Today, Earth is as far from the Sun as it will be during this year. This point is called ‘aphelion,’ which puts the Earth about 95 million miles from the Sun.
In 2002 on this date, NASA’s CONTOUR probe launched from Cape Canaveral. CONTOUR was a five-year mission to explore three comets, using repeated encounters with Earth to modify its orbit in order to reach each target. Unfortunately, during a main engine burn in orbit, CONTOUR disappeared, likely destroyed. Learn more at NASA’s CONTOUR page here.… Continue reading
On July 5th, there will be a penumbral lunar eclipse. During penumbral lunar eclipses, the Moon only passes through the lightest part of Earth’s shadow. There will not be a dramatic darkening of the Moon, but it is still worth checking out. For more information, check out the Eclipse Wise website here.
The Fokker Dr.1 Triplane was a German fighter plane made famous during World War I by Germany’s leading flying ace, the “Red Baron.” Baron Manfred von Richthofen scored 80 air combat victories, and was a national hero in Germany. Although not as fast as other fighters, the Fokker Triplane had better rate of climb and… Continue reading
On this date in 1955, two successful ‘Rockoon’ launches were conducted. Two ‘Loki’ rockets, supplied by US Army Ordnance, were lifted on balloons from shipboard off the coast of Greenland; at altitude, they were remotely fired and launched into space. The rockets were a part of cosmic ray studies by a State University of Iowa… Continue reading
Tonight the Moon will exhibit a waxing gibbous phase. You can find the Moon in the southeast after sunset. Grab some binoculars and look at the northern part of the Moon near the terminator. The large handle-shaped feature is called Sinus Iridum. Please practice responsible social distancing when you go outside to observe.
The largest canyon system in the solar system is Valles Marineris on Mars. It is more than 4,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) long — enough to stretch from California to New York. It is nine times as long and four times as deep as Earth’s Grand Canyon! Find some more fun space facts by downloading NASA’s… Continue reading
A first-quarter Moon occurs today. The Moon will be visible in the south as the sun is setting. On July 5th, a penumbral lunar eclipse will occur; the entire eclipse will be visible in St. Louis (unless there is cloud cover, of course). Take a look at this map for times.
In 1995 on this date, Space Shuttle Atlantis launched on STS-71. Carrying a crew of seven, Atlantis would dock with the Russian Mir space station. The crew would conduct on-orbit joint US-Russian life sciences investigations, resupply the Mir, and deliver two new Mir crewmembers.
Tonight after sunset, look to the southwest to find a waxing crescent Moon. If you look at the northern half of the Moon, near the terminator you will find two large dark patches. These are Mare Serenitatis and Mare Tranquillitatis. Please practice responsible social distancing when you go outside to observe.