A major display of the northern lights is unforgettable, and if you've ever seen an exploding meteor, you've never forgotten it. But one natural celestial sight tops all of those, a total solar eclipse. Not a lunar eclipse and certainly not a partial solar eclipse. After the totality in 2017 in places like Wyoming and the Carolinas, millions finally got to see one.
Spring, marked by the vernal equinox, will occur on March 19 in all U.S. time zones. This has not happened since spring 1896. Host Bob Berman covers leap years and why we have this early start to spring.
With the clocks now changing, it brings up the subject of time. The question of time's reality has boggled philosophers and scientists for centuries. We see two opposing views: Isaac Newton who recognized time as inherently real, and Immanuel Kant who claimed time is not an actual entity, but a framework devised by humans.
If you enjoy vocabulary items you'll probably get pleasure in the word subitize. Some elementary school teachers now use that concept. It's the ability to immediately perceive how many objects you're looking at without counting them. Those who know constellations also subitize as well. When we see Orion, the three belt stars are an obvious formation; we don't have to count one-two-three to determine if they are hidden behind a cloud.
Things in the night sky are radically changing their brightness. Of course, we all know that the moon alters its phase and its brightness, but the big inconstant headline maker these days is the famous start Betelgeuse because it’s dimmer than anyone has seen in a century.
Mercury has the most out of round orbit of any planet with its distance from the sun changing between 30 to 40 million miles. It also has no axial tilt and at its poles, half the sun’s disk is always below the horizon, so there’s permanent darkness inside every slight polar depression and crater.
During day or night a warm breeze is heaven while a howling wind is the enemy. Moving air certainly influences our moods, but now in mid-winter, we get the greatest winds, on average. Listen in as Berman covers the windiest mountain in the northern hemisphere, right here in the U.S.
To the ancients the sun circled around us, an idea that was later proved false. In the 4th century Aristarchus of Samos, who was rumored heretical at the time, arrived at conclusions that proved opposite: the earth actually revolved around the sun. A lesson we took from these scientific theories? Always do our own homework before assuming anything to be true.
Now is the time of our darkest morning. Sunrise is now at its very latest of the entire year. If you’d like to do some stargazing, you don’t need to set the alarm for 4 a.m., like you would in the summer. Instead you can head out around 6:30 a.m. where the planets and Big Dipper parade overhead.
2020 will be a truly extraordinary year in the sky. It starts this winter and early spring with series of stunning conjunctions and starting in the summer, the giant planets Saturn and Jupiter will hover next to each other, slowly getting closer and closer.
This year’s brightest planet is Venus, visibly seen low in the southwest as soon as night falls. It gives off a strangely steady light that doesn’t twinkle like other starts. Although it looks point-like to the naked eye, it has a little size to it (as even binoculars reveal) and this makes it more immune to having its light bent one way and then another by different temperature air layers.
Heat is simply the motion of atoms. At 98.6 degrees, all of your body’s atoms are moving at about 1,000 mph. Even the coldest place on earth, the Antarctic, where they measured -129 degrees Fahrenheit in 1983, still has plenty of atomic motion. We will speak about what happens when atoms do stop at -459.67 degrees, absolute zero.
After the moon, Venus is the brightest planet in the sky. Sometimes hidden, Venus, the evening star, is currently visible in the sky and will be for nine months. It will be at its highest and brightest this coming April.
In a single second light could travel around the world almost 9 times at a speed of 186,282 miles per second. Satellite’s transmitting time beeps to your car’s GPS receiver and in a similar way that was how light was discovered.
Nighttime is now longer and with the artificial sky glow, the New York City and Los Angeles skies are now 40 times brighter than the natural background. Tune in as we hear what a natural sky consists of.
According to surveys, over a quarter of the U.S. population thinks we are now being visited by aliens from outer space. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the argument, but if an extraterrestrial visit does occur, it would probably be very different from our expectations.
In primitive cultures, full moons were singled out from all other phases and awarded names, but only a few have survived. The only designations still popularly used today are the Hunters Moon coming up on Sunday, Oct. 13 and the Harvest Moon that appeared last month.
Our society revolves around personal responsibility. Everyone believes they have the power to control their own lives. But, surprisingly, this may be an illusion. Listen in as we speak of Benjamin Libet’s experiment that proved this theory true.
From the gaseous Ring Nebula now overhead to the beautiful Saturn system rising in the southeast, rings are a recurring celestial theme. Yet, nature lovers often miss the most spectacular examples, the bright beautiful halos that often encircle the moon and sun.
People are acquiring strange new astronomy notions. Take the super moon, a newly coined term for when the moon comes closer than average. When that caught on a few years ago and the major media ran headlines, "Don't miss tonight's super moon!" confusion arose, because such a moon looks just like every other full moon.
The Harvest Moon is coming up on Friday the 14th and all across the country people think they know what it means. Some assume it has no observational significance and that "Harvest Moon" is just another archaic name like April's "Grass moon." Others imagine just the opposite, that the Harvest Moon looks special in some way: bigger or redder or higher or - something.