Erskine Astronomy

Page for Erskine College students currently taking astronomy

Operating as usual


🧐 Researchers! Are you interested in the field of space ? Do you want to learn how to prepare for spaceflight experiments? Then apply for our NASA's STAR course. This course facilitates entry into experiments by using and commercial platforms.

⏳ Deadline: June 2, 2023


These women computers at the Muroc Flight Test Unit (now NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center ) took advantage of a rare snowy day in California on this date in 1949. ☃️ Their work: performing laborious calculations from long strips of aeronuatical data recorded by onboard aircraft instrumentation. Women at NASA


Amazing shot of Saturn & our Moon.


Thanks to Sam David Lojacono for processing my telescope video of Saturn into this single image, which is now my best image of Saturn yet!
Wishing you clear skies!
-Marty McGuire

Bethlehem, PA, USA

Solar System Gets its Ducks in a Row 07/01/2022

Solar System Gets its Ducks in a Row We'll have not one but many opportunities to enjoy a rare lineup of the bright planets, aligned in order of their distance from the Sun.

Timeline photos 02/01/2022

: Space Station Transit

The International Space Station captured while transiting the 4% illuminated Moon during the daytime.

📷: A. James McCarthy,

Timeline photos 01/25/2022

How exactly does a black hole help *create* stars?

Material falling in toward a black hole can sometimes get redirected by magnetic fields into outflowing gas streams and jets.

A new Hubble finding in dwarf galaxy Henize 2-10 shows an outflow of gas from a black hole slamming into a dense cocoon of gas, triggering the birth of new stars!

Find out more:

Image credits: NASA, ESA, Zachary Schutte (XGI), Amy Reines (XGI); Image Processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)


Feeling blue?

So do these baby stars, which shine in bright blue light in this snippet of a larger, soon-to-be-released Hubble image! This brilliant star-forming region is called the Chamaeleon Cloud Complex.

🧩 Everything’s coming together on January 29 for . Pieces will be released throughout the week before the spectacular final image reveal!

Timeline photos 01/24/2022

Our mirror segment deployments are complete! 🎉

Using motors, each segment was moved out about half the length of a paper clip to clear the mirrors from their launch restraints and give each segment enough space for mirror alignment.

🐞 🎶 You say you want a revolution? How about over a million? 's mirror motors made over a million revolutions this week as we moved all 132 actuators on the backs of the primary mirror segments and the secondary mirror!

💪 Fun fact: Our mirrors are made of beryllium. Even against beryllium’s bending stiffness per weight, which is six times greater than that of ordinary steel, the motors can actually individually shape the curvature of each mirror segment! [This fact was updated on January 25, based on our updated blog post.]

Read more:
Where Is Webb? 👉

Note: This is an image from 2016 when the telescope mirrors were at NASA Goddard. Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Timeline photos 01/24/2022

This galaxy, NGC 976, played host to a supernova explosion! But, what exactly is a supernova?

A supernova is the biggest explosion that humans have ever seen. It’s the extremely bright, super-powerful explosion of a star. One type of supernova is caused by the “last hurrah” of a dying massive star. This happens when a star at least five times the mass of our Sun goes out with a bang!

Massive stars burn huge amounts of nuclear fuel at their cores, or centers. This produces tons of energy, so the center gets very hot. Heat generates pressure, and the pressure created by a star’s nuclear burning also keeps that star from collapsing. A star is in balance between two opposite forces. The star’s gravity tries to squeeze the star into the smallest, tightest ball possible. But the nuclear fuel burning in the star’s core creates strong outward pressure. This outward push resists the inward squeeze of gravity.

When a massive star runs out of fuel, it cools off. This causes the pressure to drop. Gravity wins out, and the star suddenly collapses. Imagine something one million times the mass of Earth collapsing in 15 seconds! The collapse happens so quickly that it creates enormous shock waves that cause the outer part of the star to explode!

Usually a very dense core is left behind, along with an expanding cloud of hot gas called a nebula. A supernova of a star more than about 10 times the size of our sun may leave behind the densest objects in the universe—black holes.

