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Space without the space

The solar system's solid surfaces stitched together. If you want some more detailed imagery, you can always browse around NASA's planetary photojournal archive.
posted by curious nu on Jul 2, 2014 - 17 comments

Make your own solar system

The Kepler mission has changed the way we think about extrasolar planets and their abundance. It turns out that nature produces a bewildering variety of planetary systems, each in their own infinite majesty. But maybe, just maybe, you can do better? [more inside]
posted by RedOrGreen on Apr 7, 2014 - 24 comments

the time is venus square saturn

Van Cleef & Arpels, purveyors of super fine jewelry, have created the Midnight Planetarium, which holds part of the solar system on your wrist:
This new Poetic Complication timepiece provides a miniature representation of the movement of six planets around the sun and their position at any given time. Earth and Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are set in motion thanks to a self-winding mechanical movement of great complexity: equipped with an exclusive module developed in partnership with the Maison Christiaan van der Klaauw, it contains 396 separate parts. The movement of each planet is true to its genuine length of orbit: it will take Saturn over 29 years to make a complete circuit of the dial, while Jupiter will take almost 12 years, Mars 687 days, Earth 365 days, Venus 224 days and Mercury 88 days.
[more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 26, 2014 - 29 comments

Red Planet Blues

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

They get progressively less human the further they are from the Sun

"I’ve always loved space and the planets. I’ve seen a few 'human planets' sets done by other artists and most of them are pretty literal in the human department. I wanted to try making something more androgynous and godlike." [more inside]
posted by Narrative Priorities on Dec 5, 2013 - 25 comments

Planet Rise

What would the night sky look like if the other planets were as close as the moon?
posted by jim in austin on Jun 29, 2013 - 55 comments

"We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands."

Kosmos allows you to explore a virtual, computer-generated 3-d universe from your browser. Background, screen shots and hardware requirements. (Requires WebGL and a little time to load on slower computers.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 1, 2013 - 15 comments

Upcoming Sky Show

Triple conjunction. The long-awaited sunset sky show of May 2013 is beginning. In only a few days, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury will form a tight triangle in the western sky, visible to the unaided eye around the world.
posted by Long Way To Go on May 22, 2013 - 23 comments

Exoplanet Hunter

"It was one of those things that was a gift to humanity... We’re all going to lose for sure." Kepler's career is over, but not before answering one of mankind's most profound questions.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 15, 2013 - 30 comments

Mars Eats Probes

Russian amateurs may have found the lost Mars 3 Lander.
posted by Artw on Apr 12, 2013 - 13 comments

Rusty Fire Hydrant Planets

Rusty Fire Hydrant Planets
posted by Confess, Fletch on Mar 18, 2013 - 15 comments

Venus to transit sun in June

There's a little black spot on the sun today.... Venus transits the sun in June - it's a once-in-a-lifetime event for most of us. (Bonus song lyric links here and youtube here)
posted by Lynsey on May 2, 2012 - 45 comments

A circus parade passing through a cemetery

Described as a circus parade passing through a cemetery, One Ring Zero is a musical group known for its use of unusual instruments, and musical collaborations with typically non-musical people and concepts. As Smart As We Are is an album of music by ORZ, with lyrics supplied by well-known fiction writers (tracklist after the fold). More recently, One Ring Zero teamed with 'celebrity' chefs for the Recipe Project (previously), setting their favorite recipes (word for word) to music. Planets, their newest album, is "an album of new compositions to capture the splendor and complexity of our celestial neighbors." [more inside]
posted by obscurator on Apr 19, 2012 - 4 comments

full of ★☆★☆★

OMG SPACE aims to illustrate the scale and the grandeur of our solar system, as well as illustrate through the use of infographics our work in the exploration of our solar system with various spacecraft. [more inside]
posted by zamboni on Apr 3, 2012 - 19 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

The tiniest star system

Astronomers using data from NASA's Kepler mission have discovered the three smallest planets yet detected orbiting a star beyond our sun. The planets orbit a single star, called KOI-961, and are 0.78, 0.73 and 0.57 times the radius of Earth. The smallest is about the size of Mars.
posted by IvoShandor on Jan 11, 2012 - 29 comments

Other earths, circling different suns

The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog is a database of the planets outside our solar system which are considered the most suitable for life according to certain steps and metrics. So far 16 have been identified as possible candidates. This Guardian article is a good introduction. You can also just dive into the catalogue, which ranks planets on two main scales, similarity to Earth and surface habitability (note that all images are computer renderings). The catalog is a project of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at University of Puerto Rico in Arecibo (home to the world's largest radiotelescope).
posted by Kattullus on Dec 5, 2011 - 42 comments

