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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

FaviconJohn Goodricke 17 Sep 2014, 1:00 am

A star with a demonic reputation climbs the northeastern sky this evening. Algol represents the head of Medusa, a monster that’s part of the constellation Perseus. The star periodically fades and brightens, which may have helped inspire its reputation.

The person who first proposed why the star acts so oddly was born 250 years ago today. John Goodricke came from a well-to-do family. That was important because while he was quite young, Goodricke was afflicted with a disease that left him completely deaf. But his family was able to send him to one of the few schools for the deaf, in Scotland.

After completing his education, Goodricke returned to the family home, where he befriended Edward Pigott, a neighbor who’d built an observatory. They decided to study variable stars — those whose brightness changes.

Algol was one of their first targets. They found that its brightness varies with a period of 2.8 days. Goodricke suggested that the change was the result of a faint star or a large planet passing in front of a brighter star — an explanation that was later proved correct. The 19-year-old’s work was rewarded by the Royal Society, England’s leading scientific organization.

Three years later, Goodricke was elected to membership in the society, at the age of 21 — one of the youngest members ever. Yet he never learned of the honor. He died of unknown causes just days later — ending a brilliant career before it could really get started.

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

FaviconThrough the Glow 16 Sep 2014, 4:00 pm

A brilliant aurora glows around the International Space Station in this image snapped in early September by European astronaut Alexander Gerst. An aurora occurs when electrically charged particles from the Sun zap atoms and molecules in the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere, causing them to emit energy. The green color comes from oxygen, while the red can come from either oxygen or nitrogen. The space station orbits at an altitude of more than 250 miles (400 km), which is at or beyond the upper edge of most aurorae. [NASA/ESA]

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

FaviconThe Next Wave 16 Sep 2014, 1:00 am

The next wave of Mars explorers should be getting ready to enter orbit around the Red Planet. A NASA mission will arrive on Sunday night, with a craft from India following three days later.

The two missions share a scientific goal — to better understand how Mars lost its water and most of its atmosphere over the past few billion years.

NASA’s an old hand at the Mars exploration business. Its first successful mission took place almost 50 years ago. The agency has launched roughly a score of missions in all, and about three-quarters have succeeded.

India, on the other hand, is a Mars neophyte. It has sent a successful mission to the Moon, but the country is trying to expand its exploration of the solar system. As a first step, it launched the Mars Orbiter Mission last November.

AUDIO: 3, 2, 1, 0, plus 1, 2, 3, Liftoff! Liftoff normal...

The mission’s main goal is to test the technologies needed for further exploration, from the spacecraft and its instruments to tracking systems on Earth. But it’ll also conduct research while it’s there. It’ll study how Mars is losing water to space, map minerals on the Martian surface, and look for traces of methane in the upper atmosphere, which could be a marker of microscopic life.

And Mars is in view in the southwest as night falls, shining like a bright orange star. Not far to its left, look for equally bright Antares, a star that shines with the same orange color.

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

FaviconSupervolcanoes 15 Sep 2014, 1:00 am

Mars boasts plenty of features an Earthling would recognize, including deserts, canyons, and polar ice caps. And planetary scientists recently discovered another similarity. Mars once had supervolcanoes like the one that erupted more than 600,000 years ago in what is now Yellowstone National Park. These dramatic eruptions may have altered the Red Planet’s climate — for better or for worse.

Prior to this discovery, scientists already knew that Mars had mighty volcanoes — some of them are far taller and wider than any on Earth. But the newfound supervolcanoes erupted so violently that they tore themselves apart. In fact, on first glance their remains looked more like impact craters.

The supervolcanoes last erupted billions of years ago, and they must have affected the Martian climate. On Earth, even ordinary volcanoes can alter the climate by ejecting ash that reflects sunlight into space, making the planet a little cooler. But volcanoes also vent carbon dioxide and water vapor, which warm a planet by trapping heat from the Sun.

Four billion years ago, Mars was much warmer and wetter than it is today. Since then, though, the climate has gotten colder and drier, and no one knows exactly why. The supervolcanoes may have played a role, perhaps emitting so much ash that they caused the planet to cool. Or perhaps they played a positive role, emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases that tried to keep Mars warm even as the planet turned frigid.

Script by Ken Croswell, Copyright 2014

 

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

FaviconSilver Arch 14 Sep 2014, 1:00 am

Some of the brightest and best-known star patterns form a beautiful arch across the sky on September evenings. The curving body of Scorpius, the scorpion, and the teapot shape of Sagittarius hunker low in the south and southwest at nightfall. The Northern Cross — also known as Cygnus, the swan — soars high overhead. And W-shaped Cassiopeia is about a third of the way up the northeastern sky.

One advantage to this lineup is that you can see it even from most cities, where artificial light sources overpower the fainter stars.

But if you can get away from that glow, the view goes from impressive to breathtaking. That’s because those bright star patterns are immersed in the silvery glow of the Milky Way — the combined light of millions of stars in the disk of our home galaxy.

And the longer you gaze at the Milky Way, the better it looks. It takes up to 20 minutes for your eyes to completely adapt to the dark. As they do, you’ll start to see structure in the Milky Way — the dark outlines of clouds of dust, and the brighter glow of dense fields of stars.

And to see the Milky Way at its most impressive, find a safe skywatching spot far from the glow of pesky city lights. Tonight, the best view comes before midnight, when the Moon climbs into view. But the Moon will rise later on succeeding nights, providing even more time to appreciate the silvery arch of the Milky Way.

 

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 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.

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.

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.

FaviconWe made it! Curiosity reaches Mount Sharp 11 Sep 2014, 3:00 am



After 2 years and nearly 9 kilometers of driving, NASA's Mars Curiosity has arrived at the base of Mount Sharp.



FaviconA New Measure of Ocean Winds 2 Sep 2014, 3:00 am



A new tool for tracking hurricanes and tropical storms, ISS-RapidScat is the first instrument specifically created to watch Earth from the International Space Station.



FaviconWhat's Up - September 2014 29 Aug 2014, 3:00 am



Red star(Antares) meets red planet(Mars) and view the zodiacal light that points towards Jupiter.



FaviconThe Rosetta Mission Asks: What Can We Learn From Comets? 27 Aug 2014, 3:00 am



The Rosetta mission will give us an unprecedented look inside a comet, watching the icy traveler become active as it nears the sun.



FaviconHigh-Def Video of NASA's 'Flying Saucer' Test 7 Aug 2014, 3:00 am



LDSD principal investigator Ian Clark takes us through a play-by-play of NASA's 'Flying Saucer' Test in Hawaii.