Space Features of the Week (10 February)

Some interesting highlights this week (and NO, I’m NOT going to talk about Falcon Heavy. The rest of the world does it, right?).

I have something else.

New Horizons (the nice cute probe that recently visited Pluto) just snapped the farthest away photograph of our planet ever (so far).

The routine calibration frame of the “Wishing Well” galactic open star cluster, made by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on Dec. 5, was taken when New Horizons was 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometres, or 40.9 astronomical units) from Earth.” (NASA Press Release

Impressive, isn’t it?

New Horizons is just the fifth spacecraft to speed beyond the outer planets, so many of its activities set distance records. On Dec. 9 it carried out the most-distant course-correction maneuver ever, as the mission team guided the spacecraft toward a close encounter with a KBO named 2014 MU69 on Jan. 1, 2019. That New Year’s flight past MU69 will be the farthest planetary encounter in history, happening one billion miles beyond the Pluto system – which New Horizons famously explored in July 2015.”

I can’t wait to see what New Horizons will do next! More awesome science awaits!

Dark matter is possibly one of the most controversial stuff in the whole universe (not a pun). A few scholars argue it is just a name to define what can’t be defined. Now “a new study suggests that the mysterious particles might be analogous to protons and electrons in that they could lose energy, allowing them to clump together and form star-like or planet-like objects.” Read the whole story here.

To me, it was a no brainer, but now we have the proof. There are exoplanets in other galaxies.

Yes, scientists at the University of Oklahoma just found out evidence of planets beyond the Milky Way galaxy. “These extragalactic planets have masses between those of the Moon and Jupiter, and they fully confirm suspicions that our galaxy isn’t the only one to house planets.”

Read the news clipping here and the scientific article at this link.

Yes, we do leave in interesting times, people!


  1. sjhigbee

    It is an amazing time to be alive!

    1. Steph P. Bianchini (Post author)

      Indeed 🙂


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