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Brian McNoldy
Attended Lycoming College
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Excellent diagram... and great use of the log scale!
 
As seen on #Cosmos: A spherical shell of icy bodies surrounding the solar system, now named the Oort Cloud, occupies space at a distance between 5,000 and 100,000 astronomical units. (One astronomical unit, or AU, is the mean distance of Earth from the sun: about 150 million km or 93 million miles.) The outer extent of the Oort Cloud is believed to be in the region of space where the sun's gravitational influence is weaker than the influence of nearby stars.

The Oort Cloud probably contains 0.1 to 2 trillion icy bodies in solar orbit. Occasionally, giant molecular clouds, stars passing nearby, or tidal interactions with the Milky Way's disc disturb the orbits of some of these bodies in the outer region of the Oort Cloud, causing the object to fall into the inner solar system as a so-called long-period comet. These comets have very large, eccentric orbits and take thousands of years to circle the sun. In recorded history, they are observed in the inner solar system only once.

This artist's concept puts solar system distances in perspective. The scale bar is in astronomical units, with each set distance beyond 1 AU representing 10 times the previous distance. One AU is the distance from the sun to the Earth, which is about 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers. Neptune, the most distant planet from the sun, is about 30 AU.

Informally, the term "solar system" is often used to mean the space out to the last planet. Scientific consensus, however, says the solar system goes out to the Oort Cloud, the source of the comets that swing by our sun on long time scales. Beyond the outer edge of the Oort Cloud, the gravity of other stars begins to dominate that of the sun.

NASA's Voyager 1, humankind's most distant spacecraft, is around 125 AU.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

#nasa #space #universe #oortcloud #solarsystem #planets

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Brian McNoldy

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A fantastic shot of Comet #ISON shared by @sungrazercomets and others. It was taken by Waldemar Skorupa on November 16, 2013 in Kahler Asten, Germany. credit: Waldemar Skorupa (also shared on spaceweather.com) 
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Brian McNoldy

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I am certain the term "derecho" is feeling slighted. Until recently, it was the "main star" in the News and Infotainment movie entitled "Weather and Climate Words New to the Media/Public, But Known by Weather-Climate Scientis...
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Brian McNoldy

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Wow... that's a wild 12 minutes!
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Have him in circles
47 people
Nathan Baker's profile photo
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Anthony Deukett's profile photo
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  • Lycoming College
    physics, astronomy, 1994 - 1998
  • Colorado State University
    atmospheric science, 1998 - 2001
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Nothing negative to say... it's clean, the food is very good, the Cuban coffees are excellent, there's outdoor seating, the staff was friendly, the service was quick, and the prices are quite reasonable.
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The name sums it up!
Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago
An amazing little gem just a short walk south of downtown. If I had 3 thumbs, I'd give it 3 thumbs up!
Quality: ExcellentAppeal: ExcellentService: Excellent
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Under new management since June 2012, this charming store is packed with treasures, ranging from vintage knick-knacks to antique furniture to collectibles. Grab a coffee in the store and peruse, and be sure to meet the store dog, Eliza.
Quality: ExcellentAppeal: ExcellentService: Excellent
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