Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Sun is Showing Off

I feel like all I've been talking about lately is that Sun of ours. It's such a showoff. 

If you've been following the work I do in STEM you know that the last two big launches from NASA have been all about the Sun, solar flares, plasma.......

For the MMS mission I sent out projects related to the mission to 8 different scout leaders and chatted with two troops the day after and one classroom of students. Kids always have the funniest questions and suggestions for NASA. 

And I guess the Sun didn't think we were paying it enough attention because this week it decided to produce some of the best Auroras we've seen in years. Unfortunately, I was not up north and missed it all. Friends kept me satisfied though with incredible photos and even a live feed from a good friend way way up north. 


Photos from Sebastian Saarloos that NASA Goddard shared.


Did you know that you can help verify Auroras? Aurorasaurus is an app to do just that! Check it out at: 
http://www.aurorasaurus.org/



Tomorrow we get an even better treat! A total solar eclipse. There are two people, well one person and one company, that I will be following for this event. 

The first is Zero2Infinity, a commercial balloon company that is using the same material to construct their balloons as Bigelow Aerospace does. I can't wait till they get through the testing phase and start trips! For now though they are launching balloons to give the rest of us an entirely new view of a total solar eclipse from the Stratosphere. 


The Bloon team is already in Svalbard waiting to launch their balloons, learn more about the project in the vid. 




Total solar eclipse from Near-Space from zero2infinity on Vimeo.

The other person I'll be watching is Twitter user @NightSkyPark (Tyler Nordgren) who is in the Faroes. 


And you can also watch it live via feed where ever you are in the world via: meteorwatch

If you are interested in doing some more citizen science, Zooniverse just launched a new project called Snapshot Supernova. There you can sort through images to help find exploding stars that large telescopes in Chile will then focus on!  

Finally, remember to never look directly at the sun. There are safe ways to view, even if you don't have a scope. I like this leaflet for simple ways using things in your home (grab a collander!)....and it give tons of info for teachers and leaders to explain what students are seeing. 

Be sure to come back and tell me all about what you see! Or tell me about it on Twitter @Chitownchica

Friday, March 13, 2015

Housekeeping and A Little Bit of Everything Else

There are two things I find myself saying every day: take that off the table and I still need to do that. 

Last year I lost two big writing contracts, one after the other; and then a third contract a few months later. What this meant though, was that I regained the rights to everything I wrote for them-- outside of what had been syndicated. I was going through a lot of personal housekeeping and was not prepared for the work that was involved to archive, save, transfer, file etc.