Showing posts from August, 2017

Big Space Rock to Pass near Earth on Friday Source:   By Katherine Kornei, Eos/AGU For Investigation:   5.2, 6.1 Excerpt: An asteroid named for Florence Nightingale will make its closest approach to our planet since 1890 but will remain a safe distance away. In the roughly 2 decades that scientists have systematically tracked asteroids speeding past Earth, never before has one so large come so close. On Friday, an asteroid called Florence will zip by our planet just 7 million kilometers away, or about 18 times the Earth–Moon distance, according to NASA. Many other asteroids have come closer, but none was as big as Florence, which measures about 4 kilometers in diameter. ...Researchers will also be using NASA’s Goldstone Solar System Radar facility in California’s Mojave Desert to determine whether Florence has a natural satellite of its own, a moon. Fifteen percent of asteroids have moons, Mainzer noted, and finding a moon orbiting Florence would make it p

Chasing Shadows for a Glimpse of a Tiny World Beyond Pluto Source:   By Kenneth Chang, The New York Times For Investigation:    6.1, 6.1 6.2, 8.2 Excerpt: This summer, scientists crisscrossed two oceans, braved wind and cold and deployed two dozen telescopes — all for five blinks of starlight that lasted a second or less. For the team working with NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which made a spectacular flyby of Pluto two years ago, those smidgens of data provide intriguing hints about the spacecraft’s next destination, a distant frozen world that is believed to be a pristine, undisturbed fragment from the earliest days of the solar system. New Horizons will fly past it on Jan. 1, 2019....

Maria Mitchell's Birthday Source:   By Writer's Almanac For Investigation:   Excerpt: Today is the birthday of Maria Mitchell ..., the first acknowledged female astronomer, born in 1818 on the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts. ...Maria Mitchell's Quaker parents believed that girls should have the same access to education and the same chance to aspire to high goals as boys, and they raised all 10 of their children as equals. Maria's early interest in science and the stars came from her father, a dedicated amateur astronomer who shared with all his children what he saw as physical evidence of God in the natural world, although Maria was the only child interested enough to learn the mathematics of astronomy.  ...By age 12, Maria was assisting her father with his astronomical observations and data, and just five years later opened and ran her own school for girls, training them in the sciences and math. In 1838,