Dec 2011

Countdown to 12/20/11


Here is today’s countdown coming from what is called the Queen of the Himalayas (Mount Everest pictures later!).

4. Earth-size exoplanets

With better senstivity of telescopes, it is now possible to observe Earth-size exoplanets! However, we need bigger telescopes to observe their atmospheric spectra and figure out whether there are any signs of life.


3. Dust avalanches on Mars

Mars has a very thin atmosphere, and anything falling from space directly impacts its surface without much hindrance. Recently, it has been observed that shock waves due to meteorite impacts can trigger avalanches…


2. Comet Lovejoy survives

A heroic tale of survival. Comet Lovejoy’s trajectory was so close to the Sun that it was expected to get swallowed up as it went closer and behind our line of sight. Unexpectedly, it appeared behind the disk in one piece, although much smaller due to evaporation of most of its material.


1. Visualize exoplanets

As our knowledge about the ever increasing number of exoplanets is growing, based on the measurements and estimates of its physical characteristics, it is now possible to visualize them using this tool. I haven’t explored much, but it seems like a great tool for outreach!


Dimitra Atri Posted by
Dimitra Atri
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