Is your favorite Star Wars planet a desert world or an ice planet or a jungle moon?
It’s possible that your favorite planet exists right here in our galaxy. Astronomers have found over 3,400 planets around other stars, called “exoplanets.”
Some of these alien worlds could be very similar to arid Tatooine, watery Scarif and even frozen Hoth, according to NASA scientists.
Find out if your planet exists in a galaxy far, far away or all around you. And May the Fourth be with you!
Planets With Two Suns
From Luke Skywalker’s home world Tatooine, you can stand in the orange glow of a double sunset. The same could said for Kepler-16b, a cold gas giant roughly the size of Saturn, that orbits two stars. Kepler-16b was the Kepler telescopes’s first discovery of a planet in a “circumbinary” orbit (that is, circling both stars, as opposed to just one, in a double star system).
The best part is that Tatooine aka Kepler-16b was just the first. It has family. A LOT of family. Half the stars in our galaxy are pairs, rather than single stars like our sun. If every star has at least one planet, that’s billions of worlds with two suns. Billions! Maybe waiting for life to be found on them.
Mars is a cold desert planet in our solar system, and we have plenty of examples of scorching hot planets in our galaxy (like Kepler-10b), which orbits its star in less than a day)! Scientists think that if there are other habitable planets in the galaxy, they’re more likely to be desert planets than ocean worlds. That’s because ocean worlds freeze when they’re too far from their star, or boil off their water if they’re too close, potentially making them unlivable. Perhaps, it’s not so weird that both Luke Skywalker and Rey grew up on planets that look a lot alike.
An icy super-Earth named OGLE-200-BLG-390Lb reminded scientists so much of the frozen Rebel base they nicknamed it “Hoth,” after its frozen temperature of minus 364 degrees Fahrenheit. Another Hoth-like planet was discovered last month; an Earth-mass icy world orbiting its star at the same distance as Earth orbits the sun. But its star is so faint, the surface of OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb is probably colder than Pluto.
Both the forest moon of Endor and Takodana, the home of Han Solo’s favorite cantina in “Force Awakens,” are green like our home planet. But astrobiologists think that plant life on other worlds could be red, black, or even rainbow-colored!
In February 2017, the Spitzer Space Telescope discovered seven Earth-sized planets in the same system, orbiting the tiny red star TRAPPIST-1.
The light from a red star, also known as an M dwarf, is dim and mostly in the infrared spectrum (as opposed to the visible spectrum we see with our sun). And that could mean plants with wildly different colors than what we’re used to seeing on Earth. Or, it could mean animals that see in the near-infrared.
What About Moons?
In Star Wars, Endor, the planet with the cute Ewoks, is actually a habitable moon of a gas giant. Now, we’re looking for life on the moons of our own gas giants. Saturn’s moon Enceladus or Jupiter’s moon Europa are ocean worlds that may well support life. Our Cassini spacecraft has explored the Saturn system and its moons. Watch the video and learn more about the missions’s findings.
The next few years will see the launch of a new generation of spacecraft to search for planets around other stars. TESS and the James Webb Telescope are slated to launch in 2018, and WFIRST in the mid-2020s. That’s one step closer to finding life.
You might want to take our ‘Star Wars: Fact or Fiction?’ quiz. Try it! Based on your score you may obtain the title of Padawan, Jedi Knight, or even Jedi Master!
You don’t need to visit a galaxy far, far away to find wondrous worlds. Just visit this one … there’s plenty to see.
Earl Grey Shortbread - cookies for prosperity and peace
Here’s a pretty simple recipe for cookies that I make a few times a month for my salon.
1 cup butter (room temp)*
2 loose leaf earl grey tea bags
1 cup confectioners sugar
Cream ingredients together until “fluffy”
*(if using unsalted butter, add ½ tsp salt. Salted butter: no salt)
Add in 2 cups flour little by little until dough forms and fully mixed.
It may be a bit crumbly, but take the dough and press it together, but try not to overwork it.
Split into 2-3 balls and roll into tube shape in a piece of wax or parchment paper and refrigerate for about an hour until firm.
