Science

Friday, January 18, 2019

Flandrau Science Center Provides “Moon Music Serenade” for Upcoming Eclipse

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2019 at 2:58 PM

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Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium at the University of Arizona is off to the moon, hosting its first ever Moon Music Serenade event pairing music, telescopes, and a special moon presentation.

A lunar eclipse will begin on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 8:30 p.m. when the Earth’s shadow starts to cross over the Moon, leading to a full lunar eclipse around 9:40 p.m. when the shadow moves to cover the entire Moon.

“When people see things happening in the skies with their own eyes or through telescopes, it inspires their curiosity about planetary science,” said Shipherd Reed, Associate Director of Communications at the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium.

Flandrau has partnered with the UA Lunar & Planetary Lab, and Tucson Amateur Astronomers Association for this event. Volunteers from TAAA will provide telescopes for the public to enjoy and participate in the lunar eclipse.

Attendees also have the chance to capture some pictures of the eclipse. TAAA will provide smartphone photography adaptors right on their telescopes, so people can capture pictures of this lunar event.

“It’s a great opportunity to tap into what the UA has to offer the Tucson community,” Reed said.

The event will beheld outside on the UA mall. UA Chamber Winds will accompany the eclipse and the telescope gazing with wind, brass, and percussion instruments. The Chamber Winds, comprised of students from the Fred Fox School of Music, will play music themed by the stars and moon, according to Martin Gaines, a UA doctoral conducting student. Gaines will lead the Chamber Winds group for this event.

The Chamber Winds will play three songs while the lunar eclipse is happening, including Mozart Serenade in C Minor and an André Chaplet piece. The songs are paired just right for the event, according to Gaines.

“We’re doing a piece by Mozart that was written in 1782 and this is a wind serenade that was meant to be played at essentially an outdoors social event,” Gaines said. “I think it’s going to be fun to hear that in kind of the way that it was originally conceived to be performed.”

Steve Kortenkamp, a UA planetary scientist, will present about the Moon prior to the Chamber Winds performance at 7 p.m. His presentation will include talks about the Moon, what we already know and what we want to discover from the NASA research spacecraft that is orbiting the Moon.

The concert, the telescope viewings, and Flandrau exhibits will be free and open to the public. The Moon presentation by Kortenkamp and “Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon” Laser light show are $5 each. The event will start at the same time of the eclipse, at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 20, 2019 on the UA mall just outside of the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Stay Up to See Sunday's 'Super Blood Wolf Moon'

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2019 at 4:50 PM

Tucson is in the perfect spot for viewers to see the lunar eclipse clearly. - COURTESY OF ACCUWEATHER
  • Courtesy of AccuWeather
  • Tucson is in the perfect spot for viewers to see the lunar eclipse clearly.

If you need reason to stay up on a school night, the dramatic name of this lunar event should be  enough to keep you up. This Sunday's lunar event called a Super Blood Wolf Moon is an event not to miss.

Need another reason? Sunday night, Jan. 20, will be the last total lunar eclipse of the decade. The moon will appear red in the night sky as the moon passes directly through the Earth's shadow. The red color gives this lunar event it's nickname of blood moon.


The moon will also be "super" this Sunday, as it appears larger because it is within the closest part of its orbit around Earth.

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Where does the wolf come in? Full moons in January have historically been nicknamed wolf moons.

“In Native American and early Colonial times, the full moon for January was called the Full Wolf Moon. It appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac reported.

We are pretty lucky here in Tucson that the conditions will be just right for us to have a great view of the moon throughout the night.

The first phase, or the penumbral phase of the eclipse will start at 8:30 p.m. The shadow will then start to move across the moon, covering more and more of it until 9:40 p.m. when the entire moon will be covered for the total lunar eclipse.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

OSIRIS-REx Breaks Record: Smallest Object Ever Orbited by Spacecraft

Posted By on Tue, Jan 1, 2019 at 10:00 AM

The University of Arizona-led spacecraft OSIRIS-REx celebrated New Years its own way, by entering into orbit with the asteroid Bennu. When OSIRIS-REx completed its first orbit of the 1,614-foot long spherical asteroid, Bennu became the smallest celestial object ever orbited by a human spacecraft.
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“The team continued our long string of successes by executing the orbit-insertion maneuver perfectly,” said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator and UA professor. “With the navigation campaign coming to an end, we are looking forward to the scientific mapping and sample site selection phase of the mission.”

For the next year, OSIRIS-REx will map and photograph the surface of Bennu, searching for an ideal site to collect samples. Scientists chose Bennu, roughly the size of Pusch Ridge on the Catalinas, as the mission goal due to its carbon-rich surface and near-Earth orbit. From the collected samples of dust and rocks, researchers hope to examine the origins of life on Earth.

However, OSIRIS-REx will not be landing on Bennu to collect the cosmic samples. Instead, the spacecraft will perform a very close flyby, blast the asteroid with gas to knock loose some rocks and dust, and gather the propelled materials. Sample collection is scheduled for early July 2020. Afterward, the spacecraft will fly back toward Earth before jettisoning the "Sample Return Capsule" in September 2023.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Evidence of Water Found in Asteroid Bennu's Past

Posted By on Mon, Dec 10, 2018 at 12:31 PM

Artist's conception of OSIRIS-REx contacting Bennu's surface - NASA
  • NASA
  • Artist's conception of OSIRIS-REx contacting Bennu's surface
In the first scientific data returned from the OSIRIS-REx mission, hydrated minerals have been found on Bennu's surface. For hydrated minerals to be formed, they must come in contact with water at some point.

