An Orbit Map of the Solar System

This orbit map of the Solar System was made by Eleanor Lutz. Check out her work at Tabletop Whale ( Image Credit: Eleanor Lutz

If you want to know what a talent for scientific visualizations looks like, check out Eleanor Lutz. She’s a PhD student in biology at the University of Washington, and at her website Tabletop Whale, you can see her amazing work on full display.

Her latest piece is a map showing all the orbits of over 18,000 asteroids in the Solar System. It includes 10,000 asteroids that are over 10km in diameter, and about 8,000 objects of unknown size.

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Timeline of the Universe, From the Big Bang to the Death of Our Sun

A teeny, tiny, minuscule portion of Martin Vargic’s Timeline of the Universe.
A teeny, tiny, minuscule portion of Martin Vargic’s Timeline of the Universe.

Don’t know much about history? How about the future? A new infographic by graphic designer Martin Vargic portrays both past and forthcoming events in our Universe, from the Big Bang to the death of our Sun. The graphic is color-coded and shows “significant events in cosmic and natural history.” It also illustrates how briefly humanity has been part of the scene.

Fun future events are when Earth’s day will become 25 hours long (Earth’s rotation is slowing down), and the amazingly distant time when the Solar System finally completes one orbit around the galactic core.

The full infographic is below, and be prepared to give your scroll wheel a workout. This thing is huge, but very comprehensive for covering about 23.8 billion years!
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What Can You Do With a Cubesat?

Three small CubeSats are deployed from the International Space Station on October 4, 2012. Credit: NASA

We’ve had several articles recently cubesats — low-cost satellites that seem to be the wave of the future. As technology becomes miniaturized, this allows for inexpensive and quick-to-build satellites. Additionally, they can tag along on launches already scheduled for other things. All this enables students and smaller companies to send equipment and experiments into space.

But the people from DIY Space Exploration say don’t let the small size of a cubesat fool you. The types of missions Cubesats can perform may surprise you and they’re becoming the satellite of choice for anyone looking for a low cost quick response option.

If you visit the DIY Space Exploration website, they have tutorials on how you can put your own cubesat together, and lots of other information. They’ve also put together a great infograhic about what all you can do with a cubesat:

50 Amazing Facts About Earth

Do you know how much material falls onto Earth from space every day? How many different species there are in the ocean? How far the continents move every year? In honor of Earth Day here’s a very cool infographic that answers those questions about our planet — and 47 more!

Check out the full version below:

50-facts-about-earth3 (1)

And for more interesting information about our planet, click here and here.

Infographic provided by Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning (Dublin, Ireland)

Infographic: What’s the Difference Between a Comet, Asteroid and Meteor?

'Name That Space Rock' -- describes the difference between those flying rocks from space. Credit and copyright: Tim Lilis. Used by permission.

With all the various space rocks flying by and into Earth last Friday, perhaps you’ve been wondering about the correct terminology, since a rock from space has different names depending on what it is made of and where it is.

Infographics artist Tim Lillis has put together a primer of sorts, in the form of an infographic, describing the different between a comet, asteroid, meteoroid, meteor and meteorite.

Asteroids are generally larger chunks of rock that come from the asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Sometimes their orbits get perturbed or altered and some asteroids end up coming closer to the Sun, and therefore closer to Earth.

Comets are much like asteroids, but might have a more ice, methane, ammonia, and other compounds that develop a fuzzy, cloud-like shell called a coma – as well as a tail — when it gets closer to the Sun. Comets are thought to originate from two different sources: Long-period comets (those which take more than 200 years to complete an orbit around the Sun) originate from the Oort Cloud. Short-period comets (those which take less than 200 years to complete an orbit around the Sun) originate from the Kuiper Belt.

Space debris smaller than an asteroid are called meteoroids. A meteoroid is a piece of interplanetary matter that is smaller than a kilometer and frequently only millimeters in size. Most meteoroids that enter the Earth’s atmosphere are so small that they vaporize completely and never reach the planet’s surface. And when they do enter Earth’s atmosphere, they gain a different name:

Meteors. Another name commonly used for a meteor is a shooting star. A meteor is the flash of light that we see in the night sky when a small chunk of interplanetary debris burns up as it passes through our atmosphere. “Meteor” refers to the flash of light caused by the debris, not the debris itself.

If any part of a meteoroid survives the fall through the atmosphere and lands on Earth, it is called a meteorite. Although the vast majority of meteorites are very small, their size can range from about a fraction of a gram (the size of a pebble) to 100 kilograms (220 lbs) or more (the size of a huge, life-destroying boulder).

Thanks again to Tim Lillis for sharing his infographic with Universe Today. For more info about Tim’s work, see his Behance page, Flickr site, Twitter, or his website.