One Cool Thing: Rewriting the Stars In the Name of Equity and Justice

The Star Formerly Known As Eskimo Nebula       Photo: NASA

NASA announced this week that it would be changing the nicknames of any celestial bodies that are inappropriate such as “Eskimo Nebula” and “Siamese Twins Galaxy,” for example.  CNN reported on the decision by the agency to re-examine its use of phrases for planets, galaxies, and other cosmic objects “as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and that it will “use only the official, International Astronomical Union designations in cases where nicknames are inappropriate.” Stephen Shih, associate administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at NASAsaid, “Science depends on diverse contributions, and benefits everyone, so this means we must make it inclusive.” We could not agree more.  The stars should be a wonder to everyone.

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One Pretty Thing: The Northern Lights Visible In the Lower 48

One Pretty Thing: The Northern Lights Visible In the Lower 48

This week presents a rare astronomical event: the northern lights will be visible to a large swathe of the United States. According to the latest forecast from the Space Weather Prediction Center, the Aurora Borealis can be spotted from the Pacific Northwest to New England and as far south as northern Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania.

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NASA Partners with Europeans to Launch Ocean Observing Satellite

NASA Partners with Europeans to Launch Ocean Observing Satellite

NASA launched a new ocean observation satellite on the back of a SpaceX rocket last week. Now that it’s in space, the Sentinel-6 named the “Michael Freilich” will perform continuous monitoring of ocean levels and currents for the next 30 years. The “unprecedented accuracy” of its data will benefit ocean travel, weather forecasts, hurricane predictions, and climate science.  

Why This Matters: The Sentinel-6 will help scientists monitor the climate crisis as it unfolds in our world’s oceans and coasts (home to 40% of humanity).

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One Cool Thing: Baby Yoda In Space

Baby Yoda is the Crew-1 astronauts' zero gravity indicator pic.twitter.com/XEshbkl1VT — Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) November 16, 2020 The most famous member of the Space Shuttle crew is an alien TV star!  The new astronaut crew aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft safely docked with the International Space Station late Monday.  Way cool, but all anyone could […]

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