Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

Apparently even NASA is wrong about which planet is closest to Earth

Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.

  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
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The missing 'puzzle' page of Einstein’s unified theory of everything found

Over 100 new pages of Einstein's writings, including long-lost calculations, have been made public.

Albert Einsteins manuscript pages on display in the Givat Ram Hebrew University of Jerusalem. March 6, 2019. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • The Hebrew University makes public 110 new pages of Einstein's writings.
  • Among the writings is a famously-missing page of calculations on the unified theory.
  • Other papers by Einstein talk of politics and personal observations.
Discovering the Theory of Everything would be the crowning achievement of modern ...
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The moon is inside Earth's atmosphere, European researchers say

Scientists examined data from 20 years ago to reach a startling new conclusion.

Earth appears over the Lunar horizon. Photo taken during the Apollo 11 mission. 1969. Credit: NASA
  • Observations made by the SOHO spacecraft over 20 years ago lead to a new discovery.
  • The Earth has hydrogen envelope as part of its outer atmosphere called the geocorona.
  • The geocorona stretches well past the moon, reveals a study.
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Study of quark speeds finds a solution for a 35-year physics mystery

Number of proton-neutron pairs determine how fast the particles move, results suggest.

A general view of the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) Control Room with staff monitoring the screens during a behind the scenes tour at CERN, the World's Largest Particle Physics Laboratory. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office
February 20, 2019

MIT physicists now have an answer to a question in nuclear physics that has puzzled scientists for three decades: Why do quarks move more slowly inside larger atoms?

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