Images from the annular eclipse in Africa on Sept. 1. The eclipse wasn't a total eclipse, where the moon would block out the entire sun, but rather an annular eclipse, which leaves a lovely 'ring of fire' visible to observers. Watch the solar eclipse in a beautiful time-lapse captured by Slooh and Weathernews Japan, here.
For a long time, the surface of Venus remained a mystery to scientists. The planet's unusually thick atmosphere prevented researchers from being able to see what was underneath. But in a recent paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, researchers took advantage of this handicap by using infrared light and radar to penetrate through the surface and see beneath. They found that Venus' surface, as seen in the image above, is similar to Earth with mountains, canyons, valleys, and plains. And like Earth, these features influence its unique weather patterns.
Software engineer James Newman built a 16-bit Tetris-playing microprocessor the size of a room. It's thirty feet long and six feet high, weighs a thousand pounds, and cost $50,000 to build. Newman hopes the processor will find a new home where it can be used for educational purposes.
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.
The Martian surface is covered in these weird dark streaks, and scientists couldn't figure out what was causing them. But a study published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience might have a possible answer. They could be from boiling water; it boils fairly quickly on Mars due to low atmospheric pressure. h/t The Verge