Fifty 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.
More than half a billion people watched the televised first moonwalk that took place on July 20, 1969. It was a day so historic that space enthusiasts still celebrate it annually. It was the day that marked the culmination of human endeavor, spirit, and perseverance. And it can always be summed up in that now-famous sentence uttered by Neil Armstrong, “That is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Occasionally we’ll get people coming into the planetarium with expensive pieces of paper, wondering if we can show them the star that was purchased in their honor. For over thirty years this romantic scheme has been going on. No, the star that your loved-one bought for you is not officially recognized. So, here’s the skinny on why those name-a-star registry companies should be looked at as entertainment only.
It’s 2016. This is the year that Juno will arrive at Jupiter to study the gas giant’s composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere. This year also brings us February 29–the Leap Day. It happens every four years. So why is it that we have Leap Year?
Pablo Carlos Budassi recently unveiled a new illustration based on almost incomprehensible logarithmic maps created by Princeton University. It shows the entire known visible universe. Though it is not a true map, it should be considered a “visualization showing fields of view” of the entire observable universe.
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.
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.
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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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.