It should be no surprise that aging scientists from all fields gravitate (ha!) to astronomy as we get more interested in the grand fates of things. Fortunately there are many sites and channels to scratch that itch, giving us a perhaps too comfortable view of complex material. The life and death of stars is an example where the high level explanations of gravity versus fusion do work but where the many omitted details cause midnight befuddlement. Where does the energy come from? Where does it go? Wait… how fast – Relativistic speeds?
Anonymous Youtuber “But Why?” breaks the barrier with this beautiful video on the collapse of very big stars – the kind that leave neutron stars or black holes in their wake. It isn’t all symmetric implosions and classical rebounds and the thought of a giant object collapsing 5000-km in a tenth of a second boggles the mind. The depth of detail is breathtaking, the amount of research inspiring, and taught me much new physics that I incorrectly thought I already knew.
We will all go together when we go. All suffused with an incandescent glow. — Tom Lehrer
I’m quite impressed by the leadership shown by the Executive Branch to the reprehensible situation in Ukraine. Regrettably when dealing with psychopaths, sanctions and embargoes only go so far. Without fusion in the sun, we wouldn’t live. But, fusion on earth seems inevitable now. We won’t live through that, either.
So, let us enjoy sunsets while we can. Even the ones that look like mushroom clouds.
Anders Zorn is the most famous painter I’ve never heard of. Active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, his portraiture earned him fame and fortune all over the world. He is equally known for using only four colors in his eponymous palette: White, black, yellow ochre, and vermilion.
The Old Holland paint company pays tribute to Zorn in a series of videos exploring how their oils and his methods work together. Each video is a hypnotic few minutes of a person mixing four paints with a Bob Ross-style narration by artist Lennaert Koorman. The color arrays at the end are little works of art that would look good on any wall. The company offers a staggering number of colors but deserves credit for showing how a limited palette and a painterly eye can capture a universe of shade and shape. Start with the reds and explore the rest.
As the man said after the Eagle landed: “You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”
The James Webb Space Telescope, largely designed, built, and tested at Space Park in Redondo Beach, has launched, raised itself from the spacecraft, deployed its 5 layer sunshield, and put its primary and secondary mirrors into place. It will take another few months for the telescope to cool in the shade and then to commission the instruments before science measurements can begin.
It has been a long and contentious wait but the magnitude of this accomplishment is worth celebrating.
…or musicals. Sometimes the algorithm gets it right and recommends a good channel. Canadian pet groomer Vanessa De Prophetis aka Girl With the Dogs posts frequent videos of her clients along with deadpan commentary about the service in progress. Here she has compiled some of her more promising singers some of whom have La Scala or Broadway in their future.