Astro quickies

Contributed by
Jan 21, 2009
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Because I'm busy, here are some short astro-notes to keep you occupied:

1) A bright bolide was seen over the northwestern US the other day. You can watch video of it here... and is that our own AstroAlice in the interview? Why yes, I think it is. She's on Twitter, too.

2) [Oops! The following report may not be correct! See the comment below. I'll see if I can turn anything more up about this.] A planet discovered using gravitational lensing recently was estimated to have about three times the mass of the Earth. However, follow-up observations indicate it may be only 1.4 times the Earth's mass! If that pans out, it'll be the lowest-mass planet yet seen orbiting a sun-like star.

3) Emily has updated her totally cool asteroid size comparison chart, and now you can even buy a print of it!

4) Astroengine has a way cool picture posted from a clever astrophotographer who has encoded a message in the stars. Can you figure it out?

5) The SkepTick was at the inauguration in DC, but the government was watching him. From space.