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Monday, 12 February 2018

Ask An Astronomer Anything At All About Astronomy (XLIV)

After an exceedingly long hiatus, I finally have chance to collect various interesting - and some no-so-interesting discussions with assorted humanoids and arrange them into a Q&A format. As always, you can find the complete, vast collection here (now running at a grand total of 391 !). Below you can find the latest questions with a bunch of short, snarky (but mostly accurate) answers - click on the links for the full lowdown.

1) Can I build a radio laser to be fired out of a submarine to fry orbiting satellites ? Asking for a friend.
Sure, why not. Or presumably fish if you point it the other way around.

2) Can you tell us more about this graph ?
Nothing useful.

3) Is this story about a wormhole absolute rubbish ?

4) Is this an asteroid from beyond the stars ?
Yes. It's gone now though.

5) Where will you look for Ultra Diffuse Galaxies ?
Inside your mum.

6) What do you think of this article on panpsychism ?
It's dumb.

7) Could dark matter just be due to ordinary electromagnetic forces ?

8) Well, could we at least have underestimated the role of EM forces in space ?

9) Is anyone besides the good-ol'-USA building space telescopes ?
Umm, yes. Quite a lot, actually.

10) What crazy plans would you inflict on the world as an evil dictator ?
... atomic SUPERMEN with octagonal-shaped bodies that suck blood...

11) This article definitely kills dark matter, doesn't it ?
Only if you know absolutely nothing about stars and/or dark matter.

12) Is this a photo of Mars ?

13) Is the Fermi Paradox not a paradox because space colonisation is impossible ?
What ? No, that's daft.

14) Is the standard model of dark matter looking more likely, given the results of this paper ?
Not really no.

15) Is nuclear winter more of a theory than a fact ?
Uhhh, yeah ? Because if it was a fact... well, I'll let you do the rest, you twerp.

16) What are you looking forward to for 2018 in astronomy ?
Your mum.

17) Will we obtain an image of the event horizon of a black hole in 2018 ?
I reckon so.

18) Do scientists know in which nebula the sun was born ?

19) Can we measure the distances to gas clouds in our galaxy ?

20) How do you get high resolution radar in something the size of a suitcase ?
Magical pixels. Or pixies. One of those.

21) What do you think about falsification as being necessary for science ?
It's OK.

22) Do blue Moons really look blue ?
Yes, unless you're American. But then they don't have a Southern Ocean either.

23) Has Virgin Galactic ceased manned flights ?

24) Was Kepler being silly when he kept trying to find circular orbits to describe the Solar System ?
Maybe just a wee bit.

25) Is there a plane of satellite galaxies around Centaurus A ?
I don't think so.

26) What are you using the IRAM 30 m telescope for ?
Spying on other astronomers to read their papers and publish them before they do.

27) Does the build-up of snow on the dish affect the IRAM telescope's performance at all ? 
Frankly the telescope is a complete wimp that complains loudly whenever it gets a bit damp. We all have to go outside, give it a teddy bear and a nice cup of tea, wrap it hand-knitted blankets and read it a story.

28) Does that telescope have its own ski lift ?

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