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3 February 2011
Planets, Planets Everywhere!
For there is a single general space, a single vast immensity which we may freely call Void; in it are innumerable globes like this one on which we live and grow. – Giordano Bruno, 1584 It’s looking more and more like Bruno was right. Yesterday the Kepler Space Telescope released its second batch of data, revealing an astounding 1235 new exoplanet candidates! For the uninitiated, Kepler is a space telescope …
7 January 2011
Strange New Worlds
I realized relatively recently that I like planets and I like speculative fiction for basically the same reason: strange new worlds just fire up my imagination. That’s the topic of my latest post over at Science in my Fiction, where I take a look at some spectacular and bizarre real (or at least realistic) planetary locations that I think would be great settings for some sci-fi. I got a little …
3 January 2011
AGU 2010 – Days 3 and 4: Exoplanets, Impact Basins and Alteration
Now that it’s a New Year, it’s time I wrapped up my AGU 2010 recaps. This post covers Wednesday and Thursday, with lots of good stuff about super-earth exoplanets, impacts on the Moon and Mars, and lasers on Venus!
20 November 2010
It Came from Another Galaxy
It came from hundreds of thousands of light years away. Trapped in a dance of death with an ancient, doomed star, this behemoth interloper roves through our galaxy, thirsty for blood! Okay, maybe not that last part. But believe it or not, I’m talking about a recent press release from the European Southern Observatory, not a B-movie from the 50s. Earlier this week, ESO announced that a team of astronomers …
1 November 2010
Planets Like Grains of Sand
The other day I came across a press release announcing that nearly one in four sun-like stars could have planets as small as Earth. That’s pretty awesome! But I though it was especially interesting how they came up with this number. Current technology can’t quite see an Earth-sized planet around a sun-like star, so how do you count things that you can’t see? Well, you count everything else and then extrapolate.
15 July 2010
Hubble Confirms Comet-like Tail on Vaporizing Planet
Aren’t you glad our planet isn’t being vaporized by the heat of the sun? Me too, especially after writing this article over at Universe Today about an extrasolar planet that is suffering this fate. Go check it out!
22 June 2010
Carnival of Space #159
Hey, check it out! It’s the Carnival of Space over at Next Big Future! This week’s coolest article, which I somehow missed before this: the Kepler science team has found 750 possible exoplanets!
12 January 2010
How to cure the Avatar Blues
I was innocently browsing through my twitter list yesterday when I came across this article on CNN. The gist of it is that many people are experiencing depression after watching Avatar because the fictional world depicted is so beautiful and amazing that life back here on earth seems drab and boring. Many people have responded to this story with shock and derision, and this definitely hints at some pre-existing issues …
22 December 2009
AGU 2009: Day 4 – Enceladus and Exoplanets
Thursday at AGU started with a tough choice. At 8 am there was a talk about methane on Mars, and a special lecture about the water plumes on Enceladus, and plate tectonics on Venus! In the end I decided to go to the Enceladus lecture, given by Sue Kieffer. She explained that there are two primary models for how the Enceladus plumes form. The first is dubbed the “cold faithful” …
19 October 2009
Dozens of new Extrasolar Planets
The universe just got a little more crowded! Space.com is reporting that Astronomers using the European Souther Observatory’s 3.6m telescope in Chile have discovered 32 new extrasolar planets. The smallest of these could be ~5 earth masses, while the largest would dwarf Jupiter! Check out the full story here.