When scientists make a discovery, they can name that thing pretty much whatever they want. There don’t seem to be any real naming rules for stuff, and that’s how we end up with spiders being named for a hat in Harry Potter. Fortunately, a lot of researchers out there like booze.
A group of researchers at Belgium’s University of Liege are big fans of Trappist beers, so much so that they named a planetary system after them. TRAPPIST-1 is a short 40 light-years away, and has seven Earth-size planets, and three of them could even support life. And now, each of the planets bears the name of a Trappist brewery, such as Chimay, Westmalle and Spencer.
Trappist beers come from monasteries that brew their own beer as a means of financially supporting themselves. They have a certification and everything. It makes sense that a bunch of dudes hanging out for the rest of their lives would figure out how to make beer on the side.
Unfortunately, this means that it’s inevitable that some American scientist will discover the planet Budweiser.
Can you believe that, 10 years ago, Pluto stopped being a planet? Well, a planet planet. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) made it a dwarf planet, along with Ceres (OPA, represent!), Makemake and Eris. Yes, it’s been a decade since the only time Neil deGrasse Tyson disappointed anyone who isn’t a creationist. Everyone above a certain age beat their breasts and tore at their clothes because My Very Energetic Mother no longer Just Served Us any Pizzas, much less Nine of them.
But, the world, solar system, our universe and even the rest of us moved on. Except for some NASA scientists who allege that Pluto’s demotion has reduced interest and possibly even funding into projects like New Horizons to explore it. So, they’re proposing yet another definition for planets: any self-gravitational spheroid object that’s never undergone nuclear fusion. Or, round, but not a star.
Seems good enough, right? Let’s #MakePlutoGreatAgain!
Except … that means that we won’t have just nine planets again. The new definition will encompass moons, asteroids, balls of ice past Pluto and possibly even comets as planets. Oh, the things we’ll have to make our mothers do to memorize that list!
If these scientists think dwarf planets bore people, imagine how boring planetary exploration will become if everything’s a planet. Or, stated more simply: if everything is exciting, nothing is. Such is life.
According to recent simulations, the idea of making a life for yourself on a planet closer to the center of the galaxy has hit a natural barrier as well as a (lack-of-way-to-get-there-and-survive) technological one: Too many comets. Not enough ho’s!
No! No! Sit down Ludacris. We’re not going into a song, okay? We just don’t have the time. Now, as I was saying ….
It’s now being reported that Italian researcher Marco Masi has discovered that the stars and gas clouds at the center of the galaxy are so tightly packed that twice as many comets are shaken loose, and could hit planets at twice the impact of similar Earthbound objects. Which would mean that some kind of force shield that would protect future space colonies from collisions might just be the first thing to add to any future to-do list.
Our favorite planet-sized comet shield? Meatloaf. And Mike Holmgren. Oh, and one of the dude’s wearing an ascot that was pictured at the end of the Dec. 22, 2009 edition of PTI. That was a big dude.
Remember, in space, no one can hear an emo planet cut itself.
A planet ten times the size of Jupiter is orbiting so close to its parent star, that it orbits in less than a single Earth day. It has one million years until one of the tidal plasma bulges its gravity is excreting on its parent star catch up with it, and then … KAPLOOIE!
So, why is this news? Because, technically, the planet is our galactic neighbor.
So, why isn’t this news? Cue on the word “technically.” By that, I mean that the planet is 325 light years away from Earth.
Just when it seemed like Australia couldn’t get more full of themselves, the skies have to just smile down on them.
Jupiter, Venus and the Moon were aligned just after sunset so that they formed a happy face over the country/continent that gave us Yahoo Serious and Fosters beer. Witnesses also reported hearing the song of angels, but that was just the iconic Sydney Opera House’s choir rubbing it in a little.
Americans will get to see it tonight, one day later. Oh, and because of our position, the moon will be flipped around, frowning at us.
U.S. astronomers suggest just staying indoors at 20 to 30 minutes after sundown, and pretending not to know what Australia’s talking about when they call.