Astronomy

Mona Evans

Neptune, named for the Roman sea god, was discovered in 1846. And 17 days later, William Lassell found a moon. Its moon is probably a captured Kuiper Belt object, similar to Pluto, but colder than Pluto. It's a strange object. Nasa is considering a mission to Neptune and Triton to have a look.

Mona Evans

Lick Observatory lies on a mountaintop overlooking Silicon Valley. Known for major contributions to astronomy, it also has some unique features. Its benefactor James Lick is buried under one of the main telescopes, and it displays original seismogram taken during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Mona Evans

Thousands of years ago a comet broke up. A remnant still visits Earth, adding to the debris stream fuelling the annual Taurid meteor shower. The shower peaks near Halloween and may produce brilliant meteors – its nickname is 'Halloween Fireballs'. But is there something deadly in the Beta Taurids?

Mona Evans

Saturn: magnificent rings, a planet-sized moon, and dozens of smaller moons. Three spacecraft had flown by before Cassini-Huygens was launched in 1997. But this mission wouldn't just fly by and snap some photos. It was going to get up close and personal.

Mona Evans

No one alive had seen Venus transit when the 2004 one occurred. And if you missed that and the 2012 transit, there isn't another until 2117. However Mercury also transits the Sun – and these transits happen more often. But what's a transit and what do we learn from it?

Mona Evans

Rosetta, the European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft, traveled for ten years and billions of miles with its lander in order to rendezvous with a comet, and accompany it as it moved through the inner Solar System past the Sun.

Mona Evans

Many foods are associated with a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. But what do you suppose would be on the menu for Thanksgiving in space? Would you have to squeeze turkey paste out of a tube and get gelatin-covered dessert cubes? No. Food has improved since the early days of space flight.

Mona Evans

Halley didn't discover a comet, but he did research, and published papers in astronomy and many other fields. Russian Czar Peter the Great liked him as a dining and drinking companion and King William III put this civilian in charge of a Royal Navy ship. But how did he get a comet named for him?

Mona Evans

There's a glow on the northern horizon. The Sun set hours ago and there are no city lights there. You could be seeing nature's great polar light show - an aurora. It's most likely if you're fairly far north or south, but a solar storm may include mid-latitudes too.