The Martian surface air is 30 times thinner than the air atop Mount Everest. And if that weren’t bad enough, all that thin, barely-there gas is carbon dioxide: no oxygen. You can’t breathe there.
One word is so consistently mispronounced that I’ve been repeatedly corrected when I say it the right way, which is why it drives me bonkers.
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 14-15: There’s probably a supermassive black hole in the core of every galaxy. Ours has the weight of four million Suns.
A rainbow requires a sunshower. It must be raining. But the CZA can appear against a blue sky.
We always assume aliens would know about circles and pi, and realize that hydrogen is the element that dominates the universe, even though most humans don’t know these things.
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.”
Of the ten first-magnitude stars in the heavens, eight of them will surround the Moon. You’ll notice that the star directly below the Moon is also the very brightest. This blue gem is the famous Dog Star: Sirius. It also happens to be the very closest star we can ever see from New York State.
A deadly anniversary: The 1918 pandemic killed as many people in one year as the Black Death claimed in a century.
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.
The Autumnal Equinox takes place on Friday afternoon, Sept. 22, at 4:02 p.m. At that moment, Earth will angle perfectly sideways to the Sun. Neither pole will tip toward or away from that favorite star of ours. And therefore, as the media never tire of reminding us, days and nights should theoretically be equal. We’ve often pointed out that this is never true.