astronomy

Quest for Habitable Planets
4:00 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Antigo Astronomer Searches for Signs of Distant Life

Globular cluster Terzan 7 is on the other side of our galaxy.
Credit NASA / https://flic.kr/p/jXLDrB

Maggie Turnbull lives in Antigo and works as a freelance astrobiologist.  

  It’s the study of the origin and future of life in the universe.  Turnbull has gained international recognition for her work cataloging star systems that could support life, and is now working with NASA on a telescope to better look at those systems.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Turnbull over the phone.  

She says the problem is that stars give out so much light, it’s hard to even see the planets that orbit them. 

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About a million miles from the sun
5:24 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Comet ISON Not So Spectacular: Astronomer

Above: the comet ISON as seen from the Hubble telescope.
Credit NASA Goddard Space Flight

A local astronomer says the comet which some thought would be a big deal could be fizzling out.  WXPR's Ken Krall yesterday had a chance to talk with Frank Kovac who owns a planetarium in Monico. The majesty of the night sky can be enhanced with a visit from a comet passing by. Some have been spectacular, but this one, called ISON, hasn't lived up to the hype.

Astonomer Frank Kovac from Monico. 

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An Experimental Approach
4:00 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Kovac's Universal Dream

A gravel lane leads to the Kovac Planetarium in Monaco, Wisconsin.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

If you’ve ever felt the urge to do something other than what’s expected of you, this story is for you.  Frank Kovac worked a factory job by day, but nurtured a passion for astronomy at night.  This is the story of a cloudy night, some glow in the dark paint, and a universal dream.

Driving down Mud Creek Road in Monaco Wisconsin, you might think you’re headed to a campground.  But in fact the gravel lane leads to Frank Kovac’s hand-made planetarium.

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An Annual Show
6:01 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Meteors Shine in the Atmosphere

The Perseid meteor shower is expected to peak Monday night.
Credit Brocken Inaglory

You may have been spotting an unusual number of shooting stars in the night sky.   And you might already know they’re part of an annual meteor shower that’s been lighting up the Northwoods.  

Astronomers predict the Perseid meteor shower should peak Monday night, with possibly hundreds of meteors passing through the night sky in just a few hours. 

Frank Kovac owns Kovac Planetarium and has been stargazing for 25 years.  He explains that what we see as shooting stars are actually bits of dust…in this case coming from a large comet called Swift Tuttle. 

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