25 posts tagged with astronomy and solarsystem.
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How big is space? Interactive views of the universe in varying scales

We know space is big, but trying to understand how big is tricky. Say you stare up at the sky and identify stars and constellations in a virtual planetarium, you can't quite fathom how far away all those stars are (previously, twice). Even if you could change your point of view and zoom around in space to really see 100,000 nearby stars (autoplaying ambient music, and there are actually 119,617 stars mapped in 3D space), it's still difficult to get a sense of scale. There's this static image of various items mapped on a log scale from XKCD (previously), and an interactive horizontal journey down from the sun to the heliosphere with OMG Space (previously). You can get a bit more dynamic with this interactive Scale of the Universe webpage (also available in with some variants, if you want the sequel [ previously, twice], the swirly, gravity-optional version that takes some time to load, and the wrong version [previously]), but that's just for the scale of objects, not of space itself. If you want to get spaced out, imagine if If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel, and travel from there (previously). This past March, BBC Future put out a really big infographic, which also takes a moment to load, but then you can see all sorts of things, from the surface of Earth out to the edge of our solar system.
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 4, 2014 - 30 comments

Cosmic pluralism: science, religion, and possible populations on Venus

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it became possible to believe in the existence of life on other planets on scientific grounds. Once the Earth was no longer the center of the universe according to Copernicus, once Galileo had aimed his telescope at the Moon and found it a rough globe with mountains and seas, the assumption of life on other planets became much less far-fetched. In general there were no actual differences between Earth and Venus, since both planets orbited the Sun, were of similar size, and possessed mountains and an atmosphere. If there is life on Earth, one may ponder why it could not also exist on Venus. In the extraterrestrial life debate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Moon, our closest celestial body, was the prime candidate for life on other worlds, although a number of scientists and scholars also speculated about life on Venus and on other planets, both within our solar system and beyond its frontiers. Venusians: the Planet Venus in the 18th-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate (PDF), from The Journal of Astronomical Data (JAD) Volume 19, somewhat via NPR and their mention of amateur astronomer Thomas Dick's estimations of the populations of the other planets in our solar system (Archive.org online view of Celestial scenery, or, The Wonders of the planetary system displayed, 1845).
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 21, 2014 - 8 comments

If you plan on taking a trip to Jupiter, this is not the map to use.

If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel is a tediously accurate model of the Solar System that Josh Worth made to explain to his daughter just how difficult it is to go on holiday to Mars.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 5, 2014 - 69 comments

The Madness Of The Planets

I am a staunch believer in leading with the bad news, so let me get straight to the point. Earth, our anchor and our solitary haven in a hostile universe, is in a precarious situation. The solar system around us is rife with instability.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 31, 2013 - 42 comments

Red Planet Blues

The trouble with terraforming Mars...
posted by Artw on Dec 20, 2013 - 73 comments

All the spheres revolve about the sun as their mid-point

Ken Condal built an orrery (a mechanical model of the solar system - wikipedia), milling the parts himself using CNC machining. Among the videos are those of the orrery in operation and a time lapse of the construction process.
posted by exogenous on Sep 4, 2013 - 48 comments

The Heliotail

Our Solar System Has a Tail Shaped Like a Four-Leaf Clover: New Findings from IBEX.
posted by homunculus on Jul 11, 2013 - 10 comments

Keep up your sensawunda

The entire history of the exploration of the Solar System in one handy picture, as created by Olaf Frohn. (Requires HTML5.)
posted by MartinWisse on Apr 30, 2013 - 14 comments

Like a big pizza pie

Wired: The Most Badass Moons of our Solar System Mimas | Europa | Io | Enceladus | Hyperion | Iapetus | Charon | Triton | The Moon | Asteroid Moons | Titan | Phoebe
posted by slogger on Feb 28, 2013 - 19 comments

The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos, to know itself.

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series of one hour shows written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, that was aired at the tail end of 1980 and was - at the time - the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. It is best introduced by an audio excerpt of one of his books, The Pale Blue Dot. Inside is a complete annotated collection of the series. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 3, 2012 - 46 comments

Note: object sizes are not to scale.

Our solar system in one very long infographic. [more inside]
posted by quin on Jul 16, 2012 - 39 comments

March Madness!

