Space Game! Where in the Solar System is Destination Eleven? And the location is…

Hey Space Bloggers!

Congratulations to Dr. Spaceman for getting us off to a great start!  After seeing those crazy, enormous Northern Lights on day 1, he thought Destination 11 might be a planet. Excellent thinking!  He must know that such aurorae are caused by the solar wind flowing across a magnetic field.  The sun provides the wind, but it takes something BIG, like say a planet, to form a magnetosphere.

Then D11 himself spoke up in day 2’s limmer-iddle  and revealed that he is ‘a huge gas filled ball’. So I’m sure that got a lot of you thinking GAS GIANT.

Credit: NASA

But which one? (you asked yourself) After all, there are four.  Then you noticed another clue in the limmer-iddle; D11 said he was ‘not the biggest’. Okay, that knocks out Jupiter. And we are down to three.

From day 3‘s post you cleverly deduced that the ‘arms’ Galileo saw were really rings.  You then checked and found out that, while all the gas giants have them, only one has bright reflective rings that can be seen from Earth.

But what really cinched it for Archimedes was finding out on day 4 that one of D11’s many moons is our own Destination TenTITAN!

That’s right, Space Bloggers. You guessed it.  Destination Eleven is none other than that lighter than  water, sparkling gem among giants…


Check here and here to see what NASA‘s intrepid spaceship Cassini has learned about Saturn and its moons in the first seven years of its thirteen year expedition.

Check back HERE next Tuesday for a brand new Space Game destination!

Posted in Cassini, Destination Eleven, Galileo, Neutrinos, Planets, Saturn, Solar System, Space, Space Exploration, Space Game | Leave a comment

Special Halloween Edition

Hey Space Bloggers – Sorry, but I have to interrupt Space Game this week to bring you a special report:

It all started when these scientists started talking about this weird neutrino (very, VERY small particle) that supposedly goes faster than the speed of  light (186,000 miles a second, that’s EVERY second).

At first I thought, who cares, right? I mean, so this tiny thing goes really fast? What’s the big deal?

Well, I asked Dr. Spaceman  that question and he told me that it is a VERY BIG DEAL because it breaks the law! Well, technically it breaks a theory, but it’s practically a law because its been proven right like a gazillion times. Of course, I’m talking about Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (probably the most famous theory ever!)

Photo acknowledgement: Institute for Theoretical Physics, Frankfurt, Germany

According to this theory, nothing–not a bullet, or a plane, or even a tiny neutrino–can go faster than light. If it could, well lets just say things could get bad – or cool – depending on whether or not you like the idea of .     .     .

Crazy, huh? I mean, if you think about it that means that you could  turn a corner one day and run into a flesh eating pterodactyl taking a vacation from the Mesozoic era, or maybe a curious robot from the 27th century coming back to dissect primitive humans like us.

But I wouldn’t think about that if I were you,  especially not tonight when you’re out trick or treating with all those ghosties and goblins. I’m sure none of them are real live monsters from our primordial past. It’s not at all likely they could be alien zombies who invade Earth in a hundred years and then come back to get US.

I mean, don’t worry.  It’s just not possible. Albert Einstein said so and–

HEY, who is that old guy across the street with the frizzy white hair, big nose, and funny mustache??? It couldn’t possibly be….I mean, he died a long time ago…unless… Excuse me, Space Bloggers. I have a few more questions for Dr. Spaceman.

But before I go, there was something I wanted to tell you… Oh, yes! For the exciting conclusion to Space Game: Where in the World is Destination Eleven? be sure to check back next week, or will that be last week? I am so confused!

Posted in Albert Einstein, Neutrinos, The Theory of Relativity | 6 Comments

Space Game! Where in the Solar System is Destination Eleven? (day 4)

Hey Space Bloggers,

After reading the ‘day 3′ clue, I’m guessing that you are almost as confused as Galileo was to see that Destination Ten’s ‘moons’ suddenly disappeared, only to reappear four years later as ‘arms’.  Right?

Galileo Galilee

Hint#1: What Galileo saw was neither ‘moons’ nor ‘arms’. For today’s post, we’ll just call them ‘things’.

Now I’m going to tell you how the ‘things’ did their disappearing act. Then I bet you can tell me just what those ‘things’ really are. Ready?

Here goes: When Galileo could NOT see the ‘things’, he was looking at them edge-on and they were too thin to see through his homemade telescope.  When he COULD observe them, the ‘things’ were tilted at an angle and he could easily see their wide expanse through his telescope.  So that means that the ‘things’ are large and wide, but very thin, sort of like a pizza.

So now do you know what Galileo saw?  [Hint#2: It rhymes with ‘things’.]

