For newbies to astronomy, expensive equipment is an understandable deterrent. But with some thorough Google searching, you can find plenty of How-To's for making your own tools for less. Below are a few sites with several cool projects to offer.
Late last night and early this morning the Lyrid meteor shower was at its peak. Hopefully everyone got a good view. If you snapped some cool pictures, post them to our community corkboard to give some of us who missed the Lyrids a chance to see them after all.
His name is Don Pettit, but I like to call him Space MacGyver. He's well known for his paper clip fixes and ingenious coffee invention in zero gravity, and we've all seen the NASA astronaut in his Saturday Morning Science videos during his first stay on the International Space Station. And now he's back on the ISS with a brand new physics-related show... Science Off the Sphere.
We've all seen the breathtaking, colorful photos of the Eagle, Egg and Cat's Eye Nebulae. You may not recognize them by name, but you've seen them, whether in astronomy textbooks, magazines, websites, album covers, or tee shirts. They are some of the most striking photographs ever taken from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).
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.
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.
It's taken me several weeks to figure out the Meade Coronado SolarMax II 60 Double Stack telescope that I bought to produce a timelapse video of the solar eclipse but I'm pretty happy with the images I can produce now. Here's hoping for clear skies tomorrow!
There seems to be a renewed interest of late in the great beyond that is space. After the Red Bull Space Jump and the retirement of space shuttle Endeavor, space is kind of cool again.
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.
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.
This article will show you how to make a proportionally correct 1/187 (about) size Hubble Space Telescope. I tried to add as many details as possible, but it was hard at such a small size. It was really easy, but it did take a while to make.
Let's say today is your birthday. You've just put those boisterous, vicenarian times behind you, reaching the first big step to your upcoming midlife crisis—30 years old. Maybe this is your midlife crisis. After all, if you're not where you want to be in life when you join the tricenarian ranks, the future starts looking bleak.
I recently bought a new telescope and thought I would share a few images that I have taken with it. I am very new to astrophotography, but I hope to be able to post up some more images in the near future.
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...
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.
As discussed earlier, there are many ways to view the upcoming solar eclipse, whether it be with actual eclipse glasses, welder's lenses, eclipse-approved filters, or a solar telescope. If you can't get your hands on any of those, the safest way to view the solar eclipse this Sunday, whether it be annular or partial, is with a projection method.
Just a couple Saturday's ago, we were blessed with the Supermoon, where the moon was at perigee with our planet, creating a larger than usual Moon for us here on Earth. Now, we've got another spectacular show in the skies coming up, only this one isn't at night. There will be an annular solar eclipse on Sunday, May 20th!
When he's not taking orbital videos of Earth's auroras, NASA Astronaut Don Pettit is experimenting with water in zero gravity. He's already shown us how water droplets can orbit around knitting needles in a microgravity environment. Now he's playing with water again, this time—antibubbles.
If you're into entomology, then you probably recognize the name E.L. Trouvelot. After all, he was the person responsible for the outbreak of invasive gypsy moths in North America, which are now one of the most destructive foliage-eating pests in the United States.
Get ready to look up in the night sky very soon, because you're in for a real treat. There will be a total lunar eclipse on the night of Monday, April 14th, and folks living in the United States, Canada, and parts of Central and South America will be able to see the moon turn a dark blood-red shade for a little over an hour. This will be the first in a series of four total eclipses that are to happen over the next two years. What Is a Blood Moon?
The International Space Station is a habitable man-made satellite currently in orbit around the Earth. Launched in 1998, the ISS is used mainly as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory where astronauts perform experiments in large variety of fields, including biology and physics. In order to be hospitable for crew members and scientists, the ISS needs energy. To do this, the station uses its solar panels to capture rays of sun and power the station up. In order to garner th...
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
There is going to be an annular solar eclipse on May 20th that will be visible in a narrow pathway that covers part of Eastern Asia and the Western United States. The eclipse will be seen as a partial eclipse over a much greater region of the World. I live in Redding, California, which luckily happens to be right in the center of the path, giving a perfect ring of fire effect during the peak of the eclipse.
Last night was the so called "Supermoon," where the moon was at perigee, which is the closest orbital point to the Earth while the moon was in full phase. This makes the moon appear larger by up to about 14% and brighter by up to around 30%. I went out and used my 5-inch refracting telescope to take several pictures.
This week, there's a lot going on in the skies above, with at least one event per day! There's also an equinox, which only occurs about twice a year!
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.
Explore the night sky on your iOS device, or better yet, in the third dimension on a 3D TV. More information here and here.
I woke up at 4:00 am this morning in order to take some video of the last total lunar eclipse visible from North America till 2014. The eclipse was beautiful. It was amazing to watch the shadow of our planet creep slowly across our nearest neighbor. Once the shadow was blocking out most of the light from the sun, the moon was significantly dimmer and the color had changed to a reddish orange. This color is caused by the same effect that makes our sunrises and sunsets so colorful. The light fr...
There is many different types of stars in the universe. Majority of them are red dwarf stars. However, there are plenty of stars like ordinary stars (like our sun), red giants, blue stars and etc. Furthermore, when you look in the night sky, we see a lot of small and bright stars. What people don't know is that there are stars that are not even completely understood by astronomers and scientists.
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.
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.
Who uses Yahoo! Image Search, you ask? Scientists apparently.
Later today, an asteroid the size of a city block (about 3,000 feet wide) called 2002 AM31 will fly by the Earth. It will still be about 3.2 million miles away, so there's nothing to be worried about, but you can watch it make its journey in real-time online. 2000 AM31 now, as seen from the JPL Small-Body Database Browser
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...
You're probably already impressed at some of the photos amateur astrophotographers can capture with their 16-megapixel digital cameras. I know I am. That's why I'm beefing up my camera skills, so I can also take some amazing pictures of our skies above. But if you can take photos this good with a 16-megapixel camera, imagine what you could do with something a little bigger, say, 3.2 billion pixels! That's a whopping 200 times more pixels!
This morning, NASA launched the five suborbital sounding rockets from Virginia as part of ATREX (Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment). Each rocket was launched 80 seconds apart and released chemical tracers that created "milky, white clouds at the edge of space." Now, I've seen plenty of bullet tracers in my life, but these are far more poetic. Take a look at the time-lapse video and see for yourself. Why shoot these tracer rockets? To help scientists "better understand the process responsi...
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...
This is a really quick video I took of a moonrise last year. It has been sped up by a factor of 8 and was taken using a 2600 mm equivalent lens (75 times zoom for a 35 mm lens). The mountain it is rising over is about 40 miles away.
From Astronomy Picture of the Day, Milky Way Over Abandoned Kilns by Tom McEwan. McEwan shot some historic kilns in rural Nevada, stitching together a panoramic "digital conglomerate of five separate images taken in early June from the same location. Visible above the unusual kilns is a colorful star field, highlighted by the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy appearing along a diagonal toward the lower right."