Monday, 25 January 2010

Great pictures around the Solar System

Just thought I'd do quick a round-up of some utterly wonderful pictures I've seen over the last few days. Starting with the Red Planet, which was hanging about low on the horizon to the east the other evening, looking very orange indeed: here is its "layered landscape". From NASA:

A quite different view of a landscape weirdity, reported by Phil Plait and APOD a few days later. Apparently the dark tree-like shapes are cascades of dust, disturbed and falling in an avalanche after the sublimation of frozen carbon dioxide. Personally, I just can't see them as that. My eyes persist in assuring me that they are standing up, nice and vertical against a landscape of a quite different angle - and my brain refuses to accept what is going on. It's like seeing a straight ruler over a lumpy duvet to me, and being told the ruler is the same shape as the cloth. Could somebody explain it in idiot's terms, or do I just need new glasses already? It's amazing anyway . . .

Moving a little outward, here's Jupiter - the world in the Solar System more massive than all other worlds, their moons, and all space debris such as comets and asteroids put together. Go to Phil Plait again for the article, and here to "enjovinate" or embiggen. Marvel at the gas that has formed those twisting, valley-like areas, and try to take in that the Great Red Spot could fit a couple of Earths inside.

Heading into the very heart of the Solar System, our best friend and local star behind the Moon, where it shows what we don't otherwise see. From the Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic, and another enlargement to play with here.

And finally, I don't know who developed this, but I want one! Tweeted by NASA_SDO. Now that is a proper spacebar.

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