Debunking the aurora myth: What actually causes an aurora? Astronomy 

Debunking the aurora myth: What actually causes an aurora?

By Kristine Romich, Aurorasaurus intern A common misconception about the aurora is that it’s formed by particles streaming straight from the sun.  This graphic, published by USA Today, offers an explanation that’s probably similar to one you’ve heard before: The graphic focuses primarily on the solar wind, or the continuous flow of plasma — a high-temperature mix of charged particles — from the sun.  But while the solar wind is essential to understanding auroras, there are other factors involved in creating these celestial light displays. By only considering the solar…

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Astronomy Photos 

A Trip to Totality: Experiencing the 2017 Solar Eclipse

By Jeff Goldberg @jeffagoldberg For a while, I was conflicted about the effort to see the solar eclipse either in totality—which would require significant travel time—or at the 75-percent coverage I could get in my backyard. A couple of weeks ago, however, I decided I wanted to be part of the full experience of totality and committed to making the journey. For me, the closest point on the path of totality was Carbondale, Illinois. I purchased my solar glasses and a solar filtration sheet for my camera and started planning to…

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Shelf Life Video: Time Travel to Stars Astronomy Videos 

Shelf Life Video: Time Travel to Stars

With the help of high school students, scientists at The American Museum of Natural History are creating an online catalog of stars’ distances and relative positions. This video is another in the Shelf Life series from the American Museum of Natural History.   Since the early 17th century, thanks to the use of telescopes, astronomers have been able to draw detailed star maps. However, because the Earth wobbles on its axis, today we see the stars in a slightly different position than in the past. So, students and scientists are…

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Solar Eclipse: Who? What? Where? When? and How? Astronomy 

Solar Eclipse: Who? What? Where? When? and How?

Total Solar Eclipse On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights—a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere, the corona, can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse, where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk. Who Can See It? Lots of people! Everyone…

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Astronomy What We're Reading 

What We’re Reading: Asteroid Hunters

Asteroid Hunters by Carrie Nugent Shared by Steven Spence for, a Science Connected publication Published by Simon and Schuster / TED Books On sale March 2017 Best for ages 12 and up   On any given day, about 90,000 kilograms of dust and small rocks hit the Earth. What happens when something larger is on a collision course with Earth? You may remember February 15, 2013 as the day when a small, rocky asteroid 20 meters in diameter exploded due to air pressure and heat at an altitude of 38 km. The event was…

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Spacecraft Could Clean Up Trash Orbiting Earth Astronomy 

Spacecraft Could Clean Up Trash Orbiting Earth

By Katherine Lindemann Human activity in outer space has left behind a lot of trash, from tiny bits of metal to entire satellites no longer in use. This debris poses a danger to new and ongoing missions. Inna Sharf is an aeronautical engineer at McGill University and is working on ways to remove it from orbit. She tells us about two potential cleanup methods she and her colleagues are exploring. For updates, follow the project on ResearchGate. ResearchGate: How much space debris is out there? Inna Sharf: There are an…

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The Science and Spirit of the Winter Solstice Astronomy 

The Science and Spirit of the Winter Solstice

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic If you happen to walk the beautiful slopes of Machu Picchu this summer, look for the ruins of a solitary tower built around a single slab of stone. Arrive early in the morning around June 20. You should find the sun shining through a window at just the right angle to illuminate a slim groove etched into the stone. Long ago, this annual sign was cause for celebration! Each year, the event marked the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, the shortest day of the year…

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photographing snowflakes Astronomy Book Reviews Environment Oceanography Paleontology 

GotScience Book Reviews for Holiday Season 2016

Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe by Mike Massimino One of the best books about human spaceflight that I’ve read in years. Mike doesn’t tell a tale of a superhuman—he comes from humble beginnings, fails multiple times, and through perseverance succeeds in becoming an astronaut. Mike inspires, communicates clearly, and above all teaches that nothing in life is a one-man show. Keep doing what you’re passionate about—it might take you to the stars! Read our full review here.       Secrets of the Seas:…

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GotScience Book Review Astronomy Book Reviews 

Book Review: Spaceman

Title: Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe Reviewed by: Steven Spence for, a Science Connected publication Author: Mike Massimino Publisher: Simon and Schuster On sale: October 4, 2016 Best for: teen and up Reviewer’s rating: 5 out of 5 Introduction Mike Massimino, former space shuttle astronaut and current professor at Columbia University, shares his path with us in this autobiography. This isn’t about astronaut heroics and tales of superhuman feats. It’s a tale of Mike’s down-to-earth, gritty effort to do something he was…

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NASA Seeking Student Science Experiments Astronomy Education 

NASA Seeking Student Science Experiments

Attention college students: Do you want to send some science experiments to the edge of space with a NASA balloon? NASA is accepting applications now through December 16 from graduate and undergraduate university students to fly experiments to the edge of space on a scientific balloon. Students and professors interested in applying are invited to participate in a November 11 teleconference. Up to 12 student teams will build and fly their experiments as part of the High Altitude Student Platform program, a joint project between NASA and the Louisiana State…

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