Small star doesn’t like planets attitude

This looks like a nice picture (Credit: NASA):


but then you realize this is what happens when a planet gets too close to a star (in this case a white dwarf). Or something.


So, it seems that NASA has a spacecraft that is getting close to Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt (I’m said to hear that this doesn’t mean it’s a planet with dwarves). Anyway, here it is (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA):


The Dawn spacecraft will enter orbit on March 6, so better pictures should be coming shortly.

Sun sun sun

Given that the area is supposed to get another 8-10 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow, this is looking really good (Credit: NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory):


Goodbye ice

The amount of ice in the Antarctic has actually been increasing so everything’s cool right? Well:

Sea ice increases in Antarctica do not make up for the accelerated Arctic sea ice loss of the last decades, a new NASA study finds. As a whole, the planet has been shedding sea ice at an average annual rate of 13,500 square miles (35,000 square kilometers) since 1979, the equivalent of losing an area of sea ice larger than the state of Maryland every year.

At least it’s not getting worse. Oh:

Furthermore, the global ice decrease has accelerated: in the first half of the record (1979-96), the sea ice loss was about 8,300 square miles (21,500 square kilometers) per year. This rate more than doubled for the second half of the period (1996 to 2013), when there was an average loss of 19,500 square miles (50,500 square kilometers) per year – an average yearly loss larger than the states of Vermont and New Hampshire combined.

But there’s been a lot of snow in Boston

The third major storm in the past two weeks shattered a longstanding snowfall record in Boston, bringing the staggering total over a 30-day span to about 6 feet. That topped the old mark, 58.8 inches, set in 1978. Since the latest storm began Saturday, Boston has received almost 22 inches.

Jupiter’s moons

It seems the space around Jupiter can get crowded. This image (from here; Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)) by the Hubble telescope captures three of Jupiter’s moons in orbit (Europa, Callista, and Io):


But it’s snowing

It seems that 2014 did end up being the warmest on record. I’m sure that neither that or this:

The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000. This trend continues a long-term warming of the planet, according to an analysis of surface temperature measurements by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

While 2014 temperatures continue the planet’s long-term warming trend, scientists still expect to see year-to-year fluctuations in average global temperature caused by phenomena such as El Niño or La Niña. These phenomena warm or cool the tropical Pacific and are thought to have played a role in the flattening of the long-term warming trend over the past 15 years. However, 2014’s record warmth occurred during an El Niño-neutral year.

will change anyone’s mind. After all, it’s cold outside somewhere. Go here to see the graphs of global temperature.

What could go wrong

It seems that the number of children being home-schooled is way up. And there is often little oversight:

Eleven states do not require families to register with any school district or state agency that they are teaching their children at home, according to the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, a nonprofit group that is pushing for more accountability in home schooling. Fourteen states do not specify any subjects that families must teach, and only nine states require that parents have at least a high school diploma or equivalent in order to teach their children. In half the states, children who are taught at home never have to take a standardized test or be subject to any sort of formal outside assessment.

This is fine though since parents have never done anything bad to their children.

Anyway, I think I’ll go look at a few stars (the Andromeda Galaxy; Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams, and L.C. Johnson (University of Washington), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler):


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