Archives for posts with tag: Physics

The Science Geek

On 6 June 2012, a transit of Venus occurred. This rare astronomical event, when Venus passes directly in front of the Sun, and appears as a large black dot on its surface slowly moving from one side to the other in about 3 hours, has only happened eight times since the invention of the telescope (ref 1). This post talks about the transit of Venus and why it has been so important to the development of astronomy.

Transit of Venus 2012

The 2012 transit of Venus – Image from NASA. Venus is the large dot on the top left of the Sun’s surface.

Why transits of Venus are so rare.

The Earth takes slightly longer than 365 days, 365.256 days to be precise, to complete one orbit of the Sun. Venus, which is both closer to Sun and moves faster in its orbit, takes 224.701 days to complete one orbit. The point in time when Venus is closest to the Earth and…

View original post 1,217 more words

2015-12-30 15_38_38-Johannes Kepler_ Somnium (The Dream) _ The Somnium Project

Read more:


2015-12-02 18_07_11-Johannes Kepler_ Somnium (The Dream) _ The Somnium Project


by guest contributor Nicholas Bellinson

One Bohemian night in 1608, the Imperial Mathematician gazed up at the moon and the stars. In the seven years since he had received that title, Johannes Kepler had discovered many things about these celestial bodies, some true and some (as Hesiod said) like the truth: that planets moved around the sun, not the earth; that they moved in ellipses, not perfect circles; that they were enormous magnets – to name a few. The following year, he would publish these discoveries as his New Astronomy, a book which would make his name a fixed star in the firmament of science. On this particular night, however, a different book was on Kepler’s mind. His curiosity had been aroused by popular historical comparisons to the current troubles between Emperor Rudolph and his brother, the Archduke Matthias; while investigating Bohemian legends, Kepler had come across the story…

View original post 971 more words

The Science Geek

“All humans, everywhere in the world and throughout history, have looked up at the sky and wondered at it. This experience is now denied to most people, because of the background light in towns and cities. It is important to ensure that there will be somewhere in England where young people can fully enjoy a cosmic panorama.”     – Martin Rees, the British Astronomer Royal, at the opening of the Northumberland Dark Sky Park in 2013.

What is light pollution?

Light pollution is the unnecessary and excessive use of light at night. It includes such things as over-illuminating the outside of buildings with bright floodlights, excessive use of bright security lights, lights on in offices at night long after all the occupants have left, brightly lit shop windows still blazing when there are no passers-by doing window shopping, and the use of bright streetlights on quiet rural roads where there is little need for this from a health…

View original post 1,190 more words

The Renaissance Mathematicus

There is a type of supporter of gnu atheism and/or scientism who takes a very black and white attitude to the definition of science and also to the history of science. For these people, and there are surprisingly many of them, theories are either right, and thus scientific, and help the progress of science or wrong, and thus not scientific, and hinder that progress. Of course from the point of view of the historian this attitude or stand point is one than can only be regarded with incredulity, as our gnu atheist proponent of scientism dismisses geocentrism, the phlogiston theory and Lamarckism as false and thus to be dumped in the trash can of history whilst acclaiming Copernicus, Lavoisier and Darwin as gods of science who led as out the valley of ignorance into the sunshine of rational thought.

I have addressed this situation before on more than one occasion…

View original post 1,303 more words