All posts tagged "space"

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Question of the Week: What is the Northern Lights or Aurora?

Aurora book coverA customer was interested on knowing more about the Galaxy, Sky, and Astronomy and asked specifically for information and the availability of library resources on the “Northern Lights” including books and Internet resources.  She wanted to know, what is the Northern Lights or Aurora mean?


Providing a definition for the scientific term the "Northern Lights", the online Encyclopedia  Britannica  defines the term "Aurora" as "a luminous phenomenon of Earth ’s upper atmosphere  that occurs primarily in high latitudes of both hemispheres; auroras in the Northern Hemisphere are called aurora borealis, aurora polaris, or northern lights, and in the Southern Hemisphere aurora australis, or southern lights".


Searching the library catalog the San Jose Public Library collection has interesting books on Astronomy, Galaxy, and Northern Lights:


Navigating additional Internet resources and Websites, NASA’s Website provides information and interesting graphics on the Auroras.  By searching Google, the Wikipedia states "the Northern Lights is a common name for the Aurora Borealis". Moreover, the Northern Lights Space and Science Center states the Aurora phenomenon as "The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enters the earth atmosphere".


See more Questions of the Week!

Sally Ride, Astronaut and Author, May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012

Sally Ride In addition to being the first American woman in space, Sally Ride was
 an accomplished author of astronomy books for children. You can check out
 the juvenile non-fiction written by Ride and her collaborators in the SJPL catalog.

Voyager: An adventure to the edge of the solar systemExploring Our Solar SystemThe Third Planet

First Private Spacecraft Visited International Space Station

 Dragon - the large, commercial bell shaped craft created by company SpaceX delivered last month 1,000 pounds of provisions to the International Space Station (ISS) and brought back more than 1,400 pounds of old equipment. It is on display at company's rocket factory in McGregor and looks "almost untouched", as SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk told the reporters. He is also CEO of Palo Alto based Tesla Motors. Dragon was built in collaboration with NASA. NASA's Administration commented that nine days test flight was a real success.


SJPL has an interesting book for kids at the library -  Living and working aboard the International Space Station by Henry Holden.

January 2012 Science News

atomA Cloak in Time - By altering the speed of light beams, scientists from Cornell University created a hidden pocket in time that maybe used in computer espionage. They took a stream of light and shifted it through a lens, causing some beams to travel faster and other slower. It created so called temporal void and slower light passes trough the second lens undetected.


Space Tourism - Outer space travel becomes a reality! You can sign up on the web site of Virgin Galactics or go to travel a agent. It costs "only" $200,000 a seat. The ride to space will take three days that include training at Spaceport America in La Cruces, N.M. The flight will not orbit the Earth, but will take you up and down as on a giant roller coaster. A carrier airplane with the SpaceShipTwo rocket ship slung underneath will take off the runaway and fly to 50,000 feet, where the rocket ship will be launched.


Race to Moon - Moon Express is among 26 teams who compete to win $30 million Google Lunar X Prize and to land a private robotic spacecraft on the moon. "The company is building a railway system out to the moon", said Richards, the CEO of Moon Express. Moon Express CSB Lander is getting built in a hanger at NASA's Ames Research Center and will carry the first privately financed telescope.

Mary Roach - Check Her Out!

Cover of Stiff by Mary RoachDo you shy away from non-fiction books because they seem dry and boring?  Would you rather read something that will make you laugh and send your imagination soaring?  If so, maybe give Mary Roach a try!


Mary Roach is a popular science writer that adds humor to all her work.  She entertains as well as informs!  Her first work, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, gives the reader an in depth look at the use of human cadavers throughout history.  Have you ever thought of being an organ donor?  Read this book!


Her second book, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife  ,   takes a look at the human soul and ponders the question "Does it survive after death?"


Her third book, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, is a scientific look at the history and exploration of human sexuality.


Mary's latest, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, offers the reader a look into what it would really be like when living in space, what it takes for some astronauts to gain access to space, and if space travel is really "worth it". 


All of these books give you a wealth of knowledge, but also make you laugh out loud.  Learning plus a good laugh, who could ask for more?

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