Author Archives: Mel Acheson

Plasma Star

Mar 16, 2015 Recent images of the star CH Cygni reveal the electrical circuitry that drives it. Radiation in radio (blue), optical (green), and X-ray (red) highlight the several inner components of the plasma discharge. The outer red circle (large … Continue reading

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The Basics

  Mar 11, 2015 Imagine a rock. Now, imagine breaking it into pieces. Break the pieces into smaller pieces. Continue breaking until your eyes can no longer resolve the pieces. Get a microscope. Now you can distinguish the pieces. Break … Continue reading

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Electric Helix

  Mar 2, 2015 An image of the Helix Nebula in the constellation Aquarius exposes more details of its electrical structure. The infrared image shows radial Birkeland currents (called “strands” in the press release) crossing the concentric rings and converging … Continue reading

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Dark Dreams

  Feb 2, 2105 An apparently empty patchwork of darkness strung across this field of stars is actually full—of dust and gas and Other Things. The dust and gas doesn’t show up because there’s not sufficient light that we can … Continue reading

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Consequence-free Cosmology

  Jan 30, 2015 These two galaxies appear to be elbowing each other with their spiral arms. The consensus interpretation is that they’re colliding and generating shock waves that initiate gravitational collapse of gas clouds. The collapsing clouds become stars, … Continue reading

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The Colors of Thought

  Jan 28, 2015 M47 is an open cluster of fewer-than-usual stars. The contrasting colors of blue and red have an aesthetic appeal. One can even detect a few orange and yellow stars. A person may glimpse an occasional green … Continue reading

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The Book of Nature and the Nature of Books

  Jan 21, 2015 “The Book of Nature” is a metaphor. In science, metaphors are usually passed over as mere embellishments of language. The metaphor is expanded into “the Book of Nature is written in the language of mathematics,” and … Continue reading

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How You Know

    Jan 16, 2015 Another epistemological tour de force. Probable, Possible, my black hen, She lays eggs in the Relative When. She doesn’t lay eggs in the Positive Now Because she’s unable to postulate how. — The Space Child’s … Continue reading

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Captives of Simplifying Assumptions

  Jan 3, 2015 “Our choicest plans have fallen through, our airiest castles tumbled over, because of lines we neatly drew and later neatly stumbled over.” — Piet Hein GROOKS I was checking out the dynamics describing the orbit of … Continue reading

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Wishing for Theories

m4s0n501   Dec 5, 2014 The Wishing Well Cluster in the southern sky is twice the size of the full Moon. The conjectures about how it works are as varied as the colors of its stars. The consensus conjecture of … Continue reading

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