[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/07/21/asia.solar.eclipse/art.duari.afp.gi.jpg" caption="Indian astronomy researcher Debiprosad Duari discusses the upcoming eclipse in Calcutta, India."]
One of the century's longest total solar eclipses will cross half the planet and skywatchers will gather around the world to watch it in parts of Asia on Wednesday.
You can view it online by visiting LIVE! UNIVERSE, which will display a live webcast from Japan.
Read more about the total solar eclipse at CNN.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/space/07/17/moon.landing.hoax/art.aldrin.nasa.jpg caption="Moon landing hoax theorists point to the "rippling" flag as evidence the landings were faked."]
CNN Senior National Editor
Sitting on the edge of the bed in my parents’ bedroom upstairs.
That’s where I watched the Apollo 11 astronauts step onto the moon.
If you are of a certain age, you remember where you were on July 20, 1969.
I remember when a television would be wheeled into my grade school classrooms so that we could watch the launch of the Mercury or Gemini missions and later the splashdown and recovery of the astronauts by Navy divers.
I remember a plastic space helmet and wanting to be John Glenn aboard “Friendship 7,” the third Mercury mission and the first to orbit the earth.
By July 16, 1969, when Apollo 11 launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the public was still a ways off from becoming inattentive to the space program.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/16/art.moon..jpg caption="A view of the Earth appears over the Lunar horizon as the Apollo 11 Command Module comes into view of the Moon before Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. leave in the Lunar Module, Eagle, to become the first men to walk on the Moon's surface."]
Tom Foreman | Bio
On the day that Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon, 40 years ago, I sat on the living room floor of our Illinois home, holding my breath. The fluttering, grainy images of the “small step” brought relief, exultation, and disbelief from my family. For weeks afterward I played “moon landing” in the backyard, and thought that with a really powerful pair of binoculars I might look at the moon and see the flag. (Subsequent experiments, btw, proved that hypothesis a tad weak. Kind of like the one I had about how we could breathe underwater if we started with a really deep gulp.)
The moon landing crowned a decade of some of the most ambitious, excellent, and successful technological development our species has ever known. That was the giant leap. The ‘60’s had been as turbulent as a Maury taping. Vietnam. Civil rights. Battle lines between old and young, hawks and doves, and Apollo was a bright star amid often dark days.
Today, however, the U.S. space program sits in another half-light, and it is not clear if it is dawn or dusk. President Obama supports it. Congress seems generally willing to maintain funding. But too many members of the public are not entirely sure what the goal is these days, and even when they are, it can feel a little “been there/done that.” Right now we have unmanned probes looking more closely at the moon, and we’re hoping to send humans back to stake out some turf in the not terribly distant future. Then from a sort of moon base we might launch deeper space explorations, like to Mars, for example.
Program Note: Tune in tonight to see more home videos from the astronauts on the space shuttle Atlantis on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Commander Scott Altman and Mission Specialist Mike Massimino talk about filming the landing of the shuttle. Altman wants to make sure Massimino knows how to capture the landing.
Altman, a retired Navy F-14 fighter pilot is the commander of the current space shuttle Atlantis mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. He also doubled for the actors, including Cruise, during the Southern California shoot of the 1986 hit movie 'Top Gun.'
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/space/05/19/space.shuttle/art.shuttle.arm.nasa.jpg caption="An astronaut works on the Hubble Space Telescope during a spacewalk Monday."]
The Hubble Space Telescope was released into orbit Tuesday.
Space shuttle Atlantis crew member Megan McArthur used the shuttle's robotic arm to release the telescope at 8:57 a.m. ET.
"With soft separation burn, Atlantis now is slowly backing away from the telescope," NASA said in a statement.
"A jet firing will be performed in about a half-hour to increase Atlantis' separation rate from the telescope, as the seven crew members bid farewell to Hubble for the final time."
The Hubble has been in orbit for 19 years. It can capture images that telescopes on Earth cannot, partly because it does not have to gaze through the planet's murky atmosphere.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/space/05/13/twitter.space/art.nasalaunch.gi.jpg caption="A seven-member crew aboard space shuttle Atlantis is headed to the Hubble Space Telescope to make repairs."]
It's not quite the achievement of a lunar landing, but astronaut Mike Massimino made Twitter history with a 139-character post to the micro-blogging site - the first person to do so from space.
"From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!" he wrote at 4:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.
With the tweet, Massimino kept his promise to file updates from the space shuttle Atlantis as it readies to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
Massimino began tweeting in early April as he prepared for the mission. By early Wednesday, his Twitter feed, astro_mike, had more than 241,000 followers.
Atlantis launched Monday afternoon with Massimino and six other crew members. It is NASA's fifth and final repair visit to the Hubble. The crew was expected to arrive at the space telescope on Wednesday.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/science/03/30/space.rocket.sound.light/art.space.sound.light.debris.gi.jpg caption="A mysterious flash in the sky Sunday night may have been debris from the Soyuz spacecraft's booster."]
Caroline S. Reilly and Peter D. Zimmerman
The fireball that streaked across the southeast U.S. skies Sunday night may have been the remnants of a Russian rocket booster.
A week earlier, the crew of the International Space Station briefly took shelter in their escape capsule because of worries about a piece of space junk no more than six inches across.
A month before that, a pair of camper-sized communications satellites slammed into one another above northern Siberia, causing thousands of metal shards ranging in size from dust speck to cantaloupe to be shot into space at speeds of over 17,000 mph.
Celestial real estate is increasingly popular. Now that Iran has joined the space club, 10 countries have demonstrated the ability to launch a probe into orbit, and another 100 own or share a satellite launched by others. All in all more than 900 satellites, along with tens of thousands of bits of man-made space detritus, jockey for elbow room overhead.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/11/art.hawking.front.jpg caption="Professor Stephen Hawking in Pasadena, CA. Hawking gave a lecture entitled, "Why We Should Go Into Space."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/11/art.hawking.back.chair.jpg caption="The back of Stephen Hawking's wheelchair."]
CNN LA Producer
I had the good fortune to attend a lecture by the famous and ground-breaking science professor Stephen Hawking last night in Pasadena called “Why We Should Go Into Space.” Speaking from his high-tech wheelchair, he delivered a convincing argument for why space exploration should continue even in toughest economic times – using everything from hard statistics on NASA’s flat budget - just 0.12% of the federal budget - to a vintage Calvin and Hobbes cartoon about intelligent life in the universe.
It was an engaging look at man's place in the cosmos and how much more there is to know about our universe. Yet as I grappled with black holes, interstellar exploration and the search for life in the universe, I kept drifting away back to events of the day, and the terrestrial pursuit of politics. Earlier on Monday, President Obama signed an executive order lifting the Bush administration’s restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.