A marvelous night for a (Saturn) moon dance

By Phil Plait | February 10, 2010 8:00 am

We live on a wonderful planet with a beautiful Moon. But I sometimes think we got gypped.

The view from Saturn can be sooooo much cooler:

cassini_encel_rhea_strip

That’s the moon Enceladus passing in front of (what we science-types call "transiting") Rhea. Enceladus is about 500 km (300 miles) across and Rhea is 3 times bigger. Rhea was about 2.7 million km (1.7 million miles) from Cassini when these shots were taken, and Enceladus a bit closer at 2.3 million km (1.4 million miles). Of course, by a bit closer I mean the same distance our Moon is from the Earth, so there was plenty of room for this mutual event.

Here’s a zoom of the middle frame:

cassini_enceladus_rhea

Awesome. Note that these images were taken about one minute apart, so things were hopping. It’s amazing to me that not only can we put a probe around Saturn and get images of its moons, but our math and physics are so freaking accurate we can say, "Hey, you know what? On this date at this time if we turn Cassini that way we’ll see a moon over 2 million kilometers away pass in front of another one nearly 3 million kilometers away."

Every morning, I have a 50/50 chance of finding my keys. That kinda puts things in perspective.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures, Space
MORE ABOUT: Cassini, Enceladus, Rhea

Comments (52)

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  1. Javi

    Awesome pictures. They are great.

  2. Erasmussimo

    Every morning, I have a 50/50 chance of finding my keys
    Perhaps you should entreat NASA to have Cassini look for them. It would probably succeed.

  3. Rob

    Yeah, but do you have a team of PhD engineers and/or mathemeticians (with computer support) tracking and computing the trajectory of your keys from when you get home each evening? Perspective works both ways.

  4. Wildhalcyon

    Its interesting to think that if we did have moons that transited like this, what theories of the cosmos would our ancestors have come up with?

  5. “Nasa’s Cassini spacecraft flew through icy plumes created by ice volcanoes and detected negatively charged water molecules, in a clear sign an underground sea exists.

    On Earth this short-lived type of ion is produced where water is moving, such as in waterfalls or crashing ocean waves.

    British scientists, reporting in the journal Icarus, say it is known that the jets contained water but it was not clear before whether this might be liquid.

    If there is liquid water on Enceladus, Nasa scientists believe Saturn’s sixth-largest moon could have the conditions necessary to sustain life. ”

    @NASA – Here’s your next Apollo. Do something really cool and important. Go find if life exists somewhere other than Earth.

  6. Every morning, I have a 50/50 chance of finding my keys.

    You should consider placing them in orbit around your coat rack. Then you’ll be able to know quite accurately where they are at any given instant.

  7. Cathy M

    Please do not use the word “gypped” as it has a negative connotation.

  8. If your keys aren’t lost now then you had a 100% chance of finding them.

  9. CafeenMan:

    If your keys aren’t lost now then you had a 100% chance of finding them.

    Not necessarily.

    First, it’s possible to flip a coin, and have it come up heads a hundred times in a row, even though it’s only a 50/50 chance of getting heads.

    Second, perhaps he stays home on those days where he can’t find his keys.

    Third, his wife may find them for him on those days he can’t.

    Fourth, he may have a drawer full of spare keys, and simply gets a new set when he can’t find the previous one.

    Fifth…

  10. Robert E

    @Ken B: What happens on that ~1 in 6000 time when the coin lands on edge? Do the keys enter some odd Schrodinger state where they are both found AND lost? :)

  11. Oli

    Awesome! Such as shame Earth doesn’t have more moons (or even rings!). But then again, our Moon is very interesting by itself.

    I have the zoomed image as my desktop background on my pc now =)

  12. Michelle

    Meanwhile all I keep thinking is that you are so right in that we got gypped with only one moon. How much more awesome would it be to see 2 or more of those heavenly bodies in the sky at night? *sigh* We’ll just have to continue to live vicariously through the lense of a telescope.

  13. Cheyenne

    @Michelle – Actually, I’m pretty happy with our lone big ol’ moon. It keeps our rotational axis pretty stable. Throw another one out there and life on Earth could have evolved very differently.

  14. Gary Ansorge

    “Every morning, I have a 50/50 chance of finding my keys”

    So, even mundane events in your life are determined by a binary probability distribution?

    Cool!

