Phil Plait

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This is great, but I'll note Boebert handily won her primary and she is so far from reality she couldn't see it using Hubble. twitter.com/Taniel/status/…
Come to think of it, I've been ill for a few days and writing has been very difficult. I've watched a lot of movies, so maybe it's time for a rewatch. Wheee! [It's not COVID; I'll have a newsletter about it next week I hope, but I'm doing better, thanks]
Also I've watched it maybe 30 times so how the HELL did I miss this? Probably because I haven't watched it since Apple became a thing. So to speak.
John Carpenter's "The Thing" is far and away my favorite horror film, a masterpiece of suspicion and fear. SYFY has a great article on its 40th anniversary (!!). syfy.com/syfy-wire/john…
5/ So by studying asteroids we learn literally how we came to be, and also maybe how to maintain that status (versus getting whacked with a civilization-ending impact). Win-win! Saving the world while understanding it better. Science! syfy.com/syfy-wire/bad-…
4/ Should a rock like Ryugu be on an Earth-impacting, pushing it out of the way isn't so easy. It's so porous that hitting it with a probe would use up a lot of energy just jostling the rocks instead of moving it! So we need to study them more to learn how to move them better.
3/ What scientists found is that a lot of the material formed in water, probably only 5 million years after the solar system formed! That's a mere 0.1% of our present age, for comparison. Yet it still has very interesting chemistry, including amino acids. Incredible.
2/ Ryugu is 900 meters wide, and on an orbit that could, one day, have it impact Earth. It's also a rubble pile, a loosely bound pile of rocks, so fragile that they break apart if you touch them. The @haya2e_jaxa Hayabusa2 spacecraft took samples and sent them to Earth for study.
More for #AsteroidDay: The weird little asteroid Ryugu has some of the oldest and most pristine material in the solar system... some of which formed in liquid water! And oh yeah, it also has amino acids, the precursors for life. syfy.com/syfy-wire/bad-…
I'm so proud of mesa mis.
My friend and colleague @TheSpaceGal is a wonder. Go Emily! twitter.com/TheSpaceGal/st…
I worked with the comm folks at GFSC when I was there and they're a fine group. This is a great opportunity. twitter.com/ChelseyBallart…
Some solid advice on how to help, by my friend @rebeccawatson. twitter.com/rebeccawatson/…
On Fox News tonight: A caravan of pro-choice antifas left a pile of bricks next to the space laser platform aimed at churches filled with guns.
And if there *were* an investigation into gas prices it would show fossil fuel industry's unchecked greed and the GOP happily, actively enabling it.
<sniff sniff> Smells like desperation
Grab this, hold it tightly in your fist next to your heart, and remember there *is* just honest good in the world; sometimes it's small but it more than makes up for that in numbers and if even just once or twice we can all add an increment to it. twitter.com/infamousfiddle…
We knew then and we know it even more now. twitter.com/BadAstronomer/…
Whoa. Look at how the shadow of the moon is elongated due to the curvature of Jupiter! twitter.com/peachastro/sta…
10/10 Asteroids can be a threat, and we need to take that seriously. But it's a threat we can mitigate, and *at the same time* learn a huge amount about them, our solar system, and our cosmic history. Everybody wins. #ScienceFTW syfy.com/syfy-wire/bad-…
8/ This work was created in part by the @b612foundation, and I wrote about it due to Thursday being #AsteroidDay, a global effort to raise awareness about both the danger and promise of asteroids. Find out more about that here: asteroidday.org/asteroid-day-2…
7/ In fact the astronomers who developed it used to look for rocks and found more than *100* previously unknown asteroids in old data. And that was just in a small part of a huge database, so it's just a taste of what can be done.
6/ It's of course WAY more complicated in reality, but the method speeds up the search considerably. Its real power, though, comes from its ability to be used efficiently with old, archived images. It can mine a database to look for asteroids in observations taken years ago.
