Every so often, it's good to take a look up into the sky and think about how small our troubles are -- compared to the size of the universe. Our little planet orbits a second (or maybe third) generation star, burning up heavier elements from previous stars that no longer exist. As Carl Sagan famously said
, "We're made of star stuff." So as some of us take a couple days off to be thankful for the things we have, check out some of these links about our solar system.
- Jupiter's red spot has existed for centuries, but the reason why this vortex persists isn't immediately obvious. Apparently, three dimensional simulations are getting closer to explaining how the Great Red Spot (GRS) absorbs energy from both horizontal and vertical winds. (Also, it's interesting to note that Kepler predicted a red spot on Jupiter about 200 years before it was observed -- but only because he decoded a message from Galileo incorrectly.) [url]
- There are a lot of stars in the universe, but how many of them can you actually see with your own eyes at night? If the earth didn't block your view of half the sky, you might see around 5,000 stars, but since you're stuck on the ground, you only see about 2,500 stars. [url]
- You might remember that Pluto was discovered in 1930 as our solar system's ninth planet, and that it has been downgraded to the classification "dwarf planet" or a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) or a Trans-Neptunian Object (TNO). But what you might not know is that Pluto hasn't yet completed a trip around the sun since people first named it because Pluto's year lasts 248 Earth years. [url]
If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post