Astrosphere for May 15, 2007


Follow me as we travel around the astrosphere, finding cool blogs and websites.

First up. astrophotographer Damian Peach (who contributed many photos to What’s Up) has put together an animation of Mars images providing a full rotation of the planet. Thanks for Chris Lintott’s Universe for the link. is reporting that most leaders of the space industry have signed a letter, requesting that Congress increase NASA funding by $1.4 billion. Let’s hope they’re successful.

Space Prizes would like you to know that there are efforts underway to try and help save NASA’s Centennial Challenges. It seems insane to me that one of the least expensive, most public-friendly things NASA has done recently would be on the chopping block.

You’ve read Tammy’s suggestions for what to see in the night sky this week, now here’s a similar list from Vern’s Astronomy Weblog. Now there’s no excuse. Head outside and look up.

Remember, the 3rd Carnival of Space is at my place this week. Send in your entries before Wednesday night, and I’ll get them in.

Astrosphere for May 14, 2007


I gazed into the astrosphere, and it gazed right back. Here’s what I found.

First, I’d like to point your attention to the Carnival of Space #3. I’ll be hosting this one here on Universe Today, so get your submissions in ASAP. If you’ve written a space-related article, and want to join the carnival, drop me an email with a link to your story. I go live with the collection on the 17th.

Pamela and I always joke about how everything in the Universe can be discovered by looking into the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. Now, she reports on her Star Stryder blog, you can learn about the Oort Cloud. It’s funny, because it’s true.

There are several spacecraft hurtling out of the Solar System right now. Astroprof asks, Where are they now?

Want to dedicate your life to science? Maybe you need to solve one of the 125 big questions in Science Magazine.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that no moon digger won NASA’s Regolith Excavation Challenge. The $250,000 prize will go back into the bank, for now.

Astrosphere for May 11, 2007


Slacker Astronomy’s Aaron Price has written up a detailed review on the state of blogging and podcasting in astronomy. Stuart from the Astronomy Blog has written up a nice review of the review.

With the recent discovery of the most powerful supernova ever witnessed, it raises the question, what will happen when the much closer Eta Carina blows up? Alan Boyle from MSNBC’s Cosmic Log finds the answer.

How do you determine the age of a star? Pamela Gay from Star Stryder (and Astronomy Cast co-host) shows you how it’s done.

Andy the e-Astronomer thinks that the golden age of astronomy surveys is coming to a close, because all the low-hanging fruit has been found. He suggests new avenues for productive discovery.

Astrosphere for May 10, 2007


Time for another trip around the Universe of space-related websites.

I mentioned the Carnival of Space a couple of days ago, and encouraged you all to submit a story. Well, the 2nd Carnival of Space is now up, and contains a delightful collection of space-related stories. As promised, I’ve got one in the Carnival as well.

Stuart from the Astronomy Blog has connected a Twitter account together with the Jodrell Bank Observatory. That way you can know exactly where the massive radio telescope is observing every moment of every day.

Here’s some more details on the terrible Griffith Park fire in Los Angeles from my BAUT cohort Bad Astronomer Phil Plait. Although this magnificent, historic observatory was spared, Phil regales us with a tale to visit a telescope that wasn’t so lucky.

You’ve got a telescope, now you need to choose some accessories. Daniel McCormick from Rigel Astronomy has posted a new podcast to help you narrow down the choices.

If you’re not sure where to look for extraterrestrials, at least you should know where not to look. The Daily Galaxy has some suggestions for places to avoid.

Remember, if you’ve got a space-related blog, drop me a note and I’ll add you to my watchlist.

Astrosphere for May 9, 2007


Here’s what I found, buzzing around the astrosphere today.

A Babe in the Universe had a great blog post about the Griffith Observatory, in Los Angeles. And then last night, the observatory nearly caught fire as part of the Griffith Park fire. My wife’s Gilmore Girls episode was replaced with 60 minutes of helicopter footage of a raging fire about to consume a historic observatory. Mt. Stromlo all over again. Fortunately, the observatory seems safe.

The Daily Galaxy has an excellent piece on the “Hawking Solution”. Leave the Earth to save humanity?

