This awesome animation by Alex Parker (whose Kepler-11 Sonata video is also excellent) illustrates the 2299 fast-transiting planets discovered to so far by the Kepler mission and their orbits to-scale around a single star.
There’s a wealth of detail in this rendering like colour/temperature correlation and the white rings representing Mercury, Venus and Earth’s orbits and that’s all elaborated on on it’s vimeo page. But all you need to know is this part of the description:
Watching in full screen + HD is recommended, so you can see even the smallest planets!
Planets. 2299 of them. Up there. And all of them were found in a really short period of time, with still so many more out there yet to discovered.
Was going to post and comment on this write up’s ‘counter-arguement’ on Curiosity’s cultural investment/benefits, but then this high resolution footage of the rover’s decent phase from the rover’s point-of-view came out and the thinking is simply: Who care? It’s still goddamn amazing enough that we’ve got a friggin’ Tank of Science on another planetary body.
UPDATE: some reddit user has interpolated the original’s images, creating a ‘smoother’ 25 fps version of the original video. Nice.
Also, here’s the trailer for Zero Dark Hour, the new film from Hurt Locker director Katherine Bigelow about the events of SEAL Team Six and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Slightly underwhelming, but I’m still looking forward to it.
This 25 minute film lays out and explores just what we’ve learned about the Saturn and its various moons; probably the most fascinating planetary system in our solar system. Most of the data is from the Cassini spacecraft’s 7 year findings, with a little from Voyager and Galileo.