Beware the Death Star…

OK, this is just too cool for words:

Pity the poor NASA astronomer who saw the first images of this moon when the Pioneer 11 flew by in 1979.
For this was only two years after the first Star Wars came out – so that film’s iconic Death Star was very much in the public consciousness.
The similarities are pretty startling – enough to make us wonder if Saturn’s moon, called Mimas, is not actually just the fossilised, crumbling remains of an evil empire’s ship from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

You read that right, it looks like the Empire’s Death Star is somehow orbiting around Saturn. Seriously, how cool would that be, eh?

The Rings of Saturn

Another one for Walt.


The Perfessor

There is a Hole in the Sky (only it isn’t our Sky)

A couple of days ago Walt told us all about the black spot on the surface of Jupiter. Well, today, we have more info on the topic, this time from The New York Times Blog.


NASA has confirmed the discovery of a new hole the size of the Earth in Jupiter’s atmosphere, apparently showing that the planet was hit by something large in recent days. The impact mark was first spotted on Monday morning by an amateur astronomer in Australia, who then drew the attention of scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to the dark mark on Jupiter’s south polar region.

NASA even posted some of the pictures on their web site. The Times went on to say:

Glenn Orton, a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said “It could be the impact of a comet, but we don’t know for sure yet.”

Mr. Orton told New Scientist magazine that the planet could have been hit by a block of ice or a comet that was too faint for astronomers to detect before the impact. Leigh Fletcher, an astronomer at the Jet Propulsion Lab told the magazine the impact scar “is about the size of the Earth.”

In Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the amateur astronomer, Anthony Wesley, a 44-year-old computer programmer from a village north of Canberra, made the discovery “using his backyard 14.5-inch reflecting telescope.” The Herald explained: “Wesley, who has been keen on astronomy since he was a child, said telescopes and other astronomy equipment were so inexpensive now that the hobby had become a viable pastime for just about anybody. His own equipment cost about $10,000.”

Sure we’ve been joking about the resulting cataclysmic disaster here on Cuppa, but it’s all fun and games until a planet-sized comet hits the Earth. Still, the good news is, that if we have even a 30-day warning, then not only will you be able to not worry about paying your bills ever again, but you are going to witness the biggest Bacchus Festival the world has ever seen.

The Perfessor