Watch Live 24-Hour Webcast for International Asteroid Day

Picture of the asteroid that exploded over Cherlyabinsk on Feb 15, 2013. Credit: Tuvix/Youtube

Every day, Earth is hit by 60 to 300 metric tons of space dust and smaller meteoroids. But sometimes, larger and more dangerous space rocks plummet to Earth, such as on June 30, 1908 when an estimated 40 meter-wide meteoroid exploded over the Tunguska, Siberia region in Russia, devastating 2000 sq. kilometers (770 square miles) of forest. As the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor event attests, the likelihood of a similar event happening again is not an “if” but a “when.”

To raise public awareness about asteroid impact hazards and to urge political leaders to work together to be prepared, the United Nations proclaimed June 30 as International Asteroid Day.

A first-ever 24-hour Asteroid Day program will be feature nearly 1,000 events around the world. It starts at 9 p.m. EDT on June 29 (1 a.m. June 30 GMT), streaming online at the Asteroid Day webcast.

The events start in Tucson, Arizona with an event hosted by our friend, Meteorite Man and Action Scientist Geoff Notkin speaking with Dante Lauretta and Heather Enos from the OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu, Eric Christensen, director, Catalina Sky Survey for Near-Earth Objects and many more.

Other events around the world feature Brian Cox, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian May, Peter Gabriel, as well as dozens of expert scientists, technologists and researchers in planetary science, NASA astronauts Rusty Schweickart, Ed Lu and Nicole Stott, ESA astronauts Michel Tognini, Jean-François Clervoy; and Romanian astronaut Dorin Prunariu.

NASA and ESA are both hosting events as well. You can see the entire lineup of events here (Google document) and find additional information at the Asteroid Day Live website.

In addition, the Discovery Channel, has produced two specials about asteroids and Asteroid Day to air June 30 around the world: “How to Survive an Asteroid Impact” and a three-minute Virtual Reality video that re-enacts the Tunguska event, provides viewers with an insight into the risks of asteroids, how scientists are trying to protect our planet, and what viewers should do if an asteroid is about to impact their city.

There is also a seven-part series called “Scientists Rock” that introduces you to the people working to protect us from Asteroids.

According to a press release from Asteroid Day, central to Asteroid Day is the 100x Declaration, calling for the 100-fold increase in the detection and monitoring of asteroids. Signed to date by more than 60,000 people around the world, the Declaration resolves to “solve humanity’s greatest challenges to safeguard our families and quality of life on Earth in the future. The Declaration is available online for the signature of anyone concerned about advancing asteroid research and technology.

Live Discussion: How Good is the Science of “Interstellar?”

Kip Thorne’s concept for a black hole in 'Interstellar.' Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

The highly anticipated film “Interstellar” is based on science and theory; from wormholes, to the push-pull of gravity on a planet, to the way a black hole might re-adjust your concept of time. But just how much of the movie is really true to what we know about the Universe? There has also been some discussion whether the physics used for the visual effects in the movie actually was good enough to produce some science. But how much of it is just creative license?

Today, (Wed. November 26) at 19:00 UTC (3 pm EDT, 12:00 pm PDT), the Kavli foundation hosts a live discussion with three astrophysicists who will answer viewers’ questions about black holes, relativity and gravity, to separate the movie’s science facts from its science fiction.

According to the Kavli twitter feed, the Hangout will even help you understand what in the world happened at the end of the movie!

Scientists Mandeep Gill, Eric Miller and Hardip Sanghera will answer your questions in the live Google Hangout.

Submit questions ahead of and during the webcast by emailing [email protected] or by using the hashtag #KavliSciBlog on Twitter or Google+.

You can watch today’s hangout here:

Also, you can enjoy the “Interstellar” trailer:

Watch Live as Comet Siding Spring Flys By Mars

Not only will the Mars orbiters gather information about the comet and its dust before, during and after the encounter, a fleet of additional telescopes will make the most of the rare opportunity. Credit: NASA.

