Tag Archives: crashcourse

Light: Crash Course Astronomy #24

Hey, Phil Plait here and this is Crash Course Astronomy. In last week’s episode, I mentioned that nearly all the information we have about the Universe comes in the form of light. But how does that light get made? What can it tell us about these astronomical objects? And honestly, what is light? Here’s a… Read More »

Asteroids: Crash Course Astronomy #20

When you look at a diagram of the solar system, you’ll see a big gap between Mars and Jupiter. A few centuries ago, that gap bugged astronomers; they really wanted there to be a planet in there. On the first day of the 19th century—January 1, 1801—they got their wish. Kinda. Italian astronomer Giuseppi Piazzi… Read More »

The New Astronomy: Crash Course History of Science #13

Heliocentrism was central to revolution in European astronomy. We’ll follow this idea to its conclusion with Galileo. But before we get there, there are two critical links between Copernicus and Galileo. This is the story of Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler… and a violent math duel. [INTRO MUSIC PLAYS] There are a lot of quirky… Read More »

High Mass Stars: Crash Course Astronomy #31

Stars are in a constant struggle between gravity trying to collapse them and their internal heat trying to inflate them. For most of a star’s life, these two forces are at an uneasy truce. For a star like the Sun, the balance tips in its twilight years. For a brief glorious moment it expands… but… Read More »

Gamma-Ray Bursts: Crash Course Astronomy #40

Sometimes in science, the story of HOW we learned something is just as cool as what we learned. In the case of gamma-ray bursts, it’s kinda hard to beat the awesomeness of what they are. But of all the plotlines in astronomy, their origin story comes the closest. It begins, quite literally, in the grip… Read More »

Star Clusters: Crash Course Astronomy #35

In the last episode, I talked about stars that are orbiting one another. When it’s two stars it’s called a binary. Three stars would be a trinary system, and so on. But what happens if you have ten stars? A thousand? A MILLION? What do you call it when stars CLUSTER together? It’s likely that… Read More »

Dark Matter: Crash Course Astronomy #41

A lot of people have noted that astronomy is a humbling enterprise to pursue. After all, every time we make a new discovery, we find ourselves further removed from importance. The Earth is but one planet among many, orbiting a Sun that is one star among hundreds of billions, out in the suburbs of a… Read More »

White Dwarfs & Planetary Nebulae: Crash Course Astronomy #30

Hey folks, Phil Plait here. In the last episode of Crash Course Astronomy, I talked about the eventual fate of the Sun, and other low mass stars like it. After a series of expansions and contractions, they blow off their outer layers, become white dwarfs, and fade away over billions of years. The end. Except… Read More »

Venus: Crash Course Astronomy #14

This episode of Crash Course is brought to you by SquareSpace Venus was the Roman goddess of love, and honestly, if you’ve ever seen it after sunset, hanging like a diamond in the twilight, the planet Venus is stunningly beautiful. The only problem? Venus is hell. Venus is the second rock from the Sun, closer… Read More »

The Big Bang, Cosmology part 1: Crash Course Astronomy #42

What is the nature of the Universe? How’s that for a question? For a long time we humans had no idea what was going on in the Universe. To help, we made up stories to either help us explain what we saw, or to make us feel better about what we didn’t understand. But then… Read More »