The Journey of Traveling Sun


The Sun does not rise for months at a time in some areas of Norway during the long, harsh winter. Begun in 2012, an ongoing project to bring the Sun–both literally and metaphorically–to those experiencing this deficit of sunlight was undertaken by IstadPacini Art Lab, a collaboration between artists Christine Istad and Lisa Pacini.

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The Astronomical World of Harry Potter: Part 2 – Sirius and Bellatrix

the astronomical world of harry potter

In the previous blog posting we discussed how many of the characters in the Harry Potter series have connections to ancient mythology and how these myths worked their way into the books’ story-lines. Numerous characters in the series also share their names with moons, asteroids, and stars.  For this entry let’s look into two characters and the two stars they are named after:  Sirius and Bellatrix.

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The Astronomical World of Harry Potter: Part 1 – Draco and Luna

the astronomical world of harry potter

If you’ve ever read the Harry Potter series of books, or even seen the films, you’ll come across many unusual and colorful character names. Characters such as Millicent Bulstrode, Fleur Delacour, Argus Filch, and Gilderoy Lockhart are a few of the names you’ll come across when working your way through the seven books in the series. These names—the sounds they create and their connection to other words such as the Slither in Slytherin or the Guile in Goyle—can give an indication, a slight inkling, to the reader into what can be expected of such characters. But there are other names—names such as Draco, Sirius, and Luna—which can also tell the reader something about their respective characters, not based on the allusion of their names but based on the astronomical backgrounds their names are derived from.

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Why Neil Armstrong Got to Be the First Man on the Moon

Why Neil Armstrong Got to Be the First Man on the Moon

Forty-six years ago, Neil Armstrong became the first man to ever walk on the moon.  Since that date, July 20, 1969, the moon has become the subject of much debate and scientific analysis.  From what Neil Armstrong first said as he took those initial steps to conspiracy theories about hoaxes, few historical events have captured the interest in mankind quite like the Apollo 11 moon landing.  However, a few facts about this event have remained obscure through time.

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The Mars One Project Debunked

mars one debunked

Back in 2012, the news hit that a proposed one-way trip to Mars was in the works by the non-profit organization, Mars One.  Based out of the Netherlands and headed up by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, the mission was to take 4 crew members to the Martian surface and set up a permanent frontier.  This was the crux of the news story:  Many wondered  who would volunteer for such a mission–to never see and step foot on Earth again.  But thousands applied, and as the years whittled down the applicants it seemed that the mission was getting closer and closer to becoming a reality.  But then that all fell apart when it was revealed to be a bit of a scam.

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Yuri’s Night – 12 April

“Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty — not destroy it!”
— Yuri Gagarin, 1st human in space.

​Yuri’s Night, a worldwide space-exploration celebration held each April 12, marks Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first space flight in 1961 via the Vostok 3KA spacecraft of the Vostok 1 program.  It also marks the debut lauch of U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia 20 years later to the day. Yuri’s Night is the World Space Party.
We hope to see you dream, explore, and celebrate at any of the hundreds of events each year.  Find out where a Yuri’s Night is being celebrated:

Orion Launch Rescheduled

Orion, nasa

Due to technical issues, the launch of NASA’s Orion Spacecraft has been postponed until Friday, December 5.
Join us tomorrow in the planetarium to learn more about Orion, create your own spacecraft, and watch video of Orion’s liftoff and re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere before each planetarium program.
Orion is NASA’s version of a next generation spacecraft that is designed to eventually take astronauts to asteroids, Mars, and beyond!

The Musical Side of Christiaan Huygens

Christiaan Huygens

Do you remember that probe we sent to Titan?  You know, the one that was the first ever to land on Saturn’s largest moon?  Well that was the Huygens probe and was part of the Cassini-Huygens mission.  I bring this up because it was named after Christiaan Huygens, a man that has contributed a huge amount to science:  early telescopic studies of the rings of Saturn, the invention of the pendulum clock, and the discovery of several interstellar nebulae and double stars to name a few.  But even if you are familiar with Christiaan Huygens you still may not know that he actually contributed quite a bit to the world of music as well.

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