miles), and is the furthest object visible to the naked eye. It is visible to the naked eye on a dark nite from a dark site, and easily visible even in small binoculars (the ubiquitous 7x35's).

2 -- in a few odd billion years or so, if I have the figures correct, the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way will "collide" and rearrange each other. At this stage, no one's sure if the end will be two new galaxies, or one. See below for additional on this.

3 -- a galaxy consists mostly of empty space, so there are few if any actual planetary/star collisions. Other than that, there are hundreds upon thousands of stars (and there's no doubt that some of those stars have their own planets), and large clouds of dust and gas. There is a lot of change in orbits due to gravitational interactions, but there's not expected to be anything(s) running into each other.

Hope this helps, and an in-advance 'sorry about that, chief' to the BA if i'm in error somewhere or a toe got stepped on.

slight correction, the easiest galaxy to see other than our own is the LMC, which is easily a naked eye object in the southern hemisphere

bird2brain
2007-Feb-20, 03:36 AM
OK, so I went out on Feb 19 to look at the beautiful Moon and Venus. At 5:30 (San Jose Local time) my friend was first to spot the moon, but the sky was still a bit bright to spot Venus. Again, she spotted a small dot near the moon (her eyes are younger than mine) but it was not where I expected venus to be. Instead of three finger down and to the left, it was oen finger down and to the right. Huh. In the few minutes we watched, it seemed to move a bit, way faster than I expected to see things change wetween the moon and planet.

We moved my car the the roof of the parking structure so I could break out the binocs and look again, but the bright spot was not where we left if a few minutes ago. The next bright spot we saw (this is about ive minutes later) was ABOVE AND TO THE LEFT OF THE MOON! (Three fingers!) I thought to myself, "Self, this can't be right" Pretty soon, it was a full fist, then a fist and a thumb. In the space of the 1/2 hour I watched, it must have moved 45 degrees across the sky. I was forced to leave and lost track of it, but this seemed too fast for a planet and waaayy too slow for a plane or satellite (unless it was near geosync).

What was it?!!!

bird2brain
2007-Feb-20, 03:39 AM
BTW, it WASN'T Venus. She showed right on time and right in place and stayed put just as expected. The mystery object started out brighter and faded compared to Venus, but not like a satellite which comes and goes in a few minutes. I couldn't find anything about it on Heavens-Above, either.

Sticks
2007-Feb-20, 02:58 PM
I still think that BA doing a piece about how to start in astronomy and showing what kind of kit an ameteur should start with, and where they should report any new sitings to would be interesting, but what do I know.

Funkmon
2007-Feb-22, 03:01 PM
I know you covered the Mayan calendar doomsday thing in the SETI show, but it's stuck in there with a bunch of other stuff, and an explanation of how the Mayan calendar works is in order, too. All you say is that it's made up of cycles. It would be swell if we knew a bit more about not only the doomsday prediction, and what will supposedly happen, but some of the intricacies and why it won't happen.

Thanks,
Tim Fletcher.

Mason Dixon
2007-Feb-22, 03:33 PM
Here's my question:

How much of the sky has Hubble's color cameras photographed? And how do the new crop of mega telescopes compare with Hubble's resolution? Will the pictures be as good?

John Hart
Huntsville, Alabama

Muero
2007-Feb-23, 06:37 PM
The recent post about the IC 342 galaxy (absolutely gorgeous by the way) got me wondering about the bright spot at the center of galaxies. Then I saw M104, which shows its bright center to be a bulge in all three dimensions, going outside the plane of the rest of the circular galaxy. I was thinking it could be just a higher concentration of stars that are too far away to make out individually. But I really don't know. So, what's at the center of these galaxies, and what makes the bulge?

ioresult
2007-Feb-24, 10:20 AM
BA said here ( http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/02/21/dry-hot-dusty-alien-worlds/#comment-96235 ): "But I also worked very hard on trying to extract an object’s spectrum from its parent star’s spectrum, and we spent weeks on it, and eventually gave up. It was impossible due to scattered light. That was heartbreaking."

Ok maybe it's a little (very) specific, but what is scattered light, and why does it make it hard to get a good spectrum?

Thank you.

Charlie in Dayton
2007-Feb-25, 10:55 PM
Here's a "What if...?"

Earth's North Pole is tilted away from the Sun at perihelion (close solar approach), allowing the mostly-water Southern Hemisphere to be heated by the sun 'more efficiently' due to distance.

Earth's North Pole is tilted toward the sun at aphelion (distant solar approach), allowing the mostly-land Northern Hemisphere to be heated more gently.

This arrangement allows for agriculture without roasting the crops in the ground, and the 'recharging' of Earth's 'thermal battery', so to speak.

