Hot Astronomy Posts

News: New Computer Simulation Reveals How Our Milky Way Really Formed After the Big Bang

For years, astronomers have been trying to figure out how our galaxy came to be. Even with the help of high-performance computers, no model of a spiral galaxy has ever been able to recreate the Milky Way, until now. An international team of researchers has created the first successful simulation of what happened 14 billion years ago to give our galaxy its unique shape. Turns out, all they needed was a bigger bang. Photo by IntelFreePress

How To: Know Exactly When You Can Spot the International Space Station at Home with NASA Text Alerts

The International Space Station is one of the brightest objects in the night sky when it can be seen. If you know when and where to look, you can even see it from your house. It looks more or less like a really fast-moving plane—so fast, actually, that it's only visible from a specific place for a few minutes at a time. But now you don't have to do a ton of mathematical equations or rely solely on luck to spot the ISS at night. NASA just launched a program called Spot the Station that sends y...

How To: Chat with NASA Astronauts Live from the International Space Station on February 22nd

Inhabiting the microgravity environment on the cusp of the world's atmosphere has to be filled with some of the most unique experiences in the world. Astronauts eat, sleep, and work just as we do, except that their lives are filled with the added dangers of extreme temperatures and possible life-threatening malfunctions, all while being 240 miles up in the sky. Well, now's your chance to ask a handful of astronauts anything you ever wanted to know about life on the International Space Station.

Important Astronomers: Isaac Newton

In my opinion, Isaac Newton is definitely the number two astronomer, right below Galileo Galilei. His discoveries were very important to uncovering the secrets of space, and he deserves to be remembered.

News: DIY Papercraft Models of the Planets

I'll have to post up some pictures of astronomy-related papercraft models that I have made at some point, but for now here is a link to a few different papercraft models of the planets. I need to go back through my resources because I know there are a bunch of sites out there with some easier to make polyhedral models. Also, at some point I'll put up the models of planetary bodies that I have mapped and labeled myself.

News: Photos of Mercury and the crescent Moon

Tonight, I saw Mercury for the first time. Mercury is a hard planet to see, even though it is quite bright, because it's orbit is so close to the sun. The angle Mercury makes with the Earth and the Sun is never more than about 25 degrees and most of the time it is much less. As a result, you can't ever see Mercury during the night but at a couple of times in it's orbit you can see it at either dawn or dusk. Right now, Mercury is close to it's greatest eastern elongation and can be seen low in...

Important Astronomers: Galileo Galilei

I'm starting a series on the top astronomers, with probably about eleven astronomers that I will be covering overall. So, let's start out from the top, with the top most important astronomer. In my opinion, Galileo Galilei is the top astronomer.

News: Two Bright Nebulae in Orion's Sword

My attempt at real astrophotography. The two bright nebula are M 42 and M 43 located in Orion's Sword. I took about 20 images at ISO 800 and 1.6 second exposures using a 300 mm lens and stacked them in Photoshop after repositioning them because of the movement of the sky. This is cropped in just a tiny bit.

How To: Watch Asteroid 2012 DA14 Zoom Past Earth Today

Earlier today, a meteorite flew over the Chelyabinsk region of Russia, triggering a shock wave that injured hundreds of people and caused damage to buildings and vehicles in the area. Witnesses describe seeing a bright ball of light streak through the sky followed by a loud boom as the 10-ton meteorite entered the Earth's atmosphere and exploded.

News: Top 5 Alien Worlds That Could Host Alien Life!

Video: . Extraterrestrial life is life that does not originate from Earth. It is also called alien life, or, if it is a sentient and/or relatively complex individual, an "extraterrestrial" or "alien" (or, to avoid confusion with the legal sense of "alien," a "space alien"). These as yet hypothetical forms of life range from simple bacteria-like organisms to beings far more complex than humans. The possibility that viruses might exist extraterrestrially has also been proposed.

News: Time-Lapse Video of Sunday's Annular Solar Eclipse

The annular solar eclipse was amazing. It was so much fun watching the sun transform from a thin crescent to a ring and then to a thin crescent going the other direction. I'll be posting up the pictures used to make this video in various resolutions on my photography website over the next few days, all of the way up to the full 16 megapixel ultra-detailed images.

News: Lyrid Meteors Time Lapse Video and Still Pictures

The peak of the Lyrid meteor shower of 2012 was the night of Saturday, April 21, and I went to Whiskeytown Lake near Redding, California and took about 1,000 pictures. I used 3 Panasonic GH2s with various lenses and edited all of the shots together to make the time-lapse video below. You really have to watch it in full screen at 720p or 1080p HD in order to appreciate it. This is only my second attempt at a time-lapse video and my second attempt at filming meteors, but I was pretty happy with...

News: Photo Highlights from the Quadrantid Meteor Shower

If you slept in during the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower this morning, don't fret, because plenty of early risers did manage to wake up—with their cameras. Even if you did wake up and managed to withstand the cold morning air, you might not have seen anything. Cloud cover could have made it impossible, as well as bright city lights. But some stargazers made it their mission to photograph the Quadrantids, and lucky for you, they did.

News: Proof of Water on Mars

Since the first time we've been to Mars, the question was 'Did there used to be life here?'. That all changed for the better when NASA told us that the Opportunity rover found signs of water- the essential part to life. NASA officials on Wednesday said the rover discovered a mineral vein of gypsum running along the rim of a crater called Endeavor. The gypsum was deposited by flowing water billions of years ago. The vein is about 20 inches long. They found it while studying a rock called Tisda...

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