The world isn't big enough to contain Neil Degrasse Tyson's ego. That much my tiny brain can comprehend, when faced with the overwhelming monstrosity of his knowledge...
It's easy to forget that the universe isn't a smattering of tiny white lights in the sky, but actually a crazy place full of exploding stars, black holes and probably, aliens. As technology brings us closer to the predictions in science fiction classics, exploration (and eventually colonization) of the moon is becoming a reality. The moon has been getting some coverage in the media recently, and we're here to remind you that it's actually more than a sliver in the sky; the moon is the closest astronomical body to Earth and it's really beautiful. Here are fifteen photos and bits of information to remind you how cool the moon is.
An enormous planet, also known as an 'exoplanet', was discovered that is 3 times the size of Jupiter. It's size though is not what makes it unique. Named 'HR 5183 B' by those who discovered it, the planet has truly one of the strangest planets so far, because of its orbit. It has an oblong orbit that gives it a truly unique path through space.
Scientists don't actually have data about the planet's entire orbit, because they have only been aware of the celestial bodies around it since 1990. With its long, arduous path through space, its not surprising we haven't gotten a look at the planet and how it moves, until now.
Though downgraded to dwarf planet status, Pluto has been on the comeback trail of late. Many issues arose with the reclassification in 2006, including that only 424 of the 9000 members of the international organization in charge of making such decisions voted. In addition, immediately after the resolution, hundreds of planetary scientists petitioned against the changed classification. The problem began when the body changed the definition of what constitutes a planet, and due to Pluto lacking several of these features, it was demoted.
A recent mission to Pluto by NASA called New Horizons, recently gave us our closest and clearest look of Pluto and the surrounding planetary bodies in its area and orbit.
This conversation will hurt your brain.
QVC is not typically the go-to place for spirited discussions about the mysteries and marvels of space, but this week host Shawn Killinger and fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi turned it into one.
Killinger was presenting a "Cherry Blossom Print Boyfriend Cardigan" design by Mizrahi which she thinks looks like the Earth "when you're a bazillion miles away from the planet moon."
And from this point forward we realize our education system has failed us, at least in the science department.
"From the planet moon…" repeats Mizrahi.
"Isn't the moon a star?" she asks, questioning herself.
"No the moon is a planet darling," he says, but Killinger isn't so sure anymore.
"The sun is a star. Is the moon really a planet?" She wonders.
It goes on like this for while. They get people to Google it for them off camera, and Killinger makes a joke about having a blonde moment.
Maybe QVC can book Neil deGrasse Tyson next week to set everyone straight, and while he's at it, pitch his own line of celestial vests and ties.
NASA's Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, California captured this striking footage of Toutatis, an asteroid that flew by on December 12 and 13, about 4.3 million miles from Earth. Meanwhile, the Chinese National Space Agency also took interest in the three-mile-long rock by coordinating its Chang'e 2 space probe to fly by and take pictures at a close proximity of 3.2 km (2 miles) and relative velocity of 10.73 km per second, according to an official statement. Toutatis is known to make a trip around the sun every four years and the next close encounter will arrive in November 2069.
The earth's sky is open for a double feature this week, first with the rare sighting of a total solar eclipse in Australia on Wednesday, and now one of the most spectacular meteor showers returns for its annual November show. Commonly known as Leonids, reports of the celestial storm have been recorded as early as the 10th century and its most prolific shower in 1833 saw as many as 100,000 meteors per hour. The photograph (shown left) was taken by Fred Aspenak in November 2001.
For a better view, check out the telescopic recording of the shower provided by NASA's Marshall Center.
Space Shot of the Day is a feature series following the latest developments in planetary science, astrophotography, space exploration, future plans for colonization and all things related to outer space.
One evening when cloudy weather put a halt to his astronomy research, Harvard Ph.D. student Alex Parker was inspired to get creative -- so he uploaded the top 100 images from the Hubble telescope into a mosaic-making program and recreated Van Gogh's iconic 1889 painting.
No big deal.
In 1996, just months before he died, astronomer/astrophysicist/author Carl Sagan recorded this message to future colonists living on Mars.
Very interesting to hear 16 years later, in the light of Curiosity's landing, and cuts jeopardizing our national space programs.
Hopefully a few politicians are listening to his words of wisdom.