Astrosphere for February 12, 2008


Your image for the day isn’t actually a photograph. It’s a mixed-media art piece by Moya called “proto planet”. It was made using glossy cardboard paper, various types of spray paint and stencils.

Centauri Dreams notes the ongoing discoveries coming out of the 45-year old Arecibo Observatory.

Astroprof helps clear up one of the eternal questions. How do astronomers choose colours when they prepare images of the night sky?

The imaging team leader for Cassini, Carolyn Porco, is consulting on the new Star Trek movie. Let’s hope that helps them get the science right.

Starts with a Bang teaches you how to build a home in space.

Oh, and Happy Darwin Day.

Astrosphere for February 7, 2008


Your photograph for today is the recent conjunction between Jupiter and Venus, captured by Shevill Mathers.

Starts with a Bang looks at the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation’s inevitable slide towards the Radio Background.

A day without Astronomy Picture of the Day isn’t a day. Today, check out NGC 4013.

Pamela Gay reviews astronomy software called “Where is M13”.

There was a solar eclipse, did you notice? Ian Musgrave had the right perspective, and caught just a tiny snip taken out of the Sun.

Wired has a list of 10 technologies we could build if they weren’t so friggin expensive.

Now this is thinking big. Next Big Future has an article about a rail gun system that could launch spacecraft into orbit.

Centauri Dreams looks at Project Longshot. A mission to send a probe to another star.

Do you have a space/astronomy blog? Let me know and I’ll subscribe to your news feed. Write something cool and I’ll link to it.

Astrosphere for February 6, 2008

Your image for the day is a montage of the Solar System (well, the Sun and 3 planets) captured by Rumples Riot in the forum. This is really cool. Does anyone have a more complete montage they’ve photographed?

Science journalist Will Gater has updated his website with a brand new blog and an RSS feed. His latest post, about the density of Mercury is pretty great too.

And while I’m mentioning new blogs, check out Starts With a Bang! by astrophysicist Ethan Seigel. I had a chance to meet Ethan at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin and he’s a great guy – and his blog is awesome. Here’s a sample post about the difference between centripetal and centrifugal force.

Becky spots a weather balloon floating over New Mexico. It’s easy to see how someone might think that’s a UFO.

APOD has a great photograph of the Sun. What is this Sun thing they’re talking about? We’ve still got clouds and more clouds here in Vancouver.

Keith Cowing at NASA Watch wonders who whines for Mars.

And finally, Astroprof looks at the Moon’s southern pole. A nice place to visit?

Do you have a space/astronomy blog? Let me know and I’ll subscribe to your news feed. Write something cool and I’ll link to it.

Astrosphere for February 5, 2008


Here’s a beautiful picture of star trails above Costa Rica captured by Tim S. Jones. Doesn’t it look like it’s raining stars?

Centauri Dreams searches for a double sunrise.

It’s boring work, but somebody’s got to do it. The Planetary Society Blog analyzes what’s good and bad in the new 2009 NASA budget. Alan Boyle calls it a comeback for big science. Yes, I’m putting off writing an article of my own. Can’t… stay… awake.

Remember Asteroid 2007 WD5? That was the one that might have hit Mars in late January, 2008. Maybe it hit, maybe it didn’t… I guess we’ll never know.

Wouldn’t it be convenient if dark matter and dark energy were the same thing? Then I could just call it dark manergy, or maybe dark eneratter.

CNN has joined the science/technology blog space with their new blog… SciTechBlog. Hey CNN, don’t forget to link over here once in a while.

Pamela reports on an interesting discovery about the multiple sources for gamma ray bursts.

Chris Lintott is back in Hawaii, trying to make his way up to the snowy summit to play with telescopes, but nature is denying entry.

Finally, the folks at Astronomy Magazine have reviewed Universe Today writer Tammy Plotner’s new book, the Night Sky Companion.

Astrosphere for February 4, 2008


Your image for the day is NGC 1514, captured by Stargazer 7000.

Space Politics has a look at NASA’s upcoming budget. There’s going to be a NASA briefing later today, so we’ll have more details soon.

Life everywhere? Centauri Dreams has an article about new research theorizing that terrestrial planets are common.

davep caught these cool pictures of star trails.

Astroprof talks about Mercury’s strange terrain.

Bad Astronomy reviews the presidential candidates’ views on science.

Caltech astronomer Mike Brown assures us he’s no fan of pseudo science.

