Ninth Planet May Exist

 

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An artist’s impression of a possible ninth planet. It would be quite large — at least as big as Earth — with a thick atmosphere around a rocky core. CreditCalifornia Institute of Techonology

 

 Caltech scientists Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown make the case for Planet Nine, a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system.

Artist Creates Entire Known Universe in a Single View

Pablo Carlos Budassi

Pablo Carlos Budassi recently unveiled a new illustration based on almost incomprehensible logarithmic maps created by Princeton University.  It shows the entire known visible universe. Though it is not a true map, it should be considered a “visualization showing fields of view” of the entire observable universe.

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The Lowest Note In The Known Universe

A massive black hole releases sound waves in a deep bass pitch, astronomers have found.

A massive black hole releases sound waves in a deep bass pitch, astronomers have found. Researchers used NASA’s orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory to “listen” to wavelengths coming from the heart of the Perseus A Cluster, a giant clump of galaxies 250 million light-years from Earth (A light-year is the distance light travels in a year in a vacuum, about 9.5 trillion kilometers.)

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Hubble Captures First-Ever Predicted Supernova

macs j1149.5

Many stars end their existence by going out in a huge explosion known as a supernova. However, only a few of these stellar explosions have been caught in the act. When they are, spotting them successfully has been down to pure luck—until now. On 11 December 2015 astronomers not only imaged a supernova in action, but saw it when and where they had predicted it would be.

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Riding Light – A 43 Minute Real Time Journey from the Sun to Jupiter at the Speed of Light

riding light

Light travels at a speed of 186,282 miles per second.  Jupiter is 483,737,000 miles from the Sun.  In an effort to convey the vastness of space, Alphonse Swinehart created an animation to illustrate that even the fastest moving thing still takes over 43 minutes just to reach Jupiter.

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The Astronomical World of Harry Potter: Part 3 – Dumbledore and Fenrir

the astronomical world of harry potter

In the past two blog postings we uncovered how some characters in the Harry Potter universe are tied to Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology.  Not only are certain names shared, but the stories between the character and the myth from which its name is derived are actually intertwined.  In the first blog posting we dealt mainly with two of Harry’s classmates:  Draco and Luna.  In the second blog posting we looked at two members of the family Black:  Sirius and Bellatrix.  Now it is time we took a closer look at one of Harry Potter’s fiercest enemies and one of his fiercest allies:  Fenrir Greyback and Albus Dumbledore.

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The Astronomical World of Harry Potter: Part 2 – Sirius and Bellatrix

the astronomical world of harry potter

In the previous blog posting we discussed how many of the characters in the Harry Potter series have connections to ancient mythology and how these myths worked their way into the books’ story-lines. Numerous characters in the series also share their names with moons, asteroids, and stars.  For this entry let’s look into two characters and the two stars they are named after:  Sirius and Bellatrix.

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The Astronomical World of Harry Potter: Part 1 – Draco and Luna

the astronomical world of harry potter

If you’ve ever read the Harry Potter series of books, or even seen the films, you’ll come across many unusual and colorful character names. Characters such as Millicent Bulstrode, Fleur Delacour, Argus Filch, and Gilderoy Lockhart are a few of the names you’ll come across when working your way through the seven books in the series. These names—the sounds they create and their connection to other words such as the Slither in Slytherin or the Guile in Goyle—can give an indication, a slight inkling, to the reader into what can be expected of such characters. But there are other names—names such as Draco, Sirius, and Luna—which can also tell the reader something about their respective characters, not based on the allusion of their names but based on the astronomical backgrounds their names are derived from.

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