Follow the reluctant adventures in the life of a Welsh astrophysicist sent around the world for some reason, wherein I photograph potatoes and destroy galaxies in the name of science. And don't forget about my website, www.rhysy.net



Monday, 12 February 2018

Ask An Astronomer Anything At All About Astronomy (XLIV)

After an exceedingly long hiatus, I finally have chance to collect various interesting - and some no-so-interesting discussions with assorted humanoids and arrange them into a Q&A format. As always, you can find the complete, vast collection here (now running at a grand total of 391 !). Below you can find the latest questions with a bunch of short, snarky (but mostly accurate) answers - click on the links for the full lowdown.


1) Can I build a radio laser to be fired out of a submarine to fry orbiting satellites ? Asking for a friend.
Sure, why not. Or presumably fish if you point it the other way around.

2) Can you tell us more about this graph ?
Nothing useful.

3) Is this story about a wormhole absolute rubbish ?
Nope.

4) Is this an asteroid from beyond the stars ?
Yes. It's gone now though.

5) Where will you look for Ultra Diffuse Galaxies ?
Inside your mum.

6) What do you think of this article on panpsychism ?
It's dumb.

7) Could dark matter just be due to ordinary electromagnetic forces ?
No.

8) Well, could we at least have underestimated the role of EM forces in space ?
Sure.

9) Is anyone besides the good-ol'-USA building space telescopes ?
Umm, yes. Quite a lot, actually.

10) What crazy plans would you inflict on the world as an evil dictator ?
... atomic SUPERMEN with octagonal-shaped bodies that suck blood...

11) This article definitely kills dark matter, doesn't it ?
Only if you know absolutely nothing about stars and/or dark matter.

12) Is this a photo of Mars ?
No.

13) Is the Fermi Paradox not a paradox because space colonisation is impossible ?
What ? No, that's daft.

14) Is the standard model of dark matter looking more likely, given the results of this paper ?
Not really no.

15) Is nuclear winter more of a theory than a fact ?
Uhhh, yeah ? Because if it was a fact... well, I'll let you do the rest, you twerp.

16) What are you looking forward to for 2018 in astronomy ?
Your mum.

17) Will we obtain an image of the event horizon of a black hole in 2018 ?
I reckon so.

18) Do scientists know in which nebula the sun was born ?
Nope.

19) Can we measure the distances to gas clouds in our galaxy ?
No.

20) How do you get high resolution radar in something the size of a suitcase ?
Magical pixels. Or pixies. One of those.

21) What do you think about falsification as being necessary for science ?
It's OK.

22) Do blue Moons really look blue ?
Yes, unless you're American. But then they don't have a Southern Ocean either.

23) Has Virgin Galactic ceased manned flights ?
Nope.

24) Was Kepler being silly when he kept trying to find circular orbits to describe the Solar System ?
Maybe just a wee bit.

25) Is there a plane of satellite galaxies around Centaurus A ?
I don't think so.

26) What are you using the IRAM 30 m telescope for ?
Spying on other astronomers to read their papers and publish them before they do.

27) Does the build-up of snow on the dish affect the IRAM telescope's performance at all ? 
Frankly the telescope is a complete wimp that complains loudly whenever it gets a bit damp. We all have to go outside, give it a teddy bear and a nice cup of tea, wrap it hand-knitted blankets and read it a story.

28) Does that telescope have its own ski lift ?
Sort-of.

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