The April Sky

Here is the next video in the Series, “Tonight’s Sky”. These videos do a great job detailing the various events, constellations, and planets you can see in the  night sky this month. Take some time on a nice clear night and go outside to see some of God’s wonder! I also added some videos about the space shuttle as we had some questions today about how it worked.


This video shows the last launch of the Space Shuttle!

Cool video about possibly living on the moon!

Views of Earth from Space!

I recently came across this really cool article from the Mental_Floss Blog, showing the Earth from different places in space. One of the coolest is the last one, which is the most distant picture of our planet ever taken. The series of photos is breathtaking and amazing as it illustrates our small place in this universe.

Here is the article.

n January 2012, the newly launched weather satellite NPP Suomi had gathered enough swaths of data to cover the entire Earth. To commemorate this, the mission team assembled this into a map and projected it over the globe:

NPP’s “Blue Marble,” western hemisphere, data acquired from about 824km altitude

It’s a synthetic view; NPP flies too close to ever see this much of Earth at once. But there are spacecraft that do get that vaunted view—and more besides. Let’s look at the Earth from increasingly more distant viewpoints…

35,786 km

GOES-7 image of Hurricane Andrew making landfall in 1992, from Geosynchronous Orbit, 35,786 km altitude

45,000 km

The original “Blue Marble” photo, taken by Apollo 17 during transearth cruise, 45,000km altitude

55,831 km

Mercury-bound MESSENGER got this during an Earth gravity assist flyby, at a distance of 55,831 km

384,000 km

The most famous of the Earthrise photos: Earth rising over the lunar limb as viewed from Apollo 8, distance of about 384,000 km

384,000 km

The USAF’s Clementine spacecraft looks back from the moon, about 384,000 km away

384,000 km

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter looks back at Earth from lunar orbit, about 384,000 km away

400,000 km

The NEAR spacecraft, en route to 433 Eros, took this during a flyby of Earth, at a distance of 400,000 km

2 – 2.7 million km

Taken by Galileo during its first Earth gravity-assist flyby, between 2 and 2.7 million km away

2.6 million km

Mariner 10 looks back during departure, at a distance of 2.6 million km; a composite of two images, one of Earth and one of the Moon, moved together to show relative scale

3.5 million km

2011 Mars Odyssey looked back at Earth from 3.5 million km, in a view that shows the true size and distance relationship between Earth and Moon

6.2 million km

Taken during Galileo’s second Earth gravity-assist flyby, about 6.2 million km away; the Earth and Moon are truly in conjunction

11.66 million km

Voyager 1 took this at a distance of 11.66 million km, while departing Earth; it’s the first view showing both Earth and Moon together in a single frame without compositing and without being in orbit around either

From Mars

The Mars Exploration Rover A, “Spirit,” saw Earth in the predawn sky on Sol 63 of its mission; the first image of Earth from the surface of another planet

142 million km

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this from Mars orbit, at a distance of 142 million km

183 million km

MESSENGER, looking back at Earth from Mercury, at a distance of 183 million km

183 million km

Also MESSENGER, this is a solar system portrait from Mercury; the Earth image is part of this

1.5 billion km

Cassini took this from Saturn orbit, at a distance at the time of 1.5 billion km. Look carefully through the rings; there’s a bright star in there. It’s Earth.

1.5 billion km

Enhanced zoom on the Earth from the previous frame

6 billion km

February 14, 1990, Voyager 1 set a record that still stands for the most distant image of Earth. It is over 6 billion km away. This montage is a solar system family portrait, showing six of the planets. Mercury was too close to the Sun to be visible at this range. They attempted to photograph Mars, but it was too faint for Voyager’s camera.

6 billion km

Enhanced, enlarged view of Earth from the solar system portrait; Carl Sagan called this image the “Pale Blue Dot.” It is the most distant view we’ve ever recorded of ourselves.

Read the full text here:
–brought to you by mental_floss!

Sk . . Sc . . . Schoa . . . School!!

Today is our qualifying round for the Spelling Bee on Friday. We will select five students from the class to join with the five students from Ms. Starks class. We had lots of things happening yesterday. Poetry in particular is a big push right now as we try to finish all our poems by Friday. We also had our part yesterday to celebrate how hard the students have been working. It was a good time had by all.

logoSome really great news popped up yesterday. It was funny, but just after I wrote about the new space program coming out in late May; lo and behold, if it doesn’t pop up ready to be downloaded yesterday. I am very excited. My wife says I’m like a boy in a candy shop. Anyway, the program looks brilliant and I am going to download at school as soon as I get there. The site is called WWTelescope and it comes to use from Microsoft. It’s also free!


New Space Program Coming!!!

Here is a new program that is coming out that looks really cool. Keep an eye out for it!

WWTelescope Headed for Late May Launch

May 09, 2008 | by Nick Mokey

Microsoft’s Google Sky competitor, dubbed WorldWide Telescope, is almost ready for release, according to Bill Gates.

Google Sky may be widely credited with pushing stargazing software beyond astronomy geeks and into the mainstream, but Microsoft hopes to improve on Google’s formula with its own free celestial application, WorldWide Telescope. Bill Gates spoke more about the upcoming release and gave a more definite release date at a speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Friday.

According to PCWorld, Gates told audiences that Google Sky would launch at the end of May, staying within the spring 2008 time period promised on Microsoft’s prelaunch page. In his address, Gates was especially proud of the Microsoft Visual Experience Engine that will power WW Telescope, compiling terabytes worth of data into a seamless view of the night sky. “This is taking data that’s very complex, gathered over many years from many telescopes, and making it accessible,” he said.

Gates was in Indonesia for the Government Leader Forum – Asia, where he also announced a handful of education programs Microsoft would participate in to help deliver technology and education to those in less developed countries.


Here is a video about the program:


Space: The Final Grade 3 Frontier

The grade 3’s began their space unit today. They started with a very exciting activity: a quiz! Actually, it was only a questionnaire. I handed it out to students so that we could begin to see what sort of things they already know about this thing we call space and whether the things they know are actually accurate. This idea might be a good conversation starter for you with your child. For example, one of the questions on the questionnaire was: “Why does the sun look the same size as the moon? Explain your answer and describe the size of each and their distance from us.”

I also got a chance to show the students a number of the websites and programs we will be using as a class. I mentioned this to them as they might like to download or bookmark the sites themselves. All the programs and sites are free to use. I will also try to put them on the links part of the page but I can so far only put so many sites as it is limited to only ten. Here is the list:


Celestia –

Premier Planets –

Interactive Universe

SkyOrb –

Stellarium –

Wikisky –

Virtual Journey –

Interactive Space –

Download some of them and spend some time with your child enjoying the awesome wonder that is our Universe!