Mar 122018

What if the Moon Orbited at the Same Height as the ISS?

One of the fun things to do with astronomy (and science in general) is to imagine what it would be like if things were different. For example, right now the Moon orbits the Earth at an average distance of about 384,000 kilometers (238,000 miles). Even though that makes it the nearest astronomical object in the Universe, that’s still pretty far—a four-day ride in a space capsule, for example.

But what if it were closer? YouTube user “yeti dynamics” (real name: Nick) is an animator who created a fantastic video showing what it would look like from Earth if the Moon orbited us as the same distance as the International Space Station. The results are pretty amazing! Make it hi-res and fullscreen for the full effect.
Right off the bat, let me give my kudos to the animator! That was very well done, very realistic looking, and—my favorite bit—really cool, so it’s likely to grab people’s attention and get them thinking about the Moon and space.

And given its intent (just showing what it would look like, without any extrapolation on the physics), it’s pretty accurate, too. Indulge me while I dabble in some (fun) math.

Read more…



The True Size Of The Moon

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Jun 102017

And now for a sense of scale: a map of the U.S. overlaid on the Moon

The True Size Of The Moon

The greatest distance between two points within the contiguous U.S. is 2,892 miles, stretching from Point Arena, CA to West Quoddy Head, ME*. The circumference of the Moon is 6,784. To help put the scale of each into perspective, redditor boredboarder8 decided to overlay one on top of the other, giving rise to the approximation you see above. [Click here for hi-res]

Writes boredboarder8:

It was difficult for me to fathom the size of the moon, thus inspiring the creation of this map. For me, this map puts the scale of the moon much smaller than I previously imagined. But it’s really interesting hearing how others (already grasping the size of the moon) now see the US as larger. [Ed.: ‘MURICA, amirite?]

It was one definitely a weird challenge to take a “flat” map of something on a sphere and project it onto a smaller sphere. Got mindfucked a few times along the way. Certainly take it only as an approximation, but what intrigued me the most is that the distance spanning the continental United States is roughly equal to a little less than half the circumference of the moon.

We repeat: this is just a rough estimate, but it’s certainly good enough for government work when it comes to illustrating the Moon’s relative dinkiness. (Or America’s hulking hugeness, depending on how patriotic you’re feeling.)

It’s strange — when we imagine objects in our solar system (even ones we know to be “small,” relative to other celestial bodies) I suspect that many of us regard them as just being unrelatably huge. They exist at scales so large, and at distances so vast, that numbers relating to mass, surface area and volume — descriptive though they may be — are rendered effectively meaningless.

So it’s always nice when images like this come along that help put things into perspective, whether it’s a side-by-side comparison of all the water on Earth relative to the Earth itself, a figure illustrating there’s more water on Jupiter’s moon Europa than there is on Earth, or a map of the U.S. slapped across the Moon’s near-side.



Joke Of The Day: Astronomy Quiz

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May 252017
Joke Of The Day: Astronomy Quiz A junior-high student was studying astronomy and enjoying it greatly.

One morning at breakfast she mentioned, “On Friday we’re having a quiz on the moon.”

Her little brother piped up: “Are you gonna let her go, Mom??”




Enchanting Moon And Planet Lamps

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Mar 262017
These awe-inspiring lamps are made from recycled garden globes and are decorated using non-toxic paint. They will make your home look out of this world.

Enchanting Moon And Planet Lamps

Though it will be many decades before regular ol’ citizens are afforded the chance to visit outer space, one can still delight in the majestic and unknown with incredible moon and planet lamps. Sold on Etsy by Pulsar Moonlight, each is handcrafted by a woman named Maria who is of Italian descent and works as an astrophysicist.

The lamps are made from recycled outdoor/garden globes and are decorated using non-toxic paint. No two are the same and there are a variety of planets one can choose from.

Maria was reportedly inspired to create the intriguing lamps when looking for ways to raise money for animal charities. After two years of donating all proceeds to organizations, she decided to turn the hobby into a business.

“Until now (I started 2 years ago), every single penny I earned went to charity,” Maria told Bored Panda. “I try to help any kind of animal, but, so far, I rescued only dogs and cats.”

