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matthew reedy
Graphic Designer
Graphic Designer

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Equal rights for all, please.
California gay marriage case looks headed to Supreme Court

+Reuters reports that the ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has cleared the way for the Supreme Court to consider California's gay marriage ban, declining an appeal to revisit the case.

Read more:

Photo: Gay Marriage advocates, San Francisco, California, February 7, 2012. (Beck Diefenbach/+Reuters).


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Live Video: NASA TV's coverage of the Venus Transit

 +NASA is providing live coverage of Venus passing in front of the sun. The next transit won't come until 2117.

Live video, via

Photo: NASA / ESA


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Watch live Transit of Venus - last in this CENTURY - next in 2117

Watch live on 5:45 PM EDT ←

Image Credit & Copyright: David Cortner


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Observable Universe!
Earth's Location in the Universe

Earth → Solar System → Local Interstellar Cloud → Milky Way Galaxy → Local Group → Virgo Supercluster → Pisces-Cetus Supercluster Complex → Observable Universe → Universe

Earth - 12,700 km in diameter - Our planet

Solar System - 4 light-years across - Our home planetary system. At this point, the Sun's gravity gives way to that of surrounding stars

Local Interstellar Cloud - 30 light-years across - Interstellar cloud of gas through which the Sun and a number of other stars are currently travelling

Milky Way Galaxy - 100,000 light-years across - Our home galaxy, composed of 200 billion to 400 billion stars and filled with the interstellar medium

Local Group - 3 megaparsecs across - Group of at least 47 galaxies. Dominated by Andromeda (the largest), The Milky Way and Triangulum; the remainder are small dwarf galaxies

Virgo Supercluster - 33 megaparsecs across - The supercluster of which our Local Group is a part; comprises roughly 100 galaxy groups and clusters

Pisces-Cetus Supercluster Complex - 300 megaparsecs across - The galaxy filament of which the Virgo Supercluster is a part

Observable Universe - 28,000 megaparsecs across - The large-scale structure of the universe consists of more than 100 billion galaxies, arranged in millions of superclusters, galactic filaments, and voids, creating a foam-like superstructure

Universe - Minimum of 28,000 megaparsecs - Beyond the observable universe lies the unobservable regions where no light from those regions has reached the Earth yet. No information is available about the region, as light is the fastest travelling medium of information. However, since there is no reason to suppose different natural laws, the universe is likely to contain more galaxies in the same foam-like superstructure
Earth's Location in the Universe (8 photos)
8 Photos - View album

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Still inspired by the magnitude of our Galaxy and Universe
When will be first contact with alien civilization?

Remember that Earth is just One of Trillions (10^12) of Planets in the Milky Way Galaxy and just One of at least Septillions (10^24) of Planets in the Observable Universe...

In the Milky Way Galaxy are at least 500 billion stars, and every star has at least one planet, and the Milky Way Galaxy is just one of at least 500 billion galaxies in the Observable Universe

500 000 000 000 stars * 500 000 000 000 galaxies * at least one planet = 250 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 planets and Earth is just one of them, just one of 250 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 planets in the Observable Universe

OK, this everything is in the Observable Universe, and what is beyond?

How many are civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy?
How many are civilizations in the Observable Universe?
How many are civilizations beyond the Observable Universe?

To know more we have to wait for:
James Webb Space Telescope (2018)
European Extremely Large Telescope (2022)

What do you think about this?

Image Credit: ESO/S. Guisard

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What if planets orbited Earth at the same distance as the +Moon?

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Hubble Captures View of 'Mystic Mountain' | HH 901 and HH 902 in the Carina Nebula

This craggy fantasy mountaintop enshrouded by wispy clouds looks like a bizarre landscape from Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" or a Dr. Seuss book, depending on your imagination. The NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, which is even more dramatic than fiction, captures the chaotic activity atop a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks.

This turbulent cosmic pinnacle lies within a tempestuous stellar nursery called the +Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. The image celebrates the 20th anniversary of Hubble's launch and deployment into an orbit around Earth.

Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from super-hot newborn stars in the nebula are shaping and compressing the pillar, causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of hot ionized gas can be seen flowing off the ridges of the structure, and wispy veils of gas and dust, illuminated by starlight, float around its towering peaks. The denser parts of the pillar are resisting being eroded by radiation much like a towering butte in Utah's Monument Valley withstands erosion by water and wind.

Nestled inside this dense mountain are fledgling stars. Long streamers of gas can be seen shooting in opposite directions off the pedestal at the top of the image. Another pair of jets is visible at another peak near the center of the image. These jets (known as HH 901 and HH 902, respectively) are the signpost for new star birth. The jets are launched by swirling disks around the young stars, which allow material to slowly accrete onto the stars' surfaces.

Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 observed the pillar on Feb. 1-2, 2010. The colors in this composite image correspond to the glow of oxygen (blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green), and sulfur (red).

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)
Explanation of the image from:

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