My Astronomy Cast cohost, Dr. Pamela Gay ponders on her Star Stryder blog what life might be like on Gliese 581c (that recently discovered, most-Earthlike planet)

My favourite news show is called the Hour, and it’s all Canadian. They had a great interview with Richard Dawkins. Unfortunately, the official video clip is an obnoxious WMV file, but there’s a YouTube version over at Cosmic Afterthoughts.

Astrosphere for May 8, 2007


Here’s another spin around the astrosphere. Interesting sites, stories and blogs I found while working on Universe Today.

Want to fly into space, but you lack the cash? Jim Benson‘s Space Company is offering a free trip into space. You can visit the site, but there aren’t many details yet. Give them your email to stay updated.

A fire at the U.S Space & Rocket Center has destroyed two Apollo era artifacts that were being refurbished. (Nod to ATW Space for the story).

Have you signed up for a flight with Virgin Galactic? Maybe it’s time you meet some of your shipmates. USA Today is profiling a few of them in a recent story. (Thanks to Personal Spaceflight for the info.)

The Science Channel is joining in the Space Week festivities with some appropriate shows, including a documentary on the new Orion spacecraft. We don’t get the Science Channel here in Canada, so Tivo it for me. (Thanks to the Rocketry Blog for the link.)

Do you write space-related stories? Then you’ll want to join the next Carnival of Space. If you’ve written an article about space, and want to get some new readers, join in. I’ll do it if you do it. What’s a blog carnival? Learn more.

Larry Kellogg gives a detailed look at the fuel cells that will keep astronauts in electricity on their flights back to the Moon.

Astrosphere for May 7, 2007


Here’s what’s making gravity waves around the astrosphere today (in otherwords, the interesting stories I found on other sites).

Clear Skies on Demand observes a series of astronomy-related stamps that the UK Royal Mail is releasing to celebrate 50 years of the BBC’s Sky at Night television show.

NASA Watch is reporting that the B612 Foundation has released the complete NASA Report called “2006 Near Earth Object Survey and Deflection Study”. Apparently is wasn’t released to the public, for no good reason whatsoever.

Do you support human space exploration? Well, you’re not alone. Apparently most Americans surveyed oppose any cut in the NASA budget. Space Politics analyzes this recent poll.

Armadillo Aerospace was awarded an Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract. John Carmack has mixed feelings about this.

Snowball Earth or no Snowball Earth? LiveScience reports on the conflicting evidence of our once fully frozen planet (or not).

If you did get a chance to fly in space, would you ever want to go home? ABC News is reporting that cosmonauts have a tough time coming back to Earth. (nod to Really Rocket Science for the story).

Space Prizes has the rundown on the next NASA Centennial Challenge. Digging in the dirt.

Astrosphere for May 5, 2007


You’ve heard of the blogosphere, but what about the astrosphere? It’s actually a biological term (microtubules that extend outward from the cytocentrum and centrosphere of a dividing cell), but I think it sounds spacier. I run across so many cool websites, blogs, and photos every day. I only have so much time to report my own news, so I thought I’d mention anything else I see that might strike your fancy.

Ian Musgrave from Astroblog notes that Asteroid Vesta can be seen with the unaided eye. How often do you get to go outside, look up and see an asteroid?

Since I wasn’t born when the first Gemini flights went up, Paul Gilster from Centauri Dreams remembers the life of Wally Schirra for me. Centauri Dreams is one of my absolutely favourite astroblogs, subscribe immediately.

The Earth and Sky blog points the way to find Jupiter in the night sky. The giant planet will be making its closest approach in June.

Garbage on the Moon? Apparently there are tonnes of probes, rovers and discarded boosters. Read an accounting from Popular Science.

Cosmology Curiosity gives a great little review of the Celestron SkyScout. It’s that cool little gadget that helps you find your way around the night sky.

One of my favourite discoveries are the exquisite sunspot sketches by astronomer William H. Greer. He’s also got some hand sketches of Venus.

That’s what I’ve found today. If you run an space/astronomy-related blog or website, drop me a note and I’ll subscribe to your news feed.