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Curious facts about cosmic life and their inhabitants.

The discovery of Makemake's little moon increases the parallels between Pluto and Makemake. This is because both of the small icy worlds are already known to be well-coated in a frozen shell of methane. Furthermore, additional observations of the little moon will readily reveal the density of Makemake--an important result that will indicate if the bulk compositions of Pluto and Makemake are similar. "This new discovery opens a new chapter in comparative planetology in the outer Solar System," Dr. Marc Buie commented in the April 26, 2016 Hubble Press Release. Dr. Buie, the team leader, is also of the Southwest Research Institute.



and here is another

Titan has three large seas. However, the seas of Titan are not filled with water, but are filled instead with swirling liquid hydrocarbons. All three of Titan's exotic seas are close to its north pole, and they are surrounded by many smaller hydrocarbon-filled lakes in the northern hemisphere.



and finally

Until 2004, no spacecraft had visited Saturn for more than twenty years. Pioneer 11 took the very first close-up images of Saturn when it flew past in 1979. After that flyby, Voyager 1 had its rendezvous about a year later, and in August 1981 Voyager 2 had its brief, but glorious, encounter. Nearly a quarter of a century then passed before new high-resolution images of this beautiful, ringed planet were beamed back to Earth.

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A moon is defined as a natural satellite in orbit around another body that, in turn, is in orbit around its Star. The moon is kept in its position by both its own gravity, as well as its host's gravitational grip. Some planets have many moons, some have only a small number, and still others have none at all. Several asteroids inhabiting our Solar System are circled by very small moons, and some dwarf planets--such as Pluto--also host moons.



Once in a blue moon. Technically, it takes the moon an average of 29.53 days to travel around the earth. Most months are longer than this. So, it is possible to have more than one full moon in one month. When this happens, the second moon is called a "calendar blue moon." Of course, this is a simple rule. So, let's complicate it!



Brilliant, icy short-period comets invade the bright and toasty inner Solar System, far from their frozen domain in the Kuiper Belt. The Kuiper Belt is the reservoir of comet nuclei that is located closest to Earth. Short-period comets rampage into the inner Solar System more frequently than every 200 years. The more distant long-period comets streak into the inner Solar System's melting warmth and comforting light every 200 years--at least--from the Oort Cloud. Because Earth dwells closer to the Kuiper Belt than to the Oort Cloud, short-period comets are much more frequent invaders, and have played a more important part in Earth's history than their long-period kin. Nevertheless, Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) are sufficiently small, distant, and dim to have escaped the reach of our scientific technology until 1992.