Monthly Archives: March 2012

History of solar system exploration: Saturn and its Moons

A poster of Saturn’s principal moons can be found here, courtesy of Wikipedia  Saturn is often called (rightly) the jewel of the solar system. Its majestic rings can be seen through even a small telescope (they were first observed by … Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy

Book Review: View from a Height

View from a Height by Isaac Asimov. The second science essay collection taken from Asimov’s column in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF), View from a Height is divided into four sections dealing with biology, chemistry, physics, and astronomy. Details … Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Reviews, Science (general)

Wikipedia at 3.9 million articles

I saw today that the English Wikipedia has passed 3.9 million articles. Not a particularly noteworthy number, but it was fairly round and got me thinking about how to make that number meaningful. Expressing it in number of equivalent printed … Continue reading

Posted in Science (general)

Back-of-the-envelope calculation: Earth’s orbital velocity

What is the orbital speed of the Earth? We know from Kepler’s second law that the answer won’t be unique since it will change as it traces out the orbit of an ellipse, but one of the first rules of … Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy, Physics