Christiaan Huygens

But don’t think this means that Destination Eleven doesn’t have moons.  Because it does. Lots. The first one, TITAN, was discovered in 1655 by Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch astronomer.

Just a few years later an astronomer named Cassini discovered four more moons, IAPETUS, RHEA, TETHYS, AND DIONE. Since then, 13 more have been discovered bringing the number of moons orbiting Destination Eleven to a grand total of 18.

So long for now, Space Bloggers. But be sure to check back next week when I announce the answer to that burning question: Where in the world is Destination Eleven?  That is, unless YOU write in with answer first!

Posted in Destination Eleven, Galileo, Planets, Saturn, Solar System, Space Exploration, Space Game | Leave a comment

Space Game! Where in the Solar System is Destination Eleven? (day 3)

Hey Space Bloggers!

How are you doing? Have you figured out where Destination Eleven is yet?  Let’s see.  From Day 1’s picture clue you know that D11 has ginormous auroras (northern lights).  And on Day 2 you discovered that D11 is lightweight enough to float in water, although its pretty unlikely anyone will ever find a tub big enough to actually try it!

So, have you figured it out yet? What, you want another clue???

Okay, here goes. Galileo Galilee first saw D11 through a telescope 401 years ago. This is how he described that sight in the year 1610:


“I discovered another very strange wonder. The star of [D11] is not a single star, but is a composite of three, which almost touch each other, never change or move relative to each other, and are arranged in a row along the zodiac, the middle one being three times larger than the lateral ones…”



When Gallileo looked through his telescope two years later he was shocked to find that the small ‘stars’ (which he also called ‘moons’) on either side of D11 had disappeared.  And he was even more surprised to see them back again 4 years later. He tried to account for this strange behavior by concluding that the ‘moons’ were actually some sort of ‘arms’.

Does that help, Space Bloggers? What do Galileo’s ‘arms’ look like to you?

Newcomers, wanna play? Just check out Space Game Rules! and join right in.

Posted in Destination Eleven, Galileo, Saturn, Solar System, Space, Space Exploration, Space Game | Leave a comment

Space Game! Where in the Solar System is Destination Eleven? (day 2)

Hey SpaceBoggers!

It’s day 2 and you know what that means. That’s right. Zip up your space suits and hold on…Here, in the practically immortal words of Destination Eleven, is your day 2 LIMMER-IDDLE !

Though I’m not the biggest of all,

not many would dare call me small.

But what makes me so cool

is when I’m in a pool,

I will float like a huge gas filled ball!

(But I warn you, I may leave a ring. He, he.)

Thanks for that uh, unsinkable clue D11.  I bet there are a lot of Space Bloggers out there just dying to know more about you. Right, Space Bloggers? Well, you’re in luck. Cuz there will be another mind boggling clue direct from D11 in next Tuesday’s edition of SpaceBlog!

Newcomers, check out Space Game Rules! and join in.

Posted in Destination Eleven, Planets, Saturn, Solar System, Space, Space Exploration, Space Game | Leave a comment

Space Game! Where in the Solar System is Destination Eleven? (day 1)

Hey SpaceBloggers!

Have I got something special for you today, or what!  (The answer would be, yes.) As you know, day 1 of a new Space Game destination is traditionally picture day. Well today you get a fantastic picture from Destination Eleven and THEN SOME! Intrigued?

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Believe it or not, these are pictures of the tallest know Northern Lights in the solar system. They stretch above D11’s northern hemisphere for 746 miles. That’s like stretching a curtain of lights all the way from Chicago to New York City! And then tipping that light show on its end so that it’s pointing straight out into space.

Now are you ready for the ‘THEN SOME’?  Just click to download than hit play to watch these fantastic auroras in motion over D11. (courtesy NASA, JPL, SSI) BTW, that white glow in the distance is sunlight shining on D11’s day side.

Cool, right? (The answer would again be, yes. Totally!)

New to Space Game? Check out Space Game Rules! But be quick…the game is aloft!

Posted in Destination Eleven, Saturn, Solar System, Space, Space Exploration, Space Game | 2 Comments

Space Game! Where in the Solar System is Destination Ten? And the Location is…

Hey Space Bloggers!

Congratulations Bird of the Wind and Archimedes. You were both right! You figured out the location of Destination Ten from the following clues hidden in just three posts:

Credit: NASA/JPL

On day 1 you learned that D10 was a lovely golden ball in space with a very important visitor named Cassini. You probably went right to the Cassini mission website and saw this early picture.

Although Cassini is managed by a committee of three (NASA, ESA, and ASI) it turns out to be a pretty amazing spacecraft, with its own eyes, legs, arm, hands, voice, and brain! Need a little help finding them – no problem. Just click here for a guided tour by our old friend NASA.

