An amazing volcanic plume on Io, taken by the New Horizons probe during its flyby of Jupiter. Tvashtar–the volcano responsile for this beaut–is your standard sulfuric volcano, and the plume is about 290 km long. Two other plumes are visible.

And here we have a nice shot of an Einstein Cross. A quasar (QSO2237+0305) is behind a spiral galaxy the gravity of which bends its light, making it appear in four different places! A gravitational funhouse mirror. Both objects are quite far, although the galaxy is much closer to us than the quasar: redshift 0.04 vs 1.7.

Some wonderful space art, including extraterrestrial planets (about which, more later), lives at Nova Celestia.

I am going to attempt to produce one little column on the current work in my astronomical pet interests–which as of now include the search for terrestrial extrasolar planets and astrobiology–once a week, probably on Monday or Tuesday. Hold me to it. Meanwhile, I should really sleep.


One of the most annoying (and disappointing) things that happens to me fairly regularly is this:

I’d be in a bar, chatting up some comely wench. The wench would ask-“So, what did you study in school?”

“Astrophysics”, I’d tell her, uncomfortably, dreading what may come next.


“Well astronomy, you know”, I’d try to explain.


At which point I would no longer want to be chatting her up but, rather, kicking her in the head with steel-toed boots. Another ripening romance gone to shite. I would excuse myself and flee.
Sometimes the dreaded word would pop up much later, as in “This is my friend Jorg, he is an ASTROLOGER“. At least, by that point I may have had a chance to get what I wanted, but then I would feel curiously dirty.

In any case, we all know that America isn’t really up there as far as the knowledge of science and, y’know, general facts of life, is concerned. What is interesting, however, is that apparently our scientific knowledge has been getting better, but, at the same time…well, here. Tell me this does not disturb you and…we’ll see what and.

The Discovery Institute is at it again, as you can see in this piece. They, and…whatchamacallit…Bob Jones University (whose dress code alone is ground for some serious chuckles) would be truly hilarious underneath all the dishonesty, with the pure unadulteratedly no-really-malicious-but-maybe-just-a-little-bit-so laughter one reserves for village idiots, except for the fact that a lot of people believe that crap. Indeed, the village is in imminent danger of being taken over by the said idiots.

See, I am actually linking to the cretinous submammals, lest anyone accuse me of one-sided approach to the subject. Yeah, check them out: if you actually think that there are valid points about evolutionary theory on those sites, let me know, and I will try to explain. Cos there ain’t. That is pure and simple bullshit, and calling them idiots is the kindest thing anyone can do. The alternatives are “lying scumbags”, “evil power-addicted fuckwads”, et al. You get the picture.