Starlight Musings

An attempt to learn the night sky in the early 21st century

Month: April, 2013

Exoplanets in Northern Constellations

HD 176051 b

The hunt for exoplanets reaped its first award in 1995 with the discovery of 51 Pegasi b, a prototype of a class of planets called hot jupiters, approximately 50 light years away in the constellation of Pegasus. Since then, an overwhelming 861 planets have been identified as of March 22, 2013. Personally, I do not find myself learning by rote all the planetary names, distances and physical characteristics. That would just be silly, and the current names aren’t all that memorable (take the catchy-sounding WD 0806-661B b for example). What I do find memorable, however, are the positions of known exoplanets in northern constellations.

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NASA Clean Air Study

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In 2012 I started purchasing certain plants with beautiful green foliage. I was inspired to do so by the NASA Clean Air Study which was conducted in the 1980s. The study suggests that certain common indoor plants may provide a natural way of removing certain toxic agents from the air. Supposedly, the plants thus help combat Sick Building Syndrome. There is also some evidence to suggest that patients in hospital rooms with plants and flowers have significantly shorter hospitalizations.

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