Skywatchers across most of the globe will be able to view a total lunar eclipse on August 28. For the second time this year, the lunar eclipse will be visible in North and South America. Residents in the Pacific Islands, eastern Asia, Australia, and New Zealand can view the eclipse if the skies are clear. People in Europe, Africa, or the Middle East will be unable to view the eclipse because the moon will have set when the partial eclipse begins at 4:51 a.m. Eastern time. The next total lunar eclipse will take place on February 21, 2008.Read more here.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
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Heading back to school? Now is the time to make plans for Earth Science Week 2007. The 10th annual Earth Science Week will celebrate the theme “The Pulse of Earth Science” with a wide range of exciting activities, programs, and resources for geoscience educators, students, and others.
You can pitch in to promote science literacy. Dig up fossil evidence of past life, record observations of cloud patterns, or take field trips to museums, science centers, and parks. Conduct activities detailed in the Earth Science Week Toolkit or featured on the Earth Science Week website at http://www.earthsciweek.org. For more ideas, read about successful past events at http://www.earthsciweek.org/highlights/index.html or see recommendations at http://www.earthsciweek.org/forplanners/index.html.
This year’s event is shaping up to potentially reach an even wider audience than last year’s total estimated audience of more than 2 million. In 2006, overall participation exceeded prior records, according to an independent evaluation. Further, 92 percent of survey respondents rated Earth Science Week as “excellent” or “good.”
AGI distributed more than 15,000 Earth Science Week 2006 Toolkits to teachers and geoscientists, with majorities giving high marks to featured materials. The website was viewed by more than 15,400 visitors in October 2006 and by over 64,000 visitors during the entire year. Print media coverage reached more than 876,600 readers, and hundreds of thousands of television viewers watched news coverage of Earth Science Week.
For the past 10 years, AGI has organized Earth Science Week to foster public and professional awareness of the status of Earth science in education and society. To learn more, visit the Earth Science Week website at http://www.earthsciweek.org.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
On January 28, 1986, I watched in shock and amazement as the Space Shuttle Challenger lifted into the air and disintegrated 73 seconds into its flight. The disaster was a result of faulty O-ring seal in the shuttle's right solid rocket booster. There have been many other shuttle launches since then, but I remember this one most vividly because of the tragedy and the astronauts that perished in the accident; specifically Ronald McNair and Christa McAuliffe. Ronald McNair's incredible life has inspired many children to pursue careers in science, and the program named in honor, The McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, has created opportunities for many of these same students to pursue graduate degrees in science, engineering, and mathematics. Christa McAuliffe stands out for a different, but related, reason. McAuliffe, an educator from Concord, NH, was selected from among more than 11,000 applicants to be the first teacher in space.
The Teacher in Space Project (TISP) began as a NASA program in August, 1984. The goal of the program was to inspire students, honor teachers, and spur interest in mathematics, science, and space exploration. After the Challenger disaster, President Ronald Reagan appeared on national television to reassure the nation about the future of the Teacher in Space Project:
"We'll continue our quest in space," he said. "There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue."
More than twenty-years later and Reagan's promise has become a reality. Barbara Morgan, a teacher from Idaho and Christa McAuliffe’s backup, was at Kennedy Space Center watching when the space shuttle Challenger exploded. Yesterday (Wednesday, August 8, 2007), Morgan and the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour lifted off from its pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida and soared into outer space.
The shuttle is set to dock at the International Space Station on Friday, and the mission will last at least 11 days. During this shuttle mission, the Endeavour crew will deliver a new truss segment to the station and attach a replacement gyroscope. Three or possibly four spacewalks are planned to attach all the new parts. Morgan will operate a robot arm and oversee the transfer of cargo from Endeavour into the space station. In addition to these responsibilities, Morgan, like McAuliffe, is also scheduled to teach a series of lessons from her desk in outer space!
If you are interested in learning more about the space program, visit the following sites: