Yesterday marked 50 years since the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon – the first time humankind has stepped foot on another celestial object. I’ve always thought that if I could go back in time I would love to go back to see this event. Of course I could bring up the video at any time I want, but I’d love to be around to feel the excitement, and watch the reactions of people.

Sidenote: By the time Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon, it was July 21st UTC, but still July 20th in the US. So as it was an American mission, I’m using the American time, and what’s on the NASA website.

25 – Fly By

Asteroids are whizzing by us quite often. Many of them come closer to us than our own moon! This should be pretty alarming! We’ve been hit by asteroids before and we’ll be hit by them again. The question is, will we be prepared when the time comes? Funding for the research and development of anti-asteroid/comet technology is extremely important! No matter what you believe about what we need fixed here on the surface of our precious planet, none of that matters if we allow an asteroid come and wipe us all out!

16 – Blood Moon

A total lunar eclipse happens every time the Earth comes in between the Sun and Moon and the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow. Instead of the moon becoming completely dark and disappearing from the night sky, the light of the sun is bent and filtered by the Earth’s atmosphere shining a red glow on the moon. Think of it as every sunrise and sunset happening on the Earth at that moment coloring the moon! Because of its red hue during a total eclipse, it’s been called a Blood Moon.

Total lunar eclipses are more common than total solar eclipses and are visible to the entire side of the Earth it’s happening for, while total Solar Eclipses are only visible for a tiny area on Earth.

The next total lunar eclipse is happening next week for much of the Western Hemisphere and some of the easternmost parts of the Eastern Hemisphere. For more info on how you can see that click HERE.

14 – Comet Envy

We have a relatively bright comet (relative to most comets viewable to us) in our skies currently. Comet PANNStars has been giving most of the Earth a little bit of a show just after sunset. Later this year we may be treated to an incredible sight as comet ISON threatens to be as bright as, if not brighter than, our moon.

Comets are chunks of ice and rock that orbit our sun. Many come from the Oort Cloud located beyond Pluto. As they reach the inner solar system and approach the sun, the ice starts to melt and the gases react with the sun’s solar wind and creates 2 tails, one of gas and one of dust, which extend behind the comet away from the sun.

The comets out there take anywhere up to 30 million years to orbit the sun one time, which is why most comets we see are once in a lifetime for us. So whenever there’s a good one out there, you’re going to want to take the opportunity to get a good look at it!

More info about comets can be found HERE.

13 – Blue Moon

Haven’t had a chance to get this up until now since I’ve got so much to do in preparation for NYCC, and I’m starting to freak out. But it was a sad week in Space exploration not just for Earth, but for the moon too.

11 – Curiosity Rover

(Oh and there’s a previous comic I did about Mars that goes well with current events as well! And it’s right HERE.)

Later on today (or early tomorrow morning if you’re in Europe like me) the Mars Curiosity Rover will complete its eight month journey to Mars and land on its surface in preparation to learn more about our dry neighbor, mainly if life has ever existed on the red planet. Until now, three rovers have successfully landed on Mars, this will be the Fourth. (positive thinking here, people)

Only one of the three existing rovers continues to function and send data back to Earth. In addition to the now defunct robots, there several some crash landed remnants from failed missions. With all of this equipment just laying around, perhaps Mars is collecting it all and doing something with it. You never know 😉

10 – Apollo 11

This comic was meant to go up on Friday but life got in the way, so it’s a couple of days late.

Friday marked the 43rd anniversary of the moon landing which put the first humans ever on the moon. I was born in 1980 so I missed this incredible event. But what a feeling it must have been to have witnessed it, let alone how it actually felt for the astronauts who were up there!

We* went back to the moon 5 more times. The last time was in 1972. We stopped going due to the cost of it. Basically, we’d set out to do something, and we did it. There are no official plans to return right now.

Practically, I can understand why we haven’t returned of course. But when I let my fantasy roam, I can’t help but wonder what the moon would look like at night if we had little cities up there. Imagine when we see a half moon, one half lit up from the sun, the other glittering with orange patterns. Ah… let’s all enjoy that sci-fi image for a while… 🙂

*By “we” I generally mean humans, but “we” can be read as “Americans” since it has only been American missions that have landed on the moon to date. Other countries are planning their own moon landing missions, so while Americans may not be returning any time soon, there could still be humans heading up there in the near future.

7 – Dragon

Here’s a “Cosmical” that will really test how much you’re paying attention to current events 😉 Now this one isn’t based on natural events in our skies, which is mainly “Cosmical”‘s focus, but on a human made one; a history-making one that is worthy of mention.

This past week the private company SpaceX successively launched its Falcon9 Rocket sending their Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, therefore being the very first commercial craft to ever visit the ISS. Since the ending of NASA’s Shuttle Program last year, the United States has had to rely on other for transportation to and from the ISS. In the mean time, private companies are competing to take over what was once the job of the Shuttle.

SpaceX has so far won the race there, but will they win in the end? It’s an exciting time as we watch the beginning of something new in space travel. Competition is the fire for innovation. We’ve seen this before when the US wanted to be the first to reach the Moon.

4 – Luna’s Albedo

**NOTICE: I’ll be on vacation until the beginning of May, so a new “Cosmical” will post soon after that! **

If you don’t know the term “Albedo,” it’s the reflection factor of the sun’s light off of some celestial body, like a planet or satellite. Technically, the Earth’s albedo is higher than our moon’s. But only very few of us have been lucky enough to witness the Earth’s albedo. For more information on what an “albedo” is, click here.

A crystal clear sky and a bright full moon (like the one we’ve just been having) can be both a blessing and a curse for sky gazers, depending on your sky gazing goal. She can be so beautiful, shining brightly like that while her bright side faces us directly. But if your goal is to stargaze, her light takes over and blocks out much of the star field.

Next month’s full moon will be while the Moon is closest to the Earth for the year, making it slightly larger and brighter in our sky.