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Diamond planets may be more common than astronomers thought
Carbon-rich planets may be more common than previously thought, according to new research by Yale University astronomers.
Some of these planets, all located far beyond Earth’s solar system, could contain vast deposits of graphite or diamonds, and their apparent abundance prompts new questions about the implications of carbon-intense environments for climate, plate tectonics, and other geological processes, as well as for life.
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'Godzilla of Earths': Alien Planet 17 Times Heavier Than Our World Discovered
Scientists have just discovered the “Godzilla of Earths” — a new type of huge and rocky alien world about 560 light-years from Earth.
Dubbed a “mega-Earth,” the exoplanet Kepler-10c weighs 17 times as much as Earth and it circles a sunlike star in the constellation Draco. The mega-Earth is rocky and also bigger than “super-Earths,” which are a class of planets that are slightly bigger than Earth.
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Comet Lovejoy photographed by astronaut Dan Burbank aboard the International Space Station, 21 December 2011.

odyssey: Sunset over the western Pacific, photographed from Apollo 13, April 1970.
Sequence of 9 Hasselblad photographs, starting over the central Pacific. As the Earth turns, eastern Asia (top) and Australia (bottom) come in to view.
Apollo 13 was launched on the 11th April. From the geography visible and sunset times for April 1970, I estimate the sequence covers 2-2.5 hours, most likely ending around 7:30am GMT on the 12th.
At 3am on the 14th, en route to the Moon, Apollo 13’s no. 2 oxygen tank exploded. The planned lunar landing was aborted, and scientists and engineers on the ground were forced to improvise a way to get the astronauts home alive in the damaged spacecraft. 
Apollo 13 finally returned to Earth on the 17th, splashing down in the southern Pacific - just left of twilight at the start of the sequence above.
Image credit: NASA/JSC, c/o LPI. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.

Staring at the Sun, [to scale]

go: Weather over the Americas, photographed by GOES-13, September 2014.
GOES-13 is a weather satellite operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, currently in the GOES-EAST slot; 35,786 km over the equator at 75°W. This gif shows 10 images, one taken each day 17th-26th September at 8:45pm UTC (4:45pm EST).
Many thanks to Infinity Imagined for pointing me to the data used here. If there’s anything you’d like me to see, feel free to get in touch.
Image credit: NOAA/NASA. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.
Edit: Screwed up the numbers for a geostationary orbit. Fixed now.
Mankind has an innate curiosity, and a particular curiosity about the Universe. Perhaps this has arisen as an inevitable outcome of evolution: Curiosity leads to exploration, to discovery, to learning, and in the most basic sense, to survival.

Universe Expanding Symmetrically, Real-Time Analysis Shows
The universe is expanding — and it is doing so at the same rate in all directions, according to new measurements that appear to confirm the standard model of cosmology.
Astrophysicist Jeremy Darling of the University of Colorado Boulder came to this conclusion after employing a research strategy known as “real-time cosmology,” which seeks out the tiny changes in the universe that occur over human timescales.
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Spiral Galaxy NGC 1232
This spectacular image of the large spiral galaxy NGC 1232 was obtained on September 21, 1998, during a period of good observing conditions at the European Southern Observatory. The colors of the different regions are well visible : the central areas contain older stars of reddish color, while the spiral arms are populated by young, blue stars and many star-forming regions. Note the distorted companion galaxy on the top side, shaped like the greek letter “theta”.
NGC 1232 is located 20º south of the celestial equator, in the constellation Eridanus (The River). The distance is about 100 million light-years, but the excellent optical quality of the VLT and FORS allows us to see an incredible wealth of details. At the indicated distance, the edge of the field shown corresponds to about 200,000 light-years, or about twice the size of the Milky Way galaxy.
Credit: ESO/VLT
We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.
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