Asteroid! and Other News of the Week

Good looking moon tonight! #telescope #iphone4s

Jim Christian took this amazing image of last night's moon using his telescope and iPhone 4s. (Image by jim.christian via Flickr)

Before we get to the news on this Veterans Day, we’d like to take a moment to thank our readers who serve–or have served–in our military. Happy Veterans Day and thank you for all that you have done for us.

Asteroid 2005 YU55 buzzed between the moon and the Earth this week, prompting a great deal of excitement at NASA, and naturally at Caterpickles Central.

Although I didn’t allow my Caterpickle to stay up late to watch 2005 YU55 zip by, I have let her commandeer my MacBook to watch video after video of the asteroid zipping past. Our favorite collection of videos and pictures is here.

Asteroid! continues below the fold with:

  • NASA’s What’s Up for November 2011
  •’s Guide to Deflecting Unwelcome Visitors
  • Astronauts Falling on the Moon

What’s Up for November 2011: If you aren’t checking in with Jane Houston Jones at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA once a month, you’re missing a treat. Every month Jones releases a two-minute video that gives you a quick look at the month’s astronomical highlights. This month’s video focuses on magnetospheres and the Mars Rover Launch. She also points out where to look to get a peek at Mars and Jupiter, both of which are visible in the night sky this month.’s Guide to Deflecting Unwelcome Visitors: As our eyes were on the sky this week (or rather the Web’s virtual reproduction of it), we naturally wondered what would happen if 2005 YU55’s orbit hadn’t ensured a near-miss. If an asteroid were on a collision course with the Earth, would we be able to deflect it? Fortunately, is on the case, with a catalog of every way of deflecting asteroids known to man (so far). The Four-Year-Old is particularly taken by the plastic wrap idea. “Mommyo, what if NASA put the asteroid in a Ziploc and gave it to me? Can I keep it?”

Astronauts Falling on the Moon: And on a lighter note, this week The Atlantic posted a video montage of astronauts falling on the moon. Enjoy.

So, what about you? What are you reading this Veteran’s Day?

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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