The Sky Tonight Update: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

The Eta Aquarids is an above average shower, capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. Most of the activity is seen in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the rate can reach about 30 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet Halley, which has been observed since ancient times.

Continue reading

The Sky Tonight Update: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s partial shadow, or penumbra. During this type of eclipse the Moon will darken slightly but not completely. The eclipse will be visible throughout all of Asia and Australia and parts of eastern Europe and eastern Africa. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

A winter solstice Christmas Star will soon be on the horizon.

You might’ve noticed two bright points of light setting along the western horizon just before the sun sets.  Over the past couple of months, they seem to have been getting closer and closer together.  These are not stars, but planets: Jupiter and Saturn. 

Continue reading

OSIRIS-REx: Playing Tag with an Asteroid

Let’s talk about OSIRIS-REx, the spacecraft that landed on an asteroid, collected a sample, and then lifted off to bring it all back home to us on Earth. It’s pretty incredible that we were able to navigate 200 million miles away from Earth to an asteroid in orbit around our sun, land on it, and then lift off again. So, here’s some information about this historic event.

Continue reading

How Would a Viral Outbreak Be Handled in Space

As Covid-19 spreads across the globe, it’s interesting to think about how NASA would handle a viral outbreak in space.  In fact, there have been rare occasions that astronauts have fallen ill while on a mission.  The question is, how did NASA handle these situations, what’s changed since then, and how will this affect future missions in space?

Continue reading