Take out a roll and slice into ½" rounds and put on prepared baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) for about 10 minutes.
When you see a thin golden brown ring around the cookies where they sit on the sheet they’re ready.
To frost, I use confectioners sugar (start out with about ½ cup and add more as needed) and add a little Creme de Violette (Violet liqueur made by Rothman & Winter) and mix until smooth. Should be toothpaste consistency and spread on the cookies.
To clarify, the black tea helps with prosperity, and the bergamot herb has use for drawing out peaceful dispositions. Violets draw out love and happiness. Sugar for sweetening positions and thought processes, and wheat for multiplying and fortifying the other components.
So these cookies are simple to make, delicate in flavor, and make you feel fancy af.
Webb 101: 10 Facts about the James Webb Space Telescope
Did you know…?
1. Our upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will act like a powerful time machine – because it will capture light that’s been traveling across space for as long as 13.5 billion years, when the first stars and galaxies were formed out of the darkness of the early universe.
2. Webb will be able to see infrared light. This is light that is just outside the visible spectrum, and just outside of what we can see with our human eyes.
3. Webb’s unprecedented sensitivity to infrared light will help astronomers to compare the faintest, earliest galaxies to today’s grand spirals and ellipticals, helping us to understand how galaxies assemble over billions of years.
Hubble’s infrared look at the Horsehead Nebula. Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team
5. In addition to seeing things inside our own solar system, Webb will tell us more about the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars, and perhaps even find the building blocks of life elsewhere in the universe.
Credit: Northrop Grumman
6. Webb will orbit the Sun a million miles away from Earth, at the place called the second Lagrange point. (L2 is four times further away than the moon!)
7. To preserve Webb’s heat sensitive vision, it has a ‘sunshield’ that’s the size of a tennis court; it gives the telescope the equivalent of SPF protection of 1 million! The sunshield also reduces the temperature between the hot and cold side of the spacecraft by almost 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Webb’s 18-segment primary mirror is over 6 times bigger in area than Hubble’s and will be ~100x more powerful. (How big is it? 6.5 meters in diameter.)
9. Webb’s 18 primary mirror segments can each be individually adjusted to work as one massive mirror. They’re covered with a golf ball’s worth of gold, which optimizes them for reflecting infrared light (the coating is so thin that a human hair is 1,000 times thicker!).
10. Webb will be so sensitive, it could detect the heat signature of a bumblebee at the distance of the moon, and can see details the size of a US penny at the distance of about 40 km.
BONUS! Over 1,200 scientists, engineers and technicians from 14 countries (and more than 27 U.S. states) have taken part in designing and building Webb. The entire project is a joint mission between NASA and the European and Canadian Space Agencies. The telescope part of the observatory was assembled in the world’s largest cleanroom at our Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
Webb is currently being tested at our Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, TX.
Afterwards, the telescope will travel to Northrop Grumman to be mated with the spacecraft and undergo final testing. Once complete, Webb will be packed up and be transported via boat to its launch site in French Guiana, where a European Space Agency Ariane 5 rocket will take it into space.
Anonymous asked: “I have a terrible attachment with just. I use it way too much in my writing, and I know it’s one of those words you should avoid, along with very and really. The problem is I don’t know what words to replace it with.”
Just, very, and really are what I’d call filler words. They don’t actually serve much of a purpose in writing unless they’re part of the voice and they don’t make much of an impact on the sentence.
Kitchen Witch Recipe: Protection and Prosperity Potatoes
Josh, I thought Foodie Friday wasn’t for a few days…
You’d be correct! However, just as I share other spells, I’d like to share some kitchen spells here and there! And what better way to start off than with protection and prosperity! Enjoy!
Fondant Potatoes for Protection and Prosperity
Ingredients: -3 large Russet potatoes (prosperity, wealth, health) -3 tbsp butter (prosperity, wealth, health) -2 to 3 tbsp Vegetable oil (protection - many vegetable oils are soy, which is linked to protection) -Rosemary sprigs (protection, wealth, cleansing) -Salt (cleansing, protection) -Pepper (protection) -½ to 1 cup Chicken broth (prosperity, health)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (Fahrenheit). Cut ends off of the potatoes, then slice down the sides to peel and form cylindrical shapes. Cut the cylinders in half and soak in cold water for about 5 minutes to clean off excess starch. Pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Put oil in a non-stick, oven-safe skillet and put over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the potatoes with presentation ends down, and lower the heat to medium-high. Pan-fry until well browned. Season top-facing ends with salt and pepper.
