NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft is depicted in orbit around an artistic rendition of planet Mars, which is shown in transition from its ancient, water-covered past, to the cold, dry, dusty world that it has become today.  Credit: NASA

NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft is depicted in orbit around an artistic rendition of planet Mars, which is shown in transition from its ancient, water-covered past, to the cold, dry, dusty world that it has become today. Credit: NASA

Now just 3 weeks and 4 million miles (6 million kilometers) from rendezvous with Mars, NASA’s ground breaking Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter is tracking precisely on course for the crucial Mars Orbital Insertion (MOI) engine firing slated for September 21, 2014.

MAVEN will investigate Mars transition from its ancient, water-covered past, to the cold, dry, dusty world that it has become today.

It’s been a picture perfect flight so far during the [click to continue…]

Universe Today Wins a Parsec Award for the Guide to Space

by Fraser Cain on September 2, 2014

ParsecLogo2011_AWinner

As you might know, a few of us were attending Dragon*Con this weekend in Atlanta, where the Parsec Awards are held every year. Astronomy Cast has been up for a nomination every year, but we’ve always lost out to other folks like Star Talk and Planetary Radio.

Well, this year, we took a different tack and submitted our Guide to Space video series for the Fact Behind the Fiction category… and we won!

A big thanks and congratulations to my video co-creator, Jason Harmer as well as everyone else who has helped us write, edit, produce and shoot these videos: Susie Murph, Brian Koberlein, Chad Weber, Scott Lewis, Kevin Gill and Elizabeth Howell.

Is Earth going at warp speed in this image? This is a composite of two photographs, one for the foreground and one for the sky.  The photographer  zoomed in on the image of the Milky Way for the last 10 seconds of the exposure to give it a 'warp speed' look.  Credit and copyright: Mike Taylor/Mike Taylor Photography.

Is Earth going at warp speed in this image? This is a composite of two photographs, one for the foreground and one for the sky. The photographer zoomed in on the image of the Milky Way for the last 10 seconds of the exposure to give it a ‘warp speed’ look. Credit and copyright: Mike Taylor/Mike Taylor Photography.

Whoa! Having just returned from the science and science fiction mashup that is Dragon Con, my mind is still combining the two. Then I saw this image from Mike Taylor, which is one of the most unique Milky Way images I’ve ever seen. Perfect!

Mike said he combined two images, one for the foreground and one for the night sky image of the Milky Way. “I zoomed in on the Milky Way for the last 10 seconds of the exposure to give it the “warp speed” look,” he said.

He calls the image “Somniloquy” which is a term that describes the act of talking while asleep. Yep. I’m pretty sure that happened at Dragon Con, too….

Check out another awesome Milky Way image by Mike, below.
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Here’s Your Chance To Send A Message To An Asteroid

by Elizabeth Howell on September 2, 2014

NASA is planning to launch a time capsule aboard the Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, which is expected to head to an asteroid in 2016. Credit: Heather Roper/University of Arizona/OSIRIS-REx

NASA is planning to launch a time capsule aboard the Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, which is expected to head to an asteroid in 2016. Credit: Heather Roper/University of Arizona/OSIRIS-REx

What’s your vision for solar system exploration? And how cool would it be to send it literally into the solar system?

NASA is offering its fans the chance to compose a tweet or send a picture showing how we can step out into the cosmos. The best ones among these will be placed aboard a spacecraft that will zoom to an asteroid in 2016.

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Amazing Video Timelapse Of Big Telescopes At Work In Chile

by Elizabeth Howell on September 2, 2014

What’s it like to spend a night at a huge telescope observatory? Jordi Busque recorded a brilliant timelapse of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). What makes this video unique is not only the exotic location in Chile, but the use of sound in the area rather than music.

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