Solar System

Via Zapato Productions intradimensional, a century ago, at least one major newspaper reported on a flavor-of-the-moment theory, attributed to scientists at California’s Lick Observatory, that Mars contained a giant, sentient eye: An…


Maybe Jack Nicholson was right after all. Via Yahoo News: Leonid Ksanfomaliti, an astronomer based at the Space Research Institute of Russia’s Academy of Sciences, analyzed photographs taken by a Russian landing…


Discovered two days ago (likely due to its small size). Reports BBC News:

The asteroid, estimated to be about 11 m (36 ft) in diameter, was first detected on Wednesday. At its closest, the space rock — named 2012 BX34 — passed within about 60,000 km of Earth — less than a fifth of the distance to the Moon. Astronomers stressed that there had been no cause for concern. “It’s one of the closest approaches recorded,” said Gareth Williams, associate director of the US-based Minor Planet Center.

“It makes it in to the top 20 closest approaches, but it’s sufficiently far away …” he told the BBC. The asteroid’s path made it the closest space-rock to pass by the Earth since object 2011 MD in June 2011.

Here’s more from Space.com:



A simulated sunset from a foreign solar system — what a dreamy dusk. PhysOrg writes: Professor Frederic Pont, of the University of Exeter, imagined what it might really look like if a…


Canis MajorisFor those of you who hated this proposed Earth-centric view of our Solar System, check out this video below. (VY Canis Majoris RULES for now; Giordano Bruno would be proud …):

VY Canis Majoris is a red hypergiant star located in the constellation Canis Major. At between 1800 and 2100 solar radii (8.4–9.8 astronomical units, 3.063 billion km or 1.7 billion miles in diameter), it is currently the largest known star and also one of the most luminous known …


Someone spotted what they describe as an image of an elongated alien head while using Google Mars to view the planet’s surface. Is it evidence of intelligent life in outer space? Or unintelligent life on Earth? Be the judge:


A group of Cornell astrophysicists say that at any given time, Earth always has a very small second moon orbiting. That’s the moon I like most. Phenomenica writes: The Earth has always…


Two MoonsSo reports MIT’s Technology Review:

Back in 2006, the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona noticed that a mysterious body had begun orbiting the Earth. This object had a spectrum that was remarkably similar to the titanium white paint used on Saturn V rocket stages and, indeed, a number of rocket stages are known to orbit the Sun close to Earth.

But this was not an object of ours. Instead, 2006 RH120, as it became known, turned out to be a tiny asteroid just a few metres across–a natural satellite like the Moon. It was captured by Earth’s gravity in September 2006 and orbited us until June 2007 when it wandered off into the Solar System in search of a more interesting neighbour.

2006 RH120 was the first reliably documented example of a temporary moon …


Is this where humankind will be living in a couple millenia? In a solar system 600 light years away spins the newly-spotted Kebler 22-b, a rocky planet with oceans covering two-thirds of…



Michael Reilly reports in the New Scientist: An asteroid 300 metres in diameter is stalking the Earth. Hiding in the pre-dawn twilight, it has marched in lockstep with our planet for years,…








Well done NASA. Looking forward to seeing this intrepid vehicle again when it returns to us as V’Ger. Jonathan Amos writes on BBC News: Voyager 1, the most distant spacecraft from Earth,…




What a great article from Alasdair Wilkins on io9.com. Truly insightful. Alasdair Wilkins writes:
Halley's Comet

Ancient Greek texts reveal the earliest recorded sighting of the solar system’s most famous comet 2,500 years ago.

Since then, Halley’s Comet has repeatedly cameoed in history, getting credit for toppling armies, birthing empires, and even killing Mark Twain.

Halley’s Comet is the most famous of the short-period comets, which are comets that complete their eccentric orbits in 200 years or less.

It’s the only short-period comet that’s visible to the naked eye, and its 76-year circuit means it’s the one comet that pretty much everyone can hope to see once, if not twice, during their lifetime. Because of this uniqueness and its often dazzling appearances, it’s become something of humanity’s companion throughout human history, popping up again and again in historical records.




Scientists at the U.K.’s Sheffield University have released a recording of the sounds one would hear while standing inside the solar corona — the sun’s outer atmosphere. Giant magnetized plasma loops oscillate, creating a kind of music. This is what it sounds like to be on the sun: