Be prepared for a whole hell of a lot of scrolling. This map is pretty awesome in the sense that it really puts perspective on just how much distance there is between us and basically everything in just our small corner of the Milky Way.
It’s almost Easter and Peeps aren’t worth eating, so you might as well make something useful out of them. An eight year old from Denver wowed the Denver Post with her diorama of the solar system made from Peeps. And she even included Pluto. Bonus points!
Yesterday, NASA announced their findings from Curiosity rover soil samples, but in other really big astronomy news, the Voyager I space probe has discovered a brand new layer of the skin at the edge of the solar system— a “magnetic highway”, that ferries charged particles in a thin layer just on the edge of the sun’s reach.
The universe, and the solar system is pretty huge and like an atom, is filled mostly with empty space. Even our asteroid belt, which is portrayed in movies as a rocky minefield of death, is mostly empty space. To illustrate this concept, artist Mishka Henner made ‘Astronomical’, a 6000 page book that’s filled mainly with… empty space.
In addition to getting some awesome fucking photos of a giant storm raging across the face of Saturn, NASA’s Cassini probe also got audio of the event. Now I’ll tell you ahead of time that it’s not terribly impressive. It sounds just kind of like random static, but what you’re listening to is a whole shitload of lightning on a planet on the other side of the solar system, so that’s just cool enough as it is.
The little Voyager I probe just keeps on going out through the edge of the solar system and beyond, still sending back valuable information. Scientists already knew that at the very outer edge of the solar system was the heliopause, where the Sun’s influence ends and deep space begins, but it was always assumed that it was made of graceful arcs of magnetic energy curving back towards the Sun.
But as it turns out, it’s more like a frothy jacuzzi of magnetic bubbles.
We know that in addition to our eight planets plutoids that there’s a number of other small planetoids waaaay out on the edge of our solar system, just chillin’ (literally) in the Oort Cloud. But a pair of astronomers are certain that there’s a gas giant out there as well. Named Tyche, this gigantic planet is supposed to be four times the size of Jupiter and possibly harboring a number of moons.