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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

FaviconMoon and the Scorpion 17 Apr 2014, 1:00 am

The heart of the scorpion is doomed. Sometime within the next million years or so, the star Antares is likely to blow itself apart as a supernova. Only its tiny, dead core will remain — a neutron star.

That same fate awaits several other bright stars in Scorpius, including one that’s quite close to the Moon tonight. Acrab is to the right of the Moon as they climb into view after midnight, at the end of a short line of three stars that represents the scorpion’s head.

Acrab is actually a stellar sextuplet. It consists of two tight pairs of stars, each of which has a distant companion. The two triplets are then bound to each other as well, giving Acrab six stars in all.

Two of those stars appear to be at least 10 times as massive as the Sun. That’s above the weight limit that determines which stars will explode as supernovae. So within a few million years, the cores of each of these stars probably will collapse, and their outer layers will blast into space. For a few weeks, each explosion will shine as brightly as billions of normal stars. After that, the stars will fade from sight.

For now, though, Acrab remains in good view. Look for it just to the right of the Moon after midnight. Much brighter Antares, the orange star that marks the scorpion’s heart, stands below them. And an even brighter pinpoint of light — the golden planet Saturn — is farther to their upper right. The whole tableau is low in the southwest at first light.

 

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 Saturn 16 Apr 2014, 1:00 am

The Moon and the planet Saturn stage quite a performance tonight. They rise in late evening, with bright golden Saturn quite close to the upper left of the Moon. They remain close as they arc low across the south during the wee hours of the morning, with Saturn moving to the right of the Moon at first light.

Saturn has quite a collection of moons of its own. More than 50 have been confirmed, with several more on the list of possibilities.

Some of these moons are fascinating worlds in their own right. Titan, the largest of them, has a dense, cold atmosphere made of hydrocarbons. Lakes of liquid methane and ethane dot its surface, and an ocean of liquid water may lie far below Titan’s icy crust.

Liquid water also lies beneath the crust of Enceladus, which is near the outer edge of Saturn’s rings. But some of its water escapes into space through powerful geysers near the moon’s south pole. The water freezes, adding fresh ice to one of the rings.

These moons probably formed along with Saturn itself. But many of the planet’s moons may be asteroids that were captured when they flew close to Saturn. Such a capture would have been easier early in Saturn’s life, when it was likely encircled by gas and dust left over from its formation. Friction with this material slowed the asteroids, allowing them to enter orbit — adding to Saturn’s impressive entourage of moons.

We’ll talk about the Moon and more bright companions 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

FaviconGiving Birth? 15 Apr 2014, 4:45 pm

A bright streak at the bottom of Saturn's rings may be caused by a small, icy moon that is growing as it captures more ice particles from the rings. The scientists who discovered this possible moon, nicknamed "Peggy," say it could be migrating out from the rings, scattering ring particles in its path. The Cassini spacecraft snapped this image on April 15 at a distance of about 775,000 miles (1.2 million km). [NASA/JPL/SSI]

Cassini image of a possible satellite growing in the outer regions of Saturn's r

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

FaviconBright and Fast 15 Apr 2014, 1:00 am

The star patterns that form pretty pictures in the night sky are all temporary. Over time, their shapes will change, erasing the old pictures and creating new ones. It’s not something that’s visible in a human lifetime — or, with a few exceptions, in a hundred lifetimes.

One of those exceptions is Arcturus, one of the brightest stars in the night sky. The yellow-orange star is in the east as the sky gets good and dark, well to the upper left of the Moon. Don’t confuse it with the brighter orange light that’s above the Moon — the planet Mars.

One reason Arcturus shines so brightly is that it’s a close neighbor — just 37 light-years away. In fact, it’s about as close right now as it ever will be.

Arcturus is racing across the sky at about 270,000 miles per hour relative to our own solar system — roughly the distance from Earth to the Moon. That’s faster than any of the other especially bright stars in the night sky. As a result of that motion, Arcturus will fade from view in a hurry — astronomically speaking. A million years from now it’ll be lost from view.

In the meantime, its motion will drastically alter the pictures of a couple of constellations. Today, Arcturus is the leading light of Bootes, the herdsman. But 50,000 years from now it’ll have moved one constellation over, and will be shining near the bright star that lines up between the Moon and Mars tonight — Spica, the leading light of Virgo.

