Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 31, Blue Moon

Image from Butter Funk
Next August 31, 2008 will be the second full Moon in a calendar month, a so called "Blue Moon".

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

There's Helium In Moon's Atmosphere

 Image credit: UniverseToday.com

The discovery that the Moon has a tenuous atmosphere composed primarily of helium was made by LACE (Lunar Atmosphere Composition Experiment) a mass spectrometer used by the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, and these days the NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter confirmed the discovery.

It is not yet clear whether the helium is originate from inside the Moon or from an external source like the solar wind or is just "captured" by the Lunar gravity, but in anyway this is another discovery about the Earth natural satellite confirmed in the last days.

An article published at NBCNEWS explain the report with more details. You can read the entire article HERE.

Moon Master: An Easy Quiz for Lunatics

Image credit: Midnight Martian

If you are "Lunatic" and you also like quiz, I just found this nice and easy quiz Moon on Space.com. In about 5 min you can check out your level of knowledge about the Moon.

Here you go: Moon Master: An Easy Quiz for Lunatics

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ice on the Moon

Due to their position, craters adjacent to the lunar south pole cannot receive sunlight and they are permanently shadowed. So, the content of such craters were an enigma for scientists. Using the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter data now is possible to determine their structure as never before. Laser scan reveal the presence of ice in the Shackleton crater, an impact crater of 21 km in diameter and 4.2 km deep, located at the Lunar south pole.                               
Image by NASA
While the laser scan performed by the LRO could indicate the presence of water in the polar craters, the current evidence suggests that the crater could be mined for deposits of hydrogen in water form, a chemical element that is expensive to deliver from the Earth. Another project involve this crater as the location for a large infrared telescope placement. The low temperature of the crater floor makes it perfect for infrared observations. And also a NASA Outpost Project, involves the construction of the base along the perimeter of the Shackleton crater.

Read the full article by Bill Steigerwald at the NASA website

Video about Shackleton Crater published on YouTube by MIT.

Video on YouTube

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Full Moon On June 4, 2012 - Strawberry Moon & Vesak Moon

Without a doubt the full Moon is the most dramatic sights in the night sky.

For millennia the full Moon fascinates us as many lovers well know and draw inspiration to artists and poets and humans have used the movement of the moon to kept track of the changing seasons and set schedules for harvesting and planting.
Ancient cultures over the world have given distinctive names to the recurring full Moons, so different full moon names can be found among the Native American, Celtic, Old English, Buddhist and Chinese to name a few, based on the behavior of the weather, plants and animals during that month and their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred.
So the next full Moon on June 4 having many names around the world.
Strawberry Moon was the name gived by the Native American Algonquian tribes because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during this month and now this is the most popular name of June full Moon in North America and used also by people of the United Kindgom countries although the most popular name in English is Flower Moon.

 Image from First People US

Other names are Rose Moon, Honey Moon, Planting Moon and Hot Moon, reflecting a specific feature of the nature in June.
Full Moon days are sacred according to Buddhist tradition and called Uposatha (Buddhist Sabbath) in Pali, which is a lingua franca in the Buddhist community.
The Vesak Moon date varies according to the various calendars used in different Buddhist tradition. So many Buddhists who not already have celebrated the Vesak in the May, will celebrate in the June full Moon.
The Vesak (or Vesākha, in Pali language from Sanskrit but also Buddha Purnima, Vaishaka) is a holy day for all Buddhists communities.
Also informally called the Buddha’s Birthday the Vesak day celebrate the birth, enlightenment and dead of the Buddha.

Image from Samui Art Gallery

Some Buddhist countries have the traditional Vesak relate holy day in other months of the year, although most of the Vesak Moon falls in the 5th or 6th lunar month. So the holy day was celebrated on May 5 and 6, in countries such Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia and it will be celebrate on June 4 in countries such Thailand where the people know the same day as “Visakha Bucha Day” (“Visakha Puja Day”) and it means the worship of the Buddha on the full Moon day of the sixth lunar month.

The celebration in Thailand provides abstinence from alcoholic drinks and all kinds of immoral acts (Rub Sil), practice of renunciation and mental discipline observing the Eight Precepts wearing white clothes, going to temples from Buddhists rituals (Tum Boon) and offering food to the monks (Tuk Bard), and attending the Candle Light Procession (Vien Tien) in the evening of the Vesak Day.

Related Links:
Article published at Koh Samui, Koh Phangan & Full Moon Party - Read the full article, HERE.

Friday, June 1, 2012

In 1901, You Could Pay 50 Cents To Ride An Airship To The Moon

Nice article about how the people seems the Moon at beginning of the twenty century, published at io9

The passengers wait eagerly in the ornate lobby of the enormous spaceport. Soon, a signal indicates that their spaceship is ready for boarding. As they wait, special displays instruct them about how their spaceship functions and what to expect once they leave Earth's atmosphere. Aboard the giant spacecraft — as luxuriously appointed as any yacht — they are soon on their way to a vacation on the Moon.

No, this isn't a vision of the future of space tourism. It's what happened in 1901, when people could pay a princely half dollar for a ticket to ride into space.

Read the full article by Ron Miller, HERE.

Electric Moon Jolts The Solar Wind

An interesting article published at PhysOrg explains about the Moon influence on the solar wind.

(Phys.org) -- With the Moon as the most prominent object in the night sky and a major source of an invisible pull that creates ocean tides, many ancient cultures thought it could also affect our health or state of mind – the word “lunacy” has its origin in this belief. Now, a powerful combination of spacecraft and computer simulations is revealing that the Moon does indeed have a far-reaching, invisible influence – not on us, but on the Sun, or more specifically, the solar wind.

Read the full article at PhysOrg, HERE.

The solar wind produces splendid auroras, visible on the Earth.
Watch this amazing time-lapse video from ISS that showing how the aurora is seen from space.

YouTube - Time lapse aurora from ISS, HD

One more stunning video at Wired shows incredible aurora.
 on Wired which explains how the aurora happens.

Moonrise As Seen From The Space Station

At the International Space Station, the astronaut Don Pettit set the camera from the airlock of the Russian station segment and produce an amazing time lapse video of the Moon rising.
During the video you can see the astronaut in the space station's cupola observation window.

NASA ISS Earth Space Video

Video from YouTube : Moon Over the Space Station | NASA ISS Earth Space Video