The Night Sky for October 2018

This October, look for Pegasus, the great winged horse of Greek mythology, prancing across the autumn night sky. Binoculars and small telescopes will reveal the glowing nucleus and spiral arms of our neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy. Don’t miss the Orionid meteor shower, which peaks on the night of October 21 to 22.

Find out more about what you can see from your backyard, front stoop, or local park by viewing this monthly program. “Tonight’s Sky” is produced by HubbleSite.org, online home of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Advertisements

Flag Day and the Louisiana Art & Science Museum’s Flag

the US flag at lasm

Today, June 14, is Flag Day and here at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum we are home to a very special flag, donated to us by Congressman Richard H. Baker on April 22, 2002, to memorialize the events surrounding the September 11, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Continue reading

Ninth Planet May Exist

 

21PLANET-master1050-v2

An artist’s impression of a possible ninth planet. It would be quite large — at least as big as Earth — with a thick atmosphere around a rocky core. CreditCalifornia Institute of Techonology

 

 Caltech scientists Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown make the case for Planet Nine, a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system.

Artist Creates Entire Known Universe in a Single View

Pablo Carlos Budassi

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.

Continue reading

The Lowest Note In The Known Universe

A massive black hole releases sound waves in a deep bass pitch, astronomers have found.

A massive black hole releases sound waves in a deep bass pitch, astronomers have found. Researchers used NASA’s orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory to “listen” to wavelengths coming from the heart of the Perseus A Cluster, a giant clump of galaxies 250 million light-years from Earth (A light-year is the distance light travels in a year in a vacuum, about 9.5 trillion kilometers.)

Continue reading

Hubble Captures First-Ever Predicted Supernova

macs j1149.5

Many stars end their existence by going out in a huge explosion known as a supernova. However, only a few of these stellar explosions have been caught in the act. When they are, spotting them successfully has been down to pure luck—until now. On 11 December 2015 astronomers not only imaged a supernova in action, but saw it when and where they had predicted it would be.

Continue reading

Riding Light – A 43 Minute Real Time Journey from the Sun to Jupiter at the Speed of Light

riding light

Light travels at a speed of 186,282 miles per second.  Jupiter is 483,737,000 miles from the Sun.  In an effort to convey the vastness of space, Alphonse Swinehart created an animation to illustrate that even the fastest moving thing still takes over 43 minutes just to reach Jupiter.

Continue reading

The Astronomical World of Harry Potter: Part 3 – Dumbledore and Fenrir

the astronomical world of harry potter

In the past two blog postings we uncovered how some characters in the Harry Potter universe are tied to Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology.  Not only are certain names shared, but the stories between the character and the myth from which its name is derived are actually intertwined.  In the first blog posting we dealt mainly with two of Harry’s classmates:  Draco and Luna.  In the second blog posting we looked at two members of the family Black:  Sirius and Bellatrix.  Now it is time we took a closer look at one of Harry Potter’s fiercest enemies and one of his fiercest allies:  Fenrir Greyback and Albus Dumbledore.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading