Astrosphere for December 19th, 2007


For your photo today, it’s another image of Mars nearing its closest point to the Earth. This one was captured by Efrain Morales Riviera in the forum.

Astronomy in the UK is in deep trouble. The Science & Technology Facilities Council has had their budget slashed by £80 million. Find out more and help out here.

Centauri Dreams has more details about the Tunguska research I reported on today. And so does Bad Astronomy.

Here’s a great idea: a space exploration reality show, with a group of potential explorers cooped up together on a mock spaceship here on Earth. Okay, maybe it’s a terrible idea.

Maybe off-world children will wear gravity suits in the future to simulate living on Earth.

On an administrative note, Pamela and I will be attending the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, TX in January. If you’re going drop me a note. We’re going to try and organize some kind of meetup for Astronomy Cast.

Several people mentioned this great interview with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in the Washington Post.

Astrosphere for December 18, 2007


Your astrophoto of the day is another image of Comet Holmes, captured by John Chumack.
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific has made a series of astronomy lectures available for podcast and download. There are some really cool speakers in there, like Dr. Frank Drake (SETI Institute): “Estimating the Chances of Life Out There”.

Sean from Visual Astronomy let me know about his new blog. And so now you know too.

Maybe the space shuttle won’t be ending flights so soon after all.

Did you ever wonder how astronauts do their laundry in space? Pamela has the answer.

And if you want to actually see the space station with your own eyes, it’s getting brighter with every mission. Visual Astronomy has some suggestions to find it.

Dwayne Day has a great article on the Space Review about his experience at a Richard Hoagland press conference. I highly suggest you read it; it’s comedy gold.

Did Uranus and Neptune switch places?

And finally, here are two great lists of the top astrophotos in 2007, from Bad Astronomy and Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Astrosphere for December 12, 2007


Welcome back to the Astrosphere. Your photograph for today is Eta Carina by winensky. Can you see the dancing lady on the right? I can actually see this one.

Yikes, this giant spider will destroy us all.

Futurismic talks about the future of telescopes, looking right back to the first moments after the dark ages.

For all you Americans wondering who to vote for, ATW Space is keeping careful track of the candidates’ policies on space exploration.

Dynamics of Cats responds to a student looking for advice about grad school.

Celestial Journeys always has cool hand-drawn images of astronomical objects – this gives you a really good idea about what you’d see if you actually looked through the eyepiece of a telescope. No CCDs here. Check out Comet Holmes.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke celebrates his 90th birthday on Sunday, December 16th.

Astronomy Picture of the Day has an image of our cosmic neighbourhood of galaxy clusters.

Astrosphere for December 5th, 2007


For your astrophoto of the day, please enjoy this great image of the Horsehead Nebula captured by Phil22. I wonder what kind of holiday creature it might look like?

What’s your favourite Cassini image for 2007? I know, how could you possibly choose from all those images. Still, now’s your chance to vote.

Dilbert is working to build a lunar rocket. Here’s Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so far. Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for catching this one.

Have you heard rumours that the Chinese faked their moon photographs from Chang’e-1? Emily Lakdawalla from the Planetary Society is pretty sure they didn’t fake it, and has found examples of Photoshop mistakes that were made trying to build the large image.

Here’s a link to a fascinating essay by sci-fi writer Charles Stross about how we’ll probably never colonize space. 🙁

Astrosphere for November 28th, 2007


For your space photo, here’s a cool image captured by Gob332. It’s some star trails behind the branch of a tree.

The New York Times has a fascinating look at the space game Eve: Online. When I get tired of World of Warcraft, I’m sure I’ll give this a look.

Why explore space
? The Bad Astronomer tells you why. Oh, and he’s also giving away a book.

When there’s private space travel, there’ll be space travel agents.

Remember that cool exoskeleton in Aliens? Reality is catching up fast.

Solar? Bio-fuel? Old technology ideas. Check out these cutting edge alternative energy concepts.

Pamela continues to debunk the speculative stories coming out of New Scientist. This time, that there’s an alternative universe poking through a void in space.

Chair Force Engineer shares his list of technologies that need to be developed for a spacefaring society.

Astrosphere for November 27th, 2007


First, let me direct your attention to the 30th Carnival of Space, hosted by Bad Astronomy. I don’t want to sound like a broken record here, but the Carnival is a great way to increase exposure to your website or blog. If you want more readers, join the carnival.

My absolute favourite television show, Futurama, has a new DVD coming out called Bender’s Big Score. If you like the show, give it some support and buy a DVD. You can find out more here from the official website.

Centauri Dreams talks about the past and future of solar sail technology.

