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astronomy

TESS Shares First Science Images!

by Dr. Lisa Will, Resident Astronomer at the Fleet Science Center

This week, the NASA spacecraft TESS released its first science images.  Launched in April 2018, TESS stands for “Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.” The goal of its planned two-year mission is to discover small, Earth-like planets using the “transit” method of planet detection, looking for small dips in the light of a star due to a planet passing in between it and our perspective from Earth.

Fleetster Friday: Meet Mary Anderson

It’s #FleetsterFriday! This week, we’d like you to meet the Fleetster who has been working here the longest. Mary Anderson, one of the Fleet’s Console Operators, has been with the Fleet since it opened in 1973! Mary has been the primary Console Operator for all of The Sky Tonight planetarium shows—unless, of course, she’s off chasing eclipses and taking amazing astronomy photos! The Sky Tonight planetarium show on Wednesday, September 5, will be Mary’s last before she retires, so don’t miss it!

April’s shooting stars!

A shot of the 2012 Lyrid meteor shower as it peaked in the skies over Earth.

The Lyrid meteor shower will dazzle the skies this weekend. This meteor shower—one of the oldest meteor showers known to man—occurs every April when the Earth crosses the orbital path of the Comet Thatcher. Tiny bits of ice and dust from this comet hit the Earth’s atmosphere, causing a streak of light across the sky—a meteor!

The Lyrids are known for uncommon surges that can sometimes bring the rate up to 100 per hour. Those rare outbursts are not easy to predict, but they’re one of the reasons the tantalizing Lyrids are worth checking out.

Launch Delay for the James Webb Space Telescope

By Dr. Lisa Will, Fleet Science Center's Resident Astronomer

 

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has long been described as the “successor” to the Hubble Space Telescope. Because Hubble won’t last forever, JWST has been designed to push beyond the boundaries of what we’ve learned from Hubble and is planned for launch before Hubble loses functionality .

 

First Date: A Fleet Love Story

The Fleet has members throughout the United States. But Dr. Stephen Skaper and his wife, Dr. Laura Facci, are our only international members. While living in San Diego, Stephen joined the Fleet the year we opened, and over the past 45 years, he and Laura have supported us while they lived here, then in England and now in Italy, where they are semi-retired.

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