Take a tour of the solar system! Tonight, see the wonders of Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn! There's only one catch: You'll need to actually step outside to do it. [more inside]
posted by bondcliff on Mar 5, 2012 - 48 comments

"A situation in many respects similar to ours"

For a time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was erroneously believed that there were canals on Mars.
Maps of the Martian canals. List of Martian Canals. Historical Globes of the Red Planet.
A modern perspective. The Planet Mars: A History of Observation and Discovery .
posted by timshel on Feb 12, 2012 - 26 comments

Black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... small pale dot... black... black... black...

Astronomical... the solar system in book form
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 28, 2012 - 24 comments

Turns out we ARE hosting an intergalactic kegger down here

The twin Voyager probes launched by NASA in 1977 have discovered something new in the heliosheath at the edge of the solar system: it's frothy out there. Video. Press Release. Via. Voyager: Previously.
posted by zarq on Jun 13, 2011 - 33 comments

with depravity / i break lots of gravity

Our solar system may have a ninth planet -- or a tenth, if you're a Pluto sentimentalist. Tyche, which astronomers suspect lurks in the Oort cloud, fifteen thousand times farther away from the sun than the Earth, is thought to be a gas giant four times the size of Jupiter. We may know for sure in April.
posted by eugenen on Feb 14, 2011 - 99 comments

8 Wonders of the Solar System

8 Wonders of the Solar System, Made Interactive. "What might future explorers of the solar system see? Find out by taking an interactive tour through the eyes of Hugo Award-winning artist Ron Miller. Text and narration by Ed Bell." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 1, 2010 - 16 comments

Cassini Flies by Tethys

Cassini Flies by Tethys and Hyperion, and the photos so far have been awesome and weird. I especially want to point out this fascinating view, which, if you look at it closely, reveals what appears to be a string of small impact craters, in a straight line over older terrain. What kind of meteor impact could have produced such an excellent formation of craters? Hyperion photos are coming. (Kokogiak's got backup in case the JRUNS strike.)
posted by brownpau on Sep 26, 2005 - 29 comments

solar system

solar system [note: requires anark plugin]
posted by crunchland on Nov 15, 2003 - 14 comments

2000 EB173 gets a name

Large rock named Huya! 3 years after being discovered a large object (?) orbiting the sun has been named.
posted by rdr on Aug 24, 2003 - 9 comments

Mmmm... Jovian Clam Chowdah

From the Sun to Pluto. And beyond lurks the Lobster Nebula...

Aroostook County in Northern Maine has created North America's largest scale model of the Solar System, to be officially unveiled tomorrow (Saturday - June 14, 2003). The model runs along 40 miles of highway with a scale of 1 mile to 1 AU. The project took four years to complete and did not have a budget.
posted by ursus_comiter on Jun 13, 2003 - 10 comments

3-D Maps of Nearby Space

3-D Maps of Nearby Space "The first detailed map of space within about 1,000 light years of Earth places the solar system in the middle of a large hole that pierces the plane of the galaxy...The new map, produced by University of California, Berkeley, and French astronomers, alters the reigning view of the solar neighborhood." (one view|another view|links to bigger images)
posted by kirkaracha on May 30, 2003 - 5 comments

I saw all five of the visible planets in our solar system tonight!

I saw all five of the visible planets in our solar system tonight! And so can you, if you have clear skies and go outside between 8:45 and 9 p.m. your time this week. Disclaimer - my naked eyes weren't good enough to see Mercury but I could see it with binoculars.
posted by Lynsey on May 6, 2002 - 4 comments

The Solar System Simulator

The Solar System Simulator 'is designed to simulate - as realistically as possible - what one would actually see from any point in the Solar System. The software looks up the positions of the Sun, planets and satellites from ephemeris files developed here at JPL, as well as star positions and colors from a variety of stellar databasees, and uses special-purpose renderers to draw a color scene. Texture maps for each of the planets and physical models for planetary rings have been derived (in most cases) from scientific data collected by various JPL spacecraft.' Far too complicated for me to even begin to understand, still I've always wondered what Saturn looks like from Triton.
posted by RobertLoch on Mar 27, 2002 - 15 comments

Reflections on a Mote of Dust

Reflections on a Mote of Dust "We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam." Carl Sagan "Pale Blue Dot"
posted by crasspastor on Sep 11, 2001 - 15 comments

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