Blog Archives

Titan: Dabbling in the Occult

Still from the Dec. 20, 2001 occultation sequence. Titan was removed in the bottom image. (Bouchez, Brown et al.)

Back in December of 2001, Saturn’s moon Titan passed in front of two background stars (called an “occultation”) from the point of view of the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory. Astronomers used the incredible resolving ability of the 5-meter telescope’s adaptive optics to watch the event, which revealed the diffraction of the stars’ light through Titan’s dense atmosphere as well as allowing them to measure the moon’s stratospheric winds. Check it out above!

Read more here on Universe Today.

Video credit: A. Bouchez, M. Brown, M. Troy et al./Caltech

Earth-Sized Alien Planet Found Around the Stars Next Door

Artist’s impression of a planet discovered orbiting Alpha Centauri B, a member of the triple star system that is the closest to Earth. Our Sun is visible to the upper right. (ESO/L. Calçada)

These days it seems exoplanets are being discovered nearly every week, with “super-Earths”, “hot Jupiters” and “cold Neptunes” being identified (or at least announced as solid candidates) within star systems all around our neck of the galaxy. To top it all off, today the European Southern Observatory announced that an Earth-mass world has now been found orbiting Alpha Centauri B — quite literally the “star next door.”

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Orion Versus the Space Station

ISS pass over western Florida, USA on March 2, 2012.© Jason Major

I captured the Space Station careening toward the Hunter on the night of March 2, 2012, just a little after 7:50 pm. A half-moon illuminated the event… who won? Well, let’s just say Orion’s still up there and the ISS faded away shortly after!

(I’m sure they’ll be back for another go! They’re a plucky bunch.)

Image taken with a Nikon D7000 and 18mm lens. 30s exposure, 1000 ISO, f/9.

Image © Jason Major.

How Many Stars Can Astronauts See?

Short answer: a lot. Long answer: a real lot… if you include the stars inside the Andromeda galaxy, which is also very visible from space as this recent time-lapse from the ISS shows!

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More ISS Awesomeness!

This just in: new time-lapses from the ISS, by way of the Image Science & Analysis Lab at Johnson Space Center and The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Enjoy! (Descriptions from JSC.)

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Temporal Distortion: A Stunning New Time-Lapse by Randy Halverson

Here’s a gorgeous new time-lapse video created by the talented Randy Halverson and featuring a dramatic score by composer Bear McCreary, recently of Battlestar Galactica and The Walking Dead fame. (Can’t see the video above? Watch in HD here.)

Breathtaking!

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An Orbital View Over Africa (VIDEO)

Can’t see the video below? Click here.


One of the latest uploads to the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth site, this short-but-oh-so-sweet video shows the view from the Space Station as it passes over Africa, Madagascar and the southern Indian Ocean at night on December 29, 2011. Multiple lightning storms flash over Africa while the Milky Way rises majestically behind the thin line of Earth’s atmosphere, capped by a greenish layer of airglow. Also making an appearance is Comet Lovejoy, at the time two weeks after its near-fatal sunburn. It can be made out rising near the Milky Way’s right side, its faint tail vertical.

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