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95 million years to Chicxulub

Warning: A long scientific sentence without humor! (Yes, I need that from time to time.)

Astronomers have now found with calculations of asteroid orbits, chemical examinations of asteroids that crashed on Earth and temporal distribution of impacts also on Moon, Mars and Venus that probably the collision of an asteroid with a diameter of 170 km, called Baptistina, with a 60 km large one 160 (+30/-20) million years ago created 300 large fragments over 10 km (and many smaller ones) including the one that impacted near Chicxulub (Mexiko) 65 million years ago, which most likely was mainly responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Quite interesting how things like that can be determined after so long periods of time… More info on Spiegel Online (German), original article from Nature.

Cheese everywhere?

It’s been known for a long time that the moon consists of cheese ;) .Wallace & Gromit also have proven this – now the entire space could have holes like Swiss cheese. At least that’s what Valerio Marra and his colleagues say: Many holes without any matter could appear to us like the effects of dark energy, and without the need for accelerated expansion.

And let’s be honest, a cheese universe is quite more likeable than one full of dark energy, isn’t it?. :mrgreen:


So the dwarf planet 2003 UB313 and its moon, previously nicknamed Xena (played by Lucy Lawless) and Gabrielle, who were (among others) responsible for a lot of dispute and, erm, strife and discord not only among astronomers recently – even causing Pluto to lose its official status of a real planet –, are now officially named Eris (after the Greek goddess of strife and discord) and Dysnomia (demon of lawlessness, a child of Eris).

Now that’s what I call good naming…

Read what the “Bad Astronomer” writes about it.