Entries in Orbit (2)


'Supermoon' Lights Up Sky, Biggest In Nearly Two Decades

NASA/Bill Ingalls(NEW YORK) -- Did last night's rare "supermoon" live up to its hype? If the commentary online is any indication, those who had clear skies were not disappointed with the brilliant full moon that lit up the sky.

On Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, skywatchers around the world posted pictures and reactions to the biggest full moon in nearly decades.

During the so-called "supermoon," the moon wasn't just at its closest approach to Earth in its elliptical orbit, it was closer than it has been in 18 years.

After the sun set for East Coasters, #supermoon started trending on Twitter, as people started tweeting about the event. Many even uploaded snapshots of their supermoon views to the photo-sharing website Flickr.

"It's a bird- it's a plane- no, it's Supermoon!," said one Facebook user.

"the supermoon was super beautiful last night," posted another.

Full moons come in different sizes because of the elliptical shape of the moon's orbit -- one side of the ellipse is about 31,000 miles closer to Earth than the other. When the moon is closest to Earth (at its perigee), it is 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than when it's farthest from the planet (at its apogee).

For weeks, Saturday's so-called "supermoon" sparked interest online, with astrologers and amateur astronomers speculating that the extra-large full moon could lead to unusual weather. After Japan's earthquake, some even wondered if the supermoon contributed to the event.

Scientists emphasize that there is no connection between the moon's position and extreme weather or natural disasters here on Earth.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NASA's Mars Odyssey Breaks Record for Longest Mars Orbit

Photo Courtesy - NASA(PASADENA, Calif.) -- On Wednesday evening, NASA's Mars Odyssey broke the record for a spacecraft serving the longest at the Red Planet. 

Launched in 2001, the probe Wednesday began day 3,340 of its Martian orbit surpassing the record set by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, which orbited Mars from 1997 to 2006.

The Mars Odyssey was part of the first experiment sent to Mars specifically in preparation for human missions. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio