astronomy

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We talk with our astronomy contributor Jean Creighton regularly about the latest discoveries in astrophysics, but we've never really talked about how those discoveries are paid for. So, for November's astro chat, Creighton explains the process of writing a grant proposal for the National Science Foundation:

After a record-breaking 780 days circling the Earth, the U.S. Air Force's mysterious X-37B unmanned space plane dropped out of orbit and landed safely on the same runway that the space shuttle once used.

It was the fifth acknowledged mission for the vehicle, built by Boeing at the aerospace company's Phantom Works.

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When people think of astronomers, several names come to mind: Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, or Carl Sagan — all white men. But throughout history, women and other people of color have made huge contributions to our understanding of the cosmos.

Astronomy contributor Jean Creighton says that highlighting that diversity in the field is necessary for both kids and adults. 

"It's so important to break those barriers, no matter who you are, no matter what you do, so that the stereotypes that people put in their heads are set aside," says Creighton.

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Our astronomy contributor, Jean Creighton, says it’s a special time of year. Earlier this week, we officially slid into fall and experienced the autumnal equinox (or we did if we were up at 2:50 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 23). While our calendars mark the first official day of fall, the autumnal equinox is more than just a day. 

"The definition of an equinox is when the path of the sun, which is called the ecliptic, crosses the equator of the Earth, projected on the sky," Creighton explains. "It's a time and a place in the sky." 

NASA

2019 has been the summer of the moon. Man first stepped on the moon 50 years ago, and over the past few months we've been looking at back at the history of the space race and ahead at what future missions might look like.

READ: 50th Anniversary Of Apollo 11 Moon Landing Has Wisconsin Scientists Looking Back, Forward

NASA Image and Video Library / NASA

Humans first left Earth 59 years ago, landing on the moon nine years later. Since then, we’ve orbited the Earth, sent rovers to Mars, and sent people to live on the international space station. And it won’t be too long before we make the journey to Mars to begin our extraterrestrial colonization.

One of NASA's first employees, key to creating the U.S. space program, has died at 95. Chris Kraft was the agency's first flight director and managed all of the Mercury missions, as well some of the Gemini flights. He was a senior planner during the Apollo lunar program. Later he led the Johnson Space Center in Houston and oversaw development of the space shuttle.

NASA

Every month, Lake Effect contributor and astronomer Jean Creighton joins us to talk about the universe and our solar system within it. This time, she talks about the resources, effort, and partnerships that made sending Apollo 11 to the moon possible.

LISTEN: Celebrating The 50th Anniversary Of Apollo 11

Creighton says NASA had to work with 20,000 companies to make the mission possible.

NASA History Office and the NASA JSC Media Services Center / NASA

The 50th anniversary of the first astronaut moon landing comes as NASA is talking of another trip to the moon within five years, and of taking people to Mars by the mid-2030s.

Astronomers, engineers, and human health experts across Wisconsin have been tracking the discussion. And some are working on projects potentially tied to more space travel.

In the summer of 1962, Walter Schirra — who would soon become America's third man to orbit the Earth — walked into a Houston photo supply shop looking for a camera he could take into space.

He came out with a Hasselblad 500C, a high-end Swedish import that had been recommended to him by photographers from Life and National Geographic.

NASA History Office and the NASA JSC Media Services Center / NASA

On July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. The Apollo 11 mission was the pinnacle of NASA’s decade long efforts to conquer space flight. It occurred just eight years after President John F. Kennedy announced a national goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s.

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Every month, astronomer and contributor Jean Creighton joins us to talk about the cosmos. While the cosmos, full of its different stars, planets, and physics concepts can be intimidating, Creighton says we should allow ourselves to wonder at the beauty. Plus, it's actually healthy if you feel like some of the concepts allude you.

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Whether it's an accelerating car, a person biking or a thrown object, most motion is visible to the human eye. However, even at rest we all are in motion - at least on a cosmic scale.

Lake Effect's Bonnie North and astronomy contributor Jean Creighton started a conversation last month about celestial motion, and Creighton picks up the story by explaining another kind of motion - proper motion:

The world is seeing the first-ever image of a black hole Wednesday, as an international team of researchers from the Event Horizon Telescope project released their look at the supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy Messier 87 (M87). The image shows a dark disc "outlined by emission from hot gas swirling around it under the influence of strong gravity near its event horizon," the consortium said.

"As an astrophysicist, this is a thrilling day for me," said National Science Foundation Director France A. Córdova.

NASA Goddard

Contributor Jean Creighton, who is the Director of the Manfred Olson Planetarium on the UW-Milwaukee campus, joins us each month to talk about all things astronomical. Today we learn about celestial motion, and when we first knew that stars move through space.

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