What might the scenario be if this tilting were reversed? If the North Pole would be toward the Sun at perihelion, would we have anything resembling an agricultural phase in our past? Would we have 'evolved' from hunter-gatherers to communal agrarian societies?

And what would the effects on our global weather be, if the oceans were not warmed as they are on a regular basis with the current intensity of heat energy?

The tilts at perihelion/aphelion have greater significance to our development as a species and a civilization than most people realize (IMNSHO)...

Neverfly
2007-Feb-26, 03:50 AM
I have a question. I have heard some answers to it but I still do not fully understand, so some help would be appreciated. The question: When we look at a galaxy and determine it is, let's say 10 billion light years away, that means the light left that galaxy 10 billion years ago and has taken that long to get to us. If the Big Bang happened (using round numbers) 14 billion years ago, how did a galaxy get 10 billion light years away from us in only 4 billion years? I know it has to do with the expansion phase and the fact that space itself is expanding, not just objects in space, but it still does not make good sense to me. How long was the rapid expansion phase? How far did the early universe expand during that time? And how fast is space expanding now? Thanks in advance for the help. Love your web site :D and thanks for turning me on to the Skeptics Guide to the Universe. That is a great pod cast.

Richard.
I have wondered this a lot too. Unless a question gets bumped to priority in my mind- i forget to ask though. Id like to see this one answered too

Whirlpool
2007-Mar-01, 11:59 PM
This thread is for questions BABlog readers have for me for the "Q & BA" feature on the Bad Astronomy Blog (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/01/28/q-ba/). If you have a question, post it here along with your name and region if you want me to use them (otherwise I'll use your BAUT handle).

Try to be succinct! I'll be reading the question on the video, and I might have to paraphrase.

Enjoy, and thanks!


Phil Plait, aka The Bad Astronomer


Hi Phil.

After seeing some pictures of Apollo and their missions given to me by a friend, I was just wondering , why are they dumping water in space ? Are these used water, or their excess fuel?

:think:

EvilEye
2007-Mar-05, 02:39 AM
What happens to a photon when it is absorbed or utilized? Or... how is the enerergy converted from somthing so minute to something so useful?

Another way of asking this questin I have asked elsewhere on the board....

When we take photons into our eyes and convert them into coherent images, where do they go? The energy from them must still exist, no?

Or... to make it more complicated... are our thoughts actual or percieved real energy?

sruggiero
2007-Mar-05, 08:34 PM
Hello,

I am a Biology teacher posting here for the first time. My physics teacher friend directed me here for info so I thought I would try this.
I recently received an e-mail from a former student concerning the following site and animation:

http://digg.com/videos/educational/Conspiracy_of_Science_Earth_is_in_fact_growing_AMA ZING

It concerns plate tectonics and continental drift. Is there any credence to this hypothesis? Sorry if I am geologically challenged and/or naive.

Thanks,
S. Ruggiero
Sacramento, CA

01101001
2007-Mar-05, 09:27 PM
http://digg.com/videos/educational/Conspiracy_of_Science_Earth_is_in_fact_growing_AMA ZING

Just in case the teacher can't wait for the BA to maybe answer this in Q&BA, this forum has a long topic on the subject of Neal Adam's Expanding Earth Model (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=45836)

suitti
2007-Mar-12, 02:29 PM
A recent gamma ray burst article credits The Bad Astronomer for image captions!
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/gammaburst_challenge.html

It seems that every month or so a new article on GRBs seems to turn what we know
of them on their head. What is known for certain about GRBs? Is it just "stuff happens?".

suitti
2007-Mar-12, 02:30 PM
I seem to have lost an hour of sleep. Any idea how i might be able to find it again?

I looked under the sofa...

Charlie in Dayton
2007-Mar-13, 09:40 PM
Anyone happen to notice the changing tchotchkes in the background during the BA's video Q&BA's? Nice touch, Mr De Mille...

Spoiler Alert!!!
Left mouse over below to read a list of the 'special items' in the background so far...
Episode 1, Galaxies -- a copy of Bad Astronomy

Don't see a video of Episode 2...

Episode 3, The Farthest Star -- can't quite make it out...possibly a box for a model spacecraft from Space:1999?

Episode 4, The Gravity of the Situation -- the famed "The BA being the ruler of all he surveys" Skepchick calendar photograph

Episode 5, Spin Doctor -- something titled "Full Moon" (puzzle box, calendar...can't quite tell)

Episode 6, I Am Your Density-- concerns vacuum...and there's a vacuum cleaner sitting in the background...

Zuke
2007-Mar-14, 02:03 AM
Man I love this Videocast! Thanks Dr. Phil.

Question about the latest episode: If the earth's atmosphere is denser ("particular"-ly speaking...hrmph) than the star forming regions in space...why didn't the earth, or any other hard object in our solar system, continue to clump up with other matter during the sun's forming period? Why didn't Jupiter continue to accumulate matter?

