Pluto may be wearing a dark belt of moon dust
On far-flung Pluto, it may be raining moon dust. Models suggest that Pluto’s small moons are even now sprinkling dust on its equator, which could explain why Pluto’s middle is darker than its poles. A NASA spacecraft headed for Pluto’s neighbourhood should be able to check out the claim when it arrives next year.
Pluto and its moons lie in the Kuiper belt, a region beyond the orbit of Neptune filled with mostly small, icy worlds. While Pluto is only about half the size of Mercury, it boasts five known moons. The largest, Charon, is half Pluto’s size. The other four – Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx – are much smaller. All five appear so similar that astronomers think a large object smashed into Pluto early in its history, ejecting debris that coalesced into moons.
In May, You Won’t Have to Stay up Late to See Planets
This month’s sky will feature great views of Saturn and Mars all night long and a possible new meteor shower.
Mars dims and shrinks in diameter quite a bit this month, but it’s easy to spot high in the Southern sky. Saturn reaches opposition on May 10, rising at sunset and setting just before sunrise. This month the north side of the ring plane is tilted 21.7 degrees, providing a beautiful view of the planet’s north pole. Even through modest telescopes, you can see some detail on the pole.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/videos/2014/05/may-you-won%E2%80%99t-have-stay-late-see-planets
National Geographic photographer David Liittschwager shows us what happened when you let an ecosystem grow inside a 12” x 12” x 12” cube.
Here are a couple of gifs of the Dumbo Octopus (Grimpoteuthis sp.) encountered by the NOAA Okeanos crew a few days ago in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.
(images: NOAA; via: Popular Science)
In honor of the amazing discovery today
We are all made of star stuff.
Have some space backgrounds! Resolution: 700x1050px (which should be large enough for most phones)
All images from NASA’s Hubble website (x) and edited by me
cosmic space galaxy star print sweatshirt, ▲Zulamimi-Land▲ on Etsy.
Newspaper headlines from April 12/13, 1961 - the day Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to venture into space.
Views of the Ring Nebula, aka M57, a planetary nebula 2,000 light-years away in the northern constellation of Lyra. Fun fact: A “planetary nebula” has nothing to do with planets. It’s a type of emission nebula, a vibrant shell of ionized gas ejected by ancient red giant stars late in their lives. The “planetary” label started in the late 18th century when astronomer William Herschel viewed such nebulae through his telescope, and the objects looked to him like newly forming planetary systems. Herschel was mistaken, but the name stuck. (NASA)