This was the first sunset observed in color by Curiosity. The color has been calibrated and white-balanced to remove camera artifacts. Mastcam sees color much the way the human eye does,  although it's a little less sensitive to blue. The Sun's disk itself appears pink because all the cooler colors have been scattered away, similar to why the Sun on Earth appears orange or red when near the horizon. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Stargazing On Mars

We’re stuck with Earth for now when it comes to stargazing. And despite the plague of light pollution, it’s still a pretty good planet for looking up. But thanks to planetarium-style software, we can easily jaunt off to Mars and get an inkling of what the night sky has to offer on a different planet.…
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ISS. Credit: NASA

Weekend Space Station Extravaganza

Many of us have seen the the International Space Station (ISS) pass overhead at night. Maybe once a night. How would you like to see it five times in in the span of one evening? This weekend, you’ll have your chance. Passes starts a typical 6-minute run with an appearance low in the western sky traveling…
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Phases of the Moon, as seen looking southward from the northern hemisphere. Credit: Wikipedia / Orion8

Crescent Moon Crescendo And Fall Finale

Look to the west-southwest at dusk tonight and you’ll see a thin crescent moon tilted over on its side. Its shape reminds me of Mona Lisa’s sweet and slightly mischievous smile. While it might seem strange to associate such a delicate-appearing object with a crescendo, a gradual increase in loudness in a piece of music,…
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The apparent motion of the sun around the sky is really a reflection of Earth’s yearly cycle around the sun. The seesaw-like up-and-down movement of the sun from season to season is caused by Earth’s titled axis and our planet’s changing orientation to the sun during the year. Credit: Thomas G. Andrews / NOAA

Perihelion Paradox? Closer Sun, Colder Days

Yesterday, while preparing dinner, Earth reached its closest point to the sun for the year. This annual milestone, called perihelion, from the Greek ‘peri’ (close) and ‘helios’ (sun), happens paradoxically every January. Shouldn’t it be warmer if we’re closer to the sun? Earth’s distance from the sun varies over the course of a year because we…
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Winter season Orion with snow pines FEA

Happy Winter Solstice As We Arrive At The Longest Night Of The Year

Each of us senses the flow of time differently. For me, December’s gone by quickly. For you, maybe not. Either way, we’ve arrived at the start of winter or the winter solstice. At precisely 10:48 p.m. CST (11:48 p.m. EST, 9:48 p.m. MDT, 8:48 p.m. PST) Monday Dec. 21st, the sun will reach its lowest point…
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