astronomy

NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

The sun, moon and Earth line up every month. That, in itself, is nothing extraordinary.

For most of those months, the moon’s orbit is at a slight angle from the Earth’s shadow.

"The moon is either too high or too low, and we just have a normal full moon," said Andy Veh, a physics professor at Kenai Peninsula College. "But every six months, every six full moons, the moon actually orbits through the moon’s shadow. And that’s when we have a lunar eclipse.”

Cometwatch.co.uk

Though some might mourn the dwindling daylight as a harbinger of summer’s end, the increasing darkness does give stargazers a chance to view the comet Neowise.

It’s a newly discovered comet, identified in March by NASA’s infrared space satellite. It came closest to Earth on July 22 but it was still too light at night for Alaskans to get much of a glimpse. 

These days, in Southcentral Alaska, the sun sets after 10 p.m. and rises around 6 a.m. We’ve still got over 16 hours of daylight but there’s an expanding window of nautical twilight, between about 1 and 3 a.m., where skies should be dark enough to see the comet. 

Kenai Peninsula College

Andy Veh is a physics professor at Kenai Peninsula College. He visited with KDLL to give us a heads up about what to look at in the night sky and some upcoming astronomy events in February.

  

   

In this half hour of Kenai Science Friday, we speak with the physics and math instructor at Kenai Peninsula College, Andy Veh. He also teaches astronomy, and in the past wrote a regular column on the stars for the Redoubt Reporter newspaper.

In the next half hour, it's Women in Science. Last week, Cook InletKeeper held a roundtable discussion with area women about their careers in science and technology. KDLL's Jenny Neyman was there and collected these excerpts of the conversation.