Current Events

On this page, both the teacher and students will post links and summaries of current events in the field of science.

News Sources (On Wednesday, Nov 8th, the planet Mercury will pass directly in front the Sun.) (news update on astronomy's current events)

Did an Asteroid Impact Cause an Ancient Tsunami? (the topic of this week's online discussion questions.)

Storm on Saturn?
Mike S. found something interesting about Saturn. Click on the link to find out more about this storm on Saturn.

Storm on Saturn
Posted by Crystal Brown - This is another website that has to do with the storm on Saturn, but it goes a little more in depth talking about when it was found and a bit more facts about whats going on there.

NIBIRU (Planet X) - Explained - Updated 11/1/06, accessed 11/6/06. Found by Mike S.and Dan. Posted by Mr. D on 11/6/06. What do YOU think of this webpage? Go to the Astronomy class Discussion section to post your opinion and debate your classmates.

Transit of Mercury, posted by Coralie Saint-Louis
My planet in the solar system was Mercury ( )
And on November 8, 2006 there will be a transit of Mercury (when Mercury crosses over the sun) I found a recent article online written on November 2,2006 by Francis Reddy The transit of Mercury of Mercury will be visible by everyone across the globe. The transit will only last five hours.
“Jay Pasachoff at Williams College in Massachusetts hopes to use observations of Mercury from TRACE and Hinode to confirm his ideas about the so-called black-drop effect. This optical illusion, in which a dark thread appears attached to a transiting planet long after its disk has moved onto the Sun, stymied 18th- and 19th-century astronomers who tried to use Venus transits to measure the Sun-Earth distance. Its visibility depends in part on how sharply a telescope brings light to a point, but Pasachoff has identified other effects as well” Francis Reddy
I find this topic interesting because it tells us in detail about the transit, what time it will be visible and how we can see it. This topic also interested me because you don’t get to see a transit every year because it doesn’t happen that often. So on Wednesday we will be able to se the transit of Mercury in Brockton.

"Park official proposes 'no child left inside' program", 10/24/06, Are young people suffering from "nature deficit syndrome?" What do you think? If you'd like to discuss this article, go to the EES class discussion group. Posted by Mr. D.

Meagan Albertson - Pluto's Planethood. a Dwarf planet or not? 11/8/06
On August 10, 2006 an article was posted in the MORNING EDITION about wether or not Pluto should be a planet. With Owen Gingerich in charge a group of astronomers met in Prague to discuss Pluto's planethood. Earlier in the year the IAU made a committee to define a planet. Five out of the seven people who attended the meeting said that the considered Pluto a planet. Some people want to split all of the planets into three categories. There are terrestrial planets that would include Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. Then there are giant planets that would include Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Then there would be another category that would include Pluto. Iwan Williams says "we might call them dwarf planets or something". Also on the panel they discussed how small a planet needs to be to qualify and wether moons or small asteroids could possibly count as planets. Iwan isnt sure enough yet to bet on these new objects becoming planets but he is in favor of it. So should Pluto be a planet or not? Should Astronomers categorize the planets? What is going to happen with these new objects?

Kasey Sheehan- "International Save Pluto Day" 11/9/06
This article describes the efforts of a Brookline couple to "Save Pluto". They proposed that February 4 should be named "International Save Pluto Day", due to the fact that it was the birthday of astronomer Clyde Tombaugh (the man who discovered Pluto in 1930). Written by Jessica Scarpati on November 2, 2006, this article was posted on I chose this article due to the fact that we just finished our debate on the status of Pluto, and thought that it would tie in well with what we were discussing. At the Dexter School, in South Brookline, they will be hosting an informational session on Pluto as well as a "friendly debate" of Pluto's status. This sounded very much like what we did in class, so I figured that it might be interesting to hear about other people's opinions on the demotion of Pluto. Being that the status of Pluto as a planet has been in the news quite a bit lately, I think that this planned informational meeting at the Dexter School is a great idea. This will allow people who don't know very much about Astronomy, and, more specifically, what has been happening to Pluto, a chance to get to know what's going on. Consequently, I found this article to be rather interesting, and hope that others will as well.

Keila Pires- "living in space" 11/14/06
If NASA wants to do missions to our sisters planets then they will need life support for the astronauts. They would have to eat and do all the things nessecary to live a close to normal life. NASA called in a team of Perdeu University Specialized Center of Research and Training (NSCORT) to do this job. They want to do research that a machine can't do.Which sound a bit odd becasue machine are capable of doing anything. But sometimes machines can fail on you. Astronomers would have to live in for space for a very long time. That would be so cool for people to be able to do that. Travel throug space for long periods of time and with no worries of runnig otu of life support.

Marsha Dadaille 12/06/06
"NASA telescope sees black hole gulping remote star "
This was one of those links that yahoo gives you as you’re checking into your yahoo account. The article is basically self explanatory. It’s about how a NASA telescope observed as a black hole “guzzle a star 4 billion light years away.” This is the first time they have been able to monitor something like this in detail. Enjoy reading.