Astrosphere for January 31, 2008


Enough of this cold, wet January. Let’s have some cold wet February. Your space photo for the day is this astonishing image of the International Space Station captured by Mike Salway. And here’s a bonus. If you follow this link, you’ll see two more images.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Explorer 1. Nancy looked back here on Universe Today, but we’re not the only ones to mark the day. Here are a selection of articles from Cosmic Log, Astroprof and Space Politics.

Spirit says, it’s a rock. And now you can get the T-shirt.

From Astronomy Picture of the Day comes the Young Cluster Westerlund 2.

Astroblog has Comet Holmes in thrilling stereo.

Daily Galaxy reports on a new strategy to search for wormholes and signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

If you’ve got some time on your hands, why not go searching for craters on Mars.

And finally, Visual Astronomy has a video of asteroid 2007 TU24’s close approach to the Earth.

Astrosphere for January 30, 2008


Your space photo for today is Saturn, captured by Mike Salway.

In his Cosmic Log, Alan Boyle talks about the state of science in the US after the recent State of the Union speech.

Phil debunks another Moon hoax claim.

Astronomy Picture of the Day has the closest photos of Asteroid 2007 TU24 during its recent flyby.

Ars Technica reports on a new video game based on Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. has the news of John Benac’s attempts to get space exploration policies at the forefront of the new election campaign.

For you southern hemispheroids, the February edition of the Southern Skywatch is up. Thanks to Ian Musgrave for the link.

Future astronauts are going to need to drink, so Colony Worlds has the solution.

Astrosphere for January 22, 2008


The Lunar News Network is concerned about the potentially faltering plans to return to the Moon, and has some suggestions if you want to take action.

Chris Lintott wonders if the United Kingdom should contribute to the International Space Station.

Centauri Dreams discusses how long it takes Earth to recover from extinction events.

A Mars Odyssey reports on a booming business, in moon dirt.

Have there been UFOs over Texas? I was just in Texas, and would have loved to see UFOs. Anyway, back to the question… no. No aliens. Astroprof gives a much more detailed answer.

Instead of the Moon, some space enthusiasts are suggesting we visit asteroids instead. Personally, I like both ideas.

This isn’t exactly space, but it’s so well written that I couldn’t resist. Pamela Gay talks about the digital divide, and how she’s greeted with blank stares when she talks technology with others.

Phil hits the pseudoscientists with a one-two punch. No, asteroid 2007 TU24 isn’t going to hit the Earth. And no, that’s not bigfoot on the surface of Mars.

Pop quiz. Mercury or the Moon, which is which?

Astrosphere for January 18, 2007


Your space photo of the day is the recent Earth-grazing asteroid 2008 AF3, captured by RickJ. It looks like a bunch of star streaks, but if you look carefully, there’s a dot right in the middle. That’s the asteroid that missed us by 370,000 km (230,000 miles).

Are you planning to sign up for Virgin Galactic and take their stomach-churning suborbital trip? Here’s an interview on Luxury Magazine with the Head of Astronaut Sales. Tip of the helmet to Space Pragmatism for the link.

Remember yesterday’s Bad Astronomy post about not finding ET? Here’s some more non-news.

This has nothing to do with astronomy. But a rat as big as a bull? That’s just cool.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently gave a speech at NASA, encouraging the agency to be more open and collaborative with the public. Advice I’ve been trying to give them for years.

A charity auction is removing a trip to space as a price – too dangerous.

Astrosphere for January 16, 2008


I know it’s been a bit of a delay, but I do really enjoy crawling through the interwebs, finding spacey stories. Your photo for the day is M42, captured by tegwilym.

What did I find today?

I reported on MESSENGER’s Mercury flyby, but the Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla always has the best coverage of these planetary visitations.

While I was writing like a maniac at the American Astronomical Society meeting, rarely leaving the press room to feel the warm Austin air, Pamela was out and about, meeting, greeting and recording audio chats. Here’s one with the folks from the Galaxy Zoo.

Pharyngula won best science blog for 2007. And that means Phil didn’t. Uh, oh, nobody tell him.

Phil won’t notice, he’s too busy watching old YouTube video of Shatner singing Rocket Man. Yikes!

Larry Sessions at Earth & Sky Blogs shows you how to measure the Sun.

And finally, Wired Science is reporting that space is a top question posed to presidential candidates. How do you feel about space exploration?