Astronomy, science, rockets, NASA, and all the space topics thread. FREE ALIEN QUIZ INSIDE! DON'T WAIT! ACT NOW!

… and you can keep cutting something in half to make things infinitely small


The DAWN mission found organics in the asteroid belt - and explored for water on dwarf planets there - and it has a connection to TIE fighters! :face_with_monocle:


I reeeeeally like this :call_me_hand:t3:

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This is epic. Thank you I for sharing. What did they say to you if it’s ok to ask.

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Outstanding, I love it all but the discredit part especially.

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@mx_elle, @Chiron

A pet peeve of mine is the misuse of “theory”. Theory is an explanatory framework, not an hypothesis or a possibility.

So the big bang theory is not just “Oh, we think this happened, and look at all the evidence to support it!”, it explains how the universe is expanding, how there is a finite set of elements, what the implications of the conservation of matter and energy are in an expanding universe, etc.

The flat earth is an hypothesis. And an hypothesis can be demonstrated to be true or to be false or to be the wrong question. It is not a theory - it does not provide any explanation for how the objects around us in space and time interact with our presence in space and time.

All things, if attributed to the correct theory, are “theoretically” true - that is the theory predicts the events accurately. A conspiracy theory never (and I mean never) accurately predicts events - it confounds causation and correlation and ignores a fundamental truth of the universe and all we know about it - the principle of Occam’s razor or the law of parsimony.

So theories explain things, hypothesis are to be proved true, false or unprovable by expositions of facts, and confirmation bias exists and operates on all people.


Thank you for sharing this post Dan. I deeply appreciate this - thanks :pray:t2: :innocent:

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I’d planned on making this post when the autumnal equinox happened a few days ago, but being sick got in the way, so I’m posting it now.

The bi-yearly equinox happened on the 22nd / 23rd, so the beginning of spring in the southern hemisphere and autumn in the northern hemisphere. I highly doubt there is anyone in this thread who doesn’t know how all this works as far as seasons and the like, but who doesn’t like a good info-graphic picture or two?


Here is another thing I thought was interesting which happened at the same time. In astrology, when the autumnal equinox is ‘exact’, and the precise moment the season changes, the sun is at 0 degrees and 0 seconds of Libra. There are astronomical ways of noting these coordinates as well, in case someone is interested and wants to look them up for their own information. Anyway, as the sun moved to this position, Mercury was at 0” and 29’ of Libra. It is currently ‘retrograde’ (which is actually simply an optical illusion from our perspective on Earth), and only 5 hours and 43 minutes later the two of them were exactly conjunct (together in one spot). “Exact” in terms of astrology, and as exact as they were going to be even though Mercury was 2.9 degrees SSW of the sun from the earth’s perspective.

Most people have heard the term “Mercury retrograde”, even if they don’t know much about it. Astronomically, as I said before, it is an optical illusion like one car driving past another, and for a moment the slower car looks like it’s not moving and then going backward from the viewpoint of the passing car. All planets have a period of “retrograde” from the viewpoint of the earth. The planets beyond Earth (superior planets) are always “retrograde” when they are in opposition to the sun.

Mercury and Venus are a little bit different because their orbits are between the earth and the sun. These two planets have “inferior” and “superior” conjunctions. The inferior conjunction is when the planet is between the earth and the sun, and the superior conjunction is when the sun is between the earth and the other planet.

Astrologically, there is much to be said about the difference, but I’m not going to go too far into that because when we start going into the meanings of these things we begin to deviate from the concrete/visible astronomy and wander more into the ‘spiritual/energetic’ realms. However, I do think that it’s interesting that the two happened together in such a short period of time. Going into a new season with the sun’s equinox and the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the sun begins a new cycle (think of the new and full moon as an example for simplicity—the inferior conjunction of Mercury being the ‘new moon’, the superior conjunction being the ‘full moon’, and then the cycle completing and another beginning when Mercury comes back to the inferior conjunction).

When viewed on an astronomical level, these conjunctions are the point where both Mercury and Venus change from an “evening star” to a “morning star”. I also think it’s kind of interesting how the planet of information and communication (Mercury) can’t be observed when it is conjunct with the Sun (which represents one’s ego), but only when it’s further away because often we get become ‘blind’ to something when we are too close to the issue, and it’s with separation and distance that we are able to see things clearly. Like how after being sober for a period of time, we can look back and realize certain things that we just couldn’t see while we were in the middle of the chaos of addiction.

