Category Archives: Space

NASA Discovers the First “Earth-Like” Planet for the Third Time

There’s been buzz in the news about the latest planet discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, Kepler-452b. It’s being hailed as a major discovery. It’s the first ever Earth-sized planet found in the habitable zone of a…boy, this sounds familiar, … Continue reading

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Breaking News: Pluto is the Largest Dwarf Planet!

At this writing, the New Horizons spacecraft is only hours away from its closest approach to Pluto. Except in the unlikely event that it crashes into something (*knocks on wood*) or the more likely event that its computer crashes (*knocks … Continue reading

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What If? Rejects #4.2: In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream

Previous post in this series: Volcanoes. Q: A friend of mine is convinced that there is sound in space. There isn’t, right? Randall’s response: A guy floating in space speaks, but the speech bubble is empty. My answer: actually, there … Continue reading

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The Sun’s big brother found

The Sun was born 4.57 billion years ago from a giant molecular cloud, as one of probably hundreds or even thousands of members of a freshly-minted open star cluster. So where are all these brothers and sisters of the Sun? … Continue reading

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Dwarf planets and the problem of the IAU

What is a dwarf planet? Under the definition accepted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a dwarf planet is any object orbiting the Sun that is large enough to become round under its own gravity, but is not large enough … Continue reading

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2012 VP113: a weird new “dwarf planet”

Astronomers Chad Trujillo and Scott Sheppard announced this week the discovery of a new icy world in the outer Solar System, named 2012 VP113. Trujillo is a colleague of Mike Brown, who discovered the dwarf planet Eris, which is larger … Continue reading

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How to take a picture of the universe

Astronomers take pictures of stuff in the universe all the time, but it’s not every day that we get to take a picture of the universe. Today was one of those days, and this is the picture. This is a … Continue reading

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