Expanding horizons little and big. Our world is a marvelous place.
Beyond the familiar solar system of the planets we all know lies the Kuiper Belt with dwarf planets and other frozen terrestrial bodies. It begins beyond Neptune and extends a long way out. After New Horizons visits Pluto and Charon in 2015 for a year, it will venture out into the Kuiper Belt, the outer solar system, a place we don’t know much about.
Beyond it lies the ‘theorized’ Oort cloud, where some comets may originate from. In this edge of the solar system, only one object was known to exist, the dwarf planet, Sedna, discovered in 2003. 76 AU from the sun, it was the most distant object from the sun known to exist.
Recently, another was found, 2012 VP113, nicknamed Biden. Its closest orbit brings it in to 80 AU [astronomical unit = 80 x 93 million, an astronomical unit is the distance from Earth to the sun and is how the solar system distances are measured. Beyond our solar system, light years is used as the measurement].
Its irregular orbit hints at a larger planet beyond it, a planet 10x the size of our Earth. That’s exciting stuff. For more information, visit HERE
Bright Spot on Mars
Images taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on April 2 and April 3 include bright spots, which might be due to the sun glinting off a rock or cosmic rays striking the camera’s detector.
You can see the glint in the upper left hand corner.
The image from April 3, from Curiosity’s Navigation Camera, is online at:
Sand Under a Microsope
And this is what plain brown sand looks like under a microscope. Taken by Gary Greenberg. You can find out more about it HERE
Something we think of as plain is extremely beautiful and complex.
Big and small, discoveries are fantastic. Aren’t they? Have you discovered anything lately? Please share.