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Solar System

  1. Here’s What Space Would Be Like If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel Wide

    You may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space!

    As Douglas Adams once famously noted, space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. Graphic artist Josh Worth didn't think you all were quite getting it, so he decided to shrink the solar system down to "tediously accurate scale" for you.

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  2. You Have To Play With This Interactive Map Of The Galaxy

    Because you probably didn't feel small or insignificant enough today.

    Thanks to the amazing powers of the internet (and super-creative developers), you can now travel through interstellar space without any fear of ending up like Sandra Bullock in Gravity. Click over to the 100,000 Stars interactive map of the galaxy, and fly through space from the safety of your own bedroom!

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  3. SETI Researcher Discovers New 14th Moon of Neptune

    The tiny satellite -- just 12 miles across -- is practically invisible, and was even missed by the Voyager probe.

    As we discover more and more amazing features of space -- like mind-bogglingly massive baby stars and exoplanets that could one day be a new cradle for humanity -- it's worth remembering that we still have plenty of things to learn about our own little corner of the cosmos. The face of our solar system got a new wrinkle this week when NASA announced the discovery of a new moon in orbit around Neptune. The tiny satellite -- just 12 miles across --  is the fourteenth to be found orbiting the icy outer planet.

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  4. Voyager 1 Reaches Edge of Our “Solar Bubble”

    It's not quite out of the solar system yet, but at 11 billion miles from the Sun it's certainly getting there.

    The Voyager 1 spacecraft was in the news a few months ago when it was falsely reported that it had left the solar system. It still hasn't left the Sun's magnetic field, but NASA says it is at the final barrier of the heliosphere. It could still be months or years before Voyager 1 crosses that barrier, but when it does it will be the first human-made craft to enter interstellar space.

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  5. Twitter Celebrates Earth Day By Being Rude To All Other Planets

    The original intent behind Earth Day was to celebrate the planet we live on and remind us to be be good stewards of it. Unfortunately, since we've continued to more throughly destroy that planet every year since the first Earth Day in 1970, we now need a new thing to celebrate on Earth Day. May we suggest Weird Planetary Jingoism? It turns out, Twitter was way ahead of us on this idea, so here are some of the morning's best tweets ragging on other planets.

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  6. NASA Says Everyone Needs to Chill, Voyager Has Not Left The Solar System

    The Internet's been blowing up over the news that the Voyager 1 spacecraft was the first man-made object to leave our solar system, except that it's not true. NASA and the JPL have announced that, though they're aware of the paper that everyone's talking about, they're not buying it. The official Voyager team says that although it's on the outer edges, Voyager 1 hasn't yet broken out into interstellar space. So calm down. It hasn't happened yet -- but it will eventually.

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  7. Protoplanet Vesta Is Always Reapplying Its Celestial Makeup

    Many of us will be donning a fresh layer of  makeup and fake blood for this evening's many Halloween parties, but we're not the only ones in the solar system doing so. Vesta, which is either a giant asteroid or the beginnings of a planet that never quite made good on its potential, depending on who you ask, is continually updating its appearance. New data from NASA's Dawn mission shows that Vesta isn't affected by certain forms of cosmic weathering, and, in a way, manages to stay forever young, complicating efforts to gather information about the asteroid's history.

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  8. Pluto Strikes Back: Moons, Possible Rings of Former Planet Could Damage NASA Probe

    It's been more than six years since Pluto was demoted from its once vaunted status as the ninth planet in our solar system to one of more than 40 dwarf planets. While it is, yes, scientifically accurate, the decision has never set well with plenty of folks, yours truly included. The former ninth planet didn't have a chance to defend itself from NASA's slings and arrows during the review process, but it might get a chance at a little vengeance in a couple of years, watching its moons -- and even the rings it might have -- bang around NASA's New Horizons Probe on its way out of the solar system.

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  9. Water On Moon’s Surface Created By Solar Winds, Could Suggest Water Present On Asteroids

    Researchers from the University of Tennessee have found proof for the theory that water present on the surface of the Moon is the product of solar winds. This work not only shows that other teams have been on the right track, but suggests that large, planet like bodies such as asteroids could also house water created by the same process, in which solar winds carry charged hydrogen particles millions of miles to bond with oxygen particles, producing water molecules in unexpected places.

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  10. The Sweden Solar System

    At first, I thought this was yet another Wikipedia defacement and some kind of Swedenophile had changed around the page on Sweden to make it the center of celestial neighborhood. Thankfully I was wrong, and what you're looking at is the world's largest scale model of the solar system. Starting with the sun, as represented by Ericson Globe building in Stockholm, the 1:20 million scale model spans the entire length of the country.

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