Reader Question: Lunar Geology

The incredibly diverse landscape of our Moon. Image Credit: NASA

The incredibly diverse landscape of our Moon. Image Credit: NASA

This reader question comes from Google+

AmyBeth Inverness from recently asked two very intriguing questions about Lunar Geology.

Since my field of expertise is with variable stars, I enlisted the help of my friends at the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Center at Arizona State University ( to help shed some light on AmyBeth’s questions.

Keep reading to learn more about the incredibly diverse geology of our closest neighbor.

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Telescope Buying Guide: Newbie Telescopes Under $200

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, I’ve gotten a lot of questions from people interested in picking up a telescope for themselves, or for someone they know. This guide will cover telescopes ranging from $40 to $200 – great for first-time telescope buyers on a budget.

In many cases, the people I talk to have an idea of what they would like to spend on a telescope, but usually don’t have much of an idea of what they would like to view.

Different objects in the night sky can require different types of telescopes, however in the “starter” telescope price range, there are a lot of good, all-purpose telescopes that can be had – with even the most modest budget. These telescopes do not feature “goto” functions, and are operated manually.

While you CAN find “goto” telescopes for a few hundred dollars, the optics suck, and the drive systems are of poor quality. If you see a computerized telescope at a “big box” retail store, stay away! Better yet, don’t buy ANY telescope from a big-box retail/grocery store.

Keep reading to learn more about some great telescopes that will give great views without breaking your bank account. I’ve used every telescope on this list, and provide the pros and cons of each model.

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Astronomy Question: What is Outside of the Universe?

Map of the observable Universe. Image Credit: Tom Jarrett/IPAC

Veronesa asks,

Dear Astronomer,
What is on the outside of the universe? Is there an outside of the universe?

Excellent question Veronesa!

Many people speculate at what (if anything) lies outside our Universe. In the past I’ve been asked where the Big Bang happened, and if there’s a center to our Universe. Where did the Big Bang happen? Everywhere. When did the Big Bang happen? At the beginning of time, about 14 billion years ago.

Given the tidbits of information above, once can easily begin to speculate about what, if anything, lies outside our existence in our Universe. Keep reading to learn more about the science (and philosophy) of this rather existential question.
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