Astronomy and Astrophysics Citizen Science 

Citizen Scientists Help Solve “Aurora” Mystery

By Kasha Patel Notanee Bourassa knew that what he was seeing in the night sky was not normal. Bourassa, an IT technician in Regina, Canada, trekked outside of his home on July 25, 2016, around midnight with his two younger children to show them a beautiful moving light display in the sky — an aurora borealis. He often sky gazes until the early hours of the morning to photograph the aurora with his Nikon camera, but this was his first expedition with his children. When a thin purple ribbon of…

Read More
What's Jupiter Hiding? Astronomy and Astrophysics New Technologies 

Juno: What’s Jupiter Hiding?

The Juno spacecraft currently orbiting Jupiter is appropriately named. In Roman mythology, Jupiter created a veil of clouds to hide his escapades with Io from his wife, Juno, but Juno was able to peer through the clouds and foil his plan. By Steven Spence Juno: Aptly named The Juno spacecraft, currently on its 11th science orbit[1] of Jupiter, is designed to see through Jupiter’s clouds, revealing secrets of the planet’s atmosphere and interior. Boldly going on a five-year mission Juno launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral aboard a…

Read More
NASA Astronauts Return from Space Station Astronomy and Astrophysics 

NASA Astronauts Return from Space Station

NASA astronaut and Expedition 49 crew member Kate Rubins, who became the first person to sequence DNA in space, returned to Earth on Saturday, October 29, after a successful mission aboard the International Space Station. Rubins and her crewmates, Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, touched down in their Soyuz MS-01 at 11:58 p.m. EDT (9:58 a.m. October 30, Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. Rubins, who has a degree in molecular biology, contributed to…

Read More
Painting the Way to the Moon Astronomy and Astrophysics Science and Art 

Painting the Way to the Moon: An Impressionist Portrayal of a Rocket Scientist

By Dan Spengler Ed Belbruno is a self-admitted motormouth. Painting the Way to the Moon, a new documentary about the mathematician and painter who previously worked for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), does not prove him wrong—it mostly features Belbruno talking about himself. Painting the Way to the Moon takes its title from Belbruno’s experience of finding inspiration for a ballistic capture trajectory to the moon in a painting he made, but ultimately struggles to find a clear identity. Belbruno tells most of his own backstory, with brief comments from…

Read More
Pluto Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI Astronomy and Astrophysics 

New Horizon’s Pluto Flyby

NASA’s spacecraft New Horizons entered its closest approach with Pluto yesterday, as part of its nine-year mission to study the last of the nine “classical” planets in our solar system. Later today, we will receive the first “phone home” communication from the spacecraft. Here on Earth, scientists are eagerly awaiting today’s transmission from New Horizons. One of them is Noemi Pinilla-Alonso, an astrophysicist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and formerly of NASA. Our friends at ResearchGate recently chatted with Pinilla-Alonso about her hopes and plans for the long-awaited data.…

Read More