North Carolina’s Goodwill Moon rock sees the light of day again

After being lost in a drawer at the NC Dept of Commerce for years, the moon rock given to the State of North Carolina was displayed proudly by a University of North Carolina professor who also headed the NC Space Grant and shared with students. The rock then went to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in preparation for public display once museum expansion is complete in the fall of 2011.

The rock made special appearance this on February 24 leading up to a presentation on the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery.

The museums curator of geology shared some incredibly technical information on the rock, one of the last samples taken from the moon on the last Apollo mission.  This rock was fragmented, each encased in lucite spheres and presented to each of the 50 states plus 135 foriegn countries.  

Sadly, the location of these rocks is unknown in many cases.  Sometimes through insurrection, sometimes through mishandling.  Of the 50 states, the location of the rocks presented to Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina,  and Pueto Rico is unknown.

( every other state in the union along with 135 foreign countries)

Globe at Night

It’s Globe at Night time again!  This is a great homework activity for teachers to assign their students.  It’s easy to complete, gets them outside looking up at the night sky and provides valuable data that will be put to good use.  it runs tonight through March 6.

PDF files on the website (in multiple languages) show how it’s done.  Simply find Orion and pick the image that looks the closest to what you are seeing with your naked eye and report your findings via the web.

Teachers packet

Why isn’t there a lunar eclipse every month?

A full moon happens when the Sun, Earth and Moon line up just right and the full illuminated disk of the lunar surface is visible from Earth.  But the Sun must be behind the Earth in order to fully illuminate the moon, why isn’t the Earth casting a shadow?  It is but not necessarily on the moon.  The moon’s orbit is slightly tilted so the Earth’s shadow usually is cast above or below the moon. About every 6 months and 6 days, the orbits line up in a way that some or all of the Earths shadow is cast on the lunar surface. Each of these eclipses cycle through 1-4 total eclipses, followed by 1 or more partial or penumbral eclipses.  That’s just the way the cycle works based on the orbits of the Moon and Earth and where they line up with the Sun.

The next lunar eclipse will occur on June 15, will be total, and will be visible from South America to Australia.  The next lunar eclipse with any visibility from North America is a penumberal eclipse on May 25, 2013. The next total eclipse ith any visibility from North America will occur on October 8, 2014. Totality will be visible from the western United States and Canada. North American viewers further east will miss totality as the moon sets and the sun rises.

June 15, 2011