Comet Siding Spring will pass close to Mars today, Sunday, October 19, at 18:32 UTC. The comet will come within 139,500 km (87,000 miles) of the Red Planet, which is sixteen times closer to Mars than any known comet has ever come to Earth. About 100 minutes after the closest approach, the densest part of the comet’s tail will pass Mars’ location. You can watch live below courtesy of Slooh, ESA and the Virtual Telescope, below:

Slooh will feature two shows. The first show, billed “Close Call – Comet Siding Spring Zips by Mars,” will start at 11:15 AM PDT / 2:15 PM EDT / 18:15 UTC – International times here where Slooh will track Comet Siding Spring on close-approach live from South Africa and later from the Canary Islands. The second show, billed “Comet Siding Spring – the Outcome” will start at 5:30 PM PDT / 8:30 PM EDT / 00:30 UTC (10/20) – International times here – where Slooh will continue to track the comet live from Slooh’s southern observatory located at the Catholic University (PUC) – both shows will feature expert commentary by esteemed astrobiologist David Grinspoon and Slooh host Geoff Fox. The latter show will feature a special discussion with Slooh astronomer Bob Berman, who will be on location in Chile. Viewers can ask questions during each show by using hashtag #SloohComet.

Here’s ESA’s livestream:

Watch live streaming video from eurospaceagency at

Also, Gianluca Masi’s Virtual Telescope: streaming begins Sunday, Oct. 19 at 11:45 a.m. CDT (16:45 UT)

Watch Live as MAVEN Meets Mars!

MAVEN Meets Mars on Sept. 21, 2014. Credit: NASA.

Watch here live, below, for the Mars orbital insertion of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft, on Sunday, September 21 (or early Sept. 22 depending on your time zone) from 9:30 to 10:45 p.m. EDT, 01:30 to 02:45 UTC). The NASA TV broadcast feed will originate from the Lockheed Martin Facility in Littleton, Colorado, and will feature live camera views of mission control, interviews with senior NASA officials and mission team members, and mission video footage. The spacecraft’s mission timeline will place the spacecraft in orbit at approximately 9:50 p.m. EDT (01:50 UTC).

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Coverage will wrap up with a post-orbit insertion news conference, targeted for about two hours after orbital insertion begins.

Members of the public are invited to follow the day-long NASA Social event on Sunday by following the hashtags #MAVEN and #JourneytoMars on social media channels including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Twitter updates will be posted throughout on the agency’s official accounts @NASA, @MAVEN2Mars and @NASASocial.

MAVEN launched Nov. 18, 2013, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying three instrument packages. It is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the upper atmosphere of Mars. The mission’s goal is to determine how the loss of atmospheric gas to space played a role in changing the Martian climate through time.

Watch Live as Astronomers Look for Object ‘G2’ in Observing Run Webcast from the Keck Observatory

This simulation shows the possible behavior of a gas cloud that has been observed approaching the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Graphic by ESO/MPE/Marc Schartmann.

Wondering about the latest news on the intriguing object called ‘G2’ that is making its closest approach to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy? You might be able to get the latest update on this object in real time during a rare live-streamed observing run from the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Watch live above.

The two 10-meter Keck Observatory telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea will be steered by astronomer Andrea Ghez and her team of observers from the UCLA Galactic Center Group for two nights to study our galaxy’s supermassive black hole, with an attempt to focus in on the enigmatic G2 to see if it is still intact. They’ll also be setting up a test for Einstein’s General Relativity and gathering more data on what they describe as The Paradox of Youth: young objects paradoxically developing around the black hole.

Here’s the time for the livestream in various timezones:

July 3, 2014 @ 9 pm – 10 pm Hawaii
July 4, 2014 @ Midnight – 1 am Pacific
July 4, 2014 @ 3 am – 4 am Eastern

The most previous observations by the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, according to an Astronomer’s Telegram from May 2, 2014 show that the gas cloud called ‘G2’ was surprisingly still intact, even during its closest approach to the supermassive black hole. This means G2 is not just a gas cloud, but likely has a star inside.

“We conclude that G2, which is currently experiencing its closest approach, is still intact, in contrast to predictions for a simple gas cloud hypothesis and therefore most likely hosts a central star,” said the May 2 Telegram. “Keck LGSAO observations of G2 will continue in the coming months to monitor how this unusual object evolves as it emerges from periapse passage.”

For additional info, see our two previous articles about G2:

Gas Cloud or Star? Mystery Object Heading Towards our Galaxy’s Supermassive Black Hole is Doomed
Object “G2? Still Intact at Closest Approach to Galactic Center, Astronomers Report

Webcast: “Stellar Explosions and Death Dances”

When stars die, their final gasps can trigger the most powerful blasts of energy in the universe. Their demise can also lead to a bizarre death dance as the voracious corpse of a dead star begins consuming a nearby companion.

