Watch Live as Asteroid 2012 DA14 Whizzes Past Earth

Want to keep tabs on asteroid 2012 DA14 as it whizzes past Earth tomorrow (Feb. 15)? NASA TV and several online astronomy outlets will be tracking this asteroid as it makes its record-setting close shave. This marks the first time there has been an asteroid of this size passing this close that we’ve known a year beforehand. No, there’s no chance it will hit us, but it will come within 27,630 kilometers (17,168 miles) from the surface of the Earth, inside the ring of geosynchronous satellites girdling our planet Earth. It will closest to Earth at 2:25 p.m. EST (19:25 UTC).

Find out how you can watch on TV or online as this 50 meter- (164 feet-) wide space rock goes by:

NASA Television will provide commentary starting at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST, 19:00 UTC) on Friday, Feb. 15. This flyby will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close. You can either watch the feed below, or on your own television if you get NASA TV, or online here.

Video streaming by Ustream

The half-hour broadcast from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., will incorporate real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth, along with live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia, weather permitting.

If you are planning to try and observe this asteroid yourself, here’s our detailed article about how to do it.

Here are other webcasts that are planned:

Virtual Telescope Project, Italy

Astronomer Gianluca Masi from the Virtual Telescope Project will provide live views of asteroid 2012 DA14 from Ceccano, Italy, beginning at 5 p.m. EST (2200 GMT). You can watch at this link.

Bareket Observatory, Israel

The Bareket Observatory in Israel will have a free live webcast of the 2012 DA14 asteroid flyby on Friday from at 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST (19:00 to 20:39 UTC).

Here’s the link to this webcast.

“The observatory will offer a special live view of the close approach, using a remote telescope coupled with a cooled CCD camera, accessible via the Internet,” said the observatory team.

Slooh Space Camera, Africa and Arizona

The Slooh Space Camera webcast will provide views of the asteroid from observatories in the Canary Islands (off the west coast of Africa) and in Arizona. They will also be viewable on iOS and Android mobile devices. Just go to the Slooh website on your device.

Slooh’s webcast will begin on the 15th at 6 p.m. PST / 9 p.m. EST / 02:00 UTC (2/16). The webcasts will feature real-time commentary by Slooh Space Camera’s Paul Cox, astronomer Bob Berman of Astronomy Magazine, and Matt Francis, the manager of Prescott Observatory at Embry-Riddle University in Arizona.

Here’s the link to the Slooh Space Camera website.

Watch Live from Israel: 8th Annual International Ilan Ramon Space Conference

Beginning on Tuesday, January 29, 2013, the Eighth Annual Ilan Ramon International Space Conference will be held in Israel, but you can watch it live here on Universe Today. The conference runs from Jan. 29-31, starting at 06:30 GMT (1:30 am EST, 10:30 pm PST on starting on January 28.)

The conference honors the memory of the crew of the STS-107 Mission and in particular, the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon.

Fourteen different leaders of various space agencies around the world will speak at the conference, including NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. The conference will cover such topics as making spaceflight safer, and determining a global vision and future plans for continued space exploration.

The feed will be broadcast in English with, with several English lectures and simultaneous translation for Hebrew talks.

The conference program can be found here.

The event is organized by the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology, the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies and the Israeli Space Agency (ISA).

Universe Today thanks journalist Avi Blizovsky and Hayadan, the Science in Israel website for providing us with the live feed.

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Can a New Camera Unravel the Nature of Dark Energy?

The 570 megapixel Dark Energy Camera. Credit: Fermilab

Scientists have great expectations for the newly operational Dark Energy Camera, which may significantly advance our understanding of the mysterious force expanding the Universe at an ever accelerating rate. Find out more about this highly anticipated new camera and what it is expected to reveal during live webcast from the Kavli Foundation. You’ll be able to ask questions to Fermilab scientists Brenna Flaugher, project manager for the Dark Energy Camera, and Joshua Frieman, director of the Dark Energy Survey. The webcast will be on October 12, 10-10:30 am PDT (17:30 UTC). Viewers may submit questions via Twitter using the #KavliAstro hashtag, or email to [email protected].

Watch the webcast below, or at this link.

If you miss the webcast live, afterwards you’ll be able to watch a replay on the player below, as well.