Big Dumb Objects

Chris Foss: The Joy of Starships (More Chris Foss here)
posted by Artw on Oct 1, 2011 - 35 comments

Gordan Ugarković

Croatian software developer and amateur image processor Gordan Ugarković takes images from NASA's unmanned space probes released to the Planetary Data System, splices them together and tweaks the colors, sometimes combining higher resolution black and white images with color images, sometimes recreating what the object would look like in natural color (ie, in visible wavelengths, from images taken in multiple wavelengths), sometimes heightening the contrast to bring out detail. (via) [more inside]
posted by nangar on May 20, 2011 - 7 comments

Now, witness the power of this fully-armed and operational battle station

The discovery indicates there are many more free-floating Jupiter-mass planets that can't be seen. The team estimates there are about twice as many of them as stars. In addition, these worlds are thought to be at least as common as planets that orbit stars. This would add up to hundreds of billions of lone planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone.
posted by anigbrowl on May 18, 2011 - 52 comments

Dude, where's my planet?

Where's Tyche, the 10th 9th planet? Getting the full story. John Matese and Daniel Whitmire of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette recently made the news when they announced the possible discovery of a gas giant planet they named Tyche in the Oort Cloud, at the extreme edge of the Solar System (previously). Now ars electronica breaks down the evidence behind the announcement, what can be done to confirm or disprove its existence & how long it could take.
posted by scalefree on Mar 3, 2011 - 17 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

Make your own astronomical calendar

Several months ago, Bill Rankin of Radical Cartography (previously and previouslier) created an astronomical calendar of events for New Haven, Connecticut, where he lives, featuring all of the inexorable rhythms of the Solar System in one handy PNG file. Now you can create such a calendar for any location on the planet, with information as basic as the hours of daylight or as esoteric as the tilt of Saturn's rings, all lovingly rendered in soothing translucent pastels. [more inside]
posted by theodolite on Feb 7, 2011 - 18 comments

1000 worlds

NASAs Kepler mission has discovered over 1,100 extrasolar planet candidates. Including, "68 Earth-sized, 288 super-Earth-sized, 662 Neptune-sized, and 165 Jupiter-sized planets". 54 are found in their star's habitable zone, with five of those considered "near-Earth sized" [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Feb 3, 2011 - 65 comments

Whether they find a life there or not, I think Jupiter should be called an enemy planet.

What if other planets in the Solar System orbited Earth at the same distance as the Moon? (SLVimeo) Full screen highly recommended.
posted by grapesaresour on Jan 29, 2011 - 120 comments

Stars in my backyard

How is it possible for an individual to build a planetarium? In most cases it is impossible. One must first truly love the beauty of the night sky and be willing to share that love with others. Wisconsin Man Builds Planetarium in His Backyard. [more inside]
posted by fixedgear on Dec 5, 2010 - 20 comments

Earth as Art

Wired has selected a few of their favourite "enhanced" images of Earth taken by the Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 satellites. [more inside]
posted by gman on Nov 17, 2010 - 24 comments

"A novel metric of habitability"

Amid news of new extrasolar planet discoveries, including a system with a possible 7 planets, Greg Laughlin and Sam Arbesman have released a paper that will be published next month in the open-access journal PLoS One. "A Scientometric Prediction of the Discovery of the First Potentially Habitable Planet with a Mass Similar to Earth" (pdf of full paper) boldly predicts that: "the fi rst potentially habitable planet will be discovered, in this case, as early as May 2011, and likely by the end of 2013." NASA's Kepler mission is set to release data on hundreds of candidate planets early next year. The mission has discovered 7 so far. (Pre-vio-usly)
posted by IvoShandor on Sep 20, 2010 - 23 comments

Teeny little blocks of art

There are 9 Lego Certified Professionals. Nathan Sawaya, Rene Hoffmeister, Sean, Kenney Nicholas Foo, Dan Parker* , Robin Sather, Adam Reed Tucker, Beth Weis and Dirk Denoyelle. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Aug 24, 2010 - 23 comments

Pluto should be the hidden track

"I've been studying the planets and learning the personalities of each planet." Dr. Dre is considering a hip-hop instrumental answer to Gustav Holst.
posted by cross_impact on Aug 9, 2010 - 34 comments

"All these worlds are (like) yours except . . . "

More than 100 Earth-like planets found . . . [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Jul 23, 2010 - 48 comments

Cosmology

The ancient Hebrew Conception of the Universe. Mayan Interdimensional Star Map. A scale model of the orbits of the planets in our solar system. More by Michael Paukner (via).
posted by Artw on Jul 14, 2010 - 28 comments

That's Science!