3. Flip potatoes and season the tops. Use tongs to hold a paper towel and blot the oil out of the skillet. Add butter and rosemary to the skillet.
4. Use tongs to hold a sprig of rosemary and gently brush butter over the potatoes using the sprig. Cook until the butter foams and turns from white to tan.
5. Pour chicken broth into the skillet. and transfer to the oven. Let it cook until potatoes are crisp on the outside, but very tender on the inside, about 30 minutes. If potatoes aren’t tender by 30 minutes, add a quarter cup more broth and cook for 10 more minutes.
6. Transfer to plate or serving platter and spoon rosemary butter from the skillet over the potatoes. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs, let cool for 5 minutes, and serve.
The main appeal to this dish is savory flavors, rustic presentation, and great texture. The aim is a very crispy exterior to the potatoes, with a tender, almost creamy interior. The flavor and aroma of the rosemary-infused butter will add a lovely touch to the chicken broth used to roast the potatoes. Serve either as a main or as an appetizer paired with meat dishes. (I made this as a main, with a side of sauteed asparagus with a thin balsamic glaze.)
Cook with intent! The ingredients certainly have a lot of influence, but cooking a magical meal means adding each ingredient with the appropriate visualization and intent for what you’re aiming for with the spell.
Don’t be afraid to personalize! Add sigils to the non-presentation ends of the potatoes before cooking, draw the sigil with the oil when adding it to the pan, or trace symbols in the air over the dish before or during cooking. Whatever you feel may add to the spell, add!
Pairings always help! If you feel an ingredient needs to be substituted or paired with another, do so! Thyme is traditional with fondant potatoes, but I felt more inclined to use rosemary when casting this spell. Alternatively, one could use both thyme and rosemary for a double whammy! Likewise one could pair the dish with another dish - in the case of protection and health, perhaps it could be paired as a side dish with chicken cacciatore, or served with red wine to promote prosperity and health!
Confidence! One of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned or needed to teach is that intent is the most important aspect to a spell. If your intention and heart is in the right place, you can’t mess up the spell! The same goes for cooking. Cook with confidence, and avoid second guessing, and you’ll end up with something flavorful and wonderful! This is why cooking and witchcraft go so well with each other! Intent is key for both skills!
We’re using our unique vantage point in space to provide observations and data of Hurricane Irma and other tropical storms. Hurricanes Irma and Jose are seen here in a 12-hour long infrared loop. Scientists monitor storms in infrared to closely monitor clouds and storm intensity. We continue to provide satellite imagery for these storms, tracking its trajectory, force and precipitation to inform forecasters at the National Hurricane Center.
As these storms continue their westward drive in the coming days, they will be passing over waters that are warmer than 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit)—hot enough to sustain a category 5 storm. Warm oceans, along with low wind shear, are two key ingredients that fuel and sustain hurricanes.
There’s a woman who works at the Petco near me and she’s the most reliable person I’ve ever met there. She’s in charge of the aquatic section of the store and she takes such good care of the animals. The betta fish are always a huge concern for me. I’m in Petco regularly for supply runs and I always look at the bettas. When I go to any other store, I see bettas with dropsy, tattered fins, and even dead ones. At this Petco, every betta is vibrant, active, and most definitely healthy. The woman who runs the aquatic section took stick on heaters from the reptile sections and stuck them to the bottom of the shelves that hold the betta cups. There’s a thermometer sitting on the shelf that I’ve seen her use to check every cup. She keeps the water at 78 degrees Fahrenheit all the time. I’m always so impressed by how hard she works to get the fish into good homes and in good tanks. I’ve watched her convinced people to ditch a bowl and buy a tank with a filter.
