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Here's What's Up

"Here's What's Up" is the Longo Planetarium's weekly link to some fascinating astronomical topic. This is an archive of all the items we have posted. Keep up with this by liking the CCM Facebook page at www.facebook.com/countycollegeofmorris!

March 2014

  • March 31, 2014 - For the last few months, we have been featuring links related to our Solar System. Our little neighborhood is actually unimaginably vast -- it's difficult to describe its size and scale. However, this little web page makes a fairly decent attempt, "If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel": http://joshworth.com/dev/pixelspace/pixelspace_solarsystem.html.
  • March 24, 2014 - As we spend some more time by Saturn, we can't neglect its amazing ring system. This shiny disc looks tranquil from far away, but up close you would see a dynamic, chaotic system of clumps of ice and snow. See some of the recent twists in Saturn's rings here: http://www.universetoday.com/109254/saturns-ring-shows-a-twist-in-cassini-snapshot/
  • March 17, 2014 - ATTENTION teachers and parents of 5th through 12th graders! The Cassini team has announced their spring "Scientist for a Day" essay contest. This is a great opportunity to have your class explore and write about the wispy F ring, the mega-moon Titan, or the hexagonal storm at Saturn's north pole. Join NASA and the Cassini team, and help determine the next course of the study of Saturn: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/education/scientistforaday13thedition/
  • March 3, 2014 - As we continue to pay a visit to Saturn, we highlight one of the most bizarre sights in the Solar System -- a giant 6-sided storm! It is unclear why this giant hurricane-like feature on Saturn has a honeycomb-shaped border. It is quite a sight -- here are some of the best images of this oddity: http://www.space.com/18674-saturn-vortex-hexagon-storm-photos.html    

February 2014

  • February 24, 2014 - We now scoot along to look at a satellite we have placed around Saturn. The Cassini spacecraft arrived in 2004, and has been working flawlessly ever since, dramatically increasing our understanding of this ringed planetary marvel! Explore the fascinating equipment and abilities of this intrepid machine: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/overview/
  • February 6, 2014 - So, since it has been so frigid here, I thought I'd remind you of the moon of ice -- Europa.  This moon of Jupiter is covered with a thick sheet of ice, and most of the rest of its body is a giant liquid ocean.  It has all the building blocks of life, but at -275 degrees, can you call this living?!  Check out everything regarding Europa here:  http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/europa/faq.cfm


January 2014

  •  January 29, 2014 - As we linger around Jupiter for a bit, let's start looking at some of its interesting moons. Io is a small moon, whose body gets squished and squeezed by the gravity of Jupiter like it is a dog toy.  Just like we have ocean tides here on Earth, Io has SURFACE tides, and hot lava gets squeezed thousands of feet into the air.  Investigate this fascinating place further here: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/io-tides/en/

November 2013

  • November 25, 2013 - We continue our exploration of the Asteroid Belt as we visit one of the best resources for educators and hobbyists: The NASA Discovery "Small Worlds" site. There is plenty of news and information, and tons of activities for the classroom, as well as at home to keep our young scientists busy on those days off from school! Check out all the great info, images, and activities at http://discovery.nasa.gov/smallworlds.cfml.
  • November 18, 2013 - We continue to explore the Asteroid Belt by checking on the Dawn spacecraft. Launched back in 2007, this spacecraft has visited Asteroid Vesta during 2011 and 2012, and will continue on to Asteroid Ceres, and will become a permanent satellite of this dwarf planet in 2015. Follow the fascinating facts we've found, and what we hope to find in the future at: http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/.
  • November 11, 2013 - Our trek through the Solar System now brings us to the Asteroid Belt, where we have just discovered one of the oddest objects we have ever seen: an asteroid spraying out comet like trails of dust, but in all directions. This mysterious objects is spouting and spinning like a lawn sprinkler! Pictures and info of the asteroid, currently known as P/2013 P5, is available here: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2013/52
  • November 4, 2013 - Mars has two potato-shaped moons, which are worth further investigation. They may be pit-stops on our way to human of exploration of Mars! Tons of information about these curious moons are available here: http://www.space.com/20413-phobos-deimos-mars-moons.html.

