Super Star


This December 21st, the paths of the two biggest planets in our solar system- Jupiter and Saturn- will only be a fraction of the moon’s width away from each other. Jupiter already appears brighter than any star from were we are, and the two are the largest planets in our system, so that the conjunction will create such a large, bright light that it looks like an enormous star. This conundrum has baffled people for a long time, and the last time it appeared this visibly from Earth, in 1226, was shortly after the planets were discovered by Galileo Galilei.

This sight is amazing, and is a sight to behold for sure, though it is not always easy to see. While this is as close as the planets have been since 1623, the conjunction actually occurs about every 20 years.  Unfortunately, most often, it cannot be witnessed because of the position of the planets relative to the Sun or because of the timing.   20 years ago, because the time it occurred was about the afternoon, the glare of the sun made it practically invisible.   The last time the great conjunction was this close was 1623, but was not visible from Earth, so the last time it could really be seen was around the dark ages .   In the story of Jesus Christ’s birth, the three wise men who brought him gifts followed a giant star to Bethlehem. Some scientists, including famous astronomer Johannes Kepler, have proposed this could also have been a time when the great conjunction was visible. No matter what, we are about to see a really cool event.

Wait… I still have some questions.

What happens if three planets come together?

What if earth were getting that close to another planet?

What happens if an eclipse is happening at the same time?

The Animal Kingdom World Records

From biggest to smallest,  fastest to slowest, highest to lowest, and even a few more bizarre ones, animals hold many world records.  In this week’s blog, I will show you a few fascinating biological world records.

Paedophryne amauensis is the smallest vertebrate animal in the world. Discovered less than a decade ago in leaf litter on the forest floor of New Guinea, this frog is the size of a house fly!

The slowest mammal in the world is the three-toed sloth (genus Bradypus), which moves 2.4 to 1.8 meters per minute because of his low-nutrient diet of only leaves.

The most looked-up animal on google happens to be the dog.  How about that.

The longest trip when migrating goes to the reindeer, or caribou (Rangifer tarandus), traveling 745 miles.  Unless you count Christmas Eve!

If you think our lives are too short, you should consider the mayfly’s (Hexagenia limbata).  This insect holds the record for the shortest life span at 24 hours -at most!  If that’s not short, I don’t know what is.

Let’s hear it for a two-category champion!  The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) has the loudest call in the world, as well as being the biggest animal in the world.

Of course there are thousands more.   Some are just too gross to think of, but I wonder

1. what is the most-legged animal?

2. what is the biggest microbe in the world?

3. what is the smallest whale?