10 New Discoveries That Will Blow Your Mind
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Paul Hertz, NASA’s astrophysics director, says it would cost about $1 billion to equip and launch a WFIRST and that’s cheap for such a thing. It’s still money NASA has to come up with so at the moment it might be a while before the surprise gifts are put to use. As Lemonick writes, “astronomers will just enjoy the improbable fact that they've been given two shiny, brand-new toys to play with — and Christmas is still half a year away.”
10. Transit of pizza
It felt like an impromptu holiday earlier this week, getting ready for the once-in-a-lifetime transit of Venus, when that planet passed between the earth and the sun. Here in Orlando, woolly gray rain clouds blanketed the sky too heavily to get a good look but that was okay. Plenty of other resources captured it spectacularly including these photos, 40 of them, from Space.com’s stunning and varied gallery of photos from Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory of the Transit of Venus.
The first photo shows the sun looking molten and alive like a ball of lava. The next, shot by astronaut Don Pettit from the International Space Station -- the first pictures of Venus transit to be shot from space, says Tariq Malik of the Christian Science Monitor -- shows the sun as a serene, russet ball with Venus in the lower left corner, like a beauty mark. In some it looks ellipsoidal, in some baby blue, in some like molten gold. Here’s video of the high definition view (as in image 4) of Venus traveling across the sun, and because it’s on YouTube, a myriad of other ways to see it. Photo 9 shows Oscar Martin Mesonero (right) and Pablo Gonzalez Pena, who came all the way from of Salamanca, Spain to California for the event.
My admitted favorite, though is number 19 -- the very artistic Olive Transit of Pizza. Because it’s nice to be reminded, as you look at the arresting perfection and enormity of the universe, that there are some things on Earth that make it okay as well.