I stumbled across this story here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131025085909.htm
The Science Daily piece was about a purring monkey, which got my attention. Then I decided to investigate the source (which I will often do if I am compelled to write about something I see on a website) Which led me to this story: http://worldwildlife.org/stories/brightly-colored-lizard-among-441-new-amazon-species-discovered-since-2010
The second link has a slideshow of several of these new species and well worth looking into. It is amazing how much we learn about our surroundings on a daily basis. We are talking about over 400 new species uncovered in the last few years. I cannot imagine how many days of slogging through what must be very difficult terrain and miserable conditions, it must have taken to find all of these species. I envy those who have the tenacity to do these things.
If you like seeing new creatures only recently discovered, I strongly suggest reading the Science Daily piece first, then go to the Worldwildlife.org site for the pics. Which…by the way, is yet another site I will be addicted to.
The bad news is, many of these new species are already considered endangered, deforestation the main cause, and there are concerns about potential dam sites as well. The constant pursuit of profit will be the undoing of our planet, and probably life as we know it. Just give it time.
A planet has been discovered floating free in space, not attatched to a star. This is the first discovered with this distinction.
Over the last few years, quite close to 1000 planets have been found orbiting other stars besides our sun. Which is really cool. That was to be expected, stars form in nebulous clouds of gas and dust, just as our sun did. It also stands to reason that most stars, would have planetary systems as we do. The investigation in the matter proves conclusively that this is so. Science for the win!
It has also been suggested that during the planet forming stage, or just after, when the orbits are being worked out, that the possibility exists that a fledgling planet could be flung out into space. Again scientific investigation, lends credence to the idea. This looks like a smoking gun to me.
Moral of the story, science is working diligently every day to test new ideas. When these ideas are confirmed, it is cause for a moment of celebration. Then when that moment passes, new questions arise, which need looking into, and that is why science is awesome! There is no end to inquiry, there are standards to be met, there is no room for bias or preconceptions, there is a never ending investigation into the why and the how, it is this desire to learn that makes an (yep, I’m gonna do it) Evidence Based Reality the king of the school of thought.
On a personal note, I was out last night with the big gun (12.5″ telescope) observing Uranus and Neptune. There is nothing quite like looking at a planet that is very close to 2 billion miles away (Uranus) and close to 3 billion miles away (Neptune) and seeing them with your own eyes. I also took time to look at a few deep sky objects one of which being the Andromeda Galaxy and it’s companion galaxies, The Ring Nebula was spectacular at nearly 300x, then I just dropped in a low power wide field eyepiece and just cruised the Milky Way for a while. It was fun, you should have been there 🙂