Looking Closer and Testing Theories

Last week, while looking at some of the best images from the Cassini spacecraft, I commented on the fact that the smooth rings of Saturn are small, varied chunks of ice and rock when you get down to the smaller scales.  Reflecting on that this morning, I was thinking about how observing objects in our universe at smaller scales gives new insight into the variety and complexity of natural phenomena.  Not long after, I came across a story of a new interesting object in our own Solar System. A new binary asteroid was discovered.  This in itself isn’t too different...

Constellation Series: Orion

Since the dawn of human history, we have looked up into the night sky and found patterns in the stars.  Some of us saw animals, others saw gods and heroes, but we all agreed that they were greater than our simple existence. In this blog series, we will take a deeper look into the constellations that Astronomers use to map today’s night sky.  We will look into the history of each of the 88 constellations and the stars and objects that form them, to discover more about our culture, and our connection with the universe. Our first constellation on the list is bright, large,...

Asteroid Belt vs. Kuiper Belt vs. Oort Cloud

Ever wondered the difference? The Asteroid Belt, shown above, consists of hundreds of thousands of rocks, with all kinds of different shapes, ranging in size from the Dwarf Planet Ceres at 950 Km in Diameter, down to small bits the size of dust particles.  It lies between Mars and Jupiter. The Kuiper Belt (pronounced Kai-per) consists of Icy rocks, and it a major source of short-period Comets in the Solar system.  Extending beyond the planet Neptune, Pluto was discovered to be one of the largest objects in the belt. The mysterious Oort cloud is a collection of Comets, thought to...