Today, German scientists released a two-second recording of the sound the Rosetta mission’s Philae lander made when it touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s icy surface. Philae landed on the comet, which is about 311 million miles (500 million kilometers) from Earth, last week (November 12, 2014).
A ring or circle of light around the sun or moon is called a halo by scientists. We get many messages throughout each year from people who’ve just spotted a ring around the sun or moon.
People want to know: what causes a halo around the sun or moon?
Old Man Winter seems to have gone maverick in the Northern Hemisphere over the last few years. Take 2014 as an example. It’s on track to be the warmest globally in more than a century of record-keeping, with May, June, August, and September all setting world heat records for those particular months. Yet February only managed to tie for 21st warmest globally, mainly because of two regions of prolonged cold across North America and central Eurasia.
Here is the sun’s innermost planet, Mercury, imaged on September 15, 2014 by the MESSENGER spacecraft. This is of the highest resolution images of Mercury ever obtained. MESSENGER has been orbiting Mercury since 2011, but now the craft’s fuel is nearly depleted. It is slipping toward Mercury in orbit, and space engineers have been periodically boosting it higher. MESSENGER will impact Mercury in March 2015. For now, we’re getting some of the best-ever Mercury pics.
In our Northern Hemisphere, the Big Dipper is probably the sky’s best known asterism. In other words, it’s a recognizable pattern of stars — not an official constellation. The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major, otherwise known as the Great Bear.
Every year, the Big Dipper (Great Bear) descends to its lowest point in the sky on November evenings. In fact, people in the southern part of the United States can’t see the Big Dipper in the evening right now, because it swings beneath their northern horizon.
November 20, 1889. Happy birthday, Edwin Hubble! The Hubble Space Telescope is named for this astronomer. How did this honor come to be? Hubble’s work was pivotal in changing our entire cosmology: our idea of the universe as a whole.
Lake-effect snow is nothing new for those north and east of Lakes Erie and Ontario. When it happens, snow totals climb over three to four feet (over a meter) in less than 24 hours. In isolated spots around the Buffalo, New York area this week, over five feet (1.5 meters!) of snow fell earlier this week, and a second round is happening and expected to continue through Friday.
Podcast and interview with Tom Niziol, a longtime meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service in Buffalo, New York, about lake-effect snow.
Digging out of the snow in West Seneca, NY on November 19, 2014.
November is the month of the Pleiades star cluster. Yearly, on or near November 20, the Pleiades cluster culminates – reaches its highest point in the sky – at midnight.