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
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
Now is a great time to catch a comet in your night sky. It’s called Comet NEOWISE and if you miss it now you won’t be able to see it again for some 6,800 years. Observers in the Northern Hemisphere are hoping to catch a glimpse of this object before it zips away at the end of July.
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?
The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 19:18 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Wolf Moon because this was the time of year when hungry wolf packs howled outside their camps. This moon has also been know as the Old Moon and the Moon After Yule.
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.”
It was called the Space Race, a competition between two world powers, the Soviet Union and the United States, on who would achieve significant advances in spaceflight capability. By the early 1960s, the Soviets were winning by achieving the first successful launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, and the first man in space with Yuri Gagarin in 1961. Of course, it would only be a matter of time until the U.S. peaked and won this rivalry by putting humans on the surface of the moon in 1969. But it wasn’t as simple as building some rockets, strapping people aboard, and shooting them up into the sky. There was a lot of testing involved to see if man could even withstand the challenges that spaceflight had in store. And this testing often involved animals.
Alan Shepard was the first American in space and it was with the help of a four-year-old chimp known then as No. 65 that this achievement was possible.
The idea of a black hole–a body so massive that not even light could escape it–was first theorized back in 1784 by English clergyman John Michell. However, it wasn’t until 1915 when Albert Einstein developed his theory of general relativity that the momentum of black hole research would take shape. Black holes have fascinated not just scientists but also the general public. They have been the source of inspiration for numerous books, songs, movies, etc. But we’ve only been able to see them conceptualized via some form of animation. In fact, the idea of ever seeing one was deemed impossible. That is, until now.
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.