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WEEKLY WHINE

Rendezvous with and stump Edvard

The Universe is an interesting place. But it is currently much more interestinger than ever before.

Earlier this week, the Rosetta spacecraft successfully rendezvoused with Comet 67P/​Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It was a great accomplishment that left all involved with a great sense of accomplishment. Over the coming weeks, Rosetta will insert itself into orbit around the comet, and then it will drop a probe that will attempt a landing on the comet. When that happens, some serious science shit will go down.

In addition, the Perseid meteor shower peaks later this week. This is often the most active meteor shower of the year, so if you are ever going to go into a dark place and look at the sky, this would be the time to do that.

Oh, and there was a supermoon, which is of interest only to those who subscribe to that astrological bullshit.

So now that you are excited about everything that is happening in the Universe [by which we mean an infinitesimal fraction of everything that is happening in the Universe], you may have some questions about it. Luckily for you, we have retrieved someone who is capable of answering questions: “Dynamite Eating” Edvard van de Kamp. He has plenty of information that he is willing to share with you, so why not pull up a telescope and read the aforementioned information?

Dear Edvard: So what makes supermoons so awesome, anyway?

– Sara Adlerdale
Octagon, OR, USA

Dear Sara: Nothing. They are not awesome. They are just full moons that coincide with lunar perigee.

Dear Edvard: Omigod there’s a supermoon! Omigod look at that supermoon! That supermoon is so awesome! Why are supermoons so awesome? Supermoon supermoon supermoon! Yaaaaay!

– Jordana Bleenckx
Genk, Belgium

Dear Jordana: Supermoons are not really all that interesting. When the Moon is at perigee, it subtends about 33 arcminutes. When it’s at apogee, it subtends about 29 arcminutes. So... you know... yaaaaay.

Dear Edvard: Dude, why do you have to be such a buzzkill? There’s no reason for you to hate on supermoons like that! Supermoons are awesome!

– Amanda Faylle
Santa Fe, NM, USA

Dear Amanda: “Hate on supermoons”? What are they, the New England Patriots? “Nobody believes in the supermoons! Well, I’ll tell you who belives in the supermoons! The people in this room!”

Dear Edvard: Does the Universe really exist? Or is it just a figment of my imagination?

– Melinda Vatesse
Golden, CO, USA

Dear Melinda: Yes, the Universe really exists. But have you considered the possibility that I am a figment of your imagination?

Dear Edvard: What is GoobNet’s position on Pluto?

– Luz Patís Ramírez
San Diego, CA, USA

Dear Luz: GoobNet’s position is not on 134340 Pluto. It is on Earth.

Dear Edvard: No, I mean, what is your opinion on its planethood?

– Luz Patís Ramírez
San Diego, CA, USA

Dear Luz: We agree that 134340 Pluto does not meet the conditions for planethood, which is why we here at GoobNet always refer to it with its minor planet number. However, we believe that the definition of a planet should be clarified: in particular, what it means to clear the neighbourhood around an object’s orbit should be defined clearly.

Dear Edvard: Rosetta’s arrival at Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko is an important achievement. What will we discover when the Philae lander lands on the comet?

– Jessi Raviparadeen
Bhatipoor, India

Dear Jessi: Comet stuff?

Dear Edvard: For the first time, a spacecraft built by humans has rendezvoused with a comet. The Rosetta mission will surely bring a wealth of information about the early Solar System and how it became what it is. Why is it not receiving much more attention in the media?

– Regina de Valle
Naples, Italy

Dear Regina: Because they’re dumbed down.

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