January 2010

Transit Map of the Milky Way Galaxy

Samuel Arbesman, in

an effort to diagram and present our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy in a way that non-scientists could grasp in terms of relationships and space, came up with a nifty graphic tool. He diagramed the Milky Way by using a convention Subway Transit map as a model. It's pretty cool; click here to read more. Click the image for a larger view with information about scale and the color-coding. 

The Kepler Mission

NASA's Kepler Mission is dedicated to exploring the universe on the hunt for habitable planets.  The Kepler project launched in March of 2009, and consists of a very awesome telescope which finds planets based on the "habitable zone" of a star.  

A star's habitable zone is the swath of space in which a habitable planet might exist.  Earth obviously is square in the middle of Sol's habitable zone.  Too far out and you're too cold to easily support life, like the icy Neptune.  Too close in and you're molten hot, like Mercury.

The Toddler Universe

Aaaaah, it’s so cute. Or at least that’s probably what researchers were saying after they saw this picture of the Universe at aged 600 million years. Considering that Hubble, the ultimate in telescopes, has revealed data estimating that the Universe is 13.7 billion years old, the Universe is more like a bumbling toddler.  Due to the young age of the galaxies, there isn't much color and the poor Universe doesn't look quite as good as it does now.