The Space X Martian Trailer

In the past year or so it’s been interesting to see space agencies and companies produce movie-type trailers for scientific expeditions.  The technology is there, and it is a proven way to inspire the general public.  It also creates an opportunity to create some of the amazing science being done, even if it’s just a small taste. Space X has been candid about wanting to colonize Mars, and yesterday they released a trailer to give some inspiration to all of us. It shows a system that utilizes their nearly-established system of landing and reusing rockets, as well as refueling in...

Potential Asteroid Impact on Jupiter!

I saw this pop up on Reddit yesterday, where user /u/bubbleweed posted a video to r/astronomy showing Jupiter with a clear sign of an impactor. It was independently observed in Austria at the exact same time.  Notice that both videos show the exact same thing. In the reddit thread, users encourage the original poster to report it to the Planetary Virtual Observatory and Laboratory in hopes of getting follow up from the Hubble telescope.  It is strikingly similar to a 2010 confirmed impact event. The ‘explosion’ of the potential impactor might make you think it’s fake, that it couldn’t explode because...

Supernova is a Good Name

If you listen to an astronomer talk about a supernova, you’ll probably hear something along the lines of ‘A massive explosion of a massive star that is bright enough to outshine an entire galaxy.’  You can imagine how bright it might be, but it doesn’t really give you enough context to get the wow factor from it.  Carl Sagan always said ‘When you make the finding yourself – even if you’re the last person on Earth to see the light – you’ll never forget it.’  Now you, dear reader, have the chance to make the discovery yourself.  A series of images of galaxy...

The Gravity Wave ‘Discovery’

You may have heard about the leaked rumour about the discovery of gravitational waves from earlier this week.  It was from Lawrence Krauss, who is an amazing science communicator and author, as well as a darn good astrophysicist. My earlier rumor about LIGO has been confirmed by independent sources. Stay tuned! Gravitational waves may have been discovered!! Exciting. — Lawrence M. Krauss (@LKrauss1) January 11, 2016 It’s safe to say that as a guy with an inside scoop on a lot of the latest science news, this is something to get excited about.  The ‘LIGO’ he is referring to stands...

Mapping the Moon

After talking about high resolution mapping of Ceres last week, it occurred to me that we have mapped so many distant worlds in our solar system.  We have seen moons of Jupiter and Saturn up close, completely mapped Mars, and started mapping Pluto, pushing our boundaries of exploration.  But what about our Moon? Sure the Earth-facing side has been seen in high definition.  Anyone with a small telescope and a camera can take a great photo of the Moon.  But what about the other side of the Moon, the so called dark side? It turns out that the Lunar Reconnaissance...

The Close-Up View of Ceres’ Mystery Bright Spot

The mysteries of the Occator crater on Ceres have continued to puzzle astronomers and the public, even as we have seen increasing resolution in recent photos.  The latest photos show a resolution of 140 meters per pixel and reveal striking details, though the jury is still out on what exactly the bright material is and where it came from. It seems incredibly likely that the bright spots are ices of some sort, maybe even water ice, since Ceres is a water-rich body, and may have more water than Earth!  One hypothesis is that Ceres has a subsurface layer of water,...

This Video Will Leave You Speechless.

This incredible video was just released by the National Space Society as the New Horizons team is primed to receive the first wave of data from the distant Pluto system.  It feels more like a movie trailer, except that it is 100% true.  I was left speechless by this amazing video and you will be too. The mission comes to a head on July 14th with the close flyby of Pluto and its five moons, though it’s possible there will be more moons discovered during the flyby.  If you want the latest mission updates and to follow along, go to http://seeplutonow.com/. I...

Space Station Docking Video

One of the most difficult maneuvers I can imagine is the rendezvous and docking connection of two spacecraft in orbit.  They’ve launched at different times, they are travelling several thousand kilometers per hour, and they are orbiting the Earth 400 Km above the surface.  And yet human ingenuity has prevailed and allowed us to not just perform this procedure, but to experience it as humans trapped on the surface.  This NASA video shows a real time docking procedure. I can’t help but think of the video game Kerbal Space Program, an excellent space program simulator for anyone who loves the...

What is it like Travelling through the Solar System at Light Speed? Watch and See!

This amazing video from animator Alphonse Swineheart gives us an idea of the vastness of space, showing how incredibly large our solar system is. There are a few long trips between planets, but some fun facts keep it interesting.  Plus the point is that we are getting an idea of the scale of it all. One thing to keep in mind is that each second the viewer is travelling 300,000 Km, equivalent to circumnavigating the Earth almost 8 times! A good thing to remember is that if we were seeing the distance to the next star, proxima centauri, this video...

The Philae Landing: In 3D and Audio!

It’s been a week since the historic landing of Philae on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and the data keeps coming in.  As an Astronomy communicator, I’m always looking for great visual aids in my Astronomy in Action Shows.  They are more valuable to me than any piece of written news because they illustrate a concept quickly and efficiently.  A picture truly is worth a thousand words. But audio and video can be worth even more! Recently an image of the Philae landing was released, showing two images approximately 2 minutes apart.  This image gives a 3-Dimensional perspective of the comet as the...