Space

Scientists discover earth-like planet in Alpha Centauri star system – say hello to Proxima-B!

  Astronomers say it’s the most exciting thing since Childress’s 2003 Anti-Gravity Handbook (which they claim is impossible to put down) – the discovery of a new earth-like planet creatively named Proxima-B. It’s an incredible discovery because Proxima-B is roughly the same size as earth, the same mass as earth, and orbits a star in the habitable zone (the distance from the star which allows liquid water to exist). This of course means, yes, little green aliens! Proxima-B’s star, Proxima Centauri, is part of a triple-star system called Alpha Centauri and is the closest star to Earth. The three stars in Alpha Centauri include Alpha Centauri A, Alpha Centauri B, and Proxima Centauri (the star Proxima-B was found orbiting around). You can see Alpha Centauri in…
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Space

Did you know China has a telescope on the Moon?

Did you know China has a telescope on the Moon? The 15-centimeter telescope was delivered to the moon aboard the Chang’e 3 lunar lander which landed on the moon in December 2013.  In the photo above, the small arrow points to the Chang'e 3 rover and the big arrow points to the Chang'e 3 lander and telescope base. If you’ve looked through a telescope before, you know that because of the earth’s rotation, the stars do not stay fixed in the viewfinder for very long. Since the moon rotates 27 times more slowly than Earth, the scope is much easier to stay fixed on stars.  The scope sees in ultraviolet light too, a big advantage for any telescope outside of the earth’s atmosphere. The telescope is remote…
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Space

Greatest meteor shower of the year occurs this weekend – meet the Geminids meteors

Forget the often-disappointing Perseids meteor shower – Geminids is not only better, it’s predicted to be especially cool this weekend. The Geminids shower has been strengthening in recent years and already surpasses every meteor shower of the year. This year, we’re holding out hope that the show is even better than last year’s brilliant display. The space big-wigs are predicting 120 meteors per hour (visible from a dark sky) but more realistically, we can expect to see 60-80 per hour – which is still a lot! Also, unlike most meteor showers which require we wake up early or stay up all night, Geminids produces a good show before midnight. Geminids meteors shoot across the sky at about 22 miles per second. Colors can vary from…
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Science Photos

Cool science pictures that make you go “huh?”

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  In these interesting science pictures, they are worth a single word – “huh?”.  Check out the cool science pictures below.  If they don’t cause you to scratch your head in wonder, they will at least put things in perspective. The sun in a different light This picture of the sun was taken using a different wavelength filter giving us an entirely different perspective.   How big is the moon? The surface area of the moon is million square kilometers.  How big is that?  Here’s a true-scale image of the United States superimposed over the moon.   How do astronauts eat in space? Below is a food tray used aboard the Space Shuttle.  Notice the…
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Space

How big is space? New facts from NASA about the El Gordo galaxy cluster blow our mind.

A visitor to the lab once asked Reeko how big space was and the lab tour had to be cancelled. In short, Reeko answered with “really, really, really big” but what he really did was add a bunch of “reallys” to make the point that space was “really big”. There were so many “reallys” that after about 20 minutes, the visitors got anxious (one thought Reeko was having a “spell”) and the entire tour had to be called off for the day. For kids that have visited the lab, this explains why the sign at the entrance says “Be curious – ask any question you want (except for how big space is)”. Fact is, space is really, really big with about oh, one thousand “reallys”…
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