You Could Fit All the Planets Between the Earth and the Moon

You could fit all the planets within the average distance to the Moon.

You could fit all the planets within the average distance to the Moon.

I ran into this intriguing infographic over on Reddit that claimed that you could fit all the planets of the Solar System within the average distance between the Earth and the Moon.

I’d honestly never heard this stat before, and it’s pretty amazing how well they tightly fit together.

But I thought it would be a good idea to doublecheck the math, just to be absolutely certain. I pulled my numbers from NASA’s Solar System Fact Sheets, and they’re a little different from the original infographic, but close enough that the comparison is still valid.

Planet Average Diameter (km)
Mercury 4,879
Venus 12,104
Mars 6,771
Jupiter 139,822
Saturn 116,464
Uranus 50,724
Neptune 49,244
Total 380,008

The average distance from the Earth to the Moon is 384,400 km. And check it out, that leaves us with 4,392 km to spare.

So what could we do with the rest of that distance? Well, we could obviously fit Pluto into that slot. It’s around 2,300 km across. Which leaves us about 2,092 km to play with. We could fit one more dwarf planet in there (not Eris though, too big).

The amazing Wolfram-Alpha can make this calculation for you automatically: total diameter —> Read More Here

Scientists Determine ‘Perfume’ of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

European scientists using the Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) have found that Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the target comet of ESA’s Rosetta mission, smells like a combination of rotten eggs, alcohol, horse urine, bitter almonds and vinegar. “The perfume of this comet is quite strong, with the odor of rotten eggs, of horse [...] —> Read More Here

What Your Birthday Says About Your Mood And Personality, According To Science

Astrologers and other spiritual types are typically the only people to believe in a connection between a person’s birthday and their personality. But according to a recent study, there’s scientific evidence that indeed, the season of your birth may have some impact on who you are.

Researchers from Semmelweis University in Budapest studied a sample of 366 Hungarian university students, finding that people born in the summer were more likely to experience frequent mood swings as adults. People born in the winter, however, were less likely to develop irritable personalities. Spring birthdays were more likely to yield “excessively positive” temperaments, while people born in autumn were less likely to be depressive.

“Biochemical studies have shown that the season in which you are born has an influence on certain monoamine neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which is detectable even in adult life,” lead researcher Xenia Gonda, an assistant professor at the university, said in a written statement. “This led us to believe that birth season may have a longer-lasting effect.”

These neurotransmitters play a role in the regulation of cognitive processes like emotion and arousal, contributing to mood, so the researchers believe they might influence the —> Read More Here

Scientists Pinpoint When Humans Had Sex With Neanderthals

Scientists have long-known that our human ancestors got down and dirty with Neanderthals. But when exactly did this interbreeding first occur?

A study from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany offers a new answer.

For the study, researchers sequenced the genome of a 45,000-year-old modern human male, using a femur bone that was unearthed in 2008 near the small village of Ust’-Ishim in western Siberia. The genome sets the record for being the oldest of a modern human ever sequenced–and the researchers were thrilled to find that it held fragments of Neanderthal DNA.

“This allowed us to estimate that the ancestors of the Ust’-Ishim individual mixed with Neanderthals approximately 7,000-13,000 years before this individual lived or about 50,000 to 60,000 years ago,” Dr. Janet Kelso, an evolutionary geneticist at the institute who led the computer-based analyses of the genome, said in a written statement, “which is close to the time of the major expansion of modern humans out of Africa and the Middle East.”

Previous studies suggested that interbreeding occurred anywhere from 37,000 to 86,000 years ago, The New York Times reported, and so this new research significantly narrows that estimate.

The —> Read More Here

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