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Tag: space

Stories Under the Stars

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend Stories Under the Stars, an event hosted by NOVA’s Ari Daniel and co-produced by Ari and the Museum of Science. It took place in the Charles Hayden Planetarium, where we became completely immersed in the dome of visuals. The theme of the show was “Light in the Dark” and this theme was taken both metaphorically and literally. What followed was an hour of story telling, live music, and phenomenal visual graphics. Ari managed to seamlessly integrate his storytelling and radio clips, so it felt as if he was having the conversation right there in front of you — despite half of it being pre-recorded. These stories certainly had elements of science, but they were also deeply human stories. Everything from the first light in the universe to the light of a candle on the counter were ways to think about and pursue our humanity…. Read More

Reflection on Street Astronomy (Friday 4/15/2016)

Passion. I thought for a day about one word that summarized my thoughts about volunteering with the Street Astronomy team (http://www.bostonastronomy.net/), and decided that passion bested simplicity. The premise of the event was simple: get together in the middle of Harvard Square with some telescopes and look at cool things in the sky. And it was effective. Friday night is prime time in the Square for families, friends, and dates, so there were plenty of folks looking to make the night a little more special. In the two hours that the team of astronomers kindly donated to the festival, we had two to three hundred curious minds expand through the four telescopes and a pair of binoculars. However, it was not just the big boxes, expensive equipment, and experience that the astronomers brought out that night. I felt what made the night successful was their passion for the cosmos and… Read More

Curiosity Challenge: Astronaut Training & Space

by Ben Tolkin How can floating underwater mimic the zero gravity condition of outer space? – Samantha Zhang, age 10 Going into space is hard. Really, really hard. Astronauts work with some of the most complicated and expensive technology ever made, in an environment that’s both highly dangerous and completely unlike anything they’re used to. If you make a mistake on a space station hundreds of miles above the Earth, you might not get a second chance to make things right. Before going into space, you have to make sure you can do every part of your mission perfectly, 100% of the time, and that means practice, practice, practice. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to train for space travel; outer space is (literally!) like nothing on Earth. One of the hardest things to train for is weightlessness. Although there is gravity in outer space, astronauts in orbit don’t feel it… Read More

Red Dwarfs: A Planet’s Favorite Host

NASA/JPL-Caltech/ From the NASA Art Gallery “Planets Under a Red Sun” depicts 3 planets orbiting around a red dwarf star. By Paola Salazar For about as long as civilizations have existed, mankind has wondered one question: are we alone? Is there something out there in the stars that’s like us? While we can’t really speak on the existence of any alien civilizations or lack thereof, we can now, at the very least, safely say that planet formation around stars in and of itself is not uncommon. In fact, there are now over 2,000 confirmed planets, and around 5,000 candidate planets. Prof. Andrew West/bu.edu Boston University’s Andrew West, an associate professor in the Department of Astronomy who focuses his research on the stars that most commonly form these planets. These stars are known as red dwarfs or M-dwarf stars. Prof. West teaches a course on these exoplanets, called “Alien Worlds,” and… Read More

The Blood Moon Super Moon!

                  Flickr/ NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center By Paola Salazar Families and friends across the globe were watching the stars and sky Sunday night, whether cozily on porches and balconies, in the streets, at museums or at observatories, for a view they won’t get for quite a while–the blood moon super moon! We dare you to say that five times fast. But among our curios explorers at the Cambridge Science Festival, some may have been wondering–what exactly causes a blood moon, what makes this one a super moon or just generally, what is this big red thing in the sky where our “normal” moon should be?! Fear not, for we are going to break it down for these curious minds right here, right now. If we pretend this is an equation, the layout is like this: Super Moon + Total Lunar Eclipse =… Read More

PiEinstein Day

Einstein in 1904 / Lucien Chavan   Good morning, and a glorious Super Pi Day to you! In case you’re unaware, today is the occasion when the month and day coincide with the first three digits of π – 3.14. Today is even more spectacular in that the year, hour, minute, and second also extend to further match the irrational sequence of numbers at precisely 9:26:53 am, giving 3.141592653. So, why is Albert Einstein’s visage pictured above? Galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 / NASA/ESA Believe it or not, today is also Einstein’s birthday! Born in 1879, he would have been blowing out 136 candles on this particular orbit around the sun. Furthermore, his theory of general relativity also celebrates its centenary this year. Published in 1915, this work takes the force of gravity and explains how it is a fundamental property of both space and time itself. While Einstein’s theory was not… Read More

A Brief History of Earth Day: a View from 28,000 Miles

We’re now 16 days away from the Science Festival, and my attempt at a daily countdown has gone woefully awry. Ah, well. We’re excited about the countdown here in the festival office. Our program guides are starting to make the rounds, and we’re working hard to get them out to you through as many different avenues as possible. Our event highlight of the day is the Earth Day Celebration at the EcoTarium on Friday, April 19th. A Brief History of Earth Day: a View from 28,000 Miles by: Alex Dunn We all know Earth Day as a day that promotes positive behavior, raises awareness for critical global issues and builds community. The first Earth Day celebrations occurred in cities and towns across the U.S. on April 22, 1970. Attributed to the support of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, those first Earth Day “protests” bottled the fire of the 1960s, bringing together… Read More

Hotter Than Your Hottest Date

Ok, maybe it’s not the kind of hot date you’re thinking of, but this hot date will be pretty hot. It is a date with your one and only sun! It’s always there, but have you taken the time to explore it? Do you even remember it’s there? Do you even give it the time of day? Many cultures have religions that worship the sun. However, many of us live day-to-day taking our sun for granted. Maybe we don’t think about because it is 93 miles away from us on earth. Maybe we don’t think about it because our planet earth seems so amazing that we think it’s probably the most amazing thing in existence. We may think earth is cool, but the sun might just be cooler. First off, compared to earth, the sun is massive! The sun is more than 300,000 times heavier than the earth. It would… Read More