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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old December 26 2012, 11:31 AM   #1
YellowSubmarine
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The lonely rocks of our solar system (and other dazzling sights)

NASA put an artist impression of Makemake on APOD today.

I have a special fascinations with lonely distant rocks like this. The planets in our solar system fall into three categories: Rocky planets that are easy for us to visit and explore, gas giants that are stacked with moons making it a very busy neighbourhood, and Mercury.

In contrast, the dwarf planets and other minor bodies are almost always alone and almost always remote. In a science fiction story, they would be the perfect spot to place an outpost hidden from all eyes. We've yet to see how a dwarf planet even looks like, and chances are we will never even discover all of them. Your underground spy station is completely safe.

Most of them are also in the extreme parts of our solar system, receiving so little sunlight that moonlight would look like a day in comparison. The sky is dominated by the small and pale sun, and the stars that get a complete reign during the night. Their image is most often undisturbed by atmosphere and bright moons, and you can see them in all their glory.

On Christmas, NASA posted this hard to believe winter night skyscape. Even though it looks more unreal than the painting of the dwarf planet above, it is a real photograph. And the skyscape is the one that a native of Makemake would see at night with their naturally acute eyesight.
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