All posts by Bob Berman

The year’s best stars

The year’s best stars

This week we face into the winter Milky Way, the spiral arm that’s opposite the galactic core. The Aztecs and Mayas regarded this luminescent band as the path taken by the newly departed en route to heaven. In medieval Europe it was called by its Latin name, Via Galactica, meaning “Milk Street.”

Methane: Blue flames and the green planet

Methane: Blue flames and the green planet

When the universe’s first- and fourth-most-abundant elements combine, the result is often a gas that, surprisingly, has recently cleaned up our air. It’s methane. Most folks call it natural gas. It’s also known as marsh gas and swamp gas, since it’s released by decomposing plants.