Defending Government-Subsidized Performance Art

The other day, a giant rocket riding a triple tower of fire lifted a rich guy’s car into space and on to the asteroid belt. You probably heard about this, if you have access to the internet or a newspaper. It was the coolest thing you have seen in a long time, or the most […]

Pilgrims At the Factory That Could Destroy the World

On the first Monday of the month, at 11 a.m. sharp, my community fires up the tornado sirens. Their wailing echoes down the streets, screams among the trees, bounces off the granite side of the church on the corner, and annoys the hell out of my dog. After about 45 seconds — that is a […]

A Ghost Story From the Desert

There are certain places in our country that are known for storytelling, the cowboy poet said to us. From New Orleans Cajun country to Lake Wobegon, a few small, distinctive regions — not New York, and definitely not Washington — have become known for their storytelling styles, and for their stories. “Western stories are the […]

May the Force Be With You, and With Your Spirit

Around the winter solstice, this year and long into the future, celebrants will gather in large public venues for a special story. They’ll hear of robed men fighting to keep hope alive in the face of an empire’s persecution. They’ll hear a story of immaculate conception, of temptation and doubt, of a promise that a […]

Meeting With ‘Oumuamua

Observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that this unique object was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky or high-metal-content object. – European Southern Observatory, Nov. 20, 2017  Science […]

Make Like A Tree and Get Outta Here

A small raptor alighted for a few minutes yesterday on the top of a tree in my yard. The bird perched up in the crown, on branches that have been bare for a few weeks. The tree is a pin oak, whose health was questionable when we moved to this house in the spring, yet […]

Guest Post: Warm Feelings About the Void (A Rebuttal)

Last week Cassandra Willyard wrote that space bores her, and argued that astronomy writers need to highlight the human drama to hook her and other spacephobes. This is my response. This essay being one exception that probes the rule, I am a writer who does not get assignments from editors. At best, they ask me […]

Guest Post: The Weight of the Eclipse

2017 was the year of the Great American Eclipse, and I live in its path. I also write about the Earth, moon, and sun for a living. So I was determined to not only cover the eclipse, but own it. Like many creative people, I am happiest when I am doing work for myself, and […]