How can the shadow of the tiny moon eclipse the sight of the gargantuan sun? By sheer coincidence, the disc of the sun is 400x larger than the disc of the moon, but it’s 390x farther from Earth — which means that when they align just right, the moon blocks all but the sun’s glowing corona. Andy Cohen details this extraordinary celestial phenomenon (and when it will next occur).
Saturn’s giant moon Titan is dotted with hydrocarbon lakes and seas that bear an uncanny resemblance to bodies of water on Earth. Strangely, though, Titan’s lakes and seas have no waves.
Take a picture of Saturn in the sky tonight. You could capture a view like this one. Recorded just last month looking toward the south, planet Earth and ruins of the ancient temple of Athena at Assos, Turkey are in the foreground. The Moon rises at the far left of the frame and Saturn is the bright “star” at the upper right, near Virgo’s alpha star Spica (picture with labels). If you do take a picture of Saturn or wave at Saturn and take a picture, you can share it online and submit it to the Saturn Mosaic Project. Why take a picture tonight? Because the Cassini spacecraft will be orbiting Saturn and taking a picture of you.
Drinking coffee in space is surprisingly tricky. Physicists researching the strange behavior of fluids onboard the International Space Station have invented a zero-g coffee cup to make the morning “cuppa Joe” a little easier to swallow.
Which moon is this? Earth’s. Our Moon’s unfamiliar appearance is due partly to an unfamiliar viewing angle as captured by a little-known spacecraft — the Soviet Union’s Zond 8 that circled the Moon in October of 1970.
Dark Cloud SDC 335.579-0.292 was observered by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter array (ALMA) in Chile. It is 500 times the mass of the Sun and the largest ever seen in the Milky Way.