Solar System

  1. Space

    Here’s What Space Would Be Like If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel Wide

    As Douglas Adams once famously noted, space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. Graphic artist Josh Worth didn't think you all were quite getting it, so he decided to shrink the solar system down to "tediously accurate scale" for you.

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  2. Space

    You Have To Play With This Interactive Map Of The Galaxy

    Thanks to the amazing powers of the internet (and super-creative developers), you can now travel through interstellar space without any fear of ending up like Sandra Bullock in Gravity. Click over to the 100,000 Stars interactive map of the galaxy, and fly through space from the safety of your own bedroom!

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  3. Space

    SETI Researcher Discovers New 14th Moon of Neptune

    As we discover more and more amazing features of space -- like mind-bogglingly massive baby stars and exoplanets that could one day be a new cradle for humanity -- it's worth remembering that we still have plenty of things to learn about our own little corner of the cosmos. The face of our solar system got a new wrinkle this week when NASA announced the discovery of a new moon in orbit around Neptune. The tiny satellite -- just 12 miles across --  is the fourteenth to be found orbiting the icy outer planet.

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  4. Space

    Voyager 1 Reaches Edge of Our “Solar Bubble”

    The Voyager 1 spacecraft was in the news a few months ago when it was falsely reported that it had left the solar system. It still hasn't left the Sun's magnetic field, but NASA says it is at the final barrier of the heliosphere. It could still be months or years before Voyager 1 crosses that barrier, but when it does it will be the first human-made craft to enter interstellar space.

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  5. Space

    Twitter Celebrates Earth Day By Being Rude To All Other Planets

    The original intent behind Earth Day was to celebrate the planet we live on and remind us to be be good stewards of it. Unfortunately, since we've continued to more throughly destroy that planet every year since the first Earth Day in 1970, we now need a new thing to celebrate on Earth Day. May we suggest Weird Planetary Jingoism? It turns out, Twitter was way ahead of us on this idea, so here are some of the morning's best tweets ragging on other planets.

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  6. Space

    NASA Says Everyone Needs to Chill, Voyager Has Not Left The Solar System

    The Internet's been blowing up over the news that the Voyager 1 spacecraft was the first man-made object to leave our solar system, except that it's not true. NASA and the JPL have announced that, though they're aware of the paper that everyone's talking about, they're not buying it. The official Voyager team says that although it's on the outer edges, Voyager 1 hasn't yet broken out into interstellar space. So calm down. It hasn't happened yet -- but it will eventually.

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  7. Space

    Protoplanet Vesta Is Always Reapplying Its Celestial Makeup

    Many of us will be donning a fresh layer of  makeup and fake blood for this evening's many Halloween parties, but we're not the only ones in the solar system doing so. Vesta, which is either a giant asteroid or the beginnings of a planet that never quite made good on its potential, depending on who you ask, is continually updating its appearance. New data from NASA's Dawn mission shows that Vesta isn't affected by certain forms of cosmic weathering, and, in a way, manages to stay forever young, complicating efforts to gather information about the asteroid's history.

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  8. Space

    Pluto Strikes Back: Moons, Possible Rings of Former Planet Could Damage NASA Probe

    It's been more than six years since Pluto was demoted from its once vaunted status as the ninth planet in our solar system to one of more than 40 dwarf planets. While it is, yes, scientifically accurate, the decision has never set well with plenty of folks, yours truly included. The former ninth planet didn't have a chance to defend itself from NASA's slings and arrows during the review process, but it might get a chance at a little vengeance in a couple of years, watching its moons -- and even the rings it might have -- bang around NASA's New Horizons Probe on its way out of the solar system.

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  9. Space

    Water On Moon’s Surface Created By Solar Winds, Could Suggest Water Present On Asteroids

    Researchers from the University of Tennessee have found proof for the theory that water present on the surface of the Moon is the product of solar winds. This work not only shows that other teams have been on the right track, but suggests that large, planet like bodies such as asteroids could also house water created by the same process, in which solar winds carry charged hydrogen particles millions of miles to bond with oxygen particles, producing water molecules in unexpected places.

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  10. Space

    The Sweden Solar System

    At first, I thought this was yet another Wikipedia defacement and some kind of Swedenophile had changed around the page on Sweden to make it the center of celestial neighborhood. Thankfully I was wrong, and what you're looking at is the world's largest scale model of the solar system. Starting with the sun, as represented by Ericson Globe building in Stockholm, the 1:20 million scale model spans the entire length of the country.

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  11. Space

    Imagine Jupiter Filling the Entire Sky [Video]

    After being inspired by the recent lunar eclipse, Brad Goodspeed wondered what the sky would look like if the planets in our universe were as close to Earth as the moon is and revolved around us. And it would probably amaze us while, at the same time, scaring the crap out of us. Imagine if he'd included all 63 of Jupiter's moons? Ouch. (Click through to watch in HD.) (BradBlogSpeed via Neatorama)

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  12. Space

    How Would Alien Astronomers See Our Solar System? [Video]

    According to a study recently published in The Astronomical Journal, if aliens were trying to detect planets in our solar system, the key planet just could be Neptune, thanks to its interactions with a distant region of dust and frozen volatiles called the Kuiper Belt. From their release:

    “The planets may be too dim to detect directly, but aliens studying the solar system could easily determine the presence of Neptune - its gravity carves a little gap in the dust,” said Marc Kuchner, lead author of the study. ... Kuiper Belt objects occasionally crash into each other, and this relentless bump-and-grind produces a flurry of icy grains. But tracking how this dust travels through the solar system isn’t easy because small particles are subject to a variety of forces in addition to the gravitational pull of the Sun and planets. The particles also run into each other, and these collisions can destroy the fragile grains. “People felt that the collision calculation couldn’t be done because there are just too many of these tiny grains too keep track of. We found a way to do it, and that has opened up a whole new landscape,” said Kuchner.
    That "new landscape" consists of using similar methods to find planets in other solar systems. Of course, aliens might be able to detect our solar system using tricks of astrophysics that we haven't yet dreamt of, but this seems like it could be a useful field of inquiry for earthly astronomers. (h/t Phenomica | Journal article)

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  13. Space

    Asteroid Discovery From 1980 – 2010 [Time-Lapse]

    As in this time lapse of nuclear detonations worldwide, this video of asteroid discovery since 1980 starts off slow, but builds up serious momentum by the '90s, corresponding with the rise of automated sky-scanning systems.

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  14. Entertainment

    Dr. Dre Wants to Make an Instrumental Album About the Solar System

    In a recent interview with Vibe, legendary hip-hop producer and rapper Dr. Dre sent us into a collective swoon when he let it drop that "for a long time," he's wanted to make an instrumental album about Earth's solar system called The Planets. Each track would consist of Dre's interpretations of the planets in the solar system. And he'd need surround sound to convey the majesty of Saturn.

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