The Countdown, a collaboration between Scientific American and YouTube's Spacelab, is a biweekly video show highlighting the best stuff happening in space, astronomy and physics. The companion Countdown blog features links to all of the stories mentioned in the show and more. Science journalist Sophie Bushwick is the show's host.
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The Countdown, Episode 10 – Makemake’s Shadow, Mars or Bust, a Super Jupiter, Monster Quasar, Moon Mash-Up
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.
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.