Last week, NASA scientists predicted that they would discover Earth’s universal twin within a year. Well, they made good on that promise and way early. Wednesday, the Kepler telescope found KOI, short for Kepler Object Interest, a very promising candidate for Earth twindom. Not the name I would have chosen, but I’m not complaining. We have a twin!
There are some minor differences between Earth and KOI. (It’s more of a fraternal twin than an identical one.) While it has a sun that it orbits, far away enough to be fit for human life, it’s about 50 percent larger than Earth and circles its sun in about 242 days instead of 365. Yikes, that means you would age faster. Keep reading »
Oh hey, what’s happening in space? Nothing maj, except astronomers discovered a planet made of SOLID DIAMONDS! Go and get that planet, girl! No, for real, before Mariah Carey finds a way to blast Nick Cannon off in a spaceship to go diamond mining for her, the planet is around 4,000 light years away and consists of pure carbon hardened into a crystalline pattern. It’s apparently stuck inside a tight orbit around a distant star. “The evolutionary history and amazing density of the planet all suggest it is comprised of carbon — i.e. a massive diamond orbiting a neutron star every two hours in an orbit so tight it would fit inside our own Sun,” said Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. The tiny planet makes its orbit every two hours or so, and has been found to be around the same mass as Jupiter, but around 20 times as dense. So think tiny, compact and full o’ glittering diamonds. And oh yeah, way, way out of reach. [Reuters] Keep reading »
Super early this morning — I’m talking between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. — there was a Total Lunar Elipse that could be seen anywhere (provided there was a clear sky) on the night side of Earth. Though Total Lunar Eclipses — when, according to Wikipedia, “the moon passes behind the earth so that the earth blocks the sun’s rays from striking the moon” — happen every year or so, this one was special because it happened the same day as the Winter Solstice. The last time that happened was 372 years ago, so it was kind of a momentous occasion, even if you’re not into astronomy. Did you stay up to watch? I set my alarm for 3:15 a.m. which was supposed to be right around when the “greatest” of the eclipse occurred. Sadly, when I woke up and looked out my window, it was a bit hazy and the moon wasn’t as bright as I hoped. No worries! Check out this gorgeous time lapse video for the eclipse (as seen from Florida) from start to finish. Ahh, the universe is such an amazing thing. Keep reading »