Saturday, January 31, 2009

Space Stuff: Eyes to the Sky

NASA is about to launch a new space telescope. This one's mission is to look for planets outside our own solar system using a digital camera with a one meter lens to look for the minute brightness changes that occur when a planet passes across a distant star's face. Slashdot has a nice link roundup. Finding other planets is crucial to searching for alien life, not to mention finding a new place to put our stuff if this one goes south.

If any of your friends are in a crazy comet cult, you may want to distract them for the next couple of months, because comet Lulin is going to be visible to the naked eye in February. I remember when Hale-Bopp came through quite vividly, and not just because of the poor people in Heaven's Gate. The sight of it in the cold winter skies over Clemson back in 1997 was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch a glimpse of Lulin as well.

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