Today (Feb. 5) you can watch a live webcast (or watch the replay later) to learn about the recent detection of a dying star igniting the most powerful blast ever seen – something so powerful it radiated energy that was nearly 50 billion times that of visible light. Also learn how scientists have discovered that a familiar sight in the skies is actually our earliest view yet of a star being consumed by the remnant of a nearby exploded star.

The webcast starts at 19:00 UTC (3 pm EDT, Noon PDT). You can watch below. To submit questions ahead of time or during the webcast, send an email to [email protected] or post on Twitter with hashtag #KavliLive. You can find additional information from the Kavli Foundation here.

Watch Live: ESA Waits for Signal from Comet-Chasing Spacecraft


Watch live streaming video from eurospaceagency at

UPDATE: Rosetta woke up! Read our full story about the acquisition of signal here.

For the first time, a spacecraft will follow a comet as it approaches the Sun and land on its nucleus. But today is key to the success of the mission. After nearly two and a half years in hibernation, its time for Rosetta to wake up!

Rosetta has been soaring through the inner solar system for nearly a decade –flying past Mars and Earth several times and even briefly visiting a couple of asteroids. A special ‘hibernation mode’ for the spacecraft was designed by engineers to allow it to survive the large distances from the Sun during its cruise. Since it went into hibernation on June 9, 2011, Rosetta has orbited entirely on its own completely out of contact. But now the Rosetta spacecraft is finally entering the home stretch of its mission to orbit the 4-km-wide comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Watch live, above, as mission controllers at ESA await for a signal from the spacecraft. The Rosetta mission control team at ESOC is expecting to receive the signal between 17:30-18:30 UTC.
Continue reading “Watch Live: ESA Waits for Signal from Comet-Chasing Spacecraft”

Watch Live Webcast of the Active Sun

A closeup look at sunspot AR1944 on January 6, 2013, comparing its size to Earth. Credit and copyright: Ron Cottrell.

The team from Slooh will broadcast a live Solar special focusing on the sudden emergence of hyperactivity on the Sun — lately attributed sunspot AR 1944. Right now, the Sun is in what is supposed to be the active phase of its 11-year solar cycle, Solar Cycle 24. While this has been an unusually quiet solar maximum, lately the Sun has been more active.

The broadcast will feature live feeds of the Sun from the Prescott Observatory run by Matt Francis and Slooh astronomer Bob Berman. They will provide live expert commentary during the 30 minute broadcast. The Solar Special will start at 10:00 AM PST/ 1:00 PM EST/ 18:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 15th.

You can watch live, below, or the replay if you missed it live:

Watch MAVEN Launch Live!

Screenshot from NASA TV of the MAVEN launch from Cape Canaveral.

Live streaming video by Ustream

Once again, we’re heading to Mars! At 18:28 UTC (1:28 p.m. EST), NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft launched successfully from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, beginning its 10-month journey to Mars. Launching aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, MAVEN will take critical measurements of the Martian upper atmosphere to help scientists understand climate change over the Red Planet’s history.

We’ll keep the live feed from NASA TV up for a while so you can continue to watch all the post-launch action. If you want to see a replay of the launch, see the video below.

Stay tuned for more details on the launch and post-launch activities!

Watch Live: Defending Earth from Asteroids

Asteroid mining concept. Credit: NASA/Denise Watt

Live streaming video by Ustream

We know that hundreds of thousands of asteroids orbit the Sun, and a very few have a high risk of striking Earth. There are also asteroids that haven’t been discovered yet that can surprise us, as evidenced by the explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia, last February. This event was confirmation that an asteroid strike is a risk we do face. But also, how do scientists counter the pseudo-scientific claims and fears that asteroids seem to generate? And what opportunities do asteroids provide for mining useful resources?

Watch live today (Friday, October 25, 2013) at 15:00 UTC (11 am EDT) as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, astronauts Rusty Schweickart, Tom Jones, Ed Lu, Soichi Noguchi and others discuss the research and the steps that are being taken to avoid these potential natural disasters. With current space technology, scientists know how to deflect the majority of hazardous near-Earth objects, but these technologies have not yet been tested in space, and prevention is only possible if nations work together on detection and deflection.

This webcast is sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History. You can see their webpage about this event here.