5/ From this, the orbit of the asteroid can be mathematically determined. This works, and works well, but does have disadvantages (explained in the linked article in Tweet 1). The new method inverts this. It assumes an orbit, then looks for movement roughly matching it.
4/ The science of this is pretty dang amazing. We look for asteroids by taking sequential images of one spot in the sky. Stars don't move, asteroids do. They make little tracks across the sky.
3/ I also considered some variations of Ragnaspacerock, so consider yourself lucky.
2/ Yes, that tweet is clickbait. Yes, I am not super proud of that. But I am so proud of the subheadline that it not only makes up for the lack of pride for that tweet but also makes me think I should submit it for subheadline Pulitzer, a category I just made up.
A new method *hugely* accelerates our ability to find potentially Earth-whacking asteroids. The method is called THOR, which leads to what I think is my greatest subheadline of all time. syfy.com/syfy-wire/bad-…
Of course, OF COURSE, today's SCOTUS ruling was based entirely on BS. twitter.com/mjs_DC/status/…
The country is on fire and I am too enraged and sad to be clever, so here's Daisy snoozing in the recliner. instagr.am/p/CfUeU34JF12/
There's also an issue every Thursday with more science and opinions and personal stuff for paid subbies. Same link though, so just pick which you'd like. Thanks! It takes significant effort to put these out twice a week, so I appreciate folks signing up.
This is my weekly Monday FREE issue of the Bad Astronomy newsletter. Wanna sign up? It's easy! Just drop the ol' email addy here: badastronomy.substack.com/subscribe
Also (as pictured above) some fun science with the Banana Nebula (banana not shown for scale since I'd need about 4 quintillion of them end-to-end) and the terrifying star lighting it up.
Thursday is Asteroid Day! Lots of events are planned, and I have links and info: badastronomy.substack.com/p/ban-439-happ…
6/6 We may be seeing very roughly what the Sun looked like when it was very young, before things settled down into the orderly system we see today. Stars like this help us understand how our own planets formed! Want more info? Here ya go: syfy.com/syfy-wire/bad-…
5/ The obvious culprit is an unseen planet likely on an elliptical orbit itself, its gravity pulling on the dust and shaping the ring. It might also be funneling dust from the outer ring down to the inner one, which might explain why they aren't aligned as well.
4/ The ring is like to our own Kuiper Belt, icy bodies orbiting the Sun well past Neptune. They collide and make dust, which would look a bit like HD 53143 from a long distance. But in the case of the other star something must be yanking on the dust, making it elliptical.
3/ If this were a circular ring seen at an angle the star would be centered, so the ring MUST be an ellipse. Orbiting dust piles up at the part of its orbit where it's moving slowest, which is the farthest point from the star. The ring looks brighter there (to the lower right).
2/ This system is complicated. There's an inner dust ring that appears to be misaligned with the bigger one. Both are so small that it's hard to get details! The super-hi-res @almaobs observations do show some interesting features though…
We have seen dozens of circular rings around very young stars — material out of which planets are forming. But HD 53143 is different: Its ring is off-center, clearly elliptical! Why? Best guess: A planet or planets forming there kicking up some dust. syfy.com/syfy-wire/bad-…
President DeSantis will mandate these for every bathroom. The no-bid contract will be awarded to My Pillow. twitter.com/Annaleen/statu…
With Roe v Wade overturned, and the lives of women all over America in mortal danger, I can only ask, why oh why didn't we listen to @billmaher when he tried to warn us that college campuses are too woke?
Retweeted by Phil Plait
Some people are defending Cornyn saying that he just means that overturning precedent is ok sometimes. But given what's happening, and given Corny's history, you are being really really really really really generous.
Holy sweet merciful crap. Cornyn tweeted this with one hand while feverishly clutching a white hood in the other.
My friend Moogega is a great speaker. Her TED talk is very much worth watching. twitter.com/indusspaceCA/s…
Wow. If you can, this is how you do it. twitter.com/BWJones/status…
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