Friday, January 1, 2010

Cheerful, Yet, Tremendously Deadly Objects In the Known Universe

     Astrophysics are most enjoyable when you are highly depressed.  During those times when you can't gather the energy to be with your friends or family, enjoy the hobbies that normally interest you, and/or otherwise muster up any sort of engagement in life, physical cosmology can provide some relief.  Considering things like neutron stars, super massive black holes, and other cataclysmic forces in the heavens make my personal troubles seem quite minuscule (which, in all fairness, they are). If anyone else would like a little lift from the awe-inspiringly ruinous, the hauntingly exotic, and the brilliantly energetic phenomena of the universe, please look upon and ponder the following primers,* as they never fail to uplift--


Pulsars


Quasars

*The videos are gorgeous to view and Alec Baldwin's melodramatic, insipid narration is hilarious, but the science contained therein is intolerably superficial; therefore, I've also included links to Wiki articles that will really challenge you (well, they challenge me,** anyway).  

**I've thought about these phenomena countless times and yet they continue to titillate me to no end.  But then again, we are constantly gathering new information and refining our understanding of the science, so that is probably part of it.  Needless to say, I can't wait until researchers are able to synthesize the newest data, following Hubble's fourth servicing mission this past May, and don't even get me started on how thrilling the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope will be in 2014.  EEEeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!