People have been upset about Pluto's demotion for some time now. (While classical music fans have just had a love/hate relationship with this whole process.) But astronomical hate mail has never been as cute as the missives Neil deGrasse Tyson has received over the years from tots upset at poor Pluto's ouster.
posted by greekphilosophy on Mar 15, 2010 - 46 comments

Explore the Surface of Mercury

NASA's MESSENGER team (previously: 1, 2, 3), with help from the U.S. Geological Survey, released yesterday the first global map of the planet Mercury. [more inside]
posted by SpringAquifer on Dec 16, 2009 - 15 comments

At the limit of humankind's ability

Scientists at NASA will announce the first findings from the Kepler mission next month. The results have caught scientists off-guard but they aren't giving any hints as to what mission co-investigator David Latham "was not prescient enough to anticipate". [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Dec 16, 2009 - 94 comments

Orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it's reckoned...

Oh, so that's how that works. I never got the whole 'Mars in Retrograde' thing. This really helped. More than this description by Dr.Feynman of the elliptical orbit of the planets, and definitely more than this song-and-dance description of, well, the Universe.
posted by From Bklyn on Dec 3, 2009 - 18 comments

Photos of Martian landscapes

The frequently excellent photo-blog The Big Picture at the Boston Globe has posted a collection of stunning and, well, alien-looking photos of the martian landscape.
posted by Frankieist on Nov 7, 2009 - 30 comments

Zeta Reticuli is watching the Brady Bunch

If extraterrestrial civilizations are monitoring our TV broadcasts, then this is what they are currently watching.
posted by Artw on Jul 7, 2009 - 52 comments

Keep an eye in the sky

Go buy a helmet because Astronomers calculate there is a tiny chance that Mars or Venus could collide with Earth. [more inside]
posted by CaptKyle on Jun 11, 2009 - 28 comments

Blood Tide

Blood Falls - The iron rich red liquid gushing from a buried Antarctica lake shows how life may have existed on a snowball Earth, or on Europa.
posted by Artw on Apr 18, 2009 - 52 comments

I was just a broken head. I stole the world that others punctured.

Vintage alien landscapes by Kazuaki Saito
posted by Artw on Apr 9, 2009 - 8 comments

Did that star just blink?

Tonight NASA is scheduled to launch the Kepler Mission (named after planetary legislator Johannes Kepler) with the goal of finding Earth size planets in orbit around stars in the Cygnus-Lyra region of the sky. Over the next 3 and a half years it will maintain a nearly unblinking gaze on the approximately 100 thousand stars in the region. NASA expects it to find about 50 Earth size planets, as well as hundreds that are larger. You can watch the launch live on NASA TV. [more inside]
posted by borkencode on Mar 6, 2009 - 42 comments

Objects in Space

Do gravity holes harbour planetary assassins?
posted by Artw on Feb 21, 2009 - 24 comments

Martian maps

Martian maps and a few others in good quality PDF.
posted by Wolfdog on Dec 16, 2008 - 9 comments

Stars In Your Eyes

See Saturn this Saturday April 12 is the second annual International Sidewalk Astronomy Night, a worldwide event coordinated by the Sidewalk Astronomers. The group, founded in 1968 by John Dobson (subject of this documentary), is dedicated to a sort of guerrilla astronomy -- experienced stargeeks bringing their really good telescopes out to places where people are. So even on your way to the bars, the shows, and the honky-tonk you can see stuff like this and this - like these people did.
posted by Miko on Apr 10, 2008 - 16 comments

AKA The Creature, 1985

Titan find - The hydrocarbon lakes on Saturn’s moon may contain hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all of Earths known oil and natural gas reserves.
posted by Artw on Feb 13, 2008 - 54 comments

Mission to Mercury

Mercury Messenger, a NASA probe, just performed a fly-by of Mercury at a height of 200 kilometers. It's the first spacecraft to visit Mercury since 1975.
posted by Artw on Jan 14, 2008 - 21 comments

Hot space bot uses stirling engine

NASA proposes using a Stirling cooler (essentially a Stirling engine in reverse) to keep a probe cool on the surface of Venus, which has had a tendency to melt or smash previous probes. The cooler would maintain a 25cm sphere within the probe at 200°C -- 100°C above the boiling point of water but sufficiently cool for a high-temperature microcontroller to operate. The waste heat radiators on the exterior of the sphere would reach the temperature of 500°C, 40°C above the the normal Venusian surface temperature.
posted by Artw on Nov 12, 2007 - 40 comments

Space Oddity

Mars and Beyond - 50 years ago, this animated episode of Tomorrowland aired on Disneyland a few months after the launch of Sputnik - an entertaining melange of astronomy, sci-fi, pop culture, science, speculation, and surreality. Walt himself and Wernher von Braun make guest appearances and clip 5 is particularly trippy. (Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 10, 2007 - 9 comments

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