I don’t know your name, but I hope you see this. You are so appreciated and your hard work goes so far.
summary : nothing beats winter in new york, except maybe walking to school in the snow with a certain peter parker.
wc : 2.4k
author’s note : tags are under the read more and ik it’s august but it’s winter in my soul !
There were people who dreamt of a Christmas in New York. People who sat by their windowsills, gazing past the confining glass screens and wishing to one day set their eyes upon a town blanketed by a mass of snow. In the city, it was a sight to behold and cherish. You go to Rockefeller Center and look up at the tree, lit with hundreds of lights and looking like a dream, and your Christmas in New York is complete. It was a thing of fiction for many people, but for you, it was the harsh reality.
You were not yearning for a white Christmas the way some people would. You were, however, hoping that your parents would surprise you with an impromptu vacation to the Bahamas for a month while the snow in your beloved city melted to more of a slush, whisking you away to a paradise where you were not forced to trek through the piles of snow surrounding your apartment building as you attempted to make your way to the nearest A train.
It was a miserable day, to be quite honest. You had forgotten your hat in your apartment after you had scrambled to get out of bed, you had underestimated the temperature outside and so you were wearing way lighter a jacket than you should be, and your jeans were soaking wet due to the way you had sunk knee deep in a pit of snow. This was absolute bullshit and you were ready to march back home, prepared to draw up an essay as to why you shouldn’t attend class that day until Peter Parker practically ambushed you in the middle of the sidewalk.
He had ran nearly a block to try to catch up with you. Peter had been waiting to take the train with you and walk with you to school for nearly two weeks now, but he had never gotten out of his apartment early enough, and if it wasn’t for his profoundly excellent eyesight, he probably would’ve spent another day walking alone. The sight of a boy dashing down the street with his jacket blown open by the wind and a ridiculous hat pulled down over his ears was enough to make anyone laugh, but you had been too preoccupied with fuming to hear his thunderous footsteps behind you. He nearly knocked you over when he finally caught up to you, his cheeks rosy from the bitter wind nipping at his face as he ran and his breath coming out in harsh pants.
“Oh my God!” You whipped around, taking a step backward and holding a hand to your heart. He did a little shrugging motion, somewhere between an apology and pleased with himself for managing to surprise you for once.
Grinning, he fell into step beside you, though not easily due to the random, deep pockets of snow that covered the path ahead. He bumped his shoulder against yours. “Not God, just me, though it’s been said that we’re practically the same thing.” You laughed, bumping his shoulder back.
“No one has ever said that, and no one ever will,” you replied, pulling your sweater down over your hands for more warmth. Peter examined your attire with a shake of his head.
“You realize it’s not fall anymore, right?” He quirked an eyebrow, and you rolled your eyes in response, gesturing a hand at the mountain of dirt stained snow piled in front of an apartment building.
“Nah, didn’t notice at all.” You huffed. You crossed your arms, trying to preserve as much warmth as possible. “Especially ‘cause of the snow that’s starting to come down now, really throws a girl off.” As you said that, the puffy white flakes fluttered down and landed in your hair. Peter, ignoring the blatant sarcasm, pulled his hat off his head. “You didn’t gel it down today?”
“Nope,” he said, catching your wrist in your hand and forcing you to stop. “Didn’t feel like it.” Also, you said you like my hair when it’s curly, I heard you talking to Michelle. So here I am. Do you realize this yet? He stretched the hat out before plopping it down on your head, tugging it so that it covered your eyes. You lifted it back up, staring up at him questioningly. “You’re gonna catch a cold. The snowflake hair look is cool, but your health is better.” He said it because he knew it sounded ridiculous, and because he was sure you’d affectionately punch his arm or something and he liked the fuzzy feeling in his stomach that he got whenever you touched him.
“That’s lame,” you said, just the way he had expected. You smiled slightly at his ruffled mop of hair, reaching up to tousle it in a way that he supposed he should have found irritating, as it made his hair even messier than it had been before. “Nice hair.”