But anyway, I thought it was interesting and wanted to point it out. Of course, we just had a new moon just a few hours ago, and Jupiter will be at an exact opposition from the sun tomorrow, which makes right now an excellent time to set up a telescope and take a look!


I’ve clearly missed a lot of discussion over the past few days while I was sick, and I’m going to just write one reply in an effort to catch all the comments that were directed my way instead of breaking them up per person. I’m still not feeling great, so if I miss anything from anyone, it isn’t intentional.

One thing I really appreciate about this forum is the variety of views and knowledge levels each brings with them. I would definitely enjoy having in person discussions with quite a few as written communication has its limitations.

I am going to put everything under a tab out of consideration since I already posted something long. Please touch/click on the arrow to expand post

@Twizzle00 I agree with what you’re saying here. Even to have a discussion that gets heated, but in the end all parties are able to walk away from the topic and be able to maintain good relations. The world is quickly becoming a place where we can’t do that. I have wondered a lot about this, and I think it might have to do with (but not limited to) some of these: 1. identifying too much with the subject; 2. not being able/willing to have a discussion about something without trying to convince the other; 3. a rise in some people seeing anyone who doesn’t completely think like them as ‘bad’ in some way.

This is not easy for someone who is interested in exploring ideas of all kinds. I always learn a lot when I discuss something with another person with different opinions as I often walk away from the discussion considering what was said, and seeing how my own opinions/information holds up against it. I think that by speaking with someone you completely disagree with, you can be made aware of areas you need to question your own opinions that you might not have thought about.

I think that might be part of why I like science so much. The idea that we should always question, that we should constantly be asking “why”, the idea of trying to prove your own theory wrong in order to make sure you aren’t just trying to confirm what you already believed, etc., etc. Which leads me into two points I want to highlight specifically before I continue.

@mx_elle You are correct. I appreciate you making this point. It is an important nuance, I’m I’m glad you brought it up.

@SinceIAwoke Fair enough, and I also appreciate your comment on this. I’m clearly not as informed on the specific meanings and differences, and now that you’ve brought that to my attention, I plan to look into it. Language is such an important thing. I’m a firm believer that in order to properly communicate, words have to mean something, and that definition can’t constantly be shifting or else how can we properly communicate a meaning to someone else and be understood?

On that note, I want to go back to @Matt’s reply four days ago (which is basically forever in Internet time :laughing: ) concerning science and religion. I agree with what you put forward, but also it doesn’t exactly capture what I mean when I talk about science becoming like a religion. I would agree that they both have different functions as institutions (and I may not be using the right word here, but I hope the meaning is understood) and what they represent to a person.

The structure of religions is what I am referring to, not the spirituality concept (as I think that actually isn’t what a religion is, but rather those ideas are ‘encapsulated’ within a specific religious framework in order to have each specific religious institution. When I look at “science” or “politics” or something else and refer to it in terms of becoming a religion, I mean that it is building up the structural frame work and people are looking to it as they would a ‘religion’, and simply believing what they are being told as if it is the final arbiter of truth, and anyone who may have different views, ideas, or who simply question are “otherized”. The “believers” feel they have the right to scorn, belittle, hate, or on the most extreme level, to physically harm, the “unbelievers”.

I think this happens with what we literally see as religion, but also with science, politics, ‘spiritual’ new age-y stuff, ‘conspiracy’ groups, etc. I suppose we would call it "cult"ish behavior, and I’ve really thought about at what point does something move from ‘cult’ to ‘religion’ status, though please forgive me for not adding all my musings here.

Honestly, this whole conversation would probably be extremely interesting to discuss in real time. I always appreciate what you have to say and your replies that thoughtful and precise, and this is a wide topic with several levels.

I also appreciate both of your, @mx_elle and @SinceIAwoke, comments and I know there is more to what you mentioned in your thoughtful replies that I haven’t really touched on, even though I would like to because the conversation would be interesting, but my fever over-heated brain is starting to ooze out of my ears and I have to gather it all up before my hungry cat decides I haven’t fed her fast enough and she begins to feast. :laughing: :sweat_smile: I can return to them at a later time if you want to continue the conversation.