    6. Robert E

    “~1 in 6000 time when the coin lands on edge”

    1/6000? I had no idea it was that high. I guess I must just be really lucky then, since that has happened to me twice in my life and I seriously doubt I’ve wasted enough time flipping coins to do it 12000 times.(snark).

    Would that luck was useful in calculating orbits,,,

    GAry 7

  15. nobody

    Posts like this remind me why I keep reading Bad Astronomy…

    Too many posts about the antivax/antiscience/anti-what-ever movement etc, even though they are necessary they tend to get boring ;)

    PS And yes, as Phil had reminded me some months ago, this blog is indeed called Bad Astronomy, emphasis on Bad…

  16. Morbid Florist

    @11: Aye, agree. Every time I get a little bummed on the lack of, well, astronomy, Phil usually comes through and reminds us why we’re here.

    @Phil: I don’t know why, but when you say things like ‘what we science-types call’, it makes me angry. Not angry angry, more of a melancholic anger that isn’t quite sure if it’s supposed to be humorous, condescending or a strange mixture of both.

    Instead of the original line of:

    “That’s the moon Enceladus passing in front of (what we science-types call “transiting”) Rhea. ”

    We could have something like:

    “That’s the moon Enceladus passing in front of (also known as “transiting”) Rhea. ”

    Maybe I’m being overcritical, but it bugs me when people talk like that. It’s like your briefly exposing us non-science-types to your strange world of language and terminology, and we must remain ever-thankful that you allow us glimpses into this world. Moreover, I’m confused as to whether I, as a non-science-type, can use this new wonderful word in my vocabulary. While I’m tempted to go show my newest addition to my vocabumalary…

    Ah, the hell with it. You’re a good astronomer and keep up the good work. ;)

  17. Loony Luna

    I dated a girl who became a she devil for a week, every single menstrual cycle. Instead of PMS, she had CMS (The C is for constant). With 20 years until menopause, I’d have been subjected to 5 solid years of nagging and abuse if I served each menstrual cycle concurrently. I used to track the moons phases like a cartographer traced the sea on his monthly pass of Tierra del Fuego.

    Imagine what multiple moons would do to those subjected to CMS?

    I usually agree with Phil, but seeing those moons, passing one another, looked like post cards from Hell.

  18. Navneeth

    Wow, earlier I either over-estimated the size of Enceladus or under-estimated the size of Rhea.

  19. 5. Ken B Says:

    They still aren’t lost if they’re found. So unless as of this moment they are lost for good, they have never been lost.

  20. Is it just me or do the two moons have a different amount of their hemispheres lit? It’s probably an illusion because Enceladus is smaller, but with the sun effectively at infinity and the two objects being spherical, I’d think they should have equal lighting no matter what their relative positions to each other and/or the spacecraft.

    - Jack

  21. Jonathan

    @ #6 Robert E.. They would be neither lost nor found (and also both lost and found, as per Schrödinger) if you weren’t looking for them (having never entered the system and returened the lost or found condition).. I think?

    Love it!

  22. That would be cool to see. It would also be cool if we somehow lived on a habitable planet where we were in a binary system of stars. Then we might have two sunrises and sunsets?

    I’m not enough of a planetary astronomer to know if this is even possible, but it would be cool.

  23. Slowly But Surly

    Images taken about one minute apart? Yep, they where really moving. Very cool.

    @ #12 Morbid Florist. Reminds me of just hating the praise “Planet Earth” when it’s clear that we’re talking about planets. Just which other Earth would we be talking about? ;)

  24. Morbid Florist

    @17: It’s completely possible! Though, in regards to the sunrise, you would basically have two scenarios:

    1. Binary star system where the two stars are in a close proximity, at least in terms of our (hypothetical) planetary orbit. Imagine our current system, but with two suns instead of one – where, at ‘sunrise’ (or would that be sunsrise?) two suns appear instead of one, displaced spatially so that it’s pretty much just looking like two suns. In this scenario, you’d basically just have two suns rising at roughly the same time – of course, one would rise first / set first, but it wouldn’t be the romantic ‘two sunrise’ scenario I think you were talking about. (Keep in mind also for this scenario that to have a similarly habitable planet like ours, the suns would have to be either farther away or be less massive, with the end energy input to the planet being roughly the same as here on Earth).

