Astronomer Phil Plait spoke about various space-related news and stories. An asteroid, 2007 WD5, has a 1 in 75 chance (possibly 1 in 25) of hitting Mars on Jan. 30th. Scientists are hopeful that the collision will occur as it would give them the opportunity to study the effects of such an event, he noted. This asteroid is similar in size to the house-sized object that hit Tunguska in 1908. The Tunguska meteor is now believed to be smaller than originally thought, he added.
Regarding theories about the Star of Bethlehem, Plait suggested there could have been a conjunction of planets such as Jupiter and Venus, and the story got exaggerated over the years. He shared his favorite astronomy images of 2007 (Top 10, Runners Up). One of them included an ultraviolet image of a star that is leaving a tail behind it, stretching 15 light years across.
We might have an understanding of the universe's mysterious dark matter within five years, Plait said. He also touched on such topics as the eventual death of our sun, NASA's upgrades for Hubble, and gamma ray bursts.
Knights of the Golden Circle & Conspiracy
First hour guest, author Warren Getler spoke about the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) and the conspiracy to kill Lincoln. The new film, National Treasure: Book of Secrets (for which Getler served as historical consultant) deals with this grand conspiracy. The secretive KGC, composed of Confederates and Masons, were said to bury gold and financially support Lincoln's assassination. Getler shared an 1865 political engraving from the magazine Harper's Weekly with us. The image links Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth to the KGC.