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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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(audio/mpeg; 3.18 MB)

StarDate Online

FaviconOld News 20 Dec 2014, 1:00 am

This is how M31, the Andromeda galaxy, looked about 2.5 million years ago. The photographer didn't travel back in time to snap the picture, though. Instead, we always see the galaxy as it looked that long ago because it is 2.5 million light-years away, making it the most distant object that is easily visible to the unaided eye. Like our own galaxy, the Milky Way, the disk of M31 spans more than 100,000 light-years and contains several hundred billion stars. Bright young stars outline its spiral arms. Two small satellite galaxies stand above and below M31. [Adam Evans/Wikipedia]

The Andromeda galaxy, M31

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

FaviconDeep Vision 20 Dec 2014, 1:00 am

If you gaze long enough into a dark, starry sky — a sky that’s not polluted by streetlights or the Moon — it seems like you can see forever. That’s not quite the case, but you can come pretty close: The most distant object that’s easily visible to the unaided eye is two-and-a-half million light-years away.

M31 is a giant galaxy in the constellation Andromeda. It’s high in the west at nightfall, and looks like a skinny smudge of light that’s wider than the Moon.

That smudge is the combined glow of hundreds of billions of stars — a cosmic pinwheel that’s even bigger than our own galaxy, the Milky Way. We’re viewing it from just above the edge, so it looks a bit like a fat cigar.

We’re also seeing M31 as it looked far in the past. It takes the galaxy’s light two-and-a-half million years to reach us, so we see it as it looked two-and-a-half million years ago. Millions of stars that contribute to the galaxy’s glow have expired since then — some with titanic explosions that briefly shine brighter than billions of “normal” stars. We won’t know which ones, though, until their light reaches Earth — perhaps millions of years in the future, or perhaps as early as tonight.

We do know that M31 and the Milky Way are moving closer together, so over the next few billion years the galaxy will grow larger and brighter. Eventually, it and the Milky Way may merge — and some other galaxy will take M31’s place on the edge of forever.

 

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

FaviconMore Moon and Saturn 19 Dec 2014, 1:00 am

The Norse gods had a big problem. The wolf known as Fenrir — the offspring of the nasty god Loki — was getting so big that they couldn’t control him. So they tied him up with the world’s strongest chain, and propped his mouth open with a sword. At the end of the cycle of time, though, when the cosmos was destroyed then reborn, he escaped, devouring everything in his path — including Odin, the king of the gods.

Fenrir is commemorated in the name of one of the moons of Saturn, which was discovered 10 years ago this month.

The moons were found by a team led by Scott Sheppard. The scientists were using a telescope in Hawaii to scan the giant planet for undiscovered moons. And in December of 2004, they found a dozen of them.

Several of the newly found moons were named for characters from Norse mythology, so together, they’re known as the Norse moons. They’re mountain-sized boulders orbiting millions of miles from Saturn. Their orbits are backwards — they orbit in the opposite direction from Saturn’s rotation on its axis.

These moons probably weren’t born with Saturn itself. Instead, they were parts of large asteroids that were captured by Saturn’s gravity. Later, they were shattered by collisions — giving Saturn some tiny moons with big names.

And Saturn is close to our own Moon at dawn tomorrow. It looks like a bright star to the Moon’s upper right — a world with an amazing collection of more than 60 known moons.

 

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

FaviconImpressions of a Planet 18 Dec 2014, 1:00 am

Bands of clouds, whirling storms, and a hexagonal ring near the planet's pole make this image of Saturn snapped by the Cassini spacecraft look like the work of a great Impressionist painter. Saturn's atmosphere is topped by clouds that are stretched into globe-circling bands by the planet's fast rotation. The large storm systems in this image are as big as the United States, and most are created by the interplay between cloud bands. [NASA/JPL/SSI]

Cassini close-up of Saturn's clouds

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

FaviconMoon and Saturn 18 Dec 2014, 1:00 am

A bare wisp of a crescent Moon shines down on the planet Saturn at dawn tomorrow. Saturn is close to the lower left of the Moon, and looks like a bright golden star.

If you remove its beautiful rings, Saturn itself looks a bit bland — like a slightly flattened beachball colored in bands of yellow, tan and white. The bands are formed by clouds. Saturn is a big ball of gas that spins rapidly, so the clouds are stretched into bands that completely encircle the planet.

If you look at those bands more closely, though, Saturn takes on a painterly appearance, like the works of a great Impressionist. Waves form at the boundaries between bands, spinning off whorls and eddies that are as big as continents.

Giant storms sometimes bubble up from deep within Saturn’s atmosphere. These giant blobs are quickly sheared apart by the planet’s rotation. As they spread they form waves and swirls that look a bit like cream swirling into a cup of hot coffee.

And Saturn’s poles are among the most amazing views of all. The cloud bands around them form hexagons — the result of standing waves that slosh around the planet. And the poles themselves form vortexes, with splashes of white clouds floating atop them — brilliant splashes that crown Saturn’s subtle beauty.

Again, look for the bright planet Saturn just below the Moon tomorrow, beginning a couple of hours before sunrise.

Tomorrow: Taming some of Saturn’s small moons.

 

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

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: 70: Green Light for E-ELT Construction 4 Dec 2014, 6:00 am

The European Extremely Large Telescope, or E-ELT for short, will be by far the largest optical and near-infrared telescope in the world. In early December 2014 the ESO Council gave the go-ahead for the first construction phase of the telescope.

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.

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.

FaviconGecko Grippers Tested in Microgravity 19 Dec 2014, 3:00 am



Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are working on adhesive gripping tools, which were inspired by the way that geckos are able to cling to surfaces.



FaviconPlay video: Voyager Experiences Three 'Tsunami Waves' in Interstellar Space 15 Dec 2014, 3:00 am



The Voyager 1 spacecraft has experienced three "tsunami waves" in interstellar space. Listen to how these waves cause surrounding ionized matter to ring like a bell.



FaviconThe Making of Mount Sharp 8 Dec 2014, 3:00 am



How a Martian mountain came to be: the story behind Curiosity's current location on Mars.



FaviconWhat's Up - December 2014 25 Nov 2014, 3:00 am



The December Geminids and Ursids offer up two more chances to see meteor showers this year. Plus, there are two comets to try for through telescopes.



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



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