astronomy

Voyager
NASA

"The Farthest: Voyager in Space," a new documentary on some PBS stations next Wednesday August 23, recounts the unique history of the Voyager mission, twin spacecraft deployed to explore the outer planets and then leave our solar system entirely. Launched 40 years ago, Voyager's story is lovingly told in this film through the stories of the men and women who devoted themselves to making the mission a success.

Solar Eclipse
NASA

The countdown is on. On August 21, the total solar eclipse will darken a swath of the country. Forward-looking enthusiasts have booked up most of the hotel rooms and campsites  in the eclipse’s path. Reporter Steve Mencher talked with a local expert about what you’ll see if you’re staying home.

More on the eclipse, from NASA.

NASA visual aid on solar eclipse
NASA

Laura Sparks, an astronomy instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College, and chair of the Earth and Space Sciences Department, visited us for a chat about the August 21 eclipse. We'll have that story soon on the North Bay Report.

While she was here, she warned listeners about counterfeit eclipse glasses. Since it's crucial that you protect your eyes while looking at the eclipse, using these non-approved glasses could result in injury, so we are posting this information immediately.

The Impactful History of Novato's Asteroid Fragments

Aug 19, 2014
CAMS

  The small meteor fragments that burned across the North Bay night sky 22 months ago apparently originated in the huge planetary collision in which our moon was formed, some four and a half billion years ago.

Because the falling meteorite happened to pass through the range where his cameras were focused and recording, SET's Dr. Peter Jenniskens was able to predict its path as it dispersed and came to Earth, and calculate it's far longer trajectory on the way into our atmosphere.

Sailing by the Stars Alone

Jun 18, 2014

  The earliest sailors on the vast Pacific Ocean found their way to and from small islands with only the stars to guide them. So how did they manage that? A special new show at the SRJC planetarium this summer holds some answers.

The new show, opening Friday night, is called Star Compass:  Polynesian Wayfinding. It runs through July 13, and you can find additional details here.

Peeking Inside Distant Galaxies

May 7, 2014
Courtesy of Lynn Cominsky / NASA

New telescopes that employ particle conversion methods to create their images are giving scientists increasingly detailed pictures of the inner workings of distant galaxies. Today’s Exchange investigates how that works, and what is being discovered.

All Eyes Up for Comet ISON

Nov 3, 2013
Image courtesy of NASA

With the days getting shorter and the nights longer, it’s a good time to look up into the night sky. Astronomers are growing excited about the appearance of a new comet – Comet ISON – which will soon be passing within an astronomical whisker’s distance of the sun.