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Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer

Star Gazer is the world's only weekly television series on naked eye astronomy. Each weekly episode features selected objects for naked eye viewing for the following week. This video podcast contains the 10 most recent episodes of Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer.

FaviconStar Gazers 1 Min. Dec. 30, 2013- Jan 5, 2013 13 Nov 2013, 4:10 pm

Here Comes The Sun

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FaviconStar Gazers 5 Min. Dec. 30, 2013- Jan 5, 2013 13 Nov 2013, 4:09 pm

Here Comes The Sun

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FaviconStar Gazers 1 Min. Dec. 23-29, 2013 13 Nov 2013, 4:08 pm

Bye-Bye Venus,Good-bye And Celebrate The New Year With The New Year's Eve Star

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FaviconStar Gazers 5 Min. Dec. 23-29, 2013 13 Nov 2013, 4:06 pm

Bye-Bye Venus,Good-bye And Celebrate The New Year With The New Year's Eve Star

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FaviconStar Gazers 1 Min. Dec. 16-22, 2013 13 Nov 2013, 4:03 pm

Off To The Races With Venus And Jupiter

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Science @ NASA Feature Stories Podcast

The mission of Science@NASA is to help the public understand how exciting NASA research is and to help NASA scientists fulfill their outreach responsibilities.

FaviconGeminid Meteors Defy Explanation 9 Dec 2010, 3:00 pm

The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks this year on Dec. 13th and 14th. Researchers don't fully understand the Geminids, and new measurements make it more mysterious than ever.

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Favicon"Arsenic-Bug" Redefines Life as We Know It 2 Dec 2010, 3:00 pm

NASA-supported researchers have discovered the first known microorganism on Earth able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic. The microorganism, which lives in California's Mono Lake, substitutes arsenic for phosphorus in the backbone of its DNA.

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FaviconAlien Comets Invade the Solar System 23 Nov 2010, 3:00 pm

Some of the comets in our Solar System probably came from other stars, according to new research by NASA-supported scientists. Studying these 'alien' comets, they say, could reveal new information about stellar systems far, far away.

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FaviconHubble Observes Possible Asteroid Collision 13 Oct 2010, 2:00 am

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured rare images of a suspected asteroid collision. The snapshots show a bizarre X-shaped object at the head of a comet-like trail of material. Their findings will be published in the Oct. 14th issue of Nature.

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StarDate Online

FaviconGalactic Tadpole 27 Nov 2014, 1:00 am

A colliding galaxy known as the Tadpole wiggles across space in this Hubble Space Telescope image. The galaxy was either hit or sideswiped by a smaller galaxy, disrupting the larger galaxy's disk and pulling out a "tail" of stars, gas, and dust that spans a quarter-million light-years. [NASA/H. Ford (JHU)/G. Illingworth (USCS/LO)/M. Clampin (STScI)/G. Hartig (STScI)/ACS Science Team/ESA]

Hubble Space Telescope view of Tadpole Galaxy

Text ©2014 The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory

For more skywatching tips, astronomy news, and much more, read StarDate magazine.
The one constant in the Universe: StarDate magazine

FaviconTadpole Galaxy 27 Nov 2014, 1:00 am

A dragon and a tadpole slither low across the northern sky this evening, curling around the North Star. The dragon is the long but faint constellation Draco. And the tadpole is the aftermath of a galactic collision that’s just below the dragon’s long, winding body.

The Tadpole galaxy is about 400 million light-years away. An image from Hubble Space Telescope shows a bright “head” with a long, wiggly “tail” extending away from it.

The head is the body of the galaxy itself — a spiral that’s perhaps a little bigger than our home galaxy, the Milky Way. The tail is a streamer of stars and gas that stretches across a quarter-of-a-million light-years. It was pulled out of the galaxy’s disk by a collision with a smaller galaxy at least a hundred million years ago.

That collision squeezed vast clouds of gas in the disk and in the tail, causing them to collapse and give birth to new stars. Astronomers have discovered dozens of young star clusters, including a few that have hundreds of thousands of stars. The biggest is in the tail, and contains more than a million stars.

Eventually, the smaller galaxy will come back around and merge with the Tadpole. And much of the material in the tail will fall back onto the Tadpole, triggering the birth of even more stars. But some of the star clusters in the tail may escape, forming tiny new galaxies — the offspring of a galactic tadpole.

We’ll talk about a different kind of tadpole galaxy tomorrow.

 

Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2014


For more skywatching tips, astronomy news, and much more, read StarDate magazine.
The one constant in the Universe: StarDate magazine

FaviconGalaxy Mergers 26 Nov 2014, 1:00 am

Galaxies could use a set of traffic cops — they’re always running into each other. These galactic wrecks can produce some of the most beautiful objects in the universe. Mainly, though, they just make bigger galaxies.

The collisions are the work of gravity. Galaxies contain anywhere from a few million stars to a trillion or more. Their combined gravity exerts a strong pull on the other galaxies around them, drawing the galaxies together.

Most galaxy collisions involve a big galaxy gobbling up a smaller one. In fact, our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is swallowing several small galaxies right now.

But some collisions involve two or more big galaxies. Such encounters often begin with the galaxies brushing past each other. That pulls out great streamers of stars. It also causes clouds of gas in the galaxies to collapse, triggering the birth of millions of new stars.

This phase can produce some beautiful sights. One pair of interacting galaxies, for example, looks like the antennae of a giant insect, while another looks like the eyes of an owl. And yet another encounter has produced an object that looks like a tadpole; more about that tomorrow.

After this phase, the two galaxies then loop around each other before they eventually merge to form a single bigger galaxy. If the merging galaxies are big enough, they most likely make an elliptical galaxy — a featureless blob of stars that looks like a fat rugby ball: a bland end to a beautiful cosmic encounter.

 

Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2014


For more skywatching tips, astronomy news, and much more, read StarDate magazine.
The one constant in the Universe: StarDate magazine

FaviconMoon and Mars 25 Nov 2014, 1:00 am

One of the problems of long-distance travel is jet lag — the difference between the time at your destination and the time according to your body’s internal clock. It can take days to get the two rhythms in sync.

Matching those rhythms will be especially vexing for the people who explore Mars. It’s not so much the trip that’ll be the problem, but the destination.

A day on Mars lasts about 24 hours and 40 minutes. That’s close enough to an Earth day that explorers will want to follow the Martian cycle of day and night. But it’s far enough from the body’s normal rhythm that it’ll take some getting used to.

The teams that manage Mars rovers and landers have already tried it — they follow Mars time for the first few weeks after their missions arrive at the Red Planet. After a while, they’re all exhausted, although researchers have found that naps, special lights, and other tricks can help.

But the mission teams were still living on Earth, with its 24-hour cycle of day and night — not to mention the normal schedules of their family members and colleagues. Some research suggests that it may be easier to adapt to life on Mars itself. The body may do much of the work on its own, altering the cycle of hormones to reset its internal clock — to the slower “tick” of Mars.

Mars is in good view this evening. It looks like an orange star close to the left of the Moon. They’re low in the southwest at nightfall, and set a couple of hours later.

 

Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2014


For more skywatching tips, astronomy news, and much more, read StarDate magazine.
The one constant in the Universe: StarDate magazine

FaviconOrion Returns 24 Nov 2014, 1:00 am

As if Thanksgiving dinner, endless football, and cool autumn days weren’t enough, the night sky offers one more treat to look forward to at this time of year: the return of Orion, the hunter, to prime viewing time. Tonight, it climbs into good view in the east by around 9 or 9:30.

Orion is perhaps the most beautiful of all the constellations. It’s certainly one of the easiest to pick out, thanks to its “belt” of three stars, which points almost straight up from the horizon as the hunter rises.

Off to the left of the belt is Orion’s orange shoulder — the star Betelgeuse. And to the right of the belt is the hunter’s blue-white heel — the star Rigel. Both of them are supergiants — stars that are much larger, brighter, and heavier than the Sun. And both are destined to end their lives with titanic explosions.

Some other heavy stars are taking shape in a region that’s about half-way between Rigel and Orion’s Belt — the Orion Nebula. To the eye alone, it looks like a faint, murky smudge of light. But it’s actually a vast cloud of gas and dust that’s given birth to thousands of stars, with many more still taking shape today. Binoculars reveal the brightest of those young stars, while a telescope shows many more.

They’re among the many sights that help make Orion one of the most prominent constellations — and a beautiful skywatching treat as we head through the final weeks of autumn and into the long, cold nights of winter.

 

Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2011, 2014


For more skywatching tips, astronomy news, and much more, read StarDate magazine.
The one constant in the Universe: StarDate magazine

ESOcast HD

ESOcast is a video podcast series dedicated to bringing you the latest news and research from ESO, the European Southern Observatory. Here we explore the Universe's ultimate frontier with our host Doctor J, a.k.a. Dr. Joe Liske.

FaviconESOcast 69: Revolutionary ALMA Image Reveals Planetary Genesis 6 Nov 2014, 7:00 am

ESOcast 69 presents the result of the latest ALMA observations, which reveal extraordinarily fine detail that has never been seen before in the planet-forming disc around the young star HL Tauri.

FaviconESOcast 68: ESO Opens its Doors 24 Oct 2014, 11:00 am

On 11 October 2014 the ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany, once more opened their doors to the public. Some 3 300 people used this special opportunity of the Open House Day to visit the centre of the world's foremost astronomical organisation.

FaviconESOcast 67: ESO People at Work and Play 11 Sep 2014, 6:00 am

This new ESOcast features six specialists in different areas who work at ESO in Germany and in Chile. Get to know the work they do at ESO, but also learn about interesting hobbies they pursue in their free time and how these hobbies may be connected to their work.

FaviconESOcast 66: A Groundbreaking Event for the E-ELT 2 Jul 2014, 9:00 am

On 19 June 2014, a major milestone on the road to the construction of the European Extremely Large Telescope was reached. Part of the 3000-metre peak of Cerro Armazones was blasted away as a step towards levelling the summit. This paves the way for the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world.

FaviconESOcast 65: The Chilean Sky in Ultra High Definition 30 May 2014, 12:00 pm

In the Spring of 2014, a team of ESO Photo ambassadors embarked on a pioneering expedition to ESO's three observatories in Chile. Their mission was to capture a wide range of images and time-lapses of the magnificent Chilean night sky and landscape in crisp Ultra High Definition. Join our heroes in their adventures in the arid Atacama Desert as they bring our Universe closer than ever before.

HD - NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

High-definition (HD) videos from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory feature the latest news on space and science findings from JPL and NASA. Topics include discoveries made by spacecraft studying planets in our solar system, including Mars, Saturn and our home planet, Earth. Missions also study stars and galaxies in our universe.

FaviconPlay video: Europa: Ocean World 21 Nov 2014, 3:00 am



Scientists think there is an ocean within Jupiter's moon Europa.



FaviconExtreme Shrimp May Hold Clues to Alien Life 20 Nov 2014, 3:00 am



This extreme oasis of life deep in the Caribbean Sea may hold clues to life on other planetary bodies, including Jupiter's moon Europa.



FaviconHow Do You Land on a Comet 11 Nov 2014, 3:00 am



Right now the Rosetta spacecraft is in the orbit of the comet getting its lander ready for this historic event.



FaviconESA's Rosetta Mission 11 Nov 2014, 3:00 am



On November 12, the European Space Agency will attempt something that's never been done — make a soft landing on a comet. Find out how NASA is assisting.



FaviconQ and Alien: What's in an Exoplanet Name? 11 Nov 2014, 3:00 am



Exoplanets can be pretty weird places, but do their names have to be so weird, too? Watch and learn how the scientific community determines and categorizes these unique planets.