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The Countdown, Episode 10 – Makemake’s Shadow, Mars or Bust, a Super Jupiter, Monster Quasar, Moon Mash-Up

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Story 5

In 2005, the dwarf planet Makemake passed between the Earth and a very bright star, casting a shadow known as an occultation. A new study of data collected from the occultation reveals that Makemake lacks an atmosphere.

Links:
Rare Apparition of Dwarf Planet Makemake Reveals a Largely Airless World

Story 4

Internet billionaire and SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced his plans for a future Mars colony of 80,000 people.  The price tag for a flight to the Martian colony: $500,000.

Links:
Martian Colony Designed by Private Space Flight Company

Story 3

Astronomers have discovered a giant gaseous planet about 13 times the size of Jupiter.  The “super jupiter” is challenging previous notions of how planets form in solar systems with large stars.

Links:
“Super-Jupiter” Discovery Dwarfs Solar System’s Largest Planet

Story 2

The Very Large Telescope, belonging to the European Southern Observatory, has caught a glimpse of the most powerful quasar ever discovered.

Links:
Biggest Black Hole Blast Ever Could Solve Cosmological Mystery

Story 1

The moons of gas giants like Neptune and Uranus are arranged in a pattern where the smallest moons are closest to the planet and become gradually larger as you move farther out. This pattern has baffled scientists, but a new model explains how it could have emerged from rings of gas and dust similar to Saturn’s.

Links:
Solar System’s Moons May Have Emerged from Long-Gone Planetary Rings

 

 

About the Author: Eric is multimedia journalist and producer who specializes in science and natural history. His work has appeared on the websites of Scientific American, Nature, Nature Medicine, Popular Science, Slate and The New York Times among many others. He is a former video producer & editor for Scientific American. Follow on Twitter @EricROlson.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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