Once-in-a-Lifetime Venus Event to Aid Planet Hunters
In June of this year, you can see Venus pass across the surface of the sun. The event, which will not occur again until 2117, will help planet hunters to find foreign worlds similar to Earth.
What's the Latest Development?
On June 5 and 6 this year, millions of people will have the opportunity to watch Venus pass across the surface of the sun, an event that will not happen again until 2117. Transits of Venus occur only when the planet's orbit, which is at a slightly different angle than Earth's, take it between our planet and the sun. Building on the work of Nicolaus Copernicus, the first astronomer to predict the transit of Venus was Johannes Kepler in 1631. "Transits occur in pairs separated by eight years, with the gap between pairs of transits alternating between 105.5 and 121.5 years—the last transit was in 2004."
What's the Big Idea?
Besides being a unique astronomical event, Venus' transit will help scientists who are scouring our galaxy to find other planets like Earth. One technique used to determine the chemical composition of so-called exoplanets requires analyzing how the light from a planet's star reflects off its surface. Jay M Pasachoff, an astronomer at Williams College, Massachusetts, said: "By looking up close at transits in our solar system, we may be able to see subtle effects that can help exoplanet hunters explain what they are seeing when they view distant suns."
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
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- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.
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- There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
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- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.
PAUL RATJE / Contributor
- This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
- UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
- TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.