Ever wonder what planets would look like orbiting a cylindrical sun? Now, thanks to the magic of electric charge, microgravity, and awesome astronaut Don Pettit, you can see for yourself. Watch tiny liquid planets 'orbit' a knitting needle, and find out why they do.
Some days it's hard to recognize that the world is a wondrous place and life is beautiful. Other days, there are experiments like this. Don Pettit, on the International Space Station, is conducting science demonstrations and this one is incredible, giving us a look at orbiting planets in microcosm (although technically the forces at work are somewhat different from those happening with planets). Key to all of this is a lack of significant gravity. Any real downward force would not allow the watery 'planets' to float free around the needle.