Why Isn’t The Earliest Sunset On The Shortest Day?

The dark days are upon us. Welcome to the earliest sunsets of the year this week and early next. Counter to intuition, the sun sets earliest before the winter solstice, not on it. Shouldn’t the sun set earliest and rise latest on the shortest day of the year? Well no, and it’s because our clocks keep steady, uniform time…
Read More

Kepler Star Is The Most Spherical Object Ever Seen In Nature

Anyone who’s ever tried to make a perfect snowball has some inkling how difficult it is to create a sphere. Even nature has a hard time of it. But a star discovered by NASA’s Kepler Mission, dubbed Kepler 11145123, comes pretty darn close. Rounder than the sun, the Earth, the moon and all the rest,…
Read More

Cosmic Rays Are Beating Up On Key Space Weather Satellite

Our finest tool for warning us of impending solar storms has been having a tough go since it was launched in 2015. Galactic cosmic rays may be to blame. NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) hangs its hat at the L1 Lagrange Point, a handy parking spot where the gravitational pulls of the Earth and sun cancel out.…
Read More

It’s Fall Again! Time For A Trip To The Celestial Equator

Cool breezes are back, and the outdoors color palette is shifting toward the red end of the spectrum. Spring begins Thursday morning (Sept. 22) at 9:21 a.m. Central Daylight time. Nice to know things will be warming up again so soon. Wait a sec. That’s the southern hemisphere. Here in the north, it’s the first…
Read More

Experience The Spinning Earth, Watch A Sunrise

We can’t directly sense the spinning Earth but every sunrise and sunset, we get an inkling. The Earth rotates once every 24 hours but it does so soundlessly because everything — our friends, our homes, the ground, the atmosphere and us — are all moving at the same speed in the near-vacuum of space. Imagine taking an airplane…
Read More