Space Station Visits ‘Land Of The Midnight Sun’

Every year around the time of the summer solstice, the International Space Station (ISS) remains in near constant sunlight for several weeks, never dipping into Earth’s shadow as it orbits the planet once every 92 minutes. From our landlubber perspective, each time the ISS makes a pass, it does so in sunlight. Passes start just…
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Jupiter And Sirius Seesaw In Spring

Last night, students in my astronomy class and I watched Sirius, the sky’s brightest star, twinkle low in the southwestern sky at dusk. As the April sun spreads its warmth, winter stars flee to the west. Spring stars and planets pushing up from the east seem eager to replace them. Right now, you can watch…
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Red Roadster Heads For Interplanetary Space — See It In Orbit

On Tuesday, SpaceX celebrated the successful launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket carrying a red Tesla Roadster. Three rockets strapped together were required to give the car a big enough boost to leave Earth’s gravity and send it into orbit about the sun. Two of those rockets re-landed safely back on Earth. The only mishap,…
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Moon-Planet Conjunctions — The Possibilities Are Infinite!

Every month, the traveling moon circles across the entire sky, passing through the 12 constellations of the zodiac and briefly lining up with various bright planets that currently inhabit those star groups: Jupiter in Virgo, Saturn in Ophiuchus (not an official zodiac constellation, but that’s another story) and Venus in Pisces. The alignments are called conjunctions,…
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Ready For Summer Skies? Say Farewell To Winter First

The grass mocks me. A couple weeks ago, it was brown. Now it’s suddenly green, overgrown. The thought of mowing more than an acre every week with a self-propelled lawnmower weighs on my mind. Spring’s moving fast, and summer will soon be here. And yet. And yet at dusk, we can look west and still see…
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