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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

FaviconShort Moon 1 Jul 2015, 1:00 am

If you love the full Moon, then we have some good news for you and some bad news. The good news is that there’s a full Moon tonight. It’s known as the Hay Moon or Thunder Moon.

It’s also known as the Short Moon — and that’s where the bad news comes in. The name doesn’t have anything to do with the Moon’s physical size or appearance. Instead, it means that the Moon will be in view for a shorter time than any other full Moon of the year.

That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The summer solstice was just a few days ago — the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. So if the days are especially long, then the nights must be especially short.

The difference comes about because of Earth’s tilt on its axis. At this time of year, the north pole dips toward the Sun. As a result, the Sun soars high across the sky and remains in view for a long time — anywhere from about 13 to 15 hours for most of the United States.

The full Moon does just the opposite of what the Sun does. So right now, the Moon scuds low across the sky as seen from the U.S., and it’s in view for a short period of time — as little as about eight-and-a-half hours from states like Maine and Washington, and even less from Alaska.

Incidentally, this is the first of two full Moons for the month of July. The second comes on the morning of the 31st. It’ll be in view a little longer than tonight’s Moon. And it has its own special designation: the Blue Moon.


Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2015

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

FaviconPlanetary Headlights 1 Jul 2015, 1:00 am

The brilliant planets Venus and Jupiter stand side by side like a couple of celestial headlights in early July. Venus is the brighter of the two. It will move up and away from Jupiter over several nights. These views are about 45 minutes to an hour after sunset, looking due west.

Encounter between Venus and Jupiter, July 2015

Text ©2015 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

FaviconLeap Second 30 Jun 2015, 1:00 am

Today is the longest day of 2015. Not the longest interval between sunrise and sunset — that came a few days ago, on the summer solstice. Instead, an extra second will be added to the world’s official timekeeping services, so today will last exactly 24 hours and one second.

The extra second is needed because Earth’s rotation is slowing down. Today, it takes our planet between one and two milliseconds longer to make one full turn than it did a couple of hundred years ago.

In an era of ultra-precise timekeeping, that’s a problem. Atomic clocks keep almost perfect time. But as Earth slows down, these clocks drift away from solar time — the time measured by the passage of the Sun across the sky — by between one and two milliseconds per day.

That difference adds up. So every once in a while, the world’s timekeepers add a “leap second” to bring the atomic clocks back in line with solar time. This one will be added between 6:59:59 and 7 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

Earth’s changing rotation rate isn’t smooth and predictable, though, so leap seconds can’t be predicted very far in the future. So they may be added in back-to-back years, or it may be several years between them.

Adding a leap second can disrupt computers, though, so some have suggested eliminating the leap second. Scientists will vote on that proposal later this year — perhaps deciding to let atomic clocks drift away from the time kept by our home planet.

 

Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2015

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

FaviconBright Trios 29 Jun 2015, 1:00 am

Two bright trios dazzle in the evening sky tonight. One disappears fairly quickly, but the other remains in view for most of the night.

The group that sets first is in the west as darkness falls: the planets Venus and Jupiter and the star Regulus.

Venus and Jupiter are the brightest objects in the night sky other than the Moon, so you can’t miss them — especially for the next few nights, because they stand almost atop each other. Right now, the difference in their brightness is greater than average. Venus is just about as bright as it gets, while Jupiter is near its faintest, so Venus shines about 13 times brighter than Jupiter.

Regulus pales compared to these two, but it does a nice job of rounding out the trio. It’s to the upper left of Venus and Jupiter, at the heart of Leo.

The other trio is in the south-southeast: the Moon, the planet Saturn, and the star Antares. Saturn looks like a bright golden star to the upper right of the Moon, with orange Antares a little closer to the lower right.

Saturn is near its brightest for the year as well. Like Venus and Jupiter, its brightness varies because it’s orbiting the Sun. As a result, its distance from Earth changes over the months as Earth and Saturn follow their separate paths. Earth and Saturn were at their closest last month, so Saturn was brightest then. It’s starting to fade a bit, but it’s still an impressive sight — shining brightly until it sets in the wee hours of the morning.

 

Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2015

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

FaviconMoon and Saturn 28 Jun 2015, 1:00 am

The Moon and the planet Saturn snuggle quite close tonight. Saturn is just to the lower right of the Moon at nightfall, and looks like a bright star.

Seen through a telescope, Saturn itself usually looks pretty bland. Its atmosphere is divided into bands that are tinted in subtle shades of yellow and tan. Storms twirl through those bands, but they’re difficult to see from Earth.

Most of the time, that is. Every few decades, a giant storm bursts into view. Its white core is as big as Earth. And in months, it can stretch half way around the planet.

The storms are like thunderstorms here on Earth. Their clouds are made of water vapor, and they produce lightning and major downpours. The first of these storms was seen in 1876, and the most recent popped up in 2010.

Researchers at Caltech say they know why the storms are so infrequent.

The water in the clouds is much denser than the hydrogen and helium that make up much of Saturn’s atmosphere. So most of the time, the water stays in a layer far below Saturn’s cloudtops.

Eventually, though, the atmosphere above the water gets much colder, which makes it denser. That makes it easier for the warm water vapor to rise high into the atmosphere, creating a massive new storm. But that warms the atmosphere again, so the denser storm quickly rains itself away.

The researchers say it takes several decades for this cycle to play out — leaving a long dry spell between Saturn’s giant storms.

 

Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2015

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 74: Mapping the Southern Skies 30 Apr 2015, 5:00 am

ESOcast 74 looks at ESO’s pair of survey telescopes at Paranal: the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) and the VLT Survey Telescope (VST).

FaviconESOcast 73: Your ESO Pictures 19 Mar 2015, 7:00 am

ESOcast 73 looks at the "Your ESO Pictures" Flickr group, where amateurs and professionals alike contribute their photos related to ESO.

FaviconESOcast 72 – Looking Deeply into the Universe in 3D 26 Feb 2015, 6:00 am

The MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope has given astronomers the best ever three-dimensional view of the deep Universe. After staring at the Hubble Deep Field South region for a total of 27 hours the new observations reveal the distances, motions and other properties of far more galaxies than ever before in this tiny piece of the sky. But they also go beyond Hubble and reveal many previously unseen objects.

FaviconESOcast 71: New Exoplanet-hunting Telescopes on Paranal 14 Jan 2015, 6:00 am

This ESOcast takes a close look at an unusual new group of small telescopes that has recently achieved first light at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile.

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.

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.

FaviconWhat's Up - July 2015 1 Jul 2015, 3:00 am



Take a grand tour of the Milky Way this month – with binoculars!



FaviconFirst Interplanetary CubeSat Mission 18 Jun 2015, 3:00 am



Two miniature satellites will be hitching a ride to the Red Planet to get a front row seat for InSight's landing on Mars.



FaviconAlien Ocean: NASA's Mission to Europa 17 Jun 2015, 3:00 am



Could a liquid water ocean beneath the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa have the ingredients to support life? Here's how NASA's mission to Europa would find out.



FaviconRide Along with RoboSimian 11 Jun 2015, 3:00 am



This video shows the robot's-eye view from JPL's RoboSimian on the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals course on June 5, 2015. Video speed is enhanced.



FaviconFly Over Dwarf Planet Ceres 8 Jun 2015, 3:00 am



A new video animation of dwarf planet Ceres, based on images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, provides dramatic flyover views of this heavily cratered, mysterious world.