Topic: sun

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Shadows On Other Worlds

Explore the wonder of light from our star, the Sun, and how Shadows On Other Worlds, like on Venus or a faraway planet orbiting the red star Glise 581, would behave a little differently than they do here on Earth. Thi...

The Aurora Named STEVE

For the first time, scientists have ground and satellite views of STEVE (short for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement), a thin purple ribbon of light. Scientists have now learned, despite its ordinary name, ...

Where does Space begin?

How far away is Space from where you are at this moment? How much closer is it when you're flying in a plane? And how close is the International Space Station to Earth if we can spot it in the sky? Travel up, up, u...

How to Make Tomato Paste in Sicily

At the end of last summer I spent five glorious days in Sicily learning how to put sunshine in a jar. It’s easy. Take a ridiculously large amount of perfectly ripe Sicilian tomatoes. Cut them up. Leave them in the sun...

The North Wind and the Sun: A Fable by Aesop

Once the North Wind and the Sun were arguing about who was the stronger. They saw a man walking below. "I am the strongest," said the North Wind fiercely. "Only I can get the coat off that man." But the sun, answering...

How to Find a Living Planet

The more we see other planets, the more the question comes into focus: Maybe we're the weird one? Decades of observing Earth from space has informed our search for signs of habitability and life on exoplanets and even...

How did Polynesian wayfinders navigate the Pacific Ocean?

Imagine setting sail from Hawaii in a canoe. Your target is a small island thousands of kilometers away in the middle of the Pacific Ocean — a body of water that covers more than 160 million square kilometers. For tho...

How do solar panels work?

The Earth intercepts a lot of solar power: 173,000 terawatts. That’s 10,000 times more power than the planet’s population uses. So is it possible that one day the world could be completely reliant on solar energy? ...

The 2017 Solar Eclipse from the shores of Palisades Reservoir, Idaho

Stand on the shores of Palisades Reservoir, Idaho as the moon's shadow passes over you and the crowds around you cheer. This awe-inspiring moment of totality, when a new moon blocks the sun's light during a solar ecli...

Eclipses Throughout Our Universe – Out There

An exercise in cosmic geometry. A reminder that we live on one sphere among many, all moving to the laws of Kepler, Newton and Einstein. The moon’s orbit around the Earth is slightly tilted, so the shadow of the new m...

How to watch a total or partial solar eclipse

On Monday, August 21st, 2017, sky gazers can witness a total or partial solar eclipse—weather-permitting and depending on their location on the planet—as it traverses North America. There's been a lot of excitement in...

The Big Dipper Through Time

Stars aren’t still--they move through space. Our Sun and the seven stars that form the Big Dipper in the constellation Ursa Major all orbit the center of the Milky Way at different speeds. So why do today’s constellat...

A full circle rainbow as seen from a construction crane

High over St. Petersburg, Russia, from the top of a construction crane at the Lakhta Center, a huge rainbow can be seen in its full form: a circle. Phil Plait explains the science in his 2014 Bad Astronomy article: ...

Sandwich Bag Fire Starter

The intensity of sunlight on Earth is about 1300 Watts per square meter. When you focus the sun's rays using a magnifying glass (or in this case sphere of water) you can increase the intensity roughly ten thousand fol...

Patouille by Clémentine Campos

A child sits bored on the steps of a house, until he finds joy in soaking up the colors in nature. Patouille, an animated short by Clémentine Campos, who writes that it's "un film réalisé pour les enfants et les gros ...

The Hoarder (1969) – Evelyn Lambart

In this short animation by Evelyn Lambart, a greedy little blue jay carries away whatever his beak can grasp. Berries, birds' eggs (nests and all), and even the sun in the sky go into his secret cache. Nothing is safe...

Mars in a Minute: How Long is a Year on Mars?

One year for any planet is measured by how long it takes to orbit once around the sun. Since Mars is farther away from the sun than Earth, it takes almost twice as long: Earth orbits in 365 days. Mars orbits in 687 Ea...

Designing solar panel walls that can recycle & heat greywater

What if the walls of your house could recycle the wastewater from your sinks, showers, baths, and washing machine? Architect Maria Paz Gutierrez is working with environmental engineer Slav Hermanowicz and bioengineer ...

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