NASA

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.

Charlie Riedel / AP

Pennsylvania's top prosecutor wants to make sure people don't get burned by glassed they've bought to view Monday's solar eclipse.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro says folks should check to make sure their glasses have filters recommended by NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which runs the nation's space exploration program.

Shapiro says the fake glasses don't have the NASA-recommended filters and people who try to view the eclipse using them could hurt their eyes.

screengrab via nasa.gov

There’s no shortage of excitement surrounding Monday’s solar eclipse.

Though Pittsburghers won’t be able to view a total eclipse (states south of Pittsburgh will get the full experience), we’ll still get about 80 percent coverage, according to NASA.

If you’re in the city or outside, you can check out what your view will look like on this Jet Propulsion Laboratory app:

R. Baer and S Kovac / Citizen CATE Experiment via AP

A Pennsylvania school district says children won't be let outside for recess during the Aug. 21 solar eclipse because of the potential harm to students who look at the sun.

The Cumberland Valley School District sent a letter to parents Monday saying the decision was made after consulting the district's physician.

The letter says district officials recognize that the opportunity to view an eclipse is rare, but the safety of students is more important.

NASA officials recommend viewing the eclipse through specially-made glasses to prevent eye damage.

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

Next month, 12 new astronaut trainees will arrive in Houston, Texas for two years of intense training to prepare them for future missions into outer space.

One of those people, Warren “Woody” Hoburg, grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from North Allegheny High School.

90.5 WESA’s Liz Reid spoke with Hoburg, from his office at MIT, where he teaches aeronautics and astronautics.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

LIZ REID: What does it mean to be a part of the astronaut candidate class? What does that involve?

NASA Picks Up 12 New Astronauts, Including 2 From Pennsylvania

Jun 8, 2017
Bill Ingalls / NASA via AP

NASA chose 12 new astronauts Wednesday from its biggest pool of applicants ever, hand-picking seven men and five women who could one day fly aboard the nation's next generation of spacecraft.

The astronaut class of 2017 includes doctors, scientists, engineers, pilots and military officers from Anchorage to Miami and points in between. They've worked in submarines, emergency rooms, university lecture halls, jet cockpits and battleships. They range in age from 29 to 42, and they typically have led the pack.

Scientists Rush To Backup Climate Data

Jan 26, 2017
NASA

Since President Trump’s inauguration, the climate change page at whitehouse.gov disappeared. Reuters also reported that climate references were to be removed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, though it appears that’s been delayed.

A mysterious glowing "blob" in outer space has puzzled astronomers for more than 15 years. Now, a team of researchers says it has uncovered the secret behind the blob's eerie light.

The blob was first spotted back in the late 1990s by Chuck Steidel, an astronomer at Caltech, and some colleagues. They were observing a bunch of galaxies in the distant reaches of the universe, he recalls, "but we also saw these big blotchy things."

Well, hello there, Philae.

The famous little probe — the first one to ever land on a comet — has been silent for more than a year, after a less-than-perfect landing left it struggling to get enough sunlight to recharge its batteries. And now — thanks to a high-resolution photo — we finally know where it is.

The lander, carried by the Rosetta spacecraft on a European Space Agency mission, had been eagerly watched from Earth throughout its mission. A few successful hours of communication were celebrated, and then it was clear they couldn't last.

Residents of Hawaii are keeping a close eye on two hurricanes in the Pacific, Madeline and Lester.

And astronauts have been watching the storms, too — from a different angle.

On Tuesday, the International Space Station caught a spectacular view of both storms, as well as a powerful hurricane in the Atlantic.

The strongest storm in the video is Gaston, currently passing through the open ocean far from land. It's a Category 3 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour.

You probably know Neil deGrasse Tyson as an astrophysicist with a seemingly endless stream of science fun facts at his command. You might not be aware that he is also a great oenophile and lover of food.

