XKCD's Randall Munroe Is Publishing A Book Inspired by 'Up-Goer-Five'

In his comic “Up Goer Five,” Randall Munroe labels a blueprint of NASA’s Saturn V Rocket using only the 1,000 most common English words. Today, Munroe announced he’s giving the Up-Goer-Five treatment to a range of interesting objects—like the Mars Curiosity Rover—in a new book called Thing Explainer. » 5/14/15 11:20am 5/14/15 11:20am

Earth's galactic neighborhood sure is crowded

Via XKCD comes this lovely chart of Earth's newly-discovered exoplanetary neighbors. Extrapolated from the latest batch of Kepler data, the diagram depicts the number and sizes of planets thought to exist in the habitable zones of stars within 60 light years of Earth. Is it just me, or does it feel a little cramped in… » 12/03/13 7:20am 12/03/13 7:20am

Why it took forever to allow public input on naming planets

Last week, the International Astronomical Union – the sanctioning body that oversees the naming of planets, among other thingsreversed its official stance on 1) whether to bother naming extrasolar planets and 2) whether the public should be included in the naming process. XKCD's take on the announcement is easily… » 8/19/13 2:36pm 8/19/13 2:36pm