Now is the perfect time to look outside in the evening and learn a phrase useful to sky watchers. The phrase is: follow the arc to Arcturus.
NOAA scientists reported today that global levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most prevalent heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, have passed a significant milestone.
NOAA says in March, 2015, the global monthly average for carbon dioxide concentration surpassed 400 parts per million. That’s the first month in modern records that the entire globe broke 400 ppm, reaching levels that haven’t been seen in about 2 million years.
With five active spacecraft now orbiting the planet, NASA has beefed up its traffic monitoring to make sure the Mars orbiters don’t get too close to each other.
May 6, 1968. More than a year before he became the first human to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong had a narrow escape in the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) at Ellington Air Force Base near Houston. The LLRV had been designed to simulate a descent to the moon’s surface, and all the lunar astronauts trained in it. That day, while Armstrong was piloting, a leaking propellant caused a total failure of his flight controls …
Ocean hot spots in the Atlantic and Pacific were drivers of the hottest summers on record for the central U.S. in 1934 and 1936, suggest new study.
An X2-class solar flare erupted on May 5, 2015 at at 22:05 UTC (5:05 p.m. CDT) and ended at 22:15 UTC. The flare created a pulse of UV radiation and X-rays that caused a strong radio blackout over the Pacific. It also caused a short-lived radio burst, heard as static on shortwave receivers.
“Sometimes you know you are in the right place at the right time. That you are doing what you are meant to be doing. That it all comes together and your heart sings.”
Mercury, the solar system’s innermost planet, orbits the sun inside of Earth’s orbit. Therefore, Mercury always stays close to the sun in Earth’s sky and is often lost in the sun’s glare. But Mercury reaches its greatest elongation – greatest angular distance – east of the sun on May 6 (or May 7, depending on time zone), so this world can now be spotted in the west-northeast as dusk ebbs into darkness. As always, binoculars help out with any Mercury quest.
Thuban is not a particularly bright star, but it’s special for having been a Pole Star some 5,000 years ago, around the time the Egyptian pyramids were being built. Follow the links inside to learn more about Thuban, a star that holds a special place in the hearts of stargazers.
NASA announced today (May 5, 2015) that its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) – launched from Earth in 2009 – has completed a maneuver that lowered the spacecraft’s orbit to within 12 miles (20 km) above areas near the lunar South Pole. This is the closest the spacecraft has been to the lunar surface.