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Astronomy

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Fri, May 27 2011

Another Journey for John Glenn’s Ansco Camera

Nearly 50 years ago, John Glenn purchased a camera at a drug store that served as the first astronomical experiment performed by a human in space. That three-orbit voyage for Glenn included two cameras, one the Ansco he purchased and the other a Leica supplied by NASA. The flight not only kicked off decades of orbital experiences for U.S. astronauts, but also science experiments, observations, and thousands of rolls of film and digital files created through hand-held photography. The results of those experiments and the photos taken are what people left on Earth use even today to understand human spaceflight.

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Another Journey for John Glenn’s Ansco Camera
Tue, April 5 2011

Transit Authority

On the morning of March 2, I got an excited text message from fellow astronomy educator Shelley Witte, telling me that the International Space Station (ISS) and Space Shuttle Discovery would be coming very close to transiting the Sun from our position at the National Air and Space Museum’s Public Observatory at exactly 3:08 pm.

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Sun - February 16, 2011
Sun, April 3 2011

Jumping In Tweet First

On Saturday, March 19, I was thrilled to participate in the first ever Sun-Earth Day Tweetup organized by the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center. It was also the first time the Smithsonian officially participated in a Tweetup. The event was a great opportunity to give twitter fans (aka “tweeps”) some face-to-face interaction with our research scientists, curators and educators, and provide some fun hands-on learning that illustrated the Sun-Earth connection.

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Camilla's puppet. 
Thu, December 30 2010

Ten Events of Great Significance in Space Exploration during the Twenty-first Century’s First Decade

As the first decade of the twenty-first century comes to a close what might we consider the ten most important events in space exploration and discovery?

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SpaceShipOne
Tue, December 21 2010

Imaging the Lunar Eclipse

I was pleasantly surprised when the clouds rolled out and the weather turned out to be favorable for the total lunar eclipse last night!

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Lunar Eclipse December 2010
Fri, December 17 2010

Total Lunar Eclipse

The Moon is one of the most easily recognized celestial objects and arguably the easiest one to observe. It is simple to view the changing phases from day to day, with your naked eyes. Binoculars or a telescope will reveal countless craters, ancient lava flows, and other intriguing lunar features.

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Eclipse Sequence
Tue, October 19 2010

Learning to Capture the Sun

The Public Observatory Project is just over a year old now, and in that time we’ve been  experimenting with the telescope to discover what is visible in the daytime sky and devise ways that our visitors can have the best experience possible.  One of our goals is to use our equipment to take images of the Sun, so that we can share our star’s day-to-day activities with the visiting public as well as those who can’t make it to the Mall to look through our telescopes.  

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Sun - July 30, 2010
Tue, October 5 2010

Seeing Beneath the Surface of the Moon

“Remote sensing” is a term used to describe many different types of observations carried out at a distance. Aerial photos, satellite images of the Earth and planets, and telescope views of our solar system are all forms of remote sensing used to understand geology, climate, hazards, and changes over time.

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Aristoteles (Lunar Crater)
Fri, August 13 2010

A ‘Spectacular’ Hoax Continues to Fool E-mail Readers

A claim that Mars will appear as large as the full moon to the naked eye has been circulating since 2003. Don't be fooled by the misinformation.

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Oppositions of Mars
Tue, August 10 2010

What are Your Favorite Aerospace History Conspiracy Theories?

We have been discussing at the National Air and Space Museum the possibility of pursuing an educational workshop on the place of conspiracy theories in modern America, especially as it relates to aerospace history but also in the broader context of our national history.

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Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch

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