    2. Binary star system where the two suns orbit each other at a greater relative distance to us. Think of our current sun, a bit farther away, and another one at equal relative distance to us, but in the other direction. (Basically a sun one AU away, but towards the outer rim of the solar system). In this case, barring a high speed second sun that somehow wizzes itself around the first sun at the same rate our planet does, sunrises and sunsets for the second sun would vary wildly, depending on it’s speed of orbit. Once a year, as we were closer to this second sun, we’d be treated with constant daylight for a period of time.

    Anyway, it’s a cool subject – many a sci-fi nuts like myself have imagined what it would be like to live on a world in a binary or trinary system. ;)

  25. JerWah

    Bah, statistics..
    As far as I am concerned everything is 50/50..
    I either find my keys or I don’t.
    I either crashed on my way to work or I didn’t.
    I either won the lottery or I didn’t.

  26. DCB

    Regarding the third panel in your first image: I’m pretty sure when that happens someone is supposed to NARFLE THE GARTHOK.

  27. Crudely Wrott

    @ Michelle, #8:
    Stick around for a while; it may not be long before we could nudge a fair sized asteroid into orbit around Earth at some distance less than the Moon’s distance. With a bit of cleverness we could even duplicate the Enceladus/Rhea transit!

    @CafeenMan, #14:
    If the keys are lost because you don’t know where they are, you can simply search all available places until you find them. That will, naturally, be the last place you look. In order for the keys to be lost for good the place that they occupied must have been lost for good as well. Maybe the entire universe occasionally loses a place through something like Hawking radiation? Enough, logic modules overheating . . .

    Phil, my keys never get lost because I always put them in the same place upon arriving at home.* When stopping away from home I always put them in the same pocket.*

    *Except when I mistakenly lock them in the van, which is why I carry a spare in my wallet, which is always in my hip pocket. Except when I lock it in the van, too.

  28. Michael W

    Phil,

    I only learned this recently by “gypped” is actually a derogatory word for gypsies. I have heard the word all my life from my mother, and she didn’t know that either.

  29. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Do the keys enter some odd Schrodinger state where they are both found AND lost?

    Nitpick: I think the repeating morning situation is better viewed as a Heisenberg state as it has states fixed (and observables time dependent), while Schrödinger states are time dependent (and observables fixed).

    This is also assuming Phil is looking for his keys, and not the keys looking for him. Most keys are classical you know – while I’m not so sure about BA. :-D

  30. Astrofiend

    I wish they snapped off more shots so we could see a video of this. If it really was cracking along at that pace, it would be great to see a real-time vid!

    Morbid Florist – you sound like a science-type to me, just going on the fact that you are interested in this website.

  31. JesterOC

    Amazing picture.

    But it sure does seem that we bought our moon from a nomadic group of people who left before we found out we could have had a much better set of moons in better condition for less than the price we paid for our single moon.
    :)

  32. Chip

    Aesthetically speaking, I like how the smaller moon is in front of the larger moon. It messes with our Earthbound “larger means closer” mindset.

  33. Messier Tidy Upper

    You don’t keep your keys in a drawer or in your pocket all the time? ;-)

    Reminds me of another image the BA posted here too which shows Titan and Rhea which was also great :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/12/29/peek-a-moon-2/

    @ 22. Joseph Smidt Says:

    That would be cool to see. It would also be cool if we somehow lived on a habitable planet where we were in a binary system of stars. Then we might have two sunrises and sunsets? I’m not enough of a planetary astronomer to know if this is even possible, but it would be cool.

    Yes, its possible as 24. Morbid Florist has pointed out.

    Amazing thing is we have actually discovered a few planets like this albeit most of these are Hot Jupiter’s with life being extremely unlikely.

    For example :

    HD 188753 b – “Tatooine” : The first exoplanet found in a system with three stars and thus nicknamed “Tatooine” after Luke Skywalker’s homeworld in the “Star Wars” movies – even though that fictional planet boasted only two suns! The Jupiter-mass “Tatooine” orbits once every 3.3 days around the primary G9 or K0 sun with the accompanying binary of orange dwarfs orbiting beyond them in an elliptical orbit ranging from 6 to 19 AU or just beyond Jupiter’s orbit to Ouranos’s orbit in our system. This triple star is located in Cygnus shining at 8th magnitude from a distance of 145 light years. Theory suggests exoplanets shouldn’t be able to form in such environments given the likely disrupting influence of the gravitational fields of the nearby three stars yet this “impossible” Hot Jupiter type world exists nonetheless being detected by Dr Konacki using the 10 m Keck telescope in 2005. One suggested explanation is that the binary migrated in or was captured later by the primary star.

