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StoryCorps

Celebrate a Physicist Who Died in the Challenger Disaster

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StoryCorps

Twenty-seven years ago today, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, killing all seven people on board—including physicist Ronald E. McNair, who was the second African American to enter space.

StoryCorps—an oral history project that records and archives stories from people around the country—sat down with McNair's brother, Carl, to remember him. From that conversation came the animated short "Eyes on the Stars," about a situation McNair found himself in while growing up in Lake City, South Carolina.

StoryCorps has recorded more than 45,000 stories with nearly 90,000 participants. You can check out more of their animated shorts here

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George Frey/Getty Images
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science
Stare All You Want at These Photos of the Solar Eclipse
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George Frey/Getty Images

It’s Superman’s worst nightmare: the complete disappearance of the Sun from our perch on Earth. For non-Kryptonians, it’s a rare and awesome chance to see a unique spectacle that hasn’t happened for 99 years. Multitudes gathered Monday to observe the solar eclipse, a complete obstruction of the sun’s rays by the moon in an epic galactic photo-bombing. Here’s how stargazers across the country greeted the astronomy event.

Artist Orion Fredericks created this art installation, 'Exsucitare Triectus,' for the public at the Oregon Eclipse Festival in Ochoco National Forest.
Image Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Twitter user Doug McArthur of Portland finds a novel way of avoiding direct eye contact.

Observers at Cal State Fullerton utilize a USPS-approved method for observing the eclipse safely.

That tiny little blemish isn't a bug on your screen: It's the International Space Station transiting the sun during the eclipse.

Pictured: an unidentified man and Zuul, Gatekeeper of Gozer.

The 'diamond ring' effect as seen from the Lowell Observatory in Madras, Oregon.
Image Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Another novel way to avoid retina damage while enjoying the spectacle.

Through a portal in Kansas City, Kansas.

Boston gets its view of the celestial sensation.

The safest way to be in awe.
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Space
Here’s Why You Should Skip Selfies During the Solar Eclipse
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iStock

Following decades of hype, the Great American Eclipse will finally pass over the contiguous United States on Monday, August 21. If you’re one of the millions of people who will be watching the event, you may be tempted to document it with a quick over-the-shoulder selfie. But even if you’re facing away from the sun, using your phone to photograph it can still do damage, as Gothamist reports.

A viral post that recently circulated on Facebook instructs anyone without protective eyeglasses to view the eclipse live by filming it through their phone’s front-facing camera. Retina expert Tongalp Tezel, MD of Columbia University Medical Center explained to Gothamist why this is a bad idea: “What they may not realize is that the screen of your phone reflects the ultraviolet rays emitted during an eclipse directly toward your eye, which can result in a solar burn."

The power of the sun shouldn’t be underestimated, as NASA has warned people repeatedly in the weeks leading up to the eclipse. The rays that peek out when the sun is 99 percent covered are still enough to fry your retinas' delicate tissue and inflict lifelong damage. And your eyes aren’t all that's at risk—the lens of your camera, whether it’s part of a smartphone or not, also needs to be protected if you plan on pointing it at the eclipse.

If you’ve already secured a solar camera filter and ISO 12312-2-certified glasses, then you should have no trouble witnessing the phenomenon safely. But even without the proper eyewear there are plenty of ways to experience the eclipse without exposing your eyes to direct sunlight. And if you forgot to pick up a camera filter, that's a good excuse to watch the event unplugged.

[h/t Gothamist]

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