Astronomy Picture of the Day has this image of the International Space Station over the Ionian Sea. Just think what it took to capture that image.

Colony Worlds reports on a new technology that could give solar energy the ability to keep on providing power, right through the night.

Astroprof offers you an easy way to find Mars; just look for the Moon. The two objects are close together right now, and easy to find.

Pamela Gay debunks the recent news that observing the Universe will hasten its demise.

Astrosphere for November 16th, 2007


Today’s photo is the Moon. Sure, I’ve shown lots of pictures of the Moon, but this one’s lunertic’s first astrophoto, and I thought I could help encourage this wonderful hobby. Take more, let’s see them.

Space Prizes has some interesting links to the recent 2009 Space Settlement Calendar Art Contest. How come nobody told me about this?

Nancy Houser at A Mars Odyssey has a great two part article about the first African American astronaut: Guion Bluford. Here’s part 1 and part 2.

Astronomy Picture of the Day has an image of the Orion Nebula, with a streak through the middle that turned out to be fuel dumped out of a recent rocket launch.

Jeff Foust at Space Politics gives a run down of NASA’s Administrator’s time in front of a Senate committee. It sounds like an uncomfortable place to be. Keith Cowing from NASA Watch has an opinion on the matter too.

Director of the Planetary Society, Louis Friedman, puts the most recent shuttle mission into perspective. The astronauts had a dangerous job of fixing the station’s solar wings, so why wasn’t there more press about it?

Pamela Gay translates some astro-gibberish into a really interesting scientific result.

The Angry Astronomer got a great post about the power of Big Sky Surveys.

Astrosphere for November 15th, 2007


Back to the astrosphere. Today’s image is M42, captured by Mike Salway. He thinks it’s the best one he’s ever taken of this complex object.

First, I’d like to announce the Carnival of Space #29. This week it’s held at Riding with Robots on the High Frontier. A big thanks to Bill Dunford for hosting it this week. If you’d like to participate in the Carnival of Space, you can email an entry to [email protected]. And we’d love to have you as a host. It’s a great way to meet other people in the space blogging community and raise awareness to your blog.

We just did an episode of Astronomy Cast about Uranus, and’s blog notes it’s William Herschel’s birthday. I wish I could claim that was our plan all along.

Alan Boyle lists the winners of the Science Journalism Awards.

Astronomy Picture of the Day has an image of M13, the great globular cluster in Hercules. This is one of my favourite objects in the night sky, and it’s something I always show to people in my telescope.

I don’t have an easy way to categorize this, but I wanted to draw your attention to the wonderful USA Today’s Tech_Space blog, written by Angela Gunn.

Daily Galaxy has a list of 5 things you didn’t know satellites were watching.

Personal Spaceflight reports that there’s a new space tourism company in town.

Phil Plait gives that recent Earth-rise image taken by Kaguya some context. Now you know the craters the spacecraft is flying over.

Astrosphere for November 13th, 2007


For the photo, enjoy this image of galaxy M33, captured by RickJ.

Now, I’d like to draw your attention to the 28th Carnival of Space, hosted this week by the Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla.

We’re organizing the next episode of the Carnival of Space, so drop us an entry at [email protected]. And we’re always looking for new hosts to handle future carnivals.

I want to give you a last minute reminder to watch PBS Nova tonight for Judgment Day, Intelligent Design on Trial. You’ll need to check your local listings for time and channel; if you miss it tonight, I’m sure it’ll be on several times over the week. You can also watch the entire episode online at the PBS site.

Colony Worls reports on a new partnership between Russia and India for lunar research.

Selenian Boondocks has a great article about thrust augmented nozzles.

Astroprof reviews Sea Launch’s return to flight after their recent pad explosion.

The Stars my Destination reminds us that the Leonids are coming. The Leonids are coming!

Astrosphere for November 6th, 2007


For the photo… it’s Comet Holmes! I know, a big surprise, but I’m going to keep on hitting you with cool Holmes pics until it starts to fade. This one comes from tegwilym on the forum.

ESA has an interesting article about the different ways they peer at stars through planetary atmospheres.

astropixie Amanda Bauer took these amazing photos from the summit of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, and talks about her experience viewing for Comet Holmes.

Alan Boyle explains why it’s hard to know when a volcano is going to explode.’s blog reviews Brave New Words, the Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction.

A little bit of good news to an otherwise depressing view of global warming. Heat-trapping cirrus clouds may be disappearing as temperatures rise.

In case you missed it, the DARPA Urban Challenge was won by Carnegie Mellon University’s SUV, “Boss”. I want my robot car!