 

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

FaviconMore Lunar Eclipse 14 Apr 2014, 1:00 am

Tonight is one of the best skywatching nights of the year. The planet Mars blazes through the night like a brilliant orange beacon, with the bright star Spica nearby. But what really elevates the night is a total lunar eclipse, which takes place just a few degrees away from Mars.

The eclipse occurs as the Moon passes through Earth’s long shadow. The Moon’s orbit is tilted a little, so most months the Moon passes outside the shadow. This month, though, the geometry is just right, creating a total eclipse.

The Moon first touches the dark inner shadow at 12:58 a.m. Central Daylight Time. Over the following hour, the shadow will appear to take a bigger and bigger “bite” out of the lunar disk. The Moon will be fully immersed by 2:06, and will remain totally eclipsed for almost an hour and 20 minutes. Sunlight filtering through Earth’s atmosphere usually gives the eclipsed Moon a dark orange or red color, although your ability to see it depends on your viewing conditions and your color sensitivity.

The Moon will exit the shadow, bringing the partial eclipse to an end, a little more than an hour later.

And to add to the night sky’s entertainment, the star Spica huddles quite close to the Moon. At their closest, they’ll be separated by just a degree or so — the width of your finger held at arm’s length. Spica will look a bit pale next to the uneclipsed Moon, but should be especially beautiful as the eclipse unfolds.

 

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 64: First Ring System Around Asteroid 26 Mar 2014, 2:00 pm

This ESOcast shows how observations at many sites in South America, including ESO's La Silla Observatory, have made the surprise discovery that the remote asteroid Chariklo is surrounded by two dense and narrow rings.

FaviconESOcast 63: Flexible Giants — The Evolution of Telescope Mirrors 19 Feb 2014, 5:00 am

The clear night sky offers one of the most beautiful views in nature. The eye adapts to the dark and the pupil widens to collect more light and thus allow fainter stars to become visible. But the light-collecting area of the human eye is tiny. To peer much deeper into the night sky astronomers need telescopes with enormous primary mirrors to do a much better job.

FaviconESOcast 62: Three planets found in star cluster 15 Jan 2014, 6:00 am

In this ESOcast we look at how astronomers have used ESO's HARPS planet hunter in Chile, along with other telescopes around the world, to discover three planets orbiting stars in the cluster Messier 67. Although more than one thousand planets outside the Solar System are now confirmed, only a handful have been found in star clusters. Remarkably one of these new exoplanets is orbiting a star that is a rare solar twin — a star that is almost identical to the Sun in all respects.

FaviconESOcast 61: Chile Chill 5 - Impressions from La Silla 17 Oct 2013, 9:30 am

In this episode of Chile Chill we take a closer look at the telescopes and instruments of ESO's first observatory at La Silla in northern Chile.

FaviconESOcast 60: A Polarised View of Exoplanets 4 Sep 2013, 9:00 am

Astronomers know that planets around other stars beyond the Solar System are common. But these planets are very hard to see and even harder to study. Fortunately, there is a clever trick that helps to separate the feeble glow of a planet from the dazzling glare of its parent star: exploiting the polarisation of the light reflected from the planet.

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.

FaviconLDSD: We Brake for Mars 9 Apr 2014, 3:00 am



NASA tests a supersonic parachute under Mars-like conditions for future exploration.



FaviconWhat's Up - April 2014 1 Apr 2014, 3:00 am



Mars at opposition, a lunar eclipse and April's Lyrid meteor shower.



Favicon360-Degree View of the Milky Way 24 Mar 2014, 3:00 am



This video shows a continually-looping infrared view of our Milky Way galaxy, as seen by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.



FaviconFlower Power Starshade Unfurls in Space 20 Mar 2014, 3:00 am



This animation shows the prototype starshade, a giant structure designed to block the glare of stars so that future space telescopes can take pictures of planets.



FaviconCassini: Coming Attractions at Saturn 14 Mar 2014, 3:00 am



What incredible things will the Cassini spacecraft at Saturn see and do over the next few years? Here's a preview.