I guess I'm confused why the matter isn't continuing to contract into denser particles. Does it have something to do with strong and weak nuclear forces? Is it just that those star factories are so immense that, over a few million years or so, they will *eventually* form stars?

Obviously, I'm not an astronomer, so I hope the question makes sense to the professionals.

Thanks!

Grand_Lunar
2007-Mar-14, 07:01 PM
Got another question;

What is the current prevailing hypothesis for how the universe will end?

Charlie in Dayton
2007-Mar-19, 06:15 AM
Charles Messier's list of objects is biased toward the Northern Hemisphere, because that's where he made his observations from...

If Messier had lived on the equator, how many objects that he couldn't see from where he was would have made his list? Any conjectures on that?

suitti
2007-Mar-28, 05:32 PM
<i>What is the current prevailing hypothesis for how the universe will end?</i>

Ice. Fire has been ruled out. It's heat death.

Dr. Adams gave a History of the Universe lecture from the begining to the end in an hour. Once he got to the present, he introduced the concept of the Cosmic Decade. Each Cosmic Decade is 10^10 times longer than the previous one. So, the first Cosmic Decade went from 0 to 10^10 years. The current Cosmic Decade started at 10^10 years (10 billion years) and goes to 10^20 years (which is a long time). The next one goes to 10^30 years. Each decade has some new events. Like where all galaxy clusters have formed, and everything else has drifted off the light horizon. Or where protons decay. Or where black holes evaporate to nothing by Hawking Radiation. So all you have left are low frequency photons. But when the Universe gets cold enough and thin enough, perhaps a new Universe will spontaneously form.

Brama sleeps for a long time. Hey, maybe it's Saturday morning.

01101001
2007-Mar-28, 06:07 PM
It should be here mentioned, from the BA in the BA Blog, Q and BA Episode 7.5: Suspended Animation (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/03/25/q-and-ba-episode-75-suspended-animation/):


I hate to have to do this, but Q & BA is going on hiatus for a while. My schedule is out of control, with many projects coming to a head, and I simply don’t have the time to devote to these videos. It’s killing me, but the decision had to be made.

I’m not cancelling it or stopping altogether; I’m just putting it on hold for a few months until things calm down. I’m hoping to restart it this summer if I can.

I apologize for having to do this, but… well, I’ll just say that some of the projects I’m working on will be very cool, and well worth the effort. You’ll see.

So while the BA's Q & BA is on hiatus, question-askers who are in an urgent-answer mood, might consider posting their questions as separate topics here in the Q&A subforum, where they will be addressed by more pedestrian members of BAUT.

You can ask the BA as well, here in this topic -- the more cool questions he has to choose from, the more cool his videos will be. You just might have to be very, very patient waiting for the BA's entertaining and informative video answer.

(And, other members, I know it's hard to resist -- I've failed -- but we should try to avoid adding to this topic with actual answers, lest it become a mini-version of the Q&A forum. Let this remain a collection of questions for Q & BA.)

Sticks
2007-Mar-28, 10:00 PM
I feel this thread should be locked whilst Q and BA is off the air.

Prinx
2007-Jul-10, 05:19 AM
If Earths’ Gravitational field collapses for
a few seconds then what worst or best can happen?

nv_insomniac
2007-Jul-11, 04:37 AM
This question has been bugging me for years. Since the light we see coming from other parts of the universe comes from millions or even billions of light years away that means when we look into the sky we’re looking millions or billions of years into the past. When astronomers chart the galaxies and deep space do they try to estimate the where these objects would be now, or do they map them as they appear and are we supposed to understand that we’re relying on old data? And do we think that a galaxy would change or move that much over a billion years?

Thank you.

astrocat
2007-Aug-07, 10:24 PM
This thread is for questions BABlog readers have for me for the "Q & BA" feature on the Bad Astronomy Blog (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/01/28/q-ba/). If you have a question, post it here along with your name and region if you want me to use them (otherwise I'll use your BAUT handle).

Try to be succinct! I'll be reading the question on the video, and I might have to paraphrase.

Enjoy, and thanks!


Phil Plait, aka The Bad AstronomerWhat's Quantitave modeling?
Help, I neeed to know right away.

RussT
2007-Aug-07, 10:41 PM
What's Quantitave modeling?
Help, I neeed to know right away.

Google, Google, Google ;)

http://wilderdom.com/research/QualitativeVersusQuantitativeResearch.html

01101001
2007-Aug-07, 10:41 PM
What's Quantitave modeling?
Help, I neeed to know right away.

Seeing as how this topic is for the Bad Astronomer's Q&BA feature of his blog, and that feature has been suspended since March, maybe you shouldn't hold your breath.

See article: http://www.bautforum.com/958132-post55.html

astrocat
2007-Aug-08, 02:22 AM
This thread is for questions BABlog readers have for me for the "Q & BA" feature on the Bad Astronomy Blog (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/01/28/q-ba/). If you have a question, post it here along with your name and region if you want me to use them (otherwise I'll use your BAUT handle).

Try to be succinct! I'll be reading the question on the video, and I might have to paraphrase.

Enjoy, and thanks!


Phil Plait, aka The Bad AstronomerIf Time was reversed, how would you show that mathematically? I mean, if Time was Running Backwards?

RussT
2007-Aug-08, 02:37 AM
If Time was reversed, how would you show that mathematically? I mean, if Time was Running Backwards?

Ask Prof Hawking. He proved (with the help of his Grad Student) that Time CANNOT run backwards.

This is one of things he is right about.

He's is NOT correct on everything though ;)

My take is simply this...To go back wards in Time, you would have to go the "Wrong" way in a worm hole...in other words travel faster than light against the stream, so to speak.

01101001
2007-Aug-08, 03:52 AM
Reminder: this topic exists to suggest questions for the BA's Blog Q&BA feature (currently on hiatus):

It's not a place to ask questions of BAUT members.

It's not a place to answer questions that are asked of the BA.

First article in topic (http://www.bautforum.com/914761-post1.html):


This thread is for questions BABlog readers have for me for the "Q & BA" feature on the Bad Astronomy Blog.

astronomybuff2
2007-Aug-08, 04:02 AM
Phil do you have a copy of the mars chain letter ?? where can I get a copy ?

If anyone recieves the chain letter seen here
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/8708182.html
Would you send it to me ?
my email is chandranett@yahoo.com

I would like to have a copy for a thesis project i'm working on.

It would be VERY appreciated!!

Kelfazin
2007-Aug-15, 07:39 PM
Phil do you have a copy of the mars chain letter ?? where can I get a copy ?

If anyone recieves the chain letter seen here
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/8708182.html
Would you send it to me ?
my email is chandranett@yahoo.com

I would like to have a copy for a thesis project i'm working on.

It would be VERY appreciated!!

As is mentioned a couple times, this thread is made for a specific topic on the BA's blog, not a catch-all for questions to Phil. You might try the Bad Astronomy Stories (http://www.bautforum.com/bad-astronomy-stories/) section for that because, as Phil said in his blog a couple days ago (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/08/11/eggs-bacon-sausage-and-spam/):

I check there frequently.

astrocat
2007-Sep-05, 03:56 PM
This thread is for questions BABlog readers have for me for the "Q & BA" feature on the Bad Astronomy Blog (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/01/28/q-ba/). If you have a question, post it here along with your name and region if you want me to use them (otherwise I'll use your BAUT handle).

Try to be succinct! I'll be reading the question on the video, and I might have to paraphrase.

Enjoy, and thanks!


Phil Plait, aka The Bad AstronomerHow do I PM a mod? Please help. Anyone? Thanks.

astrocat
2007-Sep-05, 03:57 PM
This thread is for questions BABlog readers have for me for the "Q & BA" feature on the Bad Astronomy Blog (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/01/28/q-ba/). If you have a question, post it here along with your name and region if you want me to use them (otherwise I'll use your BAUT handle).

Try to be succinct! I'll be reading the question on the video, and I might have to paraphrase.

Enjoy, and thanks!


Phil Plait, aka The Bad AstronomerHow do I PM a mod? Please help. Anyone? Thanks. :silenced:

01101001
2007-Sep-05, 04:21 PM
How do I PM a mod? Please help. Anyone? Thanks. :silenced:

Answered via a PM.

Yet another reminder that I wish weren't necessary: this topic is not for asking general questions about how the forum functions. It exists for providing questions to Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy Blog video feature entitled Q&BA, currently on hiatus (so don't even ask your educational space/astronomy questions here unless you are very, very patient about getting an answer).

tonyman1989
2007-Sep-07, 02:27 AM
This thread is for questions BABlog readers have for me for the "Q & BA" feature on the Bad Astronomy Blog (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/01/28/q-ba/). If you have a question, post it here along with your name and region if you want me to use them (otherwise I'll use your BAUT handle).

Try to be succinct! I'll be reading the question on the video, and I might have to paraphrase.

Enjoy, and thanks!


Phil Plait, aka The Bad Astronomer

Hello Phil Plait, I'm a big fan I loving listening to you on the skeptic guide to the universe and your other inverveiws.

I'd like to suggest you talk about your opionions on string theory.

Kelfazin
2007-Sep-07, 04:21 PM
PHIL IS NOT READING THIS THREAD. Q&BA IS ON HIATUS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

I wonder if we can get a mod to lock this thread until Phil is able to return to the Q&BA thing. People are coming here with questions they hope to get answers for and are, essentially, going to be dissapointed.