Lastly, @TMAC, everything related to the topic is welcome! Do not deprive us of your humorous alien posts!!


Interesting musings :innocent:

Still I think the word “religion” is used so selectively as to be not particularly helpful here. A better term would be “dogmatic fanatic”:

Dogma (you could qualify it with the adjective “self-righteous dogma”):

Fanaticism (you could qualify it with the adjective “violent fanaticism”, or other adjectives as appropriate to specify; they are all different flavours of fanaticism):

If “religion” is used to mean “dogmatic fanatic” and in particular “violent dogmatic fanatic”, you’d have a hard time convincing me that many faiths and traditions across a wide range of humans fit that definition, for example Buddhists, Unitarians, Sufis, many people raised in traditions of the Indian subcontinent (the term “Hindu” is often used but that’s a Western term that lumps these diverse groups together), Bahá’ís, many Christian and Muslim friends I have, etc etc. I personally have friends in all these traditions and none of them are dogmatic fanatics.

All to say, saying “we make science into a religion” lumps a whole lot - hundreds, at least - of constructive and highly diverse (and inquiry- and reflection-based) traditions into one pot, and far from deepening your point, it obscures it. The water is so muddy now we can’t see through it. These religions are not all the same in any way, and many of them teach precisely the kind of respect and humility that creates conditions where science flourishes.

Why muddy the water? Why not just say what you’re saying? “We make science into dogma” That’s what you’re saying. It’s an important and sobering question and one that needs careful consideration: how can we foster scientific cultures that resist blind, unthinking, clannish repetition?

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Watch Artemis live folks! 5…4…3…2…1…

:rocket: :new_moon:

The Sept 27 launch has been scrubbed due to Tropical Storm Ian and the next date is TBA. Stay tuned folks for the launch of this new chapter of human exploration of the Solar System!


My senior math teacher explained calculus to us like this, except he physically acted it out: he said, “I bet I can walk toward the wall and never touch it,” then he kept walking halfway, and halfway, and halfway, etc. I have never forgotten that explanation.

Mr Rodney. One of my favourite teachers :innocent:


I enjoyed this read on gravity & the universe. Not the lightest read, but to get a better understanding. (I love his shadow in this picture).

I hope you feel better ⚘️



Yes, Armageddon (top of that list) is famously inaccurate as a story of what actually happens (or could happen) on a trip to outer space, buuuuut…

The problem of how to handle an incoming asteroid is one that is being studied. Introducing the DART mission, which is on track to collide with a small asteroid soon - in just under 1.5 hours, to be precise - to see what impact (:laughing: :innocent:) it will have on the rock’s trajectory (to assess whether a similar strategy could be used, hypothetically, to divert a small asteroid on course for Earth).

Live feed here (with commentary and broadcast material too) starting at 6 pm Eastern time (Toronto / New York):


We’ve been discussing this today, over $300million test… its only the size of a vending machine!


Borrowed this telescope recently but haven’t had a chance to try it out. Tonight Juipiter will be at his brightest all year, so out it will come.

@mx_elle that looks like an interesting read, thank you for the recommendation and for the well wishes. Its a slow mend, but I’m getting there :+1:

@Matt thank you for your thoughtful reply. I will come back to it when I’m able to sit at my desk and spend some time on it. This is about as long as it gets via a cellphone for me. :wink:


I am wrapped in ice more than 15 km thick and, under that frozen surface, I almost certainly have a vast ocean of water, at least five times deeper than the deepest point of our ocean on Earth.

Who is… Europa?

She just had closeups done a couple days ago:

And she’ll be visited soon by another probe - the Europa Clipper - headed there specifically to investigate the subsurface ocean:

Amazingly, this moon, no bigger than Earth’s moon, may have twice as much water as we have here on Earth!



OMG a Space, NASA and Alien thread :heart_eyes:
I love everything Space since being a child.


Me too! Welcome to the club.

Personally I am a huge Star Trek fan too; love the series, and the movies; I’ve loved it since I was a kid. Love Star Wars too, for that epic good-vs-evil fight :star_struck:

I have followed all the Mars rovers with rapt interest. It is so fascinating what they discover :innocent: