Mars enthusiast Jan Fröjdman painstakingly composited a fictive flight above real Mars, based on actual images of the surface of Mars. The goal was to make some of Mars' fascinating topography feel more real. All that work paid off. Read the rest
Blue lacquered dial with Geo.Graham Tourbillon Orrery inscription at 4 o'clock 3 scales - from the outside to the centre: hours and minutes scale, Gregorian calendar (365.25 days - Earth indicates the date), Zodiac scale (12 astrological signs - Earth indicates the zodiac sign). Counter-clockwise reading. Solar system: The Moon (from NWA4881 meteorite, Ø0.90 mm) The Earth (Kingman Turquoise, Ø3.20 mm) Mars (Tissint meteorite, Ø1.70 mm) The Sun (pink gold (18K) - hand-engraved Tourbillon bridge with 2 Phoenix heads inspired by George Graham decoration and a close set diamond at the centre (Ø2.50mm). Counter-clockwise reading. Off-centre skeleton pink gold (18K) hands with black Super-LumiNova coating
iBleeedorange posted this pretty GIF that shows the 5-fold pattern traced out by an imaginary line between the Earth and Venus.
Sunsunsun made an audio representation of the orbital relationship between Earth and Venus:
Make you own "dances of the planets" here. [via] Read the rest
The left side is Venus and the right side is Earth. It takes about 1:36 to synch up, but it almost synchs up (the planets would be directly opposite each other) around 46 seconds in. Each 8 bars represents an orbit around the sun. Do not listen to this without headphones, it makes no sense without being able to separate them.
Astronomers have spied a cold world three times as distant from the Sun as Pluto. Read the rest
Jupiter is more beautiful than ever in this footage from NASA, as used by Adrienne Lafrance to illustrate her splendid article about the gas giant.
rom far away, the planet looks vaguely beige. But its clouds are a kaleidoscope of warm colors—alternately red, orange, pink, and tan, with some blue. That may be the effect of sunlight breaking down chemicals like ammonia, but scientists aren’t sure. “We still don't know what makes the clouds the colors they are,” Simon said. “Another thing we don’t know is: Why the storms last so long.”
In the future, the people who live around Jupiter are going to be really smug, aren't they?
Its reputation was once not so grand, Lafrance adds in a follow-up that astronomers used to find the painterly, swirling surface quite unpleasant.
It was generally hoped that, in couse [sic] of time, this much respected orb would see the error of his ways, and cease to assume the appearance of an inebriated planet.
Sad to relate, however, he has gone from bad to worse, and is just now showing, side by side with the red spot complained of, a number of white ones, which give his countenance an appearance truly sad to behold. No wonder that quiet, staid astronomers, who, from joking, stand aghast at such an exhibition.
A central asian nation may have no easy path to the sea, but its future among the stars is assured—at least in its dreams.
Tajikistan's state new agency reports [translate] that the country has named "one of the small planets of the solar system" for itself, but did not specify exactly which one, or how it will come to be "between Mars and Jupiter" and have an orbital revolution equivalent to the 5-year term of the national parliamentary assembly.
According to the press release, the name was affirmed by the International Astrophysicists Union.
It was emphasized that the planet Tajikistan is located between the planets Mars and Jupiter, its distance from the Earth is 250 million kilometers, and from the Sun is 463 million kilometers. Tajikistan planet revolves around the sun once every five years.
Now the planet Tajikistan is at a very close distance to Earth and Tajik scholars engaged in the study of its physical and chemical properties, as well as the processes taking place on this planet.
President Emomali Rahmon expressed appreciation for the contribution of the Tajik scientists in the world of astrophysics, and expressed confidence that such valuable achievements require from our scientists and researchers more effort in the interests of the state and the nation, as well as all mankind.
Eurasianet suspects that "there are some unexplained aspects to the story."
Read the rest
For instance, the International Astrophysicists Union, if it indeed exists, appears to have no online presence. And were it a real organization, it would be rather odd for it to be getting into the business of naming planets, since that might be considered more strictly the domain of astronomers.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is expected to radio home any minute now. We're watching on NASA TV. The moment will end a nearly 22-hour radio blackout as the probe focused on a series of close-up observations of Pluto and its moons.
From SpaceFlight Now:
Engineers expect to lock on to a carrier signal, then start receiving housekeeping data on the status of the New Horizons spacecraft. No science data will come down during Tuesday night’s pass.
“The reason why you’re not seeing more things immediately is because the spacecraft is spending all its time making the observations of the Pluto system,” says Hal Weaver, New Horizons’ project sciences from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. “That’s what we wanted to do. Of course, you want to optimize the scientific return from the mission.
A signal from New Horizons will be a celebratory moment for the hundreds of engineers and scientists working on the mission. The cessation of communications was part of the plan going into the flyby because New Horizons carries a fixed antenna, meaning mission managers have to choose between contacting Earth and conducting scientific work at Pluto.
Alex Boese has a great article on About Entertainment on the history of people who claimed ownership of stars, moons, and planets and then sold deeds to plots of land on the heavenly bodies. And they had buyers!
In 2013, Maria Angeles Duran began selling plots of land on eBay. That, in itself, isn't unusual, but the land she was selling was located on the sun. She offered square-meter plots for the price of 1 euro each. By 2015, she had over 600 buyers, but then eBay pulled the plug on her, saying her auctions violated its "intangible goods" policy.
Duran didn't take this lying down. She sued the auction site for violation of contract, arguing that the sun is, indeed, a tangible object, and a Spanish court agreed to hear her case.
Alberta College of Art and Design student Mary, AKA Thoughts Up North, created these fantastical characters based on the planets of our solar system: "The colors are all based off the planets’ true colors, and the designs are a mix of the names’ mythos and Holst’s “The Planets” suite. They get progressively less human the further they are from the Sun, which I thought was fun." Pictured above are Mercury, Venus and Earth; Mars is gonna be everyone's favorite. Pluto fans will be delighted at its inclusion--maybe. [via Metafilter] Read the rest
Two of the five planets seen circling a distant star may be capable of supporting life, reports the team operating the Kepler Space Telescope. Relatively close to Earth's size and within their sun's habitable zone, the worlds—1200 light years away—are the most tantalizing yet in a search that began in 2009. [The Atlantic] Read the rest