Some 16 years ago, before I was a journalist and illustrator, I worked with Neil at the American Museum of Natural History. He would sometimes carry around a small canvas tote bag. As I recall, the bag would contain one of two things: either a weighty, mango-sized meteorite to show to guests of the museum, or a bottle of wine to gift to a colleague.

NASA

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are working on technology that could help make a human mission to Mars possible.

Getting Serious About Climate Change On Earth Day 2016

Apr 22, 2016
Wikipedia

Shorts on Christmas?  Flip flops for New Years?  Pittsburghers joke about a love of climate change this past winter, but scientists insist it is not something to take lightly.  According to NASA, 2015 was recorded as the hottest year ever, breaking the record set previously in 2014. 

Terry Renna / AP Images

A pair of Pennsylvania natives foresee big things for NASA’s current crop of astronauts.

“I think we’re going to see (Mars) in our career,” said Lt. Col. Andrew R. Morgan, of New Castle, who joined the space program in 2013.

Veteran astronaut and Emsworth native Michael Fincke orbited Earth for 363 days between 2010 and 2011, setting a record for longest cumulative time in space before fellow astronaut Scott Kelly surpassed it late last year. Like Kelly, Fincke began training in 1996.

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.

Passing Pluto: What We Know About The 'Dwarf Planet'

Jul 14, 2015
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute / Flickr

This morning NASA's New Horizons space craft is expected to pass fewer than 7,800 miles above Pluto's surface and send back pictures. Images have already revealed plenty of surprises about the mysterious "dwarf planet." Charissa Sedor, assistant manager of the Buhl Planetarium at the Carnegie Science Center, tells us what these latest finds reveal. 

bluedharma / Flickr

  It’s not every year you get to celebrate the completion of Mars’ revolution around the sun. In fact, it’s just under two.

According to NASA, one "year" on Mars lasts approximately 687 Earth days.

European Space Agency / flickr

Happy Martian New Year. That's right it's New Year's Day on Mars and it's being celebrated today and throughout this weekend in Mars, Pennsylvania, just north of Pittsburgh. The goal of this three day celebration of the Red Planet is to encourage young people to pursue careers that will enable NASA's journey to Mars. Mars expert Jim Green who is NASA's Director of Planetary Science is giving a talk as part of this weekend's events and joins us by phone.

Green explains how exactly the Martian New Year works, and the reason we won’t be celebrating it next year:

“Mars is further away from the sun than we are so it has a longer year. In fact, there are more than 670 earth days to equal one year on mars. … So we won’t be celebrating this again for another two years.” -Jim Green

Also, the first Allegheny SolarFest will run completely on solar power and explore Western PA's options for renewable energy. Darren Miller takes on the Sub 3 Marathon on Lake Erie.

Essential Pittsburgh: Pitt Chemist Alters Genes With Light

May 11, 2015
pixabay

Gene manipulation by scientists has been taking place for a while. Joining us in studio is Pitt chemist Alexander Deiters who’s had a breakthrough in this area. He is the first to create a light tool for gene editing. We’ll discover how it works and what it means for the future of gene research.

Deiters explains how they target a gene in order to manipulate it: 

"Nothing is 100% perfect, so you always have effects on to other genes, which is certainly not desirable. If you have that systemic in your entire body it could cause significant problems, but if you could limit that to certain locations like cancer for example you may be able to minimize these off target effects using light as a trigger for genetics." -Alexander Deiters

Also in the program, the book "We Could Not Fail" tells the story of the first African Americans in the space program, set in the formative years of the Space Age and prior to the Civil Rights Act. 

Pitt Professor Helps NASA with Search for Life on Mars

Sep 23, 2014
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Technology using ultraviolet light to analyze and examine pieces of matter invented by University of Pittsburgh chemistry professor Sandy Asher is expected to be part of NASA's Mars 2020 Rover mission. The goal is to determine whether life exists on the Red Planet. Sandy Asher joins us to talk about the UV technology he's developed.