While supernovae mark the deaths of massive stars, they are also responsible for the creation of heavy elements that are incorporated into later generations of stars and planets.

Supernovae are not very common. Astronomers believe that about two or three supernovae occur each century in galaxies like our own Milky Way. Because the universe contains so many galaxies, astronomers observe a few hundred supernovae per year outside our galaxy. Space dust blocks our view of most of the supernovae within the Milky Way.

Learn more about this image:

Timeline photos 01/24/2022

“I may have been one of the first women to leave my community who was not married, and who went abroad, pursued PhD… I had no role model in that sense. I had to take that challenge on my own.”

Meet Naseem Rangwala, project scientist for our SOFIA Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy:

Timeline photos 11/23/2021

The James Webb Space Telescope’s target launch date is moving from Dec. 18 to no earlier than Dec. 22, following a recent incident that occurred during launch preparations.

During operations at the satellite preparation facility in Kourou, French Guiana, a clamp band that secures Webb to the launch vehicle adapter was unexpectedly released, causing a vibration throughout the observatory. Additional testing is required to determine with certainty that the incident did not damage any components.

NASA and its mission partners — ESA - European Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency & launch vehicle provider Arianespace — will provide an update when the testing is completed at the end of this week.

More details:

955 Years Ago: Halley’s Comet and the Battle of Hastings 10/15/2021

955 Years Ago: Halley’s Comet and the Battle of Hastings Through the ages, people have attributed meaning to unusual celestial apparitions such as comets. Such is the case for perhaps the most famous comet, the one named after British astronomer Edmond Halley, who determined that periodic sightings of a comet were in fact of the same object.


World Space Week 2021: Women in Space Day Day Two: Katherine Johnson. In 1952 that a relative told Katherine Johnson about open positions at the all-black West Area Computing section at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA’s) Langley laboratory. A wife and mother, Johnson had a degree in mathematics and quickly became an essential member of the Langley team that eventually became part of NASA. She did trajectory analysis for Alan Shepard’s May 1961 suborbital mission, America’s first human spaceflight and co authored a report laying out the equations describing an orbital spaceflight in which the landing position of the spacecraft is specified. It was the first time a woman in the Flight Research Division had received credit as an author of a research report. In 1962, as NASA prepared for the orbital mission of John Glenn, Johnson was called upon to do the work that she would become most known for. Although Glenn’s flight was run by several IBM computers across the world, he would not launch until Johnson ran the same numbers through the same equations that had been programmed into the computer, but by hand, on her desktop mechanical calculating machine.
Read more .


World Space Week 2021: Women in Space Day One (A Day Late Due to FB Outage): Annie Jump Cannon. Cannon was hired by Harvard College Observatory in 1896 to analyze astronomical photographic prints, a task deemed untechnical and tedious (and could therefore be done by women). Cannon took earlier star classification systems, simplified them, and created the system that is still used today based on a star’s temperature. Her classification had just seven letters arranged by decreasing temperature: OBAFGKM and she created this device to remember it “Oh! Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me!” During her career she used her system to classify over 350,000 stars at a rate, legend has it, of just 3 seconds a star!
Read more about Cannon:


NASA's Mars Perseverance Rover: I will watch over you, baby!
Sol 0046 (April 7, 2021)

🎬 360VR video 8K: with real sounds from the surface
🔎 360VR photo 20K:

NASA's Mars Exploration Program
Source images credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Stitching and retouching: Andrew Bodrov /

Perseverance's Landing ... Seen From Orbit! - Universe Today 03/05/2021

Landing of Perseverance photographed by MRO

Perseverance's Landing ... Seen From Orbit! - Universe Today The HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has done it again. The imaging team was able to capture the Perseverance rover as it descended through the Martian atmosphere, hanging under its parachute. Stunning. If you feel you’ve seen something like this before, you have. HiRISE (High Reso...

Want your school to be the top-listed School/college in Due West?

Click here to claim your Sponsored Listing.




2 Washington Street
Due West, SC
Other Due West schools & colleges (show all)
Dixie High School Student Government Dixie High School Student Government
1 Haynes Street
Due West, 29639