1,284 New Planets, A New Skin, And Other Amazing Images Of The Week
Claire Maldarelli
at 09:36 AM May 16 2016
Fast Track
Melanie Gonick/MIT
Science // 

The wait to become a planet is now over for 1,284 bodies outside the solar system. This week, NASA announced that they meet the qualifications for planet status. The Kepler space telescope, which identified them, scrutinized a particular patch of stars in the sky from 2009 to 2013, watching for the star's light to dim, meaning that a planet was passing in between the star and the telescope. To be sure the dimness was really from the planet and not something else in the universe, scientists checked and rechecked using other telescopes and data. Hence the long, but well worth it wait. The image above is an artist's illustration of the planets.

Welcome To The Space Jam
NASA/W. Stenzel
A Map Of Our Least Explored Planet
NASA/U.S. Geological Survey/Arizona State University/Carnegie Institution of Washington/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Nasa's MESSENGER mission, which ended its run in 2015, unveiled the first global topographic map of Mercury, our smallest and least explored planet. The map, in addition to simply being beautiful, will help scientists better understand Mercury's geological history, including the ancient volcanic area that's large enough to cover 60 percent of the continental United States.
Mars Or Bust
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
If things don't work out on Earth, there's at least a tiny chance that us humans could end up on Mars. The image above, released in June 2015, shows a clear image of the Crisp Crater in Sirenum Fossae. Future site of a tourist resort?
Instagram's New Look
Instagram, Adapted by Jason Lederman
This week, Instagram, the popular photo-taking/sharing app, unveiled its newest logo redesign, seen above. The people of the internet, including Twitter, were less than impressed with the new design. One follower made the keen observation that the new logo looks all too similar to a Powerpoint template.
Global Warming, In a GIF
Ed Hawkins
This 'Doom Spiral', popular on the internet this week, shows how temperatures on Earth have risen since the 1850s. Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading who created the graphic, hopes that this will clearly show global temperature changes “in a visually appealing and straightforward way.” The original graphic can be found here.
Where's Mercury?
Earlier this week, on May 9th, Mercury passed directly between Earth and the Sun. During the Mercury transit, which was the first one in 10 years, NASA snapped this great shot of the tiny planet as it passed across the sun. As NASA points out, most of the black specks in the photo are sunspots, but the one that is perfectly round is Mercury. Can you spot it?
Smoking Gun
Petty Officer Bryan Goff/U.S. Coast Guard
Creating pictures with long exposure allows amateur photographers to create images and words with light. But other long-exposure images can be just as cool, including this one above showing U.S. Coast Guard members shooting a 50-caliber machine gun at night, while on the Coast Guard's ship. Gizmodo
The Coolest Tech In The Marvel Universe
Marvel comics have their fair share of cool tech from bionic iron men to physics-defying shields, but the coolest--and most advanced--tech in the Marvel Universe comes from Wakanda, the fictional East African nation depicted in 'Black Panther.' We sat down with the designer of Black Panther to discuss what it's like to create hologram bracelets and bird-looking ships for the people of Wakanda.
Fast Track
ESA, processed by Enveo
One of the best ways to visualize global warming is through the changes in Arctic ice. This image, taken by the ESA, combined radar images from satellites taken 12 days apart. Different colors depict the rates at which the ice is melting: blue represents ice that shrinks a slow but steady inch per day while red shows ice that shrinks a speedy three feet per day.
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