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April Podcast: The Moon’s Mysterious Exosphere April 23, 2011

Posted by jcconwell in moon, Podcast.
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Description: It is commonly thought that the moon has no atmosphere – we hear how the Apollo astronaut’s footprints are undisturbed because there is no atmosphere or weather on the Moon to precipitate any changes, but we now know that the Moon actually does have an extremely thin exosphere. With us today is Brian Day, the Education and Public Outreach Lead for NASA’s upcoming LADEE mission, and with the NASA Lunar Science Institute.

Bio: The NLSI brings together leading lunar scientists from around the world to further NASA lunar science and exploration.

Brian Day is the Education and Public Outreach Lead for NASA’s upcoming LADEE mission, and works with the NASA Lunar Science Institute.

Nancy Atkinson is a science journalist and is the Senior Editor for Universe Today

Fire Crews Protect Texas McDonald Observatory April 20, 2011

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Observatory.
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(Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory)

The McDonald Observatory in West Texas’ remote Davis Mountains is home to one of the world’s largest optical telescopes and the StarDate radio program. It’s also a residence for about 80 staff and family members, some of whom remained as fire crews defended the property from one of the wildfires that have devastated the state this month.

As the wildfire crept up a canyon perhaps 1 mile from the center late Saturday, a regional disaster team set a controlled fire on a nearby peak, aiming to consume the brush that otherwise could have led the wildfire to the observatory, staff member Frank Cianciolo said.

The controlled burn seems to have worked, and the wildfire – though not contained – is burning elsewhere, he said in a telephone interview Tuesday night. (Source CNN)

Astronomy Club Meeting Tonight: ROCKETS!!!! April 6, 2011

Posted by jcconwell in physics, satellites.
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We will be having our regular Astronomy Club meeting this Wednesday April 6th at 8pm in room 2153 of the Physical Science Building.  Hannah Tanquary  will be giving a talk entitled “So you want to go to space: A step-by-step guide for those wishing to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.”  (It’s basically about rockets.)  Also, since there are only two meetings left, we will be nominating officers for next year and deciding what movie we want to watch for movie night at the last meeting.  Hope to see you there!