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Is Planet Earth Really a Sphere?

Monday, August 27th, 2012



(Photo credit: space.com)

Planet Earth looks like a perfect sphere from outer space, but that can be deceiving. As a rotating sphere of gas it has flattening at the poles, which you might assume would be the case with our sun, but that flattening is no where near as pronounced as predicted. So, when we see other stars are they more elliptical? When we look at a star like ours we should use it as a model to predict how other stars behave. What’s the latest with Rover Curiosity? For the first time since it was launched it has had an opportunity to stretch its science arm, but even more exciting is that it has used its laser spectrometer to zap a rock and find out its composition. The rover’s next destination is about 400 yards away and will take a month to arrive since it moves across the surface so slowly. Another notable spacecraft is now the longest operating space probe in our fleet, Voyager 2, which is about 9 Billion miles out. Its companion, Voyager 1, is now 11 Billion miles away from Earth. The two have not crossed the outer boundaries of the solar system yet, but are feeling their way there and are expected to cross that boundary in the next couple of years. Also, don’t miss what’s in the night sky this week. All this and more on this week’s Sky Talk.

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