Hypnotic xkcd animation compares the frequency of various events

Here's a mesmerizing piece of data porn that is sure to keep you staring at your screen. Randall Munroe of xkcd uses a series of GIFs to compare the frequencies of events from births, deaths, and heartbeats to the eruption of Old Faithful to someone in Denver ordering a pizza. » 2/17/14 1:20pm 2/17/14 1:20pm

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

The solar system is doomed and so are you

XKCD's Randall Munroe on the inexorable march toward complete and total solar devastation. Best to just hunker down and wait for our star to turn us into crispy bits, right? Granted, our fiery fate is still a ways off, but in situations such as these it's always a good idea to resign to one's demise well ahead of time. … » 9/26/12 1:30pm 9/26/12 1:30pm

Play with all 786 confirmed planets in one interactive infographic!

Remember a few weeks ago when XKCD put out that killer infographic depicting all 786 of our galaxy's confirmed exoplanets in one convenient visualization? Well, thanks to some data from Planetary Habitability Laboratory and some handy codework by Lane Harrison, that infographic just got even cooler. » 7/30/12 4:00pm 7/30/12 4:00pm

All 786 confirmed planets in one handy infographic

Leave it to XKCD to whip up an awesome exoplanet infographic [click to embiggen]. I'd petition for Randall Munroe to have it made into a purchasable poster, but at the rate NASA's Kepler Mission is discovering planets beyond our solar system, it wouldn't be long before he had to update it — with way, way more planets. » 6/20/12 1:40pm 6/20/12 1:40pm