It has been generally accepted in the heady world of mathematical history that the use of geometry to calculate and track celestial bodies was first done by medieval European scholars in the 14th century. As it turns out, that was about 1,400 years off the mark. Fresh analysis of ancient Babylonian tablets has revealed that those Mesopotamians used geometry to track the path of Jupiter (of all objects) across the sky. Their calculations and instructions are etched into clay in the cuneiform script used by the various city-states of that region. The findings are published in the journal Science.
Ceres is no moon, but it did help to kill a planet. The large dwarf planet, originally classified as a real planet, was one of several celestial bodies that called into question Pluto's own status. Thanks to NASA's Dawn spacecraft, earlier this year humans got a close look at Ceres for the first time. The images together revealed some stunning (and possibly planet-destroying) features, but they hadn't yet been stitched together creating a whole vision for the dwarf planet. Well, until now.