Enchanting Moon And Planet Lamps

The astrophysicist models the lamps off of scientific pictures which serve as a reference guide. She strives to ensure that the craters and depressions match images captured by satellites.

“Every moon has six layers, each to give a different effect,” she explained. “To make one moon takes about 4-6 hours of work.”

“For the planet, it takes longer because there are more layers and, in some places, the color is very thick so it dries very slowly,” she added.

The artist and astrophysicist is constantly changing the globes based on new images which are released by NASA. She said,

“NASA often releases new images, so I have to study them and change my paintings according to new discoveries.”

Enchanting Moon And Planet Lamps

A unique individual who relishes being both creative and rational, Maria says she believes that “people can feel I have put my best efforts to give them something positive that can spread joy and peace.”

“Every day, before painting, I do my yoga practice, to give to the moon a good vibe and energy.”


Following are some images of the incredible moon and planet lamps she sells on Etsy:

Enchanting Moon And Planet Lamps

Enchanting Moon And Planet Lamps

Enchanting Moon And Planet Lamps

Enchanting Moon And Planet Lamps

Enchanting Moon And Planet Lamps

Enchanting Moon And Planet Lamps

Enchanting Moon And Planet Lamps

Enchanting Moon And Planet Lamps


Cool Moon Facts: Your Weight On The Moon

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Aug 242015

You would weigh less on the Moon.

Your Weight On The Moon

We all know Moon has much weaker gravity as compared to Earth. If we talk in exact figures, you would weigh 16.5% (1/6) of your weight on Earth. That’s the reason lunar astronauts could leap and bound so high there.

Astronaut jumping in 1/6 earth gravity:


Why Do We Only See One Side Of The Moon?

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Jul 312015

A simple explanation on why we only see one side of the Moon from Earth.


Only one side of the Moon is visible from Earth because the Moon rotates about its spin axis at the same rate that the Moon orbits the Earth, a situation known as synchronous rotation or tidal locking. The Moon is directly illuminated by the Sun, and the cyclically varying viewing conditions cause the lunar phases. The unilluminated portions of the Moon can sometimes be dimly seen as a result of earthshine, which is sunlight reflected off the surface of the Earth and onto the Moon. Since the Moon’s orbit is both somewhat elliptical, and inclined to its equatorial plane, librations allow up to 59% of the Moon’s surface to be viewed from Earth (but only half at any instant from any point).



Why Do We Only See One Side Of The Moon


Joke Of The Day: Exploring The Moon

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May 142015
Rubber Chicken NASA sends an Obama voter and a chimpanzee to the moon.

When the rocket lands on the moon’s surface, the computer screen automatically switches itself on and the chimpanzee clicks on the desktop file that contains his instructions:

1) Ensure that rocket has landed at the correct co-ordinates and is anchored safely.
2) Check ALL life support systems.
3) Prepare laboratory for analyzing samples.
4) Put on space suit, step outside of rocket on to the surface, collect soil and rock samples, return to laboratory, conduct tests on samples and report back to Houston giving us your “best guess” as to whether or not the Moon is adequate for terraforming.

The chimp clicks out of his file and runs off to do his duties.

The Obama voter then sits in front of the computer and clicks on his file:

1) Feed the chimpanzee.



Joke Of The Day: NASA And The Indian

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Apr 022015
Rubber Chicken When NASA was preparing for the Apollo project, they did some astronaut training on a Navajo Indian reservation.

One day, a Navajo elder and his son were herding sheep and came across the space crew. The old man, who only spoke Navajo, asked a question, which the son translated: “What are the guys in the big suits doing?”

A member of the crew said they were practicing for their trip to the moon.

The old man got really excited and asked if he could send a message to the moon with the astronauts.

Recognizing a promotional opportunity for the spin-doctors, the NASA folks found a tape recorder. After the old man recorded his message, they asked the son to translate. He refused. So the NASA reps brought the tape to the reservation, where the rest of the tribe listened and laughed, but refused to translate the elder’s message to the moon.

Finally, NASA called a official government translator. He reported that the moon message said: “Watch out for these guys; they’ve come to steal your land.”