It’s time to take the climate crisis seriously and lead by example.

I am an astrophysicist. In short, my job is to attempt to understand the universe. Specifically, I research star and planet formation. The ultimate goal is to gain a better sense of how unique our Solar System and our planet actually is.

Photo of the earth taken by the Suomi NPP satellite. Image credit: NASA.

Speaking of planets, we’ve observed thousands of them outside our Solar System. These “exoplanets” come in all sizes — some of them are even Earth-like. At first this can spark hope. Could we pack our bags and head off to Earth 2.0? Well… unfortunately, space is…

Cutting back on the amount of meat in your diet can significantly lower your carbon footprint.

Close up of a hairy brown cow’s face with horns.
Close up of a hairy brown cow’s face with horns.
Photo by Livin4wheel on Unsplash.

What comes to mind when you think about sources of carbon emissions? Many people may immediately think of car exhaust, oil refineries, or wood-burning fireplaces. True, these are all sources of carbon emission. But what about food? Which type of food has the biggest associated carbon emissions?

It’s easy to ignore what we eat when we think about our carbon footprint. Your steak didn’t buy a gas guzzling car and drive itself to your dinner plate. That sandwich isn’t actively emitting exhaust. And if it is then please don’t eat it! But all types of food have an associated footprint…

What can we learn from the leftovers of the planet formation process?

Debris disks may sound like a completely foreign concept. But you’re probably familiar with some that go by different names! Have you heard of the asteroid belt, Kuiper belt, or Oort cloud in our Solar System? All of these things can be thought of as debris disks.

Artist’s conception of a debris disk. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

These debris disks can essentially be thought of as “leftovers” from when the Solar System formed. The asteroid belt, as the name implies, is mostly asteroids. It exists in a ring material between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The Kuiper…

An online academic conference in many ways can be much better than an in-person meeting.

Many aspects of my life have changed during covid. But one thing remains the same while working from home - I require (arguably too much) coffee to maintain my normal “science operations”. Astronomy conferences always have multiple coffee breaks, but during this year’s virtual winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) — I was responsible for providing my own caffeine fuel.

Virtual meeting hub for the 237th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

So what’s it like to attend the world’s largest annual astronomy conference online? First off, I’m greeted with a virtual conference hall. From…

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Climate change is here, it’s bad, and collectively we aren’t currently doing enough to stop it. The good news? We know how one way to curb global warming: reduce our carbon footprint.

In order to keep in line with the guidelines of the Paris Climate Accord, we have to keep our total carbon emissions below a certain level. This level is set such that the total warming as compared to pre-industrial levels is capped at 1.5 C. It’s hard to calculate the exact amount of carbon emissions and greenhouse gases that would warm the Earth by exactly this amount, but…

Jacob White

Jacob White is an astrophysicist with the NRAO and is active in science communication, science policy, and fighting climate change.

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