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 actually hopeful that the collision will occur as it will give them the opportunity to study the effects of such an event, he said. This asteroid is about the size of the object that hit Tunguska in 1908. The Tunguska meteor is now believed to be smaller than originally thought, he noted.
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. 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.