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
posted by filthy light thief
on Aug 21, 2014 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
Tour the solar system from a browser window.
"Eyes on the Solar System", currently in beta, from JPL and Caltech.
Yes, you have to allow a 3rd party plugin. Sorry about that.
Zoom in to earth, and the sunrise line is accurate for the current time. Zoom to asteroids, satellites, or planets. Rewind time to watch Voyager go home.
posted by lothar
on Mar 16, 2011 -
Flash Friday Fun!
Excellent, physics-based game wherein you control the sun, trying to grab planets and keep them in orbit. Any game that includes the admonition not to "go hyperbola" is OK by me.
posted by MrMoonPie
on Aug 15, 2008 -
Did the roof of the Pantheon influence Copernicus?
Are the planets of the solar system aligned in accordance with a nearly-forgotten hypothesis known (unfairly) as Bode's Law
? A fascinating wide-ranging discussion on BLDGBLOG with Walter Murch
, the visionary editor and sound designer for such films as The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, THX1138,
and many others. [Murch's film work has previously been discussed here
posted by digaman
on Apr 7, 2007 -
My very elegant mother just sat upon ninjas
... the textbooks, mnemonic devices and more will have to be changed today. Pluto has been demoted from its status as planet to a dwarf planet
. We now have 8 in our solar system. The debate is not at all new
, and its apparent resolution may not matter to our everyday lives, but it's just a little weird to think of all of the things that will have to be retroactively edited or amended as a result.
posted by twiggy
on Aug 24, 2006 -
Explore our local chunk of space. Here
is a scale view of the Solar System, and here
one can take a quick trip around it. Use the guidebook
to plan your trip (but beware the pop-up ads). Don't forget to bring a camera
and snap some photos
posted by dazed_one
on Nov 12, 2005 -