Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tiny Mimas, huge Saturn

Saturn is a gas giant, and we all know it's really big. But this photograph, taken by the Cassini spacecraft, really puts the ringed planet's hugeness into perspective.

That's Mimas in front with Saturn filling the background. As a reference, Mimas is 392 kilometers in diameter, or 244 miles. That's pretty small, but it's still a decent-sized object, and it really highlights the immenseness of its mother planet.

Someday, I'm sure, we will have humans traveling to these sections of our solar system, and hopefully such sights will be seen with actual human eyes, live and in full color. Perhaps such flights will even become commonplace, though I'm sure that will be well after my time.

But I hope we get there, eventually.

Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute. More information on the picture here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hoaxing is hard

Sometimes, you have to be pretty obvious. Xkcd proves that.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fighting panda extinction

Maybe we shouldn't give them such calm, quiet-sounding names.

HONG KONG - A giant panda named Peace bit a park keeper's left leg while he was laying bamboo leaves in the animal's pen at a Hong Kong amusement park, officials said Tuesday.

The worker was recovering well in hospital after the attack at Ocean Park, which has four giant pandas from China, park spokeswoman Christie Lau said.

Lau said park officials were still investigating the Nov. 30 incident involving the male panda, whose name, An An, means "peace" in Mandarin.

They are wild animals, and they will act like it from time to time. And I don't think they're very cute, either.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Gravity waves

Do you think the rings of Saturn are perfect and crisp? They're not.

Here's a photo of Saturn's F ring, which has been warped by the gravitational influence of the small moon Prometheus.


Image courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute. Original with explanation found here.