"These hydrated minerals have evidence of liquid water in Bennu's past," said Amy Simon, Deputy Instrument Scientist for the OSIRIS-REx mission. "It's one of the things we were hoping to find... we're super excited." 

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Monday, December 3, 2018

OSIRIS-REx Has Arrived at Asteroid Bennu

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 10:13 AM


OSIRIS-REx, the NASA space probe built and managed by the UA Lunar and Planetary Lab with various partners, has arrived at Asteroid Bennu, some 80 million miles away, and is ready to begin the next stage of its mission.

Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Monday, Dec. 3

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 1:00 AM

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REEL Rock 13. For this event, The Loft and Rocks & Ropes climbing gym have gathered the year's best climbing films for an extravaganza with enough mountains, ropes and alpine trails to give the whole audience vertigo. This year's lineup includes The Age of Ondra, about a 25-year-old Czech exploring "a new realm of human potential in climbing"; Up to Speed, about climbing in the 2020 Olympics; Queen Maud Land, about an elite team of climbers hoping to scale the remote frozen peaks of Antarctica; and many more. 7:30 to 9:45 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3. 3233 E Speedway Blvd. $15. Details Here.

NASA
  • NASA
Eos Planetarium Theatre Show: Black Holes. On Monday, Dec. 3 UA Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium is hosting its documentary on Black Holes. Take a dive into modern science and discover more of what scientists have learned in the recent years. With a fresh, new and updated theater you will be sure to be comfortable while your eyes are on the screen listening to the sweet voice of Academy Award nominated actor Liam Neeson! 4 p.m. 1601 E. University Blvd. Details Here.

Einstein's Legacy: The New Era of Multimessenger Astronomy. Enjoy the last round of the 2018 Steward Public Lectures and learn about the legacy Einstein left behind. Steward Observatory has been hosting public lectures since 1922 so if you're into traditions; this definitely is one. Free. 933 N. Cherry Ave. 7:30 p.m. Details Here.

Events compiled by Brianna Lewis, Emily Dieckman, B.S. Eliot and Jeff Gardner.

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Friday, November 30, 2018

UA Ranked in Top 25 for Research Funding

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2018 at 10:49 AM

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Last Tuesday, the National Science Foundation announced that UA is ranked in the top 25 for research funding. In the Fiscal Year of 2017, UA had $622 million dollars in research activity.

UA was ranked No. 23 out of all public universities and No. 38 for all U.S. universities, according to UA News. This also rates them higher than all other Arizona universities, and was discovered through the Higher Education Research and Development survey.

"University of Arizona researchers have had great success over the past year, both in their efforts to attract funding for their work and in the impact that they have in Arizona and globally," said UA President Robert C. Robbins.

This year's research funding was up nearly $20 million. According to UA News this put the university in the top 5% nationwide. The HERD survey also showed that UA was No. 5 in NASA funding, No. 6 in physical sciences and No. 1 in astronomy and astrophysics.

"The quality of our research is recognized around the world and it's because of the dedication and quality of our staff and faculty," said Kimberly Ogden, interim vice president for research at the UA.

For more information on UA research click here.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Ice Melt Slows Global Warming But Speeds Sea Level Rise

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2018 at 1:55 PM

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A new University of Arizona-led research team, focused on how the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet will affect climate change, found the warming of the atmosphere will be delayed by about a decade, but sea level rise will accelerate.

Ben Bronselear, a postdoctoral research associate in UA Geosciences and first author of “Change in future climate due to Antarctic meltwater,” (a report published in the journal Nature) said that current climate models do not include the effect of melting ice on a global scale.

"It’s the first new identified feedback on climate in 20 years," said Joellen Russell, a UA associate professor of geosciences and leader of the SOCCOM group focused on improving the Southern Ocean's representation in the computer models of global climate.

Previously, research suggested that the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet would only affect the sea level, but the not the entire climate system. Using a climate model called ESM2M, scientists simulated tests over the time period of 1950 to 2100.

The studies determined the global temperature would increase by 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2065 (and not 2053, as previously estimated). However, they also estimated that by the 2100, the sea level will rise approximately 10 more inches above the previous estimate of 30 inches.

Russell determined that the ocean circulation moves heat from the equator to the poles, where the heat is then released into the atmosphere. However, the team’s new research reveals that the additional freshwater from the melting ice sheet acts like a lid on the waters around Antarctica and decelerates the release of heat.

The research is part of the National Science Foundation-funded Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) Project, with The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA also funding.

“The melting delays warming—it's still warming but it will warm less steeply and give us another 15-year grace period," Russell said.

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Staff Pick

Pink Martini and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra

PINK MARTINI performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece,… More

@ TCC Music Hall Sat., Jan. 19, 7:30-9:30 p.m. and Sun., Jan. 20, 2-4 p.m. 260 S. Church Ave.

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