For sure, you found out that Cassini has been exploring Saturn and its 62 moons for fourteen years. 62 MOONS !!! You thought. Oh my gosh! How am I ever going to figure out which moon is D10?

But you stayed calm and on day 2 you found out that D10 is unlike any other moon in the solar system. It’s big enough to be planet, with dunes, oceans, and an atmosphere! That narrows it down a lot, you thought. (Good thinking!)

Credit: NASA/JPL

On day 3 you found out that in 2005, D10 was tickled by a probe.  You went right back to the Cassini site and found this artist’s drawing of the Huygens Probe heading for Saturn’s largest moon.

Ah-ha! you say. And rightly so, for you have just solved another astounding Space Game mystery. And your reward — click now for a ride on a very cool virtual tour (courtesy NASA) of Saturn’s spectacular moon….


Posted in Destination Ten, Planets, Saturn, Solar System, Space, Space Exploration, Space Game, Titan | 2 Comments

Space Game! Where in the Solar System is Destination Ten? (day 3)

Hey Space Bloggers!

Sorry about the interruption, but it was worth it right!  What did you think of the exploding star? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just go back one post to Special Edition: SUPERNOVA.)

And now back to Destination Ten.  Ready for your next clue? D10 wants to tell you himself, so in the cosmic words of Destination Ten (I just helped with the spelling), here’s your next clue.

If you read my Day2 limmeriddle you’ve probably figured out that I’m practically a planet, except for the small detail that I don’t orbit the sun. And then, if you hovered over my photo (not my best side, but still rather attractive if I do say so myself) you discovered that my biggest claim to fame is –ta, daaa–I have an atmosphere. That detail got Earth scientists all excited. So excited that about six Earth-years ago they shot a probe right through my hazy outer veil (talk about tickling–sheesh!). That’s how they found out that my air has a lot of nitrogen in it like Earth’s, which got them even more excited. They do have one complaint, though.  They say I’m a little smoggy. But I say, what’s the big deal? So I rain gasoline-like stuff now and then–hey, everyone has a bad air day sometime!

Thanks Destination Ten.  That was very, uh, interesting. Just for that I’ll show your fans a photo of your good side — here you are going around with your little brother Tethys.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Space Bloggers, see you next week  for the exciting conclusion to this edition of SPACE GAME! (unless it’s preempted by another special addition!)

Posted in Destination Ten, Saturn, Space Exploration, Space Game, Titan | 5 Comments

Special Edition: SUPERNOVA

Hey SpaceBloggers!

We preempt this weeks blogpost of Space Game to bring you a fast breaking report of astronomical proportions. Are you ready? Here it is…

A star exploded in the Pinwheel galaxy 21 million years ago!!!

Fast breaking? (you ask) That’s right! (I answer) Even thought the star exploded 21 million years ago, it did so in a galaxy so far, far away that light from the explosion is just now reaching Earth. And it won’t be around for long.

Light rays from the supernova first hit Earth a couple of weeks ago, Tuesday, August 24th. The explosion was noticed within hours by crack scientists at the Palomar Observatory. It has been getting brighter each night and will reach its peak September 9 and 10, 2011. You can see the real thing – an exploding star – every night this week with a good pair of binoculars.

To see what you’re looking for, check out this Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Image Credit: D. Andrew Howell & BJ Fulton (LCOGT) et al., Faulkes Telescope North, LCOGT

Happy star watching, Space Bloggers!  See you next week with the 3rd installment of Space Game: Where in the Solar System is Destination Ten?

Posted in Pinwheel Galaxy, Space, Supernovae | 1 Comment

Space Game! Where in the Solar System is Destination Ten? (day 2)

Hey Space Bloggers, welcome back!

Hope you’ve been surviving the hurricanes, droughts, heatwaves, and floods on planet Earth and are ready for a pleasant jaunt back to balmy Destination Ten.  Well, maybe balmy isn’t the right word. Make that frigid. Better yet, decide for yourself.

Here’s your day 2 limmeriddle!

Though I’m not a planet, I could be.

If  I circled the sun, then I would be!

‘Cuz I’ve oceans and dunes,

unlike all other moons,

and I’m big as an inner one should be!

And one more thing…

Credit: NASA, JPL

Know where we are yet? Go ahead, take a guess. We’re all in the same spaceboat…

Newcomers, if you’re confused, check out Space Game Rules! And everyone, come back next week for another clue to the puzzling question: Where in the Solar System is Destination Ten?

Posted in Destination Ten, Planets, Saturn, Solar System, Space, Space Exploration, Space Game, Titan | 2 Comments