Artist interpretation of Kepler 47c. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

It’s been a while since we had any juicy exoplanet news. That changed yesterday as a new breakthrough was announced in exoplanet science. For the first time astronomers have confirmed multiple planets orbiting a binary star. The star is about 5,000 light years away and what really makes this discovery interesting is that one of the two planets orbits in the habitable zone, where liquid water could exist on its surface. The catch is- the planet is a gas giant, similar to Jupiter and Saturn, but more the size of Uranus. However, planets like that almost always have many moons, some of which could have an atmosphere and even support life, just like the Forest Moon of Endor, home of the Ewoks in Star Wars. Pretty exciting stuff! Read more about it at NewScientist.

In other news, if you’re anywhere in the southeast and looking for some nerdy fun this Labor Day, look no further than Rocket Fest at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. This event just popped onto my radar today via Bad Astronomy, and low & behold Dr. Plait himself will be one of the guest speakers! It should be no secret that I’m a big fan of him and and his blog. This is a fundraiser open to anyone, any age, and the proceeds go to the scholarship fund for Space Camp, and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation. Honestly what excites me the most about it (besides seeing Phil Plait speak) is the fact that you can get a signed print of that AWESOME poster for a mere $20 donation. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be there, but I had to mention it because it’s all sorts of awesome!

I’m not quite sure whether to breathe a sigh of relief, or still be worried about the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger. I haven’t really had a chance to fully think the outcome through yet. But the news is: the merger is on, but with special provisions mandated by the government to prevent a full-on monopoly on the entire live music business. Basically, AEG Live will get to use Ticketmaster’s software, and Ticketmaster’s Paciolan ticketing and software services unit will be sold to a division of Comcast or another possible buyer. I guess the biggest worry here was that the merger would go on unchecked and that did NOT happen, so I guess we can all sigh a breath of relief… for the time being. More details at Business Insider.

There’s a pretty cool fundraiser/benefit show happening in Murfreesboro this Thursday 1/28/2010 for YEAH. (If you’re unfamiliar with YEAH, which stands for Youth Education through Arts & Humanities, please click on the flier to visit their website and learn more about their AWESOME program.) The show lineup is Shoot The Mountain, Hammertorch, and How I Became the Bomb, and there will also be Yazoo and New Belgium beers! (The beer part is a big deal because normally this space is alcohol-free because it’s an all-ages venue/hangout.) It’s obviously an 18+ event, and your attendance will help out one of the best local causes I can think of.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of local electronic/8-bit wizard Matt Pusti. We went to MTSU together and he was mostly responsible for my introduction to electronic music in general. Before that, I thought drum machines were evil and anything not made by a “real” instrument was terrible. I recently mentioned his newer, more experimental endeavor DAAS and was quite glad to see him getting back to producing that genre of electronic music. (His material before Makeup & Vanity Set sounded much more like the DAAS material.) His Makeup & Vanity Set project has been somewhat idle for a couple years, but that has just changed with the release of his new Jambox EP on Bandcamp. GO GET IT NOW FOR NOTHING MORE THAN YOUR EMAIL. This is apparently just a taste of the goodness to come on his next full-length, due out later this year. I will probably do an interview with him as my first “official” interview on here… one of more to come.