astronomy

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The days have been getting shorter since mid-June - the Summer Solstice, but now things start to get serious. As we near the Autumn Equinox, the point at which night is a larger part of our lives than day, our days will continue to get shorter. 

"The sun is going to rise due east and it’s going to set due west. That doesn’t happen on any other day, except the two equinoxes," says Lake Effect astronomy contributor, Jean Creighton. 

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For the first time in nearly 100 years, there will be a coast-to-coast solar eclipse in the United States. The moon will move between the sun and Earth, totally blocking the sunlight for people on the "path of totality."

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.

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On Monday, part of the United States will experience a total solar eclipse, where the moon completely covers the sun. Milwaukee won’t get totality, but we will still experience a partial eclipse. 

"In Milwaukee we're going to see a partial solar eclipse, 86%... most people, if they've seen a solar eclipse at all, it's likely to be partial," says Jean Creighton, Lake Effect astronomy contributor and director of the Manfred Olson Planetarium. 

astronomy.com

On August 21st, parts of the United States will experience a total solar eclipse. It’s the first time in a century that the path of totality will be visible from the west coast to the east. Milwaukee isn’t in the totality path but it will still be darker than normal as the sun will be 86% eclipsed.

John Flannery / Flickr

This summer, the northern hemisphere sees some pretty spectacular astronomical events. The Perseid meteor showers will peak in mid August and about a week after that, parts of the United States will witness the first total solar eclipse since 1979. It’s also the first one visible from the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic since 1918.

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The question cinema has tried to answer time and time again, with the most recent attempt by the movie Arrival, may finally have an answer as astronomer Jean Creighton provides promising new hope for whether life can exist beyond earth. “There could be life right now in the solar system unbeknownst to us,” says Creighton.

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Every month, contributor Jean Creighton joins Lake Effect to talk about things astronomical. This month, the topic was prompted by two people asking her the same question within twelve hours.

"People are intrigued by black holes," Creighton says. "They want to know what they are, how they work - but on the other hand they (don't want the myth broken)."

Creighton explains the science of black holes and breaks some common myths, as well as the black hole bubble we may be living in:

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For centuries, the constellations have provided a roadmap of the night sky, helping sailors and other voyagers navigate, well before the existence of GPS technology.  Even today, astronomers use constellations to describe the location of stars, comets and other heavenly bodies.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

It’s been almost 30 years since scientists first discovered their first exoplanet - a planet orbiting a star other than our own sun. But the scientific community is especially excited now with the discovery late last month of the most earth-like exoplanets yet.

allexxandarx / Fotolia

If you had an astronomer next to you, what would you ask them? When astronomy contributor Jean Creighton isn't in the Lake Effect studio, she is very much still in the public eye, leading the Manfred Olson Planetarium at UW-Milwaukee. And part of her job is to do research among the public to find out what people are naturally curious about.

Upon occasion Creighton will approach people not as the leader of a planetarium, but as another civilian interested in space, and ask them what they are interested in. Surprisingly, most people want to know about distance.

A small, faint star relatively close by is home to seven Earth-size planets with conditions that could be right for liquid water and maybe even life.

The discovery sets a record for both the most Earth-size planets and the most potentially habitable planets ever discovered around a single star.

UWSSEC YouTube Screen Capture

If you were outside in the Midwest at around 1:30 a.m. local time this morning, you might have received quite a shock.

A meteor streaked across the sky in a vivid, bright green flash. It set off sonic booms that were loud enough to shake houses in east-central Wisconsin, as National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Last tells The Two-Way.

Take a look at this video, captured on a police dashcam in Lisle, Ill.:

Hubble Site

Many are familiar with the concept of citizen science: opportunities for amateurs to play a role in helping researchers gather or process scientific data. That could involve a backyard bird count, or the use of a home computer to sift through terrabytes of data.

R. Hurt/Caltech-JPL / NASA

As 2016 draws to a close, Manfred Olson Planetarium at UW-Milwaukee director and Lake Effect contributor Jean Creighton highlights the important astronomy stories of the past year:

Highlights of 2016:

1. Discovery of Gravitational Waves

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