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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

astronomy

Spaaaaaaaaaaace

The Hunt for Aliens Just Got a Boost

Or, to put things in more scientific lingo, it’s been discovered that stars’ “Goldilocks zones” are bigger than previously thought. Which means we’re more likely to find A) aliens and B) a place for humanity to set off to when the inevitable robot apocalypse happens. Or maybe it’s a zombie apocalypse. Or a plain old nuclear one. The specifics, at least, are still up in the air.

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Spaaaaaaaaaaace

Gallifrey Falls No More: Scientists Discover a Planet that Shouldn’t Exist

Yes, there is a petition to name it Gallifrey.

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It Came From Outer Space

The Lowest Mass Planet Directly Imaged Outside Of Our Solar System Is Pink

The image above may look like part of the advertisement for Mars Explorer Barbie, but it’s not. Scientists were recently able to directly observe and acquire and image of planet GJ 504b. GJ 504b is not only the planet with the lowest mass of any that has been directly imaged in the past, but is also pink.

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It Came From Outer Space

SETI Asks the Internet to Name Pluto’s Smallest Moons, Is Probably Already Inundated With Meme-Related Write-Ins

…But the names have to be related to Greek mythology, specifically to Hades (or, as the Romans knew him, Pluto) and the underworld. And no, the fact that listening to NyanCat for too long makes one want to die doesn’t count.

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she blinded me with science

Star Wars Has Lied to Us: Traveling Through Hyperspace Would Actually Look Pretty Boring

Also, there is just no way you can measure Force sensitivity with a blood test. I refuse to accept that. George Lucas, you’ve tricked me for the last time.

Physics students at the University of Leicester took it upon themselves to discover what the view from a spaceship traveling near the speed of light would actually look like. And… well, it’s the right side of the image up above. Just a blurry circular gradient. Bummer.

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It Came From Outer Space

Watch 9 Billions Years of the Universe Condensed Into 80 Seconds

The universe is, to say the least, mind-blowing. The above computer-animation is kind of like a visual representation of that, created at Harvard from a software called Arepo and simulating “9 billion years of cosmic history.”

So why not start your day off with something that meets the old-timey definition of the word awesome while making you feel really, really tiny in relation to the rest of the world?

(via Gizmodo)

Vital Information for Your Everyday Life

The Transit of Venus: Ignore All That Advice About Not Looking At the Sun (We’re Kidding)

It’s time for one of those rare instances when the planets and star of the universe align in a certain way that none of us will ever see again in our lifetimes. Unless we have time lords among us, of course. The transit of Venus, which means that we Earthlings will be able to observe Venus moving across the face of the Sun, is happening over the course of seven hours today (tomorrow for the Eastern hemisphere) and it won’t happen again until 2117. But how are we mere mortals supposed to observe such a thing when we’ve been told all our lives that looking into the Sun was bad? Here’s how you can look into the Sun. (But not the trap. Seriously, don’t look into the trap, Egon.)

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so long and thanks for all the fish

R.I.P. Patsy Tombaugh, Pluto’s Crusader

While we readily admit to nostalgic sympathy with the tiny planetoid known as Pluto, when the International Astronomical Union gets together and finally puts a definition on “planet,” well… that’s science.

Okay, it’s not so much research and hypothesis as much as it is classification and taxonomy, but without the latter the former would be a lot more difficult. Folks on the losing side of the Pluto debate weren’t wrong in their research… they just wanted a larger definition. Last week, the small planetoid lost one of its big supporters, Patsy Tombaugh.

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It's Aliiiiiiiiiiiive!

The Bright Moonlight That Inspired Mary Shelley to Write Frankenstein Was Probably Real

Once upon a time in 1816, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin gathered alongside Lord Byron, John Polidori, and the man who would become her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley. A group of ambitious and creative writers, the quartet agreed to each write their own ghost story, but the woman who later became Mary Shelley was stuck with “that blank incapability of invention which is the greatest misery of authorship.” In other words, she had writer’s block. (Sing it, sister.) However, one night, after discussing the possibility of a man being reanimated by lightning, Shelley had an experience involving a bright stream of a moonlight, spilling into her room through the shutters. And then she wrote Frankenstein. Some have disputed her story about how she struggled for days to come with the story, saying that this was just a romanticized tale to hook her audience, but astronomers are now saying that she was probably not making it up: Mary Shelley was most likely witness to a “bright, gibbous moon” in the wee hours of June 16, 1816, which must have been a few struggle-filled days after the ghost story challenge.

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It Came From Outer Space

Astronomers Have Discovered a Real Version of Tatooine

To your left is an artist’s rendering of the newly-discovered planet, Kepler-16b. And if you’re wondering if those are two moons, you are mistaken — they are two stars, similar to two suns. Described as a “Saturn-like world,” Kepler-16b is the first planet ever discovered to orbit two “suns.” And that has a lot of people comparing it “jokingly” to a certain planet in a certain well-known science fiction saga … Indeed, this might be the closest version of Tatooine (or Gallifrey) that we’ll ever see in real life.

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