June 1, 2013 |
A lunar mystery that has lingered for decades has finally been solved, thanks to data collected by NASA's GRAIL mission and some science detectives here on Earth. Back in 1968, JPL scientists made an irritating discovery while preparing for the Apollo landing: Lurking beneath the lunar surface were invisible and large concentrations of mass that the scientists dubbed "mascons. " The scientists couldn't see them, but the spacecraft could feel them. The gravitational pull where there were mascons was significantly stronger than on other parts of the moon, and the difference was powerful enough to push a spacecraft in lunar orbit off course -- potentially leading to a crash.
July 21, 2011
NASA fans distraught over the end of the space shuttle program may find a bit of solace in the presentation "Apollo 15 + 40 Years: Serious Science on the Moon," which chronicles the fourth manned lunar landing, in 1971, through video and photographs. John Drescher Planetarium, Santa Monica College, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. 8 p.m. Fri. $5 general admission, $4 seniors and children. (310) 434-3005. http://www.smc.edu/planetarium.
August 30, 2013 |
Looking for a Labor Day sky-watching plan? Keep your eye out for Jupiter. The giant gaseous planet will be the second-brightest body in the sky, after the moon, this weekend, and you won't be able to miss it, according to EarthSky.org. The bummer for late-night partiers is that the best view of the planet will be early in the morning, some time around dawn. But early risers will have a front-row seat to the show. At 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, look low in the sky to the East to find Jupiter right next to a thin crescent moon.
December 2, 2013 |
Welcome to the lunar club, China. A rocket carrying a moon rover blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province, southwestern China at 1:30 a.m. local time Monday (9:30 a.m. Sunday Pacific time). The mission, called Chang'e 3, will be the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on the moon since 1976, when the Soviet Union sent up a sample-collecting mission called Luna 24. Chang'e 3 follows two other Chinese lunar missions: Orbiter Chang'e 1 launched in 2007 to take a map of the entire lunar surface, and Chang'e 2 blasted off in 2010 to check out the moon before traveling to other points of interest in space.
August 1, 2013 |
Enceladus, the icy moon that circles Saturn and shoots out jets of water, emits a much larger amount of water at the farthest point in its orbit, according to a new study published in the journal Nature. The discovery backs up a years-old theory and provides the researchers with fresh insight into this geophysically intriguing body. Enceladus, named after one of the giant children of mother Earth in Greek mythology, has long intrigued planetary scientists (as well as astrobiologists wondering if primitive life could exist in extreme environments)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 14, 2014 |
With just a few hours left before the the first total eclipse of 2014, the Griffith Observatory is bracing for big crowds tonight and is warning of possible traffic jams for the "blood moon. " "We are expecting large crowds," the observatory said in a statement. "Those attending should expect traffic congestion and long walks from parking. " The observatory will be open to visitors, who can look up at the eclipse either from the building itself or from the grass and sidewalk areas.
April 15, 2014 |
Stayed up well past my bedtime Monday night to catch the “blood moon.” Wish I would've known that it was a sign of the apocalypse - I might have lingered a little longer. What's that? You didn't know either? That's OK - that's why God (or Al Gore) invented the Internet. Sarah Pulliam Bailey has the particulars over at Religion News Service in her story , “ 'Blood moon' sets off apocalyptic debate among some Christians.” Full disclosure: I mostly skipped Sunday school.
September 11, 2011 |
Shaking off a two-day delay that began with swirling winds on the coast of Florida, NASA launched its GRAIL mission to the moon Saturday, seeking a greater understanding of Earth's nearest neighbor through a promising dual-spacecraft technology. The Delta II rocket carrying the paired washing-machine-sized craft that make up the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory lifted off into a blue sky from Cape Canaveral, Fla., at 9:08 a.m. About 90 minutes later, NASA confirmed that GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B had separated from the rocket, unfurled their solar panels and begun a 31/2-month trip to the moon.
October 8, 2009 |
In the predawn hours Friday, while those on the West Coast still snooze, a rocket is scheduled to punch a 13-foot-deep hole in a crater at the moon's south pole that hasn't seen sunlight in billions of years. The purpose: to find out whether ice lies hidden there. NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, which set out for the moon in June, made a late-course correction Tuesday to better position itself to steer the rocket into the 2-mile-deep crater Cabeus at 4:30 a.m. PDT on Friday.
March 19, 2011 |
As the sun sets in the west Saturday, the biggest, brightest moon in about 20 years will begin peeking over the eastern horizon. The so-called "supermoon" will appear about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than normal, according to NASA. Because the moon's orbit is oval, there is a point where it is the closest to the Earth, known as its perigee. The farthest point is its apogee. On Saturday, the moon's closest perigee of the year happens to occur within one hour of the monthly astronomical phase of the full moon, which together will create the rarely seen spectacle of illumination and size, said Geoff Chester, an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington.