The Map of Triton

August 26, 2014

There is a cool video of Neptune’s moon Triton that NASA has put together using Voyager 2’s images:

io9 has a great article on how this was put together, plus a summary of what we know of Triton.

A Little Something on Triton

May 28, 2014

Here is a video on Neptune’s largest moon Triton, with a cute Triton thumbnail. It is a great summary of the basic facts regarding this object:

The Waters of Ceres and the Jet Plumes of Water

January 25, 2014

Using the Herschel Space Observatory, a far infrared and submillimeter (between far infrared and microwave) telescope, astronomers have detected water around Ceres.

Ceres is the dwarf planet that resides in the asteroid belt, making it the largest object in the area. For those of you who just heard about Ceres, it is not new. Back when it was discovered in 1801, it used to be a planet. Then after a slew of discoveries in the asteroid belt like Vesta, Juno, Pallas, they decided that they were different enough to be labeled asteroids. Then came 2006, and due to discovery of an object larger than Pluto, Eris, and other large Kuiper belt objects, they changed the definition. Ceres was upgraded to the status of dwarf planet because it was round, and revolved around the sun, but did not count as a full planet because it failed to clear the orbit, which is clear since Ceres resides in the asteroid belt.

Now the question is, how did the water get there from Ceres? Well, it is thought that whenever Ceres gets somewhat closer to the sun in its orbit, a jet of water is released in certain areas. The reason they believe that is that the four times they observed Ceres, they didn’t see any water signature once. Not only that, as it was rotating and moving along the orbits, the signals changed, and they believe the likely area of emission are dark spots that they have observed on the surface. While they aren’t sure about this a hundred percent, once the space probe Dawn arrives, they will be able to confirm their findings.

The really cool aspect of this discovery is the blurring between asteroids and comets. Comets are icy objects, and they are the ones that release jets of water vapor. While Ceres itself is more asteroid like, more rock like, its mixture with ice gives it a comet like behavior sometimes. So overall, Ceres has a mix of really interesting features. It is large and massive enough to be planet like, it has asteroid like compositions, and it has its icy bits like comets.

Scaled Model of the Solar System

November 30, 2009

Darn it! Someone already did something like that. I was thinking of doing something similar on this blog. The owner of the web page put both the sizes of the objects (the sun is hugenormous!) and distance (space is laaarrrggeee!!!) to scale. So yeah, the site is impressive, and it really gives you a sense of how even only in the Solar System, distance can get crazy. Try to imagine the distance between stars, heck, between galaxies. I know, you can’t.

What I tried to do was basically scale it in distance. Basically, each space meant certain distance, and when a certain planet was reached, I would write the planet’s name. Thank goodness I didn’t have to do it. It would have been vvvveeeeerrrry long and annoying to make. But the model being part of the new edition of pop quiz still stands:

This is the nth edition of *drum rolls* Pop Quizz! A quizz which tests the depth of the reader’s knowledge!!

Occasionally, I will occasionally ask a question, and the reader will answer them! Sometimes, a wrong answer won’t invite rage, some really obvious one will, but whatever it is, it will show how much you know or suck at something. ^_^

So, today question (4: hard) is, how far do you think the eight planets of the solar system are distanced relative to each other? All that counts is how well you scale the distance. Let’s say planet 1 is a gazillion times far away from planet 2 compared to the distance of planet 3 to planet 2. Then you would, in a long ruler or scroll bar or something, place planet 1 really close to planet 2, but place planet 3 really far away. Except in this case, you are dealing with 8 planets. Check the above website as reference and answer. So, if you got the relative distance to all planet right, give yourself 3 points, 2 points if you got 6 or more right, 1 point if you got 3 or more right. You know what 0 is. Oh, and it is an instant zero if you don’t even know the order of the planets. After all, quizzes are supposed to be knowledge based. ^_^ If you want some clue, read after the break: Read the rest of this entry »