The new camera is mounted on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at the National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tolollo InterAmerican Observatory (CTIO) in Chile.

It is the widest field optical imager in astronomy today, and is capable of detecting light from over 100,000 galaxies up to 8 billion light years away. The instrument is composed of an array of 62 charged-coupled devices, and new technology will allow scientists from around the world to investigate the studies of asteroids in our solar system to the understanding of the origins and the fate of the Universe.

It is expected that in just over five years, astronomers will be able to create detailed color images of one-eighth of the sky, to discover and measure 300 million galaxies, 100,000 galaxy clusters and 4,000 supernovae.

“The Dark Energy Camera will solve the mystery of dark energy in a systematic manner,” said Andrea Kunder of CTIO in a podcast on 365 Days of Astronomy. “The idea is to observe four different probes of dark energy. You can’t see dark energy so there are four different probes of dark energy that DECam will be observing. First, DECam will observe type Ia supernova and baryon acoustic oscillations and this will be to constrain the expansion of the universe. And then galaxy clusters and weak lensing will also be observed to measure both the expansion of the universe and the growth of large scale structures. Then we can compare the results from these first two probes and the last two probes and this can reveal our understanding of gravity and intercomparisons of the results will provide cross checks and bolster confidence in the findings.”

Watch Live Webcast: What Does Hubble’s Deepest Image of the Universe Reveal?

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope recently released the deepest image of the sky ever obtained which reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen. The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) is like a time machine, allowing us to see at how some galaxies looked just 450 million years after the Universe’s birth in the Big Bang.

Want to know more? The Kavli Foundation is hosting a live Q&A webcast on October 4 from 18:00- 18:30 UTC (11-11:30 am PDT) to provide the public a chance to ask questions of leading scientists about the image and the science behind it. Pascal Oesch, a Hubble Fellow at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Michele Trenti, a researcher at the Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., will discuss the image and answer questions about how the image was created and what it reveals about the early Universe. Watch the webcast below or at this link. Viewers may submit questions to the two Hubble researchers via Twitter using #KavliAstro or email to [email protected].

Lead image caption: The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF). Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), and the HUDF09 Team

Hangout with Elon Musk

SpaceX’s Elon Musk with the Falcon rocket. Credit: SpaceX

You can now tell everyone that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is a close personal friend and that you are going to hang out with him on Friday. A Google+ Hangout, that is. Musk and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden will be part of a G+ Hangout, and will answer questions submitted by viewers. They will also discuss the upcoming launch of SpaceX’s first contracted cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station. The Hangout will take place on Friday, October 5, 2012 from 17:00-17:30 UTC (1-1:30 p.m. EDT). SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon cargo spacecraft are scheduled to lift off at 00:35 UTC on Monday, October 8 (8:35 p.m. EDT, Sunday, Oct. 7) from at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Bolden and Musk will talk about the flight, which will be the first of 12 contracted for NASA by SpaceX to resupply the space station. Followers on Twitter may ask a question in advance of or during the event using the hashtag #askNASA. On NASA Facebook and Google+, a comment thread will open for questions on the morning of the event. To join the hangout, visit the NASA’s Google+ page.

Join Universe Today’s Live Webcast of the Curiosity Rover Landing

Want to be part of the Mars Science Laboratory landing event and join thousands of others in watching it live? Universe Today is teaming up with Google, the SETI Institute and CosmoQuest to provide unprecedented, live coverage of the historic landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars. Starting at 8 pm PDT on August 5th (03:00 UTC August 6th) a live, 4-hour webcast will highlight the landing of the car-sized robotic roving laboratory. During the webcast, via a Google+ Hangout on Air, scientists, engineers and other experts will provide unique insight into the rover and the landing, and viewers will have the chance to interact and ask questions.

Hosted by Universe Today’s Fraser Cain, along with Dr. Pamela Gay and Dr. Phil Plait, the webcast will feature interviews with special guests, a live video feed from NASA of the landing, and live coverage from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Planetary Society’s PlanetFest by reporters Scott Lewis and Amy Shira Teitel, who will be on location to interview members of the MSL team, as well as and other scientists and NASA officials that will be on hand.

The landing itself is scheduled for 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (05:31 UTC Aug. 6). Curiosity’s landing will mark the start of a two-year mission to investigate whether one of the most intriguing places on Mars ever has offered an environment favorable for microbial life.

As you know, Universe Today, in collaboration with CosmoQuest hosts weekly virtual star parties and science conversations via Google+ Hangouts on Air, and for the Transit of Venus, hosted a special Hangout event that was watched by nearly 7,000 viewers.

Those interested in watching Universe Today’s MSL landing event can find more information and also sign up to “attend” the Hangout on Air here.

The feed will also be available on Universe Today’s YouTube live feed.

You can also follow the action via Twitter from Universe Today (@universetoday) and CosmoQuest (@CosmoQuestX ) by using the hashtag #marshangout

We also have the event listed on Facebook.

Watch the 2012 Transit of Venus Live!

Transit of Venus by NASA's TRACE spacecraft Image credit: NASA/LMSAL


Venus will make a rare transit across the face of the Sun on June 5/6, 2012 and for this historic event, Universe Today will be coordinating unprecedented live coverage. Starting at 20:00 UTC (2:00 p.m. PDT, 5 pm EDT) on Tuesday, June 5, a live 8-hour webcast will provide views from around the world using multiple telescopes along with commentary from astronomers, space scientists and other special guests.

Viewers will also have the chance to interact and ask questions about this uncommon event to learn more about its significance in aiding our understanding of the Solar System.

Universe Today’s Fraser Cain will be teaming up with astronomers Dr. Pamela Gay, Dr. Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomer) and many more special celebrity guests. During this 8-hour marathon, they will provide information on how you can safely observe this event for yourself, as well as sharing telescope views from around the world (New Zealand, Canada, California, Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina, and more). These experts will be discussing why these transits are so rare, how they’ve been used to explore the Solar System, and what astronomers can learn from this event.

The transit will be broadcast as a live Google+ Hangout on Air, and on YouTube live. It will also be embeddable on any website that wants to share live coverage of the transit.

We’ll also be showcasing photographs and other coverage from the public, astronomers and even space telescopes.

To participate, share your views or ask questions, go to the coordinating page on Universe Today,

You can also view it on the Virtual Star party Google+ page, or on Universe Today’s YouTube live feed.

You can also follow the action via Universe Today on Twitter @universetoday and use the hashtag #venushangout

A transit like this occurs when Venus passes directly between Earth and the Sun. Viewers will see Venus as a small dot gliding slowly across a portion of the Sun. Historically, viewed by Captain James Cook and other famous astronomers from days gone by, this rare alignment is how we originally measured the size of our solar system.

There have been 53 transits since 2000 B.C. but only six transits of Venus have been observed since the invention of the telescope more than 400 years ago. There were no transits of Venus from 1882 to 2004, and the next one won’t take place until 2117. The last time the event occurred was on June 8, 2004, and was viewed by millions worldwide. This year, observers on six continents and a small portion of Antarctica will be in position to see at least part of it.

But no matter where you live or what sky conditions are in your area, you can watch live with this special coverage!

Weekly Space Hangout — March 29, 2012

Pamela Gay hosts (with a still photo because the Internets were not with her) the Weekly Space Hangout featuring Emily Lakdawalla, Ian O’Neill, and Alan Boyle talking about results from recent science conferences including mountains on Mercury, metal exoplanets, and rain on Titan, as well as other fun stuff like Jeff Bezos finding Apollo 11 engines on the ocean floor.

Join in the Discussion of the Future of Human Spaceflight, Live from SEDS

What’s the latest on the future of human spaceflight and exploration? Join in on the discussion with a live videostream event from the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) Spring Space Forum, taking place this week at Purdue University on March 29, 2012, starting at 8:30 am EDT.

You’ll hear from the leaders in commercial space endeavors, such as former NASA space shuttle manager Mike Moses, currently VP of Operations at Virgin Galactic and former astronauts now working in commercial space, such as Chris Ferguson now at Boeing and Garrett Reisman from SpaceX.

Every spring, SEDS hosts the Spring Space Forum, inviting prominent members of industry, academia, and other space-related fields to discuss a current relevant issue. This year, representatives from major aerospace companies will be giving short talks on the future of human space flight and exploration. There will also be panel discussions and other events.

The Spring Space Forum can be watched via UStream at this link, and the schedule of events can be seen here.

For more information on SEDS and the Spring Space Forum, see the Purdue SEDS website.