    &

    PSR B 1620-26 b : The oldest of all known exoplanets around only the second pulsar to have a planetary system this ancient 2.5 Jupiter mass planet is remarkably found inside the globular cluster M4 which is located beside Antares inthe sky – although very much inthe background at 5,600 lightyears distant. This exoplanet is sometimes dubbed the “Methuselah” or “Genesis” planet. Discovered in 1993 it was also the first exoplanet found in a tight binary system as it orbits a millisecond pulsar and white dwarf pair in about 100 years at a distance roughly equivalent to Uranus’ from our Sun. (20 AU.) Among its other oddities, this exoplanet is actually physically the largest object in its system despite being the least massive ahead of the solar-mass but Earth-sized white dwarf and the at least triple Solar-mass but city sized pulsar!

    &

    Upsilon Andromedae Ab, Ac & Ad : Sometimes proclaimed the first multiple exoplanetary system although a second exoplanet was found for Rho-1 (55) Cancris at pretty much the same time making that honour somewhat of a tie. A metal-rich F7 or F8 type dwarf a bit hotter, brighter and shorter-lived than our Sun, Upsilon Andromedae has three planets; the innermost being a Hot Jupiter of at minimum 0.71 times Joves mass orbiting about 0.06 AU every 4 days. The middle exoplanet lies 125 million km from its star in a position equivalent to between Venus and Earth in our Solar system with a year of 241 days. Finally its third known extrasolar planet has a particularly eccentric orbit taking it from as near as 1.5 AU to as far as 3.5 AU and a mass at least four and half times that of Jupiter. Upsilon Andromedae is also accompanied by an M4 red dwarf companion star located 750 AU away and taking 17,000 years to orbit the primary star and its planets. Upsilon Andromedae B is the red dwarf with the exoplanets “named” Ab, Ac & Ad. A 2007 study using the Spitzer space telescope “mapped” Upsilon Andromedae Ab (the innermost HotJove) and showed its day and night side temperatures differed by 1,400 degrees with its night side estimated to be about 100 to 500 degrees Celsius.

    See : http://stars.astro.illinois.edu/sow/upsand.html formore incl. a finder chart

    Sources : Compiled from various articles in astronomy magazines and astronomy news sites online such as http://www.space.com plus Kaler’s Planet Project & stars website :

    http://stars.astro.illinois.edu/sow/pp.html

    Incl. the first such system discovered :

    http://stars.astro.illinois.edu/sow/16cyg.html

    & discussions on how a binary star would look as seen from each component on many of the binary& multiple star pages.

  34. JerWah @ 25, you’re not the fellow who maintaned that the Large Hadron Collider had a 50/50 chance of destroying the Earth, because either it would happen, or it wouldn’t? ‘Cause, you know, “chance” doesn’t really work like that.

    Anybody hear the fun statistic that the NFC has won the coin toss at the start of the Super Bowl for thirteen consecutive years? Assuming true randomness in the coin, the toss, and the call, each conference has a 1/2 chance of winning the toss – but the odds of any one conference winning the toss thirteen consecutive times are (1/2) to the thirteenth power. (The odds of any other pattern emerging are also (1/2) to the thirteenth power.)

    Phil, your key conundrum reminded me of a statistics joke, the relating of which may violate federal law. So I’ll just give the slightly redacted punch line: “That’s why I carry my own.” Airline safety, amiright?

  35. CitricPig

    What a beautiful set of images!

    Particularly frames two and three together, side-by-side like that… there’s something rather pleasing about that arrangement…

  36. Messier Tidy Upper

    I’m sure the BA blogged about mapping the exoplanet Upsilon Andromedae Ab somewhere but after much searching here & elsewhere online I just can’t find the article I thought I saw anywhere. :-(

    It is on Wikipedia however which has quite a good page on it – see :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upsilon_Andromedae_b

    & for the “Methuselah” or “Genesis” planet* see :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSR_B1620-26_b

    & finally for the “Tatooine” planet see :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HD_188753

    Although it looks from there like doubt has been cast on that one’s existence. Pity. :-(

    ——–

    * Not to be confused with the Star Trek “Genesis” one! ;-)
    http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Genesis_Planet

  37. KAE

    If you do the “cross-eyed” thing on those images they really jump off the screen :)

  38. Spectroscope

    @ 7. Cathy M Says:

    Please do not use the word “gypped” as it has a negative connotation.

