Lab Notes

Prospecting nearby worlds

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The past year has been fantastic for commercial spaceflight, with Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launching 18 Falcon-9 rockets in 2017. It now seems almost...

Mining for solar storms

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In his recent book Accessory to War, astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson and coauthor Avis Lang document the historical relationship between science and the military,...

Forecasting nature

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In 1973, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke suggested that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Accurate predictions of the weather several...

Chasing alien megastructures

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In 1960, physicist Freeman Dyson suggested that the energy demands of all technological civilizations would eventually exceed the natural resources of their home planet....

Probing nearby stars

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Four miles from the launch pad, standing on the roof of the 44-story vehicle assembly building where NASA constructed the space shuttles, I hold...

Boosting solar physics

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Shortly after the financial crash of 2008, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to stimulate the economy with $787 billion in...

Akatsuki returns from the dead

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It is Dec. 7, 2015. We’re in Sagamihara, Japan, a little southwest of Tokyo. On a clear day like today, you can just make...

Unraveling misconceptions of climate change

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To those of us living in Boulder and surrounding communities, it may come as a surprise that many people remain unconvinced that the use of fossil fuels is the main contributor to current climate change. But before diving into the discussion of the consequences of ...

Engineering the climate

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Last month at a conference in Paris, 195 countries adopted a landmark agreement on how to respond to the Earth’s changing climate. The agreement...

Blasting the planet next door

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In September 1859, the most powerful explosion in recorded history burst from the surface of the sun, releasing more energy than a billion of...

Leaving science to the scientists

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When Pope Francis addressed Congress last month he asserted that “climate change is a problem that can no longer be left to a future generation,” casting it as a moral issue rather than a political one. His comments echoed a letter about the environment released by ...

Watching stellar heartbeats

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In 1966, astronomer Olin Wilson started what would become a decades-long pursuit, searching for an answer to a simple question. Wilson knew that observations...