October 2013

  • October 30, 2013 -  The next mission Mars is on track to launch on the afternoon of November 18! The MAVEN spacecraft will study the atmosphere of Mars, and see how it has dissipated over time, and whether it could have supported some kind of extraterrestrial life.  Follow everything related to this mission, and even watch the launch live at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/maven/
  • October 9, 2013 - NASA's Juno spacecraft, launched back in August 2011, will be swinging back home TODAY, (Oct. 9) before continuing it's journey to Jupiter! It will be stealing a tiny bit of Earth's orbital momentum in order to get the boost it needs to reach the gas giant in 2016. Amateur radio operators (HAMs) are invited to say "Hi" to Juno by transmitting Morse code.
    More info on Juno is here: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/details.php?id=5888
    HAM radio operators can get instructions here: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/hijuno/

September 2013

  • September 30, 2013 - Today we take a closer look at our own backyard.  To see some wonderful views of our planet from above, and a top ten things you should know about Earth, stop and explore here: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Earth
  • September 23, 2013 - Our tour of the Solar System now takes us to Venus!  A harsh landscape has made it quite difficult to arrive at the surface of our next-door neighbor.  But, in the late 1970's a handful of Russian spacecraft called Venera managed to hit the ground and take some pictures.  See the intriguing photos, and other information, here:  http://mentallandscape.com/C_CatalogVenus.htm
  • September 16, 2013 - Our journey through the Solar System began with the Sun last week. We now head 36 million miles from there to stop by Mercury! The Messenger spacecraft has taken over 170,000 images of this planet, and revealed exciting information, as well as some mysteries. Find out more: http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/index.php
  • September 9, 2013 - Our updates are about to embark on a journey through the Solar System. Let's begin with the Sun. The STEREO spacecraft has shown us some of the most amazing and intriguing picture of the star that holds our planetary system together! For everything you wanted to know, and a bunch of surprises, about the Sun, check it out here: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stereo/main/#.Ui3GlNKsiSo

August 2013

  • August 19, 2013 - Many years ago, the web site http://nineplanets.org brought together the most comprehensive collection of facts and mythology related to the planets in the Solar System. Even though the number of planets has dropped to eight, they kept their classic name, as well as continuing to update the web site with some of the best information and images of our neighborhood of space!
  • August 12, 2013 - Hopefully the clouds will stay away tonight, so you may be able to catch a glimpse of some cosmic dust streaking into our atmosphere! Here's some information on this and other meteor showers:
  • August 6, 2013 - For 20 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has dazzled us with remarkable images of astronomical wonders. To mark this occasion, you can look back at some the highlights, and even send your very own personal 'happy birthday' message up to the satellite itself! http://www.google.com/earth/explore/showcase/hubble20th.html.

July 2013

  • July 31, 2013 - The International Space Station is a remarkable scientific achievement. Seeing this speck drift across the night sky, and knowing you are viewing a handful of astronauts living and working in space - about 260 miles up - is awe inspiring. When can you see it? Find out with this interactive website: http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/

June 2013 

  • June 17, 2013 - We always follow the weather here on Earth, but we sometimes forget that as the solar wind pushes past us and proceeds to other planets, that space has weather, as well! To keep up with these events, and other astronomical marvels, such as meteor showers, just go visit http://spaceweather.com/
  • June 13, 2013 - For 23 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has shown us that space science can be beautiful! The Amazing Space website has resources for educators, parents, and students, with a nearly endless supply of engaging information and activities. Go see it: http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/
  • June 4, 2013 - As the school year winds down and summer begins, parents, teachers and students are looking for engaging activities. Here's some great models you can print and make for free! From a bal...loon-powered nanorover, to a cream-filled ice cream cone Cassini model, here are fun projects for all abilities, grade levels and interests: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/kids/index.cfm?Filename=papermodels

May 2013 

  • May 13, 2013 - For the finest, free, printable star charts around, StarMaps is a wonderful website. They provide monthly guides to our skies, with detailed constellations, as well as any special astronomical events you can see with telescopes, binoculars, or just the naked eye. Print out a new guide every month at: http://skymaps.com/downloads.html.
  • May 6, 2013 - In honor of our 19th annual Women Who Dare program happening this week, we remind you that NASA has exciting careers for everyone. The Women of NASA have been working hard to remind young women that a job in space science is a challenging, lucrative one. They've created a website to help you prepare for a career, with lots of background on the groundbreaking women who make space exploration possible! Find out more here: http://women.nasa.gov/careers/
  • May 1, 2013 - Our planetary next door neighbor, Mars, is an intriguing world. It would be nice to visit, but the distance is a huge hurdle. How far away is it? Take the trip here: http://www.distancetomars.com/


April 2013

March 2013