Astronomy

Courtesy of Romeo Durscher / NASA

It is indeed dark during the day as a total solar eclipse makes its way from Oregon to South Carolina. Eleven states are in the path of total darkness. Follow the astronomical phenomenon's journey across America along with NPR journalists and others experiencing the eclipse.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A giant white balloon floated across Pittsburgh’s Riverview Park Friday morning as part of a test launch of a University of Pittsburgh and NASA research project. A few dozen people watched as the balloon and a few colorful containers attached by a rope were released into the cloudy skies just before noon.

NASA

The Perseid meteor shower is back for its annual mid-summer show, but with more force this year.

Stargazers can catch a glimpse of 100 to 150 meteors – remnants of the Swift Tuttle comet – flying by Earth every hour when celestial activity peaks between late Thursday evening and early Friday. The annual pass usually takes place each year from mid-July to mid-August. 

“All of these little particles of rock burn up in our atmosphere and put on a pretty spectacular show,” said Charissa Sedor, planetarium producer of the Carnegie Science Center’s Buhl Planetarium.

NASA / JPL/Caltech

NASA’s Juno spacecraft began orbiting Jupiter on Monday, becoming the first to reach the Solar System’s largest planet since Galileo in 2003. The craft plans to study Jupiter’s evolution and composition, but what are officials hoping will come from the mission? We’ll ask Brendan Mullan, Point Park University astrophysicist.

ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement Judy Schmidt

The recent discovery of 1,284 new planets by NASA has increased interest in astronomy nationwide. And while many enjoy a clear night sky with stars too numerous to count, for some, stargazing is more than a hobby.

ESO / M. Kornmesser via AP Images

The transit of Mercury, a rare planetary event, will take place on Monday, May 9th. In other celestial three Earth-like planets have been discovered around a red-dwarf star. Joining us to explain the scientific significance of this news is Point Park University professor and astrophysicist Brendan Mullan.

Ryan Wick / flickr

Between now and February 20th you can see the five brightest planets in our solar system at the same time. It’s the first time this has happened since 2005. Point Park University professor and astrophysicist Brendan Mullan stopped by our studio to discuss happenings in outer space.

NASA / nasa.gov

For nearly a decade, astronomers have been puzzled by brief, but bright eruptions of radio waves coming from space called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs). A team of astronomers, including two from Carnegie Mellon University, uncovered the most detailed record ever of an FRB.