Posted tagged ‘Astronomy’

Lunar Eclipse…Monday night

December 20, 2010

Akira Fujii captured this record of the moon's progress dead-center through Earth's shadow in July 2000 by aligning his camera on the same star for successive exposures.

Tonight marks the first lunar eclipse that falls on the winter solstice in 372 years.  Those of us in North Americans should have the best seats in the house for tonight’s event, which reaches its climax at 1:41 a.m. CT Tuesday when Earth’s shadow covers every bit of the moon’s disk. For more than an hour, the moon should glow sunset-red, thanks to the light refracted by the edge of Earth’s atmosphere.

In case of cloudy skies, there’s always the Internet. NASA is planning to stream live Web video of the moon as seen from Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. The embedded video coverage will be accompanied by a Web chat with NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams from midnight to 4 a.m. CT Tuesday.

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Small asteroid to flyby Earth

October 12, 2010

 

Asteroid

Asteriod burning up in atmosphere

 

A small asteroid, approximately 20 feet, will do a fly-by of Earth on Wednesday morning.  The asteroid, TD54, will be  approximately 28,000 miles from Earth, only a little over 5,000 miles above the orbiting satellites.  Asteroid TD54, has no chance of entering the atmosphere. However, asteroids of that size would burn up in our atmosphere, not causing any ground damage. Asteroid watchers will need a moderate telescope to view TD54.

Annual Perseid Meteor Shower to hit peak on Thursday

August 9, 2010

The annual Perseid meteor shower, which began at the end of July, will hit its peak on Thursday, August 12.   Not only will it be a great night for meteors, it will be also be a great night to see Venus, Saturn, Mars and the crescent Moon.  Enjoy the show!!

Small solar storm headed our way

August 3, 2010

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has captured what appears to be a disturbance on the sun.  On Sunday, August 1, the entire Earth-facing side of the sun erupted in a series of activities including a C3-class solar flare, a solar tsunami, multiple filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface, large-scale shaking of the solar corona, radio bursts, and a coronal mass ejection.  This solar activity will produce high-latitude auroras tonight.

140 “Earth-Like” Planets Found

July 28, 2010

Kepler search spaceLaunched in 2009, the Kepler Space Telescope, has been on a mission to find “Earth-like” exoplanets in our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy.  A recent presentation by Kepler  co-investigator Dimitar Sasselov stated that 140 “Earth-like” exoplanets have been discovered so far within our galaxy.  With the discovery of so many “Earth-like” planets, the next question is…are these planets habitable?

The Stars & Stripes travels out of the solar system

July 7, 2010

After 33 years & 10.5 billion miles, the American flag will be leaving the solar system .  Old Glory is along for the ride with the space probes

John Casani, Voyager project manager in 1977, shows of a small Dacron flag that was folded and sewed into the thermal blankets of the Voyager spacecraft before they launched 33 years ago. Voyager 2 stands behind him before heading to the launch pad in August 1977. Full Story. Credit: NASA/JPL

Voyager I & II as they continue their journey of space.  Joining the American flag on this journey is a golden record, which contains messages from Earth for any extraterrestrials out there who might happen to come across the probe. This 16″ version of Old Glory, joins the many other American flags in space but is the only one that has traveled this far from home. 

 

11-year cycle of solar activity to peak in 2012-2013

June 29, 2010
Solar flare

The Earth is superimposed on a solar eruptive prominence as seen in extreme UV light (March 30, 2010) to give a sense of how large these eruptions are.

The 11-year cycle of solar activity is expected to peak in 2012-2013.  Based on solar dynamic computer models, solar scientists predict that the “solar max” may be 30 to 50 percent stronger than the last solar peak.  The solar storms or geomagnetic storms have the potential to interfere with GPS navigation, mobile phones, power grids, and satellite communications.

Fortunately, space weather prediction methods have improved greatly over the last couple of decades.  With the help of satellites, like the Advanced Composition Explorer, scientists can spot signs of a geomagnetic storm up to an hour before it hits earth; and by using instruments to measure the seismic activity on the far side of the sun, scientists can be provided with a couple of weeks of warning about active sunspot regions.  In addition, NASA has set up a Solar Dynamics Observatory to help understand the Sun’s influence on Earth and Near-Earth space.  Up-to-date space weather information can be found at the Space Weather Prediction Center .