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Because in about four billion years the Milky Way is going to “collide” with the Andromeda Galaxy.

Check out the video and the gorgeous shot of what the sky will look like (above)!  Except that the sun will be too bright for any humans to be around to see it without “technological intervention.”

It’ll be at maximum blockage between 6:25 and 6:30.

Don’t look directly at it!  Poke a hole into a piece of paper, and hold it up to allow the beam from sun, through the hole, onto another piece of paper or flat surface.

Confirming that somewhere some beings may be enjoying a double (or multiple?) sunset.  Assuming they perceive light as we do.

Astronomers have discovered a planet made of diamond.

De Beers’ worst nightmare.

They believe it to be the remains of a white dwarf star, and I guess any large round object orbiting a star which isn’t itself a star is deemed a “planet.”

Depicted is a theoretical denizen.

At least the first Terra origin spacecraft.

TPM has a slideshow of shots from NASA.

It occurs to me.  I think maybe Mercury is the only planet in the Solar System which has not warranted some science fiction story about aliens therefrom.  Guess that would be too far-fetched.

The solar explosion took place on Monday, and the wave has just arrived.  It could light up the northern skies tonight, and mess up our Internet access among other electrical problems.  And it could blind most of us and render us vulnerable to big carnivorous plants!

A Goldilocks planet is one which orbits in the sweet zone of distance from the sun with regard to life-friendly temperatures – basically those temperatures which would allow for an abundance of liquid water.

While there are literally billions and billions of such planets, this is the first to be confirmed by us.

The image comes from USA Today, and generated by Zina Deretsky, NSF.

Addendum: In other science news, it turns out that killing wolves deprives a region of water.

I guess I missed this story yesterday.  NASA confirmed water on the moon. Lots of water!

I remember reading a science fiction story as a kid which took place on the moon – either The Gods Themselves by Asimov or Earthlight by Clarke – in which water was harvested from the depths of the moon to service a colony.  It was premised on the theory that the moon was originally part of the earth so is of roughly the same mineral composition.  My seventh grade science teacher smirked when I brought it up and said, “there’s no water on the moon.”  At the time Asimov and Clarke held more credibility with me, and now I know my sentiments were justified.

Thanks to tofu who sent me the above link and this one.

I’m not clear from the article on what a “superEarth” is.  They mention planets larger than Jupiter, but obviously gas giants are unlikely to support life anything like our own.  A Jupiter-sized solid planet would be something to behold.  Could it sustain life?

I remember Asimov and Sagan speculating about “whale like” creatures in gas giants, or at least protozoic life in regions and depths with temperature/pressure balances allowing for frequent existence of liquid water.

But I think the article only takes us so far as to suggest that “planet-formation is common” – something I never thought was a serious point of contention.

Jupiter’s “great red spot” is disappearing.  According to the article, it shrunk by about 15 percent over a decade.  It could be gone by the time your great grandchildren have an opportunity to peek through a telescope, or whatever they’ll be using at the time.  Enjoy it while you can!

Also according to the article, they don’t know why it’s red.  It’s not always red by the way.  Sometimes it’s pale tan.

I wonder if there’s any synchronicity with the Maya calendar and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius (which incidentally I thought happened back in the 60s – I heard it in a song somewhere).

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