Moonrise over Lake Superior from Duluth, MInn. Click the image to find when the Full Strawberry Moon rises for your town on the solstice on Monday (June 20). Credit: Bob King

Wow — First Day Of Summer And A Full Moon Too!

Stealthy summer has been advancing this way since December 22. That date marked the winter solstice or first day of winter, when the sun reached its lowest point in the sky in the northern hemisphere. Monday June 20th it will reach its highest point in the sky, officially marking the start of summer. Meteorological summer may have…
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2016 HO3

Earth Has A New Little Buddy, Quasi-Satellite 2016 HO3

And you thought the moon was Earth’s only companion. Now we know of another, but unlike the moon, this one orbits the sun but sticks close to us. Astronomers using the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Mt. Haleakala in Maui, Hawaii, spotted a new asteroid on April 27 this year. Named 2016 HO3, its size has yet to be…
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element117 LawLivNatLab_FEA

In The Search For New Elements, Look No Further Than Earth

Elements are well, elementary. Each is a substance composed of the same kind of atoms and no others. Copper is made only of copper atoms, all of which have 29 protons — no more or less — in their nuclei. If an atom has 30 protons, it’s not copper but zinc. And if it has…
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Diagram showing the umbra and penumbral shadows from the side. In a total lunar eclipse, the moon passes through the umbra; in a penumbral eclipse, through the outer shadow. Credit: NASA

How To Watch Wednesday’s Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Penumbral eclipses are for those who like the subtler things in life. During a typical lunar eclipse like the one we enjoyed last September, the moon slips at least part-way into Earth’s dark, inner shadow called the umbra, which bites into the lunar disk in dramatic fashion. In a penumbral eclipse, the moon passes through only the…
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Earth moon earthrise LRO_FEA

New Earthrise Image Simply Wonderful

Call it self-adoration, but I love looking at the Earth. What a beauty! The stunning composite image above was taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been mapping lunar details as small as your kitchen table since the summer of 2009. LRO experiences 12 earthrises every day, but since the spacecraft is almost always busy imaging the…
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