    Oh for pity’s sake! :roll:

    Can the Politically Correct mob ever even once just chill out and stop being so durn pathetic? For starters, the group in question call themselves “Romany” (spelling? Or is it Romani or something?) now anyway.

    For seconds, what alternative would you prefer – “jewed” or something? :roll:

    For thirds, “negative connotations?” Lots of words have negative connotations. Changing the language never changes the facts. A negative thing won’t stop being negative just because you change the name.

    All it does is just creates a new negative word only now the new PC alternative carries the added burden of being sillier, often longer, less clear and less useful. Eg. chairman becoming the silly “chair”, disabled becomng the silly & uninformative “differently abled”, women” becming the derisible “wymyn” (Thus proving the femninazis extrem ehatred of everything male incl.theword itself!) the gender confusion introduced by the abolishing the specific “actress” & other -ess suffix words*, ad nauseam

    @ 28. Michael W Says:

    Phil,I only learned this recently by “gypped” is actually a derogatory word for gypsies. I have heard the word all my life from my mother, and she didn’t know that either.

    If the “offensive” word is so archaic in its reference and nobody or very very few actually know what is supposed to refer to then how the blazes is it still offesnive and why can’t we just leave things (& words) that work the heck alone!?

    Will the PC types ever just take a rest or get a life? I am so very sick of them. :-(

    ______________________

    * Many languages such as Frenchand spanish have specific gender forms – which are useful and iad understanding & communication, something the PC mob seem to totally ignore inthe ir questtomake everything bland, colourless, dull and conformong totheri man-hating, unpatriotic, warped agendas.

  39. Spectroscope

    Ack. Sorry about the typos – that’s meant to read:

    Many languages such as French and Spanish have specific gender forms – which are useful and aid understanding & communication as well as adding colour. Something the PC mob seem to totally ignore in their quixotic quest to make everything bland, colourless, dull and strictly, fanatically conforming to their man-hating, unpatriotic, warped agendas.

    & (Thus proving the feminazis extreme hatred of everything male incl.the word itself!)

    Having one of those days – and the Politically Correct mutilating and mangling our language is one of my pet hates. :-(

  40. Morbid Florist

    @33 Messier Tidy Upper:

    Stop! Stop! When I read stuff like that, I want to be a starship captain.

    Thanks for posting that though, made my day. Though I sometimes worry about the accuracy of detecting extrasolar planets, the fact is it’s just damn cool that we can do that sort of stuff these days.

    Though, I’m not really happy until we have pictures of these other systems. Was really hoping we’d have warp technology by the time I hit 40.

  41. Cheyenne

    “Having one of those days – and the Politically Correct mutilating and mangling our language is one of my pet hates. :-(

    For reasons that Spectroscope can’t possibly understand that is so very funny.

  42. Bill Nettles

    I have a jobs bill:
    Give $2.2 x 10^12 to NASA and let them spend it. That will provide plenty of jobs, plus lots of money well spent through 1 agency. Graft and corruption? Probably much less than anywhere else in government, plus NASA doesn’t generate rules and regulations for the general populace.

    They also understand physics and math.

  43. Cheyenne

    “Well spent” Bill? They just dropped 9 BILLION dollars on the dumbest manned rocket ever. A rocket that unbelievably had higher operating costs than even the stupid space shuttles. And, oh yeah, another 2-3 billion due for cancellation costs. Wow we could have done a lot of good with that amount of green. Oh well. Only in government, and especially in manned spaceflight, can you have this level of waste and incompetence.

    I’m disagreeing with your jobs bill is what I’m hinting at.

  44. TMB

    Phil, cool images, but please don’t use racist slang. Thanks.

  45. @38 said: what alternative would you prefer – “jewed” or something?

    Spectroscope, your argument seems to be that because you and others were ignorant of the word “gypped”, its use should not be considered offensive. But can’t that same argument be used for “jewed” as well? Undoubtedly there are lots of people ignorant of that word’s origins.

  46. No word is offensive in and of itself. All words are meaningless symbols that are used to attach meaning by the sender and the receiver. They are inherently meaningless until given meaning by the people who use them. If neither the sender nor the receiver means or takes offense, respectively, then the word is not offensive.

