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Derrick Pitts

(Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong runs through final notes before the launch of Apollo11.  Photo by NASA/ Keystone/ Getty Images)

45th Anniversary of Moon Flight That Culminated In ‘One Small Step…’

Exactly forty-five years ago, the attention of the entire world was on three brave men going, as the saying goes, where no man had gone before.

07/16/2014

(A solar large flare erupts off the Sun on June 7, 2011.  File photo by NASA/ Solar Dynamics Observatory via Getty Images)

Little Earthbound Disruption Expected From Massive Solar Storms

On a scale of one to ten, these flares shooting off a group of sunspots are around a two. Nothing to panic about.

06/10/2014

(credit: CBS 3)

Local Astronomer Explains The “Blood Moon”

Much is being made of what’s being called “the Blood Moon,” tonight’s total lunar eclipse. A local astronomer explains what the fuss is all about.

04/14/2014

(credit: NASA)

You Might Need A Telescope To See Comet ISON

Skywatchers are waking up early to try to catch a glimpse of a recently discovered comet as it passes through this part of the solar system.

11/21/2013

(Sunspots on the disk of the Sun.  NASA file photo)

Sun Getting Ready To Flip Its Magnetic Field; Earthlings Affected?

Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute, says this a regular, recurring event.

08/07/2013

A meteor

Flash In East Coast Sky Has Social Media Buzzing

One person just leaving the Philadelphia Museum of Art reported seeing a streaking light in the sky caught.

03/23/2013

(Franklin Institute chief astronomer Derrick Pitts.  Photo by John McDevitt)

Local Astronomer Says Asteroid That Hit Russia Nearly Impossible To Predict

More than 1,000 people were injured, mostly from broken glass, when a space rock exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere about 30-40 miles above Russia on Friday.

02/15/2013

(credit: KYW's Suzanne Monaghan)

Franklin Institute Astronomers Say Asteroid Poses No Threat To Earth

Scientists say an asteroid will pass closer to Earth today than any other they’ve ever tracked. Though “close” is in cosmic terms, and they say it’s not related to the meteorites in Russia.

02/15/2013

File Photo: Atlantic County, N,J.

Ground Vibration Leaves Some South Jersey Residents Shaken Up

South Jersey residents felt some shaking going on Saturday but there’s no indication it was seismic in nature.

10/20/2012

((Credit: TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s Supermoon Up In The Sky!

When you look up into the sky tonight, you might see a lot more moon than you’re used to. An area expert calls it an optical illusion.

05/05/2012

clock generic DL

Wait a Second! Scientists Consider Ending Practice of Adding ‘Leap Seconds’

Timekeepers in Geneva, Switzerland have met to consider getting rid of the 40-year-old practice that keeps the world’s atomic clocks synchronized with the Earth’s rotation.

01/19/2012

A radar image of the 2005 YU55 asteroid. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Aircraft Carrier-Size Asteroid Passing Close To Earth Tonight

An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier is passing close to the Earth this evening, but amateur astronomers may have a hard time seeing it about 6:30, when it would be visible, because of the brightness of the nearly full moon.

11/08/2011

(Artist rendering provided by NASA)

NASA Says Failed Satellite Headed For Unknown Earthfall

Most of it will break up and burn before hitting the earth’s atmosphere, according to Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute, but an estimated 26 pieces could hit somewhere on Earth.

09/21/2011

(Franklin Institute chief astronomer Derrick Pitts.  Photo by John McDevitt)

Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute Sends Memento Aboard Final Space Shuttle Flight

You’ll be able to see the space shuttle over Philadelphia between four and seven times each day, according to Franklin Institute’s chief astronomer, Derrick Pitts.

07/08/2011

solar flare

Franklin Institute’s Chief Astronomer Speaks On Negative Impact Of Solar Flares

The Franklin Institute’s chief astronomer, Derrick Pitts, says the most common effect of solar flares is brighter Northern Lights but they can have some negative effects too.

06/25/2011

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