We mentioned these guys a week or so ago. But they just finished Moon May which is a series of animated videos that explore our moon, Mars’ moons, Neptune’s moon Triton and the Pluto system.
Archive for the 'Dwarf Planets' Category
Especially if you have kids with an appreciation for science. These guys regularly do great animations that explain complex science — appropriate for all ages. They also promise a series of cool videos about cool moons in our solar system. So far they have only covered our own, next up… Mars’ Deimos and Phobos.
You Are The Sun is the latest space themed tee by Chop Shop Store. Following on iconic tees that collected various deep space missions and historic Earth orbit missions, this new design draws a new picture of The Solar System as we know it today, complete with Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot.
With your head as a stand-in for The Sun — the tee includes all 8 planets, 7 major moons, The Asteroid Belt and even details little Pluto lost among countless Kuiper Belt objects. We are now providing yet another link here to get it for Men on American Apparel 2001 or Tultex tees and for Women on American Apparel 2102 tees.
Recent Hubble images of Pluto are showing us a world that may be unexpectedly active on the surface. Such a small object so far away that takes so very long to revolve around the sun should not have very many ways to exercise such rapid changes upon its surface. Scientists studying Pluto say that the color shape shifting seen in just two years is shockingly dramatic and they know these changes are not some image artifact as Charon (Pluto’s dwarf planet partner) remains unchanged during the same period. Plainly, there is something happening on Pluto that is not taking place on another nearby body.
I expected the arrival of New Horizons at Pluto in 2015 to reveal to us another grey frozen cratered world, but instead… the encounter looks like it might be quite a bit more exciting than expected. I cannot wait to see this black, orange and active world up-close and hopefully New Horizons will also reveal to us what processes could possibly be causing such changes to take place. See Centauri Dreams for more.
I had really always thought it would be so cool to do a poster set with great design for each of the planets. I actually started a design for the Cassini at Saturn mission, but have yet to complete it. Sure enough someone comes along and knocks the whole system out in one fantastic series. Beat me to it!
Not that I am for Pluto inclusion in the planetary family… I just keep running into these references to the Plutonian contreversy.
A nice page on the Oliebollen site that offers a “Pluto Fan Club” to kids and adults who care enough to step up to bat for the little dwarf. The protest culminates in a Facebook page where you can join other dissenting opinions online. There is also this children’s activity for a Solar System mobile which I have seen first-hand.
Hard to find nicely designed planetary items. Too late maybe for Xmas, but certainly not too late to get it in time for New Horizons flyby in 2015!
I have been contacting some of my favorite space related bloggers about their potential inclusion in the upcoming Carnival of Space to be hosted here at Wandering Space on Sept. 27. Many of these individuals surprised me by admitting that they hadn’t been aware to its existence. So, in case you are unfamiliar…
The Carnival of Space is simply a regular round-up of posts relating to space exploration and research. Each issue of the carnival is hosted at a different blog location and the editor of said blog would, in effect, curate that edition of the carnival. The final result is essentially just a blog post that links out to several other blogs posts and hopefully works as a sort of “best of” collection for the past few weeks. It is a great opportunity to get a whole lot of traffic as a host and share that traffic with other bloggers by linking to their individual posts. The hope is that it will not only get people reading a single article, but maybe stay a while and check out the rest of the blog… maybe even become a regular reader or subscriber.
The last edition of the Carnival of Space (#21) was hosted at whyhomeschool.blogspot.com. That edition had a theme which was the unveiling of the Google Lunar XPrize. Like that edition, the next edition to be hosted here will have a theme of “Art and Imagery of Space”. Hopefully highlighting both people who creativly work with space imagery, as well as people who do more technical compositing and work with mission data. If you have any ideas or potential content for the next carnival please contact wanderingspace.net with your ideas. Only three days left.
Coincidentally, The Dawn Mission to the Vesta and Ceres (asteroids) is scheduled to lift-off the same day as the carnival. This has been repeatedly delayed for a while now. Hopefully the 27th sticks.
The Dawn mission to the 2 largest asteroids in our Solar System was supposed to have been launched this week, but has been postponed until September of this same year. Apparently due to Dawn’s repeated launching schedule delays it could have interrupted the launching schedule for the Mars Pheonix lander which has a less flexible launch window.
The above images are the best taken thus far of both objects by the Hubble Space Telescope (images not to scale). Vesta appears to be similar to most objects of its type with one exception… We most likely have samples of this body here on Earth as meteorites. It seems the composition of a bunch of meteors known as HED class meteors match that of observations made of Vesta. The theory is that at some point a huge impact took place on Vesta which shattered it into many fragments. Some of these Vesta originating fragments are orbiting the sun in the Asteroid belt to this day while smaller bits of this collision were thrown inward toward the sun (likely through disturbances coming from Jupiter) and some wound up landing here on Earth as meteors. If this turns out to be true, then Vesta would be one of only 5 bodies that we currently have confirmed samples of. Those additional bodies being our own moon, Mars (also through a similar natural meteoric process), Wild 2 and Earth itself.
Ceres on the other hand is the largest Asteroid in the Solar System and for a few days was considered a planet in 2006 until the definition of “planet” was fine tuned a few days later to exclude not only Ceres, but famously Pluto as well. However, an upgrade was in order and Ceres is now officially a Dwarf Planet as it maintains its own spherical shape, orbits the Sun and is not itself a moon of any other body. More interesting than its definitive status in the Solar System is the fact that it is relatively warm, may have a tenuous atmosphere and frost on the surface. Some surface features have also raised many questions about the nature of Ceres such as the dark spot that was imaged in 95 and later disappeared. Then there is the recently observed white spot which has no theoretical identity at all. Hopefully, this may mean that in 2015 we may discover that Ceres is not just another heavily cratered inactive grey body in our Solar System but another enigmatic body like Io and Enceladus that defies preconceived notions of what to expect. Who knows what processes might cause Ceres to be active on any level, but surely we have been surprised before.
Just for old times sake, I made the effort to post some kind of imagery of Pluto to complete the “classic” planetary set most of us have grown up with. For years scientists have pressed NASA to prioritize a mission to the only planet left in the solar system that has yet to be visited by any kind spacecraft and finally one was approved. Lucky for Pluto (and us) that the New Horizons mission was launched in January and is on its way to a rendezvous with Pluto in 2015. In a strange turn of events (only a few short months after launch) Pluto was demoted from planetary status to dwarf planet status… which politically may have nixed the entire mission as I am sure some of the budget hawks that make these kinds of decisions were convinced of the mission’s importance by others stressing that it was the sole unvisited planet in the solar system.
However, now scientists are excited that a new mission is already on its way to visit a whole new class of planetary bodies for the first time. This mission also expects to be able to re-route New Horizons to rendezvous with additional kuiper-belt objects after its initial Pluto mission. These targets have yet to be announced as scientists expect that some of these targets may not have even been discovered as of this time. Imagine how exciting it will be for the discoverer of a new planetary body to find out that there is already a mission on its way to explore the newly discovered object.