    I feel safe in guessing that Phil harbors no ill will toward Roma or Gypsies. So the meaning he intends in the word “gypped” does not carry the derogatory intention. On the other hand, if you as the receiver infer derogatory intention, then that process is occurring on your end. Still, I see that it may be useful to point out to Phil that you and possibly others take offense. He might like to consider it.

    Personally, I never made the connection between gypped and Gypsies. I don’t think comparing gypped to jewed is entirely fair, either, as it is easier to perceive the word Jew in jewed than it is to perceive Gypsy in gypped.

  47. trouble

    I read this post via Google Reader and noticed this ad at the bottom:

    http://imgur.com/uTmFP

    I don’t mind that there are ads in the RSS feed, but ads for astrology? ’tis a bit odd :-)

  48. Moon river

    I had a sciencey manager where I tended bar who made a “flow chart” to track the 12 female employees menstrual cycles. Riley, the manager, and I were the only two guys on staff, and that flow chart saved our asses more than once. The girls, all dingbats hired for their looks and promiscuity, were incidentally prone to dramatics, especially when they were “aflow”. The chart helped us to avoid or placate certain girls at certain times of the month. Some girls were full moon menstruaters, some were new moon menstruaters, and then there were the period whores that’d latch on to the other girls more structured moon cycles. What started out as a joke became a lesson in how our biological drives shape who we are. Not only did the chart show the cramps and discomfort, it also pointed to the times of the month where some girls showed greater capacities for kindness, empathy (and libido). Kind of like the best times to go on a date or try to borrow money! The chart was posted for 6 months, and as the girls saw the structure of their cycles, the cycles became even more structured.

    If we had multiple moons, women might not even have a cycle tied to them. It might just be easier to trigger automatic ovulation when breeding, like cats do. There would be less volatility, but where’d be the fun in that?

  49. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 40. Morbid Florist :

    Afraid I tried to post this reply a day or two ago but I obviously put in one or two links too many (5-6 link limit? Wish we were warned about that somewhere!) & it got marked as spam.

    I’ve tried to contact the BA & the Discover webmaster (presumably that’s the administrator they tell us to contact in the marked as spam in error message?) but haven’t heard back or had the comment restored since. :-(

    So I’m trying to post this again without the links – Here’s hoping this goes through :

    Stop! Stop! When I read stuff like that, I want to be a starship captain. &
    Was really hoping we’d have warp technology by the time I hit 40.

    Me too! 8)

    Thanks for posting that though, made my day.

    No worries – my pleasure. :-)

    Though I sometimes worry about the accuracy of detecting extrasolar planets, the fact is it’s just damn cool that we can do that sort of stuff these days. Though, I’m not really happy until we have pictures of these other systems.

    Did you hear about the ones we’ve imaged around Fomalhaut b, HR 8799 and a few others incl. a brown dwarf and the K7 orange dwarf with a possible imaged exoplanet candidate RSX J160929.1-210524 b. The BA’s blogged on those which you can hopefully find with the blog search search button here at the top.

    (NB. This is where I added too many links the first time I tried posting this the other day.)

    The images are just dots & far from the sort of images we can get of even Neptune from small telescopes but still quite an achievement and awesome to see. :-)

    PS. Try saying “RSX J160929.1-210524 b” quickly – or, indeed, at all! I really wish they’d give significant exoplanets proper, pronounceable english names or, failing that, at least designations with no more than 4 numerals! ;-)

    PPS. Posted using an alternate email address – message now “awaiting moderation.” Here’s hoping this gets through. :-~

  50. Morbid Florist

    @Messier: Ah, there we go. Finally came through! :)

    I agree about the planet names. That’d be a pretty cool job, making up names for systems. In fact, that’d be the coolest job in the world, in my opinion. ;)

    Going through the links you posted – trying to find a good way to keep ‘up to date’ with new discoveries such as these. I check BA / nasa / APOD and a few other science sites almost daily, but things like this tend to float under the radar sometimes.

    Something like http://exoplanet.eu/ but with a bit more ‘charm’ and artist’s renditions of what the planets could look like. Oh, and maybe some cool names.

    I guess that’s sort of bringing the ‘sci-fi’ into modern astronomy and planet hunting, but I don’t see a problem with making the information more accessible, memorable and exciting.

    Truthfully, I’m just building a personal database of known planets in case I get scooped up on a spaceship, Ford Prefect style.

    Thanks again for the info!

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