Daily Bites: Week of Oct 15
Oct 18: A Planet With Four Suns
It was less than a year ago that astronomers had announced a Tatooine-like planet (as described in Star Wars) with two suns. Now, an amateur team of astronomers have gone a step further. They have found a planet with four suns, the first of its type.
The planet, located about 5,000 light years from Earth, has been dubbed PH1 in honour of Planet Hunters, a volunteer group that look for signs of new planets. PH1, which is 6.2 times Earth's width, is orbiting two suns, which are themselves orbited by a second pair of suns. None of the four suns would be visible from the planet's surface according to astronomers.
Oct 17: Round Two, Presidential Debate
Tuesday night saw the two U.S presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and President Obama debate for a second time -- townhall style. A panel of undecided voters were selected who asked questions ranging from the economy to social and foreign policy issues.
The first debate saw a strong showing by Mitt Romney, while President Obama was criticized for being too passive. This time around, President Obama was viewed as being stronger in a CNN poll; however, the overall standing of each candidate has not changed much. Both appealed to their base of supporters, but were they able to sway the undecided voters. Over the next few days, the candidates will be actively campaigning in the swing states that hold the key to this election outcome -- states like Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, Florida, Virginia among others.
Oct 15: A Record-Breaking Skydive!
Bad weather had forced Felix Baumgartner to abandon his skydive earlier in the week. But when the weather cleared briefly on Sunday, Baumgartner jumped on the opportunity and into the record books!
The 43-year old daredevil set the new record for the world's highest skydive when he jumped from an altitude of 128,097 feet (39,044 meters) — the equivalent of just over 24 miles (39 kilometers) —and broke the sound barrier during his long descent back to Earth. There was some initial concern, soon after the jump when Baumgartner appeared to be tumbling. An experienced skydiver, he was able to correct his fall and get in position.
"Let me tell you - when I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble. You don't think about breaking records anymore, you don't think about gaining scientific data - the only thing that you want is to come back alive," he said afterwards at a media conference.
What an amazing achievement!