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Stories by Caleb A. Scharf

Alien worlds through iPad eyes

Superimposed image of the Milky Way and Australian Aboriginal engraving of 'The Emu In The Sky' (Barnaby Norris) Scientific illustration has a long and noble history, from ancient depictions of celestial forms to Leonardo Da Vinci's extraordinary drawings of anatomy and invention, to the latest computer-generated animation splashed across CNN or - perhaps with more reflective thought - the cinematic screens of the world's great science museums...

October 13, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

Exomoons ever closer

On a moon, far, far away... One of the biggest thrills of exoplanetary science is seeing how it combines the new and the old, with every discovery bringing startling perspective on the nature of our own very familiar solar system...

October 4, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

What next for neutrinos?

To catch a neutrino (MINOS) For a ghostly type of particle, oblivious to even the massive bulk of a star or planet, neutrinos sure can generate a fuss.

September 30, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

Life in liquid carbon dioxide

Deep, deep beneath the ocean waves (USGS/NOAA) Well, ok, perhaps it's not life really in liquid carbon dioxide, but as you'll see it's pretty close.

September 20, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

The Habitable Planets

An imagined habitable planet (Credit ESO/M. Kornmesser) In 1964 Stephen Dole published a hundred and seventy-four page document for a US Air Force project at the RAND corporation in Santa Monica, California...

September 13, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

Saturn, the movie

This extraordinary excerpt is from an upcoming Imax movie that uses Cassini orbiter imagery (NO computer generated images) to create some stunning flybys and flythroughs of the Saturnian system...

September 8, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

Starbreath

Deserving of a quick post is a series of extraordinary time-lapse movies showing the complex motion of jets of matter expelled from baby-stars. Followed for more than ten years by the Hubble Space Telescope these systems are some 1,300 light years from us...

September 2, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

Pitch Black: The (almost) dark truth about hot Jupiters

Not an exoplanet - but the same principle: Venus transiting the Sun as seen in optical and ultraviolet wavelengths by the TRACE spacecraft (NASA/LMSAL) The first exoplanet discovered around a normal star in 1995 was anything but normal in comparison to our own solar system...

August 22, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

The X Factor: Solar storms and life as we know it

Back in February 2011 the Sun underwent a so-called X class solar flare event, prompting the following Life, Unbounded post. I thought I'd bring it out to air again in light of the solar flare events happening right now, and the potential for some disruption of our Earthly activities...

August 9, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

Old Briny: Mars, water, and the search for life

Northern polar ice cap of Mars (NASA/Mars Global Surveyor) Let's get something clear right away, Mars has lots of water on and close to its surface. Over the years we've seen an increasing number of measurements and discoveries that indicate very significant reservoirs of martian water...

August 8, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

Old briny: Mars, water, and the search for life

Let’s get something clear right away, Mars has lots of water on and close to its surface. Over the years we’ve seen an increasing number of measurements and discoveries that indicate very significant reservoirs of martian water...

August 8, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

Juno

Juno and Jupiter (NASA/JPL) Another quick refurbishment from the archives, this one about the Juno mission to Jupiter. With any luck in a few hours Juno will launch and be on its way, arriving at Jupiter in 2016...

August 5, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

Favorite nuclear flavors

Light or heavy? The nuclear choice On the heels of #SciAmChem day I thought I'd pull a post from the Life, Unbounded archives that could use a little airing and has a chemical slant...

August 3, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

The molecules that made the universe

Imagine a molecule... "We are starstuff", it's a well-used phrase in popular astronomy (yes, we are. The nuclei of most heavy atoms in your body were forged long before our solar system existed, a million kilometers down inside the cores of long-since-gone massive stars)...

August 2, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

The Molecules That Made the Universe

“We are starstuff”, it’s a well-used phrase in popular astronomy (yes, we are. The nuclei of most heavy atoms in your body were forged long before our solar system existed, a million kilometers down inside the cores of long-since-gone massive stars)...

August 2, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

When Worlds...Perturb

Vesta up close (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA) It's an exciting time for solar system exploration. NASA's Dawn mission has now entered into an orbit around the minor planet known as Vesta, a 500km diameter chunk of rock and who-knows-what-else that orbits the Sun beyond Mars and in the classical asteroid belt...

July 27, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

Bad Aliens, Meme Armor, and Intelligence in the Universe

These are two posts from the Life, Unbounded archives. They were written in April and May 2010. Around that time there was a lot of media noise about aliens - brought on in part by Stephen Hawking's comments about fearsome "nomadic" lifeforms that might roam the universe...

July 25, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

O NASA! My NASA!

Shuttle mission STS-118 (NASA) This is not exactly the normal kind of post on Life, Unbounded , but there's good reason for it.Our species of peculiarly upright, lurching, yabbering, fidgeting, opposing thumb creatures has managed to claw its way through time to arrive at a very special point...

July 21, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf
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