You turned to continue walking, pulling him along with you as he smiled smugly to himself. He tugged on a lock of his hair, the strand that had settled in the middle of his forehead defiantly. “Oh, you like it? Didn’t know that. Thanks.” You headed down the steps of the 71st avenue station, a little past Queens boulevard. You only needed to ride it one stop, but it was better to waste the $2.75 on your metro card than continue trudging through the snow with a murderous expression adorning your face. You boarded the F train together, Peter managing to find the only open seat and sliding into it quickly, laughing at the face you made at him. You took a step forward to grab onto the pole in the middle of the train but it lurched forward suddenly, and you surely would have been thrown to the other side of the car if Peter hadn’t grabbed your arm and pulled you backwards into his lap before you could embarrass yourself even further. The trains were tricky, and he knew you had more of a knack for falling down than anyone else.
You exhaled, turning your head to stare at Peter. He was staring back with a sheepish expression, the tip of his nose pink. “Thanks Peter,” you smile, patting his shoulder. His arms were still secured around your waist when he shrugged, appearing utterly nonchalant even though internally, he was sort of screaming. Sort of. “When did your reflexives become so good? You struggle to do one push up in gym, no offense.” Oh, you know, just when I become Spider-Man. I save Queens daily. I saved you once but you didn’t know. Should I tell you? Probably not. One day.
“Oh, um, you know, I need good reflexives so I can save your clumsy self from tripping down the stairs at school every day,” he lied not so smoothly, giving your knee a little tap. You nodded thoughtfully. Seemed simple enough. “You can keep sitting here, if you want.”
Mistaking this for sarcasm, you went to move. “Oh shit. Sorry Peter, I’ll get up.” Surprising himself with his own confidence, he pulled you back. “What are you doing?”
Peter didn’t know what to say to this. Just savoring the feeling of you on my lap? Too creepy, and too exposing. You’d sound like one of those cat callers on the street, the ones she screams back at with vicious insults and creative threats. Get it together, Peter. “You needed a seat and, uh, you know, this one is… available. I wasn’t being sarcastic or anything.” He winced as soon as the words came out of his mouth, moving his head to play it off like he just wanted to look out the window. There was nothing to even look at it. It was dark.
“I’ll take it then,” you said softly, and, for his sake, you pretended not to notice how embarrassed he was that he had said what he did in the first place. He was endlessly thankful for that, because the fact that you were sitting on his lap right now was enough to make him sweat through his winter clothes even though it was below 25 degrees fahrenheit. If you had started teasing about him saying that his lap was an openly available seat, he most likely would have imploded. Before either of you could say anything else to shatter the silence that had settled there, the train screeched to stop again, and Peter’s grip on your waist tightened. You glanced down at his hand, sitting there on your waist, a fist bunched in the sweatshirt you had thrown on in this morning not knowing how fucking deathly it was going to be outside. You stood up when the doors opened, your hand absentmindedly wrapping around Peter’s wrist as you pulled him up toward the doors with you.
“If you’re still cold I can give you my jacket, I don’t mind,” Peter said, glancing down at your hand, locked on his wrist. You bumped into someone as you turned around, giving them a quick apology.
“Peter, stop giving me your clothes-” Before you could finish your sentence, a guy cut in between you two, your hand slipping from Peter’s as he abruptly interrupted the conversation.
“Hey, you and your boyfriend are cute, but the PDA is too much. Lay off for a second, yeah? It’s uncomfortable.” The guy clapped Peter on the shoulder, then swiftly exited the car, leaving you and Peter to stumble out, flushed with embarrassment because while the guy was leaving, you had called out, “He’s- he’s not my boyfriend, actually!”
Okay, am I that bad? Does she seriously think I’m that, like, repulsive? Oh, God, she hates me and I made her sit on my lap. I’m awful. And creepy. Ew. I’m sweating too much. Is that why she doesn’t like me? Because of the sweat? I need new cologne.
You two trekked the rest of the way to school in awkward silence, as opposed to the tranquil one that you had felt on the train. You had Peter’s hat still tucked over your head and to be honest, you were in desperate need of his jacket at the moment. But you knew the words you had said on the train, shouted at the retreating man’s coat with such ferocity, had wounded Peter a little. You hadn’t meant for it to come out so harsh, like you could never be his girlfriend or that you hadn’t ever thought about it, not even once. You had thought about it on multiple occasions, in multiple scenarios. It just wasn’t the reality.
