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 […]

Reading Sci-Fi with Astrobioloigist David Grinspoon

David Grinspoon is a comparative planetologist and an astrobiologist. He’s also a big book nerd, and his love for both fiction and nonfiction are proudly on display in his own new book, Earth In Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future. Grinspoon’s book uses insight from the study of the other planets in our solar system […]

Redux: Auditing Astronomy Class

This was first published in Dec 6, 2011 — it was originally a guest post, Cameron wasn’t yet an LWONer — and was honorable-mentioned for the American Institute of Physics’ 2012 science writing prize in the New Media category. Her mom sounds like a doll. I’m not sure exactly where this story begins, but maybe it’s […]

Union and Reunion

Splendid, isn’t it. It’s UGC 8335 — one name, so once it was apparently mistaken for one thing though obviously it’s two. They’re spiral galaxies in the process of running into and through each other. This is a photograph by the Hubble Space Telescope; the galaxies are really there; this is real.  You could think […]

Chasing Transits

CELESTE: How long this time? LE GENTIL: How long will I be gone? Three years. I swear to you, Celeste, on everything that’s holy: three years, no more. CELESTE: What if you miss it? LE GENTIL: The transit? I won’t. CELESTE: You missed the last one. Venus (the small dark dot) crosses the Sun. That […]

Why the eclipse mattered.

I have been hearing about Sunday’s annular eclipse for weeks. Earlier this month, I visited my parents in Albuquerque, and the eclipse was all my dad could talk about. Dad, known to the rest of the world as Dee Friesen, is President of the Albuquerque Astronomical Society (TAAS) and when I arrived at his house […]

Trust no one, and other lessons I learned from physics reporters

As I’ve been thinking about the challenges facing science journalism, a little voice in my head has been murmuring, “Yes, but isn’t all this navel-gazing a bit biology-centric?” Number one on my list of lessons from the “limits of DNA” story is that datasets are getting bigger, and few of us reporters are well-equipped to […]