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Cosmic Strings

Cosmic Strings
My name is Kelly Herbst and I control the universe...well, at least in the Abbitt Planetarium at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, Virginia. View Original Blog

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Hubble Space Telescope!  You’re 30 years old now! It’s really hard to believe.  We’ve all become so accustomed to seeing the amazing images brought to us by Hubble, it seems impossible that it’s been around for only 30 years.  And at the same…

One is the Loneliest Number

Imagine an astronomer.  Go ahead, I’ll wait. Did you picture a lone man, high atop a mountain in a cold observatory, peering silently through his gigantic telescope into the depths of space?  If we continue the classic movie trope, he is making a final triple…

The Circle of Life

Pi is a very surprising thing. Pie can also be very surprising.  In fact, surprise pie has long been a staple of physical comedy.  But right now I want to focus on this kind of pi: π Pi is the number you get if you…

The End

Well friends, it’s the end of an era. In May of 1977 I was 8 years old…I would not turn 9 until November.  I was not yet the space science geek I am today…in fact, my parents loved to watch Space 1999 on television, and…

Bad Moon Rising

Actually, there’s nothing bad about the Moon…but it’s always a good day when you can reference a CCR song. In fact, if you can join us for our monthly stargazing and laser light night this Saturday, we’ll show you something pretty cool about the Moon. …

Lightning and the Thunder

They say that lightning never strikes twice. Tell that to Pete Conrad, Alan Bean, and Richard Gordon. They were the crew of Apollo 12, the second manned mission to the Moon.  Thirty-six seconds into the flight, lightning struck the Saturn V launch vehicle carrying them…

You Can’t Always Get What You Want…

So the alpha Monocerotids were both amazing and a little disappointing. I didn’t do a blast about them, for exactly the reason above.  You see, the alpha Monocerotids are a new meteor shower.  We’re just beginning to map out the debris field left behind by…

The Times They are A-Changin’…

Hey there!  Recovered from the time change yet? It’s always a bit weird when we “Fall Back” or “Spring Ahead.”  Suddenly things you did in daylight happen in the dark…and things you did in the dark are now happening after sunrise!  I could write volumes…

Shine On…Shine on…Hunter’s Moon?

So most folks are aware that the Full Moon of September is generally called the Harvest Moon.  This name comes from the idea that in September, the light of the Full Moon was useful to early farmers who needed to make sure all the crops…