You were around the corner from your school when Peter turned you around and placed his jacket over your shoulders. “You’re gonna need it,” he said, stepping away from you.
“Huh? Why?” In replacement of a proper answer, a verbal one that is, Peter gave you his signature saccharine smile and threw a snowball at you, laughing when you shrieked, your hands flying to zip up his jacket. He was nearly doubled over with laughter when a snowball landed in his hair, the white flakes sticking to his curls and dampening his hair.
“Hey!” He exclaimed, wiping the snow off his hair frantically. “I have a look I need to uphold!” He launched another snowball at you, hitting the side of your leg.
You threw one back and hit his shoulder, laughing hysterically. “Look? What look, Peter? The disheveled curly mess look?”
He stopped, a half made snowball in his hands that was already beginning to melt. “You like it, don’t even lie.”
Instead of replying, the way he had done earlier, you chucked another snowball at him, and it was soon a full blown war of flying snow and screams of laughter, messy hair and flushed cheeks and the nothing but the brightest of grins. “We’re gonna be so late, oh my god,” you panted, your hands practically frozen from the amount of snow you had picked up.
“We’re geniuses, we’ll deal with it somehow,” he answered, watching your hands. He moved closer, taking his sweater sleeves and pulling them over his hands, then grabbing your hands in his and slipping them underneath his sleeve. “Just ‘cause you’re cold.” When you smiled up at him thankfully, your cold hands squeezing his, Peter knew that if he didn’t kiss you right then and there, he’d regret it for the rest of his life. You take a step closer to him, because you knew that he’s thinking the same thing you are and you need this, too, but you slip on a sheet of ice. This time, he doesn’t catch you, he falls right down alongside you. You land on your back with a groan and he lands on top of you, hoisting himself up so that he’s able to hover over you.
“Y/N, I have to ask,” he sighed, biting his lip, then continued, “why’d you sound so offended when that guy said that we were dating? Would I be that bad to date?” There was a slight pout to his lips as he looked down at you, his hands beginning to shake slightly from the pressure of holding himself up. “’Cause I kind of have a confession to make, depending on your answer.”
You place your arms around his waist and he falls down on top of you, his eyebrows raised in surprise, but he wasn’t one to complain about the position he was in. “You’d make a wonderful boyfriend, Peter.”
“Your boyfriend, maybe?” He tilted his chin, lips inches away from yours.
“I could get behind that.” Soft lips met yours, but Peter was smiling so hard he could barely do it right. Your hands moved to his face, tracing over his dimple. It was perfectly impossible to resist smiling back into the kiss. The snow was still falling, falling, falling, but neither of you deigned to move. He took a deep breath before opening his eyes, face still bright.
You continued your walk to Midtown holding hands this time, well aware that you were twenty minutes late but too blissed out on the kiss to even pretend to care. “I like being called darling.”
“If we’re gonna do the whole boyfriend and girlfriend thing, you need to call me darling.” You paused. “It’s my kink.”
He knew you were joking around with him, but he still shook his head, playfully rolling his eyes as he wrapped his arm around your shoulder. You said weird stuff like that all the time, it was no different now than it had been yesterday, except this time he was your boyfriend, and if it was going to make you happy, he’d call you darling for the rest of your life. “I could get behind that.”
Almost every day, we receive a message from a spacecraft more than 10.6 billion miles (about 17 billion km) away.
At that unimaginable distance, it takes the radio signal almost 16 hours to arrive. The spacecraft is Voyager 2, which launched 40 years ago this month. It’s still operating, sending back dispatches from the dark reaches well beyond the orbit of Pluto. Even now, scientists are still actively exploring the outer boundaries of the solar system using Voyager 2, decades after its “Grand Tour” of the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune revealed their splendors like never before. This week, we recall 10 highlights from one of the most epic voyages in human history.
