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Category: Astronomy

Voyager – The Interstellar Mission

Voyager – The Interstellar Mission

My favorite NASA Mission is Voyager for a variety of reasons including – it goes where nothing from Earth has gone before, has  historical significance, and it still works. Two satellites named Voyagers 1 and 2 launched in 1977 and STILL send us their data.

These twin satellites did such a good job on their first assignment, to explore Jupiter and Saturn – and subsequently Uranus and Neptune (and moons) from 1977-1989 that they got the biggest accolade that exists – TO GO WHERE NO THING FROM OUR PLANET HAS GONE BEFORE – the Interstellar Mission.

The interstellar medium is the matter that exists in the space between star systems in our galaxy.   In this case, the star system is what we know as our solar system and these satellites are heading to the edge where the Sun’s influence (magnetic field) is diminished  (outside the heliosphere) – about 9 billion miles from Earth.

Its what happens at the edge of the solar system that is surprising astrophysics and luckily we have Merav Opher on the case.  I say this because she is sassy and smart and can even make a novice understand the research that she is conducting.

If you aren’t yet sold on how awesome this mission is take a look at this artifact on board.    The Golden Record  – a Voyager message carried by a phonograph record-a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth put together by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan.

Planetarium – a hoihoi obsession!

Planetarium – a hoihoi obsession!

Hoihoi is a Hawaiian word that can mean interesting, entertaining, and cheerful.zeiss

These are exactly the words that come to mind when I think of the new Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston.

I finally got the chance to visit and its amazing.  They launched the few facilities AND a robust program for educators that is so impressive it makes me want to play hooky from work so I can go on a field trip with these kids.

Its clear that the new planetarium was created in collaboration with Carter Emmart from the AMNH.  Parts from his “The Known Universe” (below) can be seen in their new digital dome and does its job of showing how insignificant humans are.

I strongly suggest you check out The Sky Tonight show with Dani LeBlanc. For a preview of what the new facilities look like check out the MOS Facebook video.