Category Archives: Astronomy

Space Views and News

We are surrounded by a beautiful world that God created for us. And some of the most beautiful sights are seen in the sky and the universe beyond. Below is a photo taken in Nepal using long exposure film. Be sure to go to National Geographic to see more amazing space photos and read about them!
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In other news a new model suggests that the earth once had two moons! Earth may have once had two moons, but one was destroyed in a slow-motion collision that left our current lunar orb lumpier on one side than the other, scientists say. Astronomers have long been puzzled by the differences between the side of the moon that always faces Earth–the near side–and the side that always faces away, the far side. The topography of the near side is relatively low and flat, while that of the far side is high and mountainous with a much thicker crust.
And finally, storms on the sun, have electric companies bracing for impact! Storms are brewing about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) away, and if one of them reaches Earth, it could knock out communications, scramble GPS, and leave thousands without power for weeks to months.
The tempest is what’s known as a solar storm, a flurry of charged particles that erupts from the sun. Under the right conditions, solar storms can create extra electrical currents in Earth’s magnetosphere–the region around the planet controlled by our magnetic field.
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A Trojan Asteroid Found Sharing Earth’s Orbit

Trojan Asteroid Earth.jpg
A tiny space rock that’s partially tethered to Earth by a gravitational leash is our planet’s first known Trojan asteroid, astronomers say. This space rock is about 1000 feet wide and about 50 million miles in front of Earth in our shared orbit. We share the same orbit, but will never collide.
Trojan asteroids have been found around Jupiter, Neptune and Mars. The total number of Trojan asteroids larger than 1 km is believed to be about 1 million. Trojans are thought to have been captured into their orbits during the early stages of the Solar System’s formation or slightly later.
One scientists likens the odd asteroid to an orange held at arm’s length by a person riding a Ferris wheel. In this analogy, the orange is the Trojan, the person is Earth, and the Ferris wheel is our orbit around the sun. “The orange would be going around the Ferris wheel, but maintaining it out at arm’s length is up to you,” Connors explained.
Even though the Trojan asteroid is relatively close to Earth, it is not a good candidate for future exploration because it follows an unusual tilted path in relation to Earth’s. This makes it either too far above or below the plane of Earth’s orbit and getting to the Trojan would require huge amount of fuel.
For more information
National Geographic
Universe Today
Deseret News

Spirit Stuck On Mars, But Perhaps Best is Yet to Come

Six years ago, the rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars. Their mission…spend 90 days traveling across Mars finding out information about this planet that has fascinated us for centuries. 6 years later, both Spirit and Opportunity are still working.

It has been an incredible success story for NASA. Unfortunately, Spirit has become stuck in a sandtrap on Mars. After months of trying to help the Spirit wiggle free, the scientists at NASA have made it official. Spirit won’t be roving anymore. But the news is not all bleak. They are working to adjust the direction of the solar panels and hoping that Spirit will surived the Martian winter. If so, there are still experiments that can be done from inside the sand trap in the crater where Spirit now resides. Instead of being focused on moving Spirit, the scientists can now focus on other experiments. Well done NASA and Spirit! Hope to see you in 6 months after winter has ended!


Six Wheeling on the Moon!

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s the Moon Rover!!!!!

Just in time for a 2020 roll out date, NASA is hard at work on the next Moon Rover which will combine old school smarts with new technology.
From National Geographic:
The new lunar rover, informally known as the Chariot, is a prototype being developed as part of NASA’s Constellation program, which aims to put people back on the moon by 2020.
The current version combines 35 years of technological advances with lessons learned from the original “moon buggies” used during the Apollo missions of the 1970s.
One of the biggest modifications is an optional pressurized cabin that comes fully equipped with beds, a pantry, a waste-management system, and a pair of space suits, allowing astronauts to live and work “on the road” for up to two weeks.

Sign me up! I want to take a test drive!

National Geographic Photos

National Geographic has the best photos! And they have had them for a long, long time. Here are some that caught my eye this week.

Red Panda Cubs enjoying some food in China. Ain’t they cute????

Check out this tiny Kihansi Spray Toad…have you ever seen anything so tiny!?

A Hubble Space Telescope image of the massive star Eta Carinae shows two large bubbles of gas expanding in opposite directions from its bright central region.