@AlaskaAir reroutes plane to intercept a solar eclipse!! #video #science

Check out the awesome video of a solar eclipse taken from Alaska Airlines Flight 870!! It turns out that the flight was actually re-routed for the eclipse… SCIENCE for the win!!!! Super cool of Alaska Airlines to do this, way to go!

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In window seat 32F, Joe Rao will be one of the dozen astronomers and veteran “eclipse chasers” among the 163 passengers onboard, gazing out oval windows as the moon blocks the sun for nearly two minutes.

He’s an associate astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium (where astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is director). About a year ago, Rao discovered that Alaska Airlines Flight 870 from Anchorage to Honolulu would intersect the “path of totality” – the darkest shadow of the moon as it passes over the Earth.

But the flight’s normally scheduled departure time would be 25 minutes too early, missing the grand spectacle.

Rather than attempt to move the sun or the moon or the Earth, Rao called Alaska Airlines.

Alaska decided to move the plane.

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See shooting stars! Leonid Meteor Shower peaks tonight!!

Tonight will be the peak of the Leonid Meteor Shower, so if you look up and its clear, you will probably see shooting stars! If its not clear, head over to space.com or Slooh Community Observatory for a webcast of the meteor shower!!

The Leonid meteor shower, one of the most celebrated of the year’s annual “shooting star” displays, will peak overnight tonight (Nov. 17) and early Wednesday morning.

You can see the famous Leonids this year even if clouds or bright city lights spoil your skies: The online Slooh Community Observatory will air a free Leonids webcast Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST (0100 GMT Wednesday) featuring live views from locations on four continents. You can watch this broadcast by joining Slooh and also gain access to the observatory’s archive of past shows.

Shooting stars!!! Don’t miss the Perseid Meteor Shower this week!

If you can, check out the the annual Perseid meteor shower this week!! Unfortunately, living in NYC, means it will be hard for me to see much.

The annual Perseid meteor shower will reach its peak this week, giving amateur skywatchers with clear dark skies a potentially dazzling celestial light show.

Luckily for those watching the skies, there will be a new moon, allowing for maximum darkness just when the Perseid meteor shower will be is at its best. The meteor shower’s peak occurs during the overnight hours of Wednesday (Aug. 12) and Thursday (Aug. 13). No fancy equipment is required; just a lawn chair and your naked eyes will be enough to see the “shooting stars.”

Happy 25th Birthday Hubble Telescope! – Celebrate with 25 amazing images and #science!!!

25 Images Celebrating 25 Years of Hubble

This year marks 25 years of amazing images and science from the Hubble Space Telescope.  To celebrate, we’ve assemble 25 images that represent both the beauty of the universe captured by Hubble and the important science realized by this wonderful telescope orbiting over our heads.

Flight to Star Cluster Westerlund 2

This visualization provides a three-dimensional perspective on Hubble’s 25th anniversary image of the nebula Gum 29 with the star cluster Westerlund 2 at its core. The flight traverses the foreground stars and approaches the lower left rim of the nebula Gum 29. Passing through the wispy darker clouds on the near side, the journey reveals bright gas illuminated by the intense radiation of the newly formed stars of cluster Westerlund 2. Within the nebula, several pillars of dark, dense gas are being shaped by the energetic light and strong stellar winds from the brilliant cluster of thousands of stars. Note that the visualization is intended to be a scientifically reasonable interpretation and that distances within the model are significantly compressed.

Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Bacon, L. Frattare, Z. Levay, and F. Summers (Viz3D Team, STScI), and J. Anderson (STScI)

Acknowledgment: The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), the Westerlund 2 Science Team, and ESO

Today’s APOD is the 1977 video “Powers Of Ten” – the universe from different scales of magnitude!! #science

Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is more than a picture… actually a video!!! “How different does the universe look on small, medium, and large scales?”

Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only a s a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker- with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell. POWERS OF TEN © 1977 EAMES OFFICE LLC (Available at http://www.eamesoffice.com)

How Many Stars Are There? – New video from @okaytobesmart

How many stars are there in the universe? Are there more stars out there than grains of sand on Earth? Thanks to advanced space telescopes, we’ve been able to peer farther into deep time and the distant universe than we ever thought possible, and we might finally be able to answer these mind-boggling questions.

Astronomy pic of the day – Jupiter close-up with 3 moons!!

Jupiter Triple-Moon Conjunction 
Image Credit: NASAESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Courtesy of the Astronomy Picture of the Day. Hit the link for more info on the picture and also labels for the 3 moons and their shadows!!

Explanation: Our solar system’s ruling giant planet Jupiter and 3 of its 4 large Galilean moons are captured in this single Hubble snapshot from January 24. Crossing in front of Jupiter’s banded cloud tops Europa, Callisto, and Io are framed from lower left to upper right in a rare triple-moon conjunction. Distinguishable by colors alone icy Europa is almost white, Callisto’s ancient cratered surface looks dark brown, and volcanic Io appears yellowish. The transiting moons and moon shadows can be identified by sliding your cursor over the image, or following this link. Remarkably, two small, inner Jovian moons, Amalthea and Thebe, along with their shadows, can also be found in the sharp Hubble view. The Galilean moons have diameters of 3,000 to 5,000 kilometers or so, comparable in size to Earth’s moon. But odd-shaped Amalthea and Thebe are only about 260 and 100 kilometers across respectively.