Lunar Eclipse in Tampa Bay

The lunar eclipse of January 31, 2108 was called a “super blue blood moon.” It was a supermoon because the moon was slightly closer to Earth than usual, so it looked bigger and brighter. A blue moon is when a full moon occurs twice in one month. And blood moon refers to the reddish color the moon takes on during a lunar eclipse. In the Tampa Bay area, we saw a partial lunar eclipse. Here are some photos.


Lunar Eclipse over Fort De Soto Park, St. Petersburg, Florida, Jan. 31, 2018



New Video of Saturn by NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft

This video of four days on Saturn was obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in April 2016, over the course of 44 hours. A day on Saturn lasts about 10.5 hours. In April 2017, Cassini will dive into the gap between the planet and its rings.



Scale Model of the Solar System in the Black Rock Desert

Here are some dreamers after our own hearts. This beautiful video was made by creating a scale model of the solar system across seven miles of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, with lights representing the planets, moving through the darkness along the orbital paths.

Monty Python’s Galaxy Song

Whenever life gets you down, just remember:

We Now Know What Pluto Looks Like

After 3 billion miles and 9 1/2 years, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reached Pluto on July 14, 2015, providing us with the first distinct photographs of what was once considered the ninth planet in the solar system.

New Horizons photograph of Pluto

When New Horizons departed Earth from Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 19, 2006, Pluto still held its title as the ninth planet. Later that year, it was redefined as a dwarf planet.

New Horizons carries the ashes of the man who discovered Pluto. Clyde Tombaugh, an American astronomer, discovered Pluto in 1930 at the age of 24.

The photo above was taken by New Horizons on Monday, July 13, and many more detailed images are expected. To put this in perspective, the photo below was our best photograph of Pluto up until now.


Florida from Space

Here is a beautiful nighttime photograph of Florida from the International Space Station, taken by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman in September 2014.

Florida from Space

Model of Mercury Placed at Inkwood Books

Mercury at Inkwood

The first planet in the Tampa Bay Solar System has been placed! A model of Mercury now resides at Inkwood Books, Tampa’s fun and friendly independent bookstore.

At approximately 6.7 inches in diameter, the model represents Mercury’s actual diameter of 3,032 miles, at the 1 to 28.7 million scale of the Tampa Bay Solar System. Rivergate Tower, also known as the Beer Can Building, represents the diameter and location of the Sun, and determines the sizes and orbits of all the planet models, some currently under construction and others awaiting volunteer builders.

Mercury is a grey, rocky, cratered planet, as represented by our concrete model, which sits atop a wooden pedestal featuring information about Mercury and the solar system. Thanks to John Huskey for his work on the model and thanks to Stefani and Amanda at Inkwood Books for helping to place it there. Visit the store at 216 S. Armenia Avenue in Tampa to see Mercury and check out Inkwood’s great book selection.

The Tampa Bay Solar System is an all-volunteer project to create the largest scale model of the solar system in the United States, covering the Tampa Bay area and much of the state of Florida. Everyone is invited to participate!

New ‘Cosmos’ Educates and Inspires

The universe is mind-blowing.

If you missed the premiere of Cosmos March 9, then be sure to catch it when it airs again and tune in Sundays at 9pm on Fox or National Geographic to watch future installments.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, is a remake of the original 1980 documentary series by Carl Sagan, with Neil deGrasse Tyson taking on Sagan’s role as our guide. This exploration of “all that is or was or ever will be” captures the imagination as it educates us about the awe-inspiring universe.

One of the most compelling segments in the first installment is a scale model, not of space, but of time. Tyson walks us through the Cosmic Calendar, asking us to imagine the 13.8 billion year age of the universe as one year, with the Big Bang happening on January 1 and now being midnight on December 31. At this scale, the Milky Way Galaxy formed on March 15, and our Sun formed on August 31. The dinosaurs died out on December 30, and all of human history took place in the last 15 seconds of December 31.

Watch the trailer above and tune in Sunday nights for more.