C'mon Yahoo

Yahoo! has an article from Space.com which talks about a Hubble image of three interacting galaxies known as Arp 194. Upon reading the article, I noticed there was a picture of the winner of the recent Hubble contest. Naturally, I assumed I was reading an article about that galactic trio. But then I realized the name of that image was Arp 274, not the Arp 194 mentioned in the third graf. So what was going on? Well, it’s pretty simple. Yahoo! took the Arp 274 image and placed it – misleadingly – next to the article about Arp 194. No misreading. No misinterpretation. No mistake on my part. Yahoo! just decided to put up an incorrect picture. Next they’ll talk about the president and put up an image of Jefferson.

Anyway, here’s the image that was being discussed.

090421-hubble-19years-02

C’mon Yahoo

Yahoo! has an article from Space.com which talks about a Hubble image of three interacting galaxies known as Arp 194. Upon reading the article, I noticed there was a picture of the winner of the recent Hubble contest. Naturally, I assumed I was reading an article about that galactic trio. But then I realized the name of that image was Arp 274, not the Arp 194 mentioned in the third graf. So what was going on? Well, it’s pretty simple. Yahoo! took the Arp 274 image and placed it – misleadingly – next to the article about Arp 194. No misreading. No misinterpretation. No mistake on my part. Yahoo! just decided to put up an incorrect picture. Next they’ll talk about the president and put up an image of Jefferson.

Anyway, here’s the image that was being discussed.

090421-hubble-19years-02

More exoplanets

They keep findin’ ’em.

In the search for Earth-like planets, astronomers zeroed in Tuesday on two places that look awfully familiar to home. One is close to the right size. The other is in the right place.

European researchers said they not only found the smallest exoplanet ever, called Gliese 581 e, but realized that a neighboring planet discovered earlier, Gliese 581 d, was in the prime habitable zone for potential life.

While Gliese 581 e is too hot for life “it shows that nature makes such small planets, probably in large numbers,” Marcy commented. “Surely the galaxy contains tens of billions of planets like the small, Earth-mass one announced here.”

I don’t think most people recognize the significance of science like this. Scientists will never find themselves short of planets to observe. Our small, insignificant star has 8 planets around it. Assuming the average star has only 1 planet in its orbit, that’s still trillions of planets. The number is probably less than 1 per star, I’d guess, but who knows? It’s at least certainly unfathomably high. A small fraction per star would still yield a huge number; there are more stars in the Universe than grains of sands on all the beaches of Earth. Not enough people appreciate that fact.