1. A Journey of 10 Billion Miles Begins With the First Step
Voyager 2 set out from Earth on Aug. 20, 1977. Even though it launched before its twin spacecraft, Voyager 1, it carried the ‘2’ moniker because mission planners knew its trajectory would bring it to Jupiter after Voyager 1’s arrival there.
2. The Grand Tour
Voyager 2’s trajectory was special because it took advantage of a rare orbital alignment to fly by all four gas giant planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. It was the first, and so far the only, spacecraft to carry out a close-up reconnaissance of Uranus and Neptune.
3. Not-So-Gentle Giant
Voyager 2 flew by Jupiter in April 1979, capturing striking images of the planet’s volcanic moon Io and its violent storms larger than the entire Earth.
4. Saturn’s Not the Only One
Jupiter has its own ring system, and Voyager 2 provided the first pictures.
5. An Ocean Under Ice
During its Jupiter encounter, Voyager 2 obtained close-up looks at Jupiter’s moon Europa, including linear cracks and other features which first led scientists to realize Europa probably hides a vast sea of liquid water beneath an icy shell, the first known world outside Earth that could have an ocean.
6. Ringworld, the Prequel
Voyager 2 zoomed through the Saturn system in August 1981. It saw hints of mysterious features that the Cassini mission would later reveal in stunning detail, including Enceladus, with its bright surface that suggested geologic activity, and Saturn’s intriguing hexagonal jet stream.
7. Swiftly by a Tilted Planet
In January 1984, Voyager offered humanity its first detailed look at the seventh planet, Uranus, the only one tilted on its side relative to the Sun. Voyager images revealed 11 new moons, including Juliet, Puck, Cressida, Rosalind and Ophelia. The moon Miranda presented a bizarre landscape that left scientists debating its origins for years. Voyager also captured views of the planet’s lacy rings, and found that it is the coldest in the solar system, at minus 353 degrees Fahrenheit (59 Kelvin).
8. In Neptune’s Blue Realm
After picking up a gravitational speed boost at each previous planetary encounter, by the time Voyager reached Neptune it shot through the entire system of Neptunian rings and moons in a matter of hours. Voyager saw a titanic storm in Neptune’s windy atmosphere, discovered new moons, and revealed active geysers erupting on Triton’s frigid surface.
9. Postcards From the Edge
Although their cameras are no longer functioning, other key scientific instruments on board both Voyager spacecraft are still collecting data. Voyager 1 is exploring the boundary between the Sun’s realm and interstellar space. Voyager 2 hasn’t traveled quite as far. In September 2007, it crossed the termination shock (where the speed of the solar wind of charged particles drops below the speed of sound) at a point about 84 Astronomical Units from the Sun (more than twice the distance to Pluto). See https://go.nasa.gov/2uwrndb
10. Ride Along
Voyager’s mission is far from over. Engineers estimate the spacecraft will have enough power to operate into the mid-2020s. You can ride along at www.jpl.nasa.gov/voyager, or by following @NASAVoyager on Twitter and by downloading our free 3-D space simulation software, Eyes on the Solar System at eyes.nasa.gov.
One more thing: Inspired by the messages of goodwill carried on Voyager’s Golden Record, you’re invited to send a short, uplifting message to Voyager and all that lies beyond it via social media. With input from the Voyager team and a public vote, one of these messages will be selected for us to beam into interstellar space on Sept. 5, 2017—the 40th anniversary of Voyager 1’s launch. Post your message on social media with the tag #MessageToVoyager by Aug 15. Details: www.jpl.nasa.gov/voyager/message/
It was a Friday night, and you were studying. Like most kids at this time, you were super stressed for finals week. As you sat in the Avenger’s tower library, you wondered how you would retain so much information in such little time. As you set your head down on your books making a loud sigh, the team walked in.
“Hey, kid. Whatcha up to?”, Tony pondered as he walked around behind the table you were working at.
Things I know to be true:
A human being can go three minutes
The boiling temperature
of water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit,
and I have not yet traveled farther
than these bookend oceans.
I do not know what the sun feels like under a Spanish sky
and I take people’s word for it
when they talk about the northern lights.
So much of what I know is right here:
sagebrush and coyote calls and cold rivers.
but my horizon
always looks the same.