Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
In the Shadow of the Moon Review
What would it be like to leave Earth's protective embrace and journey to an alien world? Only twenty-four men have ever experienced this - Apollo astronauts. "In the Shadow of the Moon" uses original footage & astronaut interviews to tell the story of one of the defining events of human history.
On April 12, it will be exactly half a century since the first person circled Earth from space. To celebrate Yuri Gagarin's achievement, a film "First Orbit" recreates what he would have seen. It was made with the cooperation of astronauts on board the International Space Station and includes voice recordings from Gagarin's flight and music by Philip Sheppard who scored "In the Shadow of the Moon."
You can find a trailer for it here http://www.firstorbit.org/watch-the-film. There may be a party near you showing the film on its global premiere -- if you're interested, here is the map http://www.firstorbit.org/join-us.
*The Mercury Seven*
As long as we're in historic space flight mode, I'll mention that on April 9, 1959 NASA selected its first seven astronauts. President Eisenhower said that the astronauts had to be test pilots. The Mercury spacecraft itself set limits too, as it was pretty small. No one could be accepted who was taller than 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm) or who weighed more than 180 lbs (82 kg). They also needed considerable flying time, be under 40 and have a college degree or equivalent.
Only two of the seven are still alive: John Glenn, the first American in space, who also has the distinction of being the oldest person to go into space; and Scott Carpenter, the second American in Space.
*A Cosmological Fantasy*
Here's a treat for you. Burrell Durrant Hifle did the visual effects for Brian Cox's "Wonders of the Universe" series. In this fifteen-minute video he's put together a montage of stunning effects to the music of Timo Baker. It would have been good to have some subtitles so viewers would know what all the effects represented are, but it's still gorgeous. How many things can you recognize?
*Global Astronomy Month*
April is Global Astronomy Month. Have a look at some of the projects of Astronomers without Borders. http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/about-astronomers-without-borders.html
That's all for this now. Wishing you clear skies.
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