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WATCH: Wanderers: breathtaking location shoots from our solar system

Erik Wernquist's Wanderers is a beautiful, inspiring, even haunting video recreating actual locations in our solar system, places we may reach someday.

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Solar system drinking glasses


The Planetary Glass Set comprises ten glasses (one for each planet, plus one each for Pluto and Sol) representing the bodies of our solar system, very very very loosely sized to express their relative dimensions.

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Harvard's crowdsourcing a century of astronomical logbook transcription


Simon writes, "I recently got a chance to interview and profile the people behind a collaboration between Smithsonian and the Harvard College Observatory who are crowdsourcing the transcription of logbooks for thousands of photographic plates. It's a massive undertaking that will give scientists access to a hundred years of astronomical data."

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Planet formation around HL Tau, 450 light years from Earth

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"In a vast disc of dust and gas, dark rings are clearly visible," reports the BBC's Jonathan Webb. "Gaps in the cloud, swept clear by brand new planets in orbit.

The Cosmic Tourist: Visit the 100 Most Awe-Inspiring Destinations in the Universe

Open the pages of Cosmic Tourist and journey across the universe with 100 thrilling pit stops along the way. Your itinerary starts with Planet Earth, makes stops on the moon, the sun, a comet, Mercury, resting spots through the asteroid belt, and many other cosmic sites until you end up 13,700,000,000 light years away at “Infinity and Beyond.” Each stop offers spectacular photography and fascinating outer space facts that are written by the BBC’s “Sky at Night” astronomers Patrick Moore, Chris Lintott, and Brian May (who also happens to be the guitarist and founding member of Queen).

If you’ve often sat under the black twinkling canopy of the night sky and wondered… What is that mysterious glow on the night side of Venus? Or… Why is the Delta Cephei, which is 887 light years away from Earth, one of the most important stars in the sky? Or… What are those beautifully bright beaded interlocking rings that are floating 167,000 light-years away from us? … then it’s time to buy your passenger ticket, er, this visually stunning book, which will captivate you with space travel for many moons to come.

The Cosmic Tourist: Visit the 100 Most Awe-Inspiring Destinations in the Universe by Brian May, Patrick Moore, and Chris Lintott

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

How to view the “Blood Moon” lunar eclipse, in the wee hours of Wednesday

Blood moon during the total lunar eclipse in April 2014. Dominic Milan / NASA.


Blood moon during the total lunar eclipse in April 2014. Dominic Milan / NASA.

When our planet passes between the sun and moon in the early morning on Wednesday, October 8, 2014, the moon—-which will be in Earth’s shadow--will appear to glow blood-red.

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Laniakea: scientists' name for our cosmic home

Scientists have now mapped superculusters -- dense regions of multiple galaxies -- across space and have named our own supercluster Laniakea, Hawaiian for "immeasurable heaven." (Nature)

High Camp on the Moon (photo from Boing Boing Flickr Pool)

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"High Camp on the Moon," a photograph shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by Ben Leshchinsky.

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How big is the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet?

With a nucleus size of 3.5×4 km, 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko seems like a mere speck. But Michel (@quark1972 on Twitter) shows what the comet would look like if it were gently set down in Los Angeles. I wish the city would commission a life-size replica as public art! (via io9)

A starry night sky, from the Boing Boing Flickr Pool

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"All in a Row," a lovely night shot by Diablo_119 of Tacoma, WA, shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool.

A beautiful photo of the Moon and Mars, close together on July 5

Photo: Jerry Lodriguss


Photo: Jerry Lodriguss

Jerry Lodriguss, digital astrophotographer, captured this stunning image of our Moon passing close to the planet Mars on July 5, 2014.

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Diamond the size of Earth

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Astronomers have found a diamond the size of Earth. The cooled white dwarf star, a huge chunk of crystallized carbon, is orbiting a pulsar about 900 light-years away, according to National Geographic.

'New York to London Milky Way,' a totally sweet astronomy photo

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New York to London Milky Way, by Alessandro Merga, recently featured as NASA's Astronomy photo of the day.

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Violent birth of a star, as seen from NASA Hubble Space Telescope

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An image released from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows IRAS 14568-6304, a young star shrouded in golden gas and dust.

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Spaceship docks with ISS, astronaut immediately tweets awesome photos

A Russian spacecraft carrying three people docked successfully at the International Space Station today after a flawless launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Our guy in space, NASA's Reid Wiseman, got right to work tweeting totally awesome photographs that masterfully convey the wonder and beauty of being, holy crap, an astronaut in space.

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Camelopardalids meteor shower over Joshua Tree Milky Way

Photographer and filmmaker Gavin Heffernan shares some dazzling photographs, GIFs, and videos of a recent meteor shower that revealed itself best in the California desert, where the Milky Way is clearly visible in the night sky.

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NASA releases 'Global Selfie'

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Here's a larger size, and a zoomable 3.2 gigapixel version, which you really have to see to appreciate the whole thing.

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Watch this awesome time-lapse video of the total lunar eclipse

Video: Gorgeous time-lapse of the recent total lunar eclipse (April, 2014) by Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona.

An explanation, from NASA's Astronomy Pic of the Day:

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'Blood moon' lunar eclipse may or may not signal end times; watch it online with NASA tonight


Image: mreclipse.com, via NASA.gov

Stay up tonight online to watch an awesome lunar eclipse with our astronomer pals at NASA:

Spring is here and ready to capture the world's attention with a total lunar eclipse. The eclipse will begin early on the morning of April 15 at approximately 2 a.m. EDT. If you have questions about the eclipse, this will be your chance! NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams and astrophysicist Alphonse Sterling will also answer questions in a live web chat, beginning on April 15 at 1 a.m. EDT and continuing through the end of the eclipse (approximately 5 a.m. EDT). The chat module will go live on this page at approximately 12:45 a.m. EDT. Convert to your local time here. A live Ustream view of the lunar eclipse will be streamed on this page on the night of the event, courtesy of Marshall Space Flight Center. The feed will feature a variety of lunar eclipse views from telescopes around the United States.

From the Northern to the Southern Cross (astronomy photo by Nicholas Buer)


Image: Nicholas Buer, via APOD.

A particularly psychedelic Astronomy Picture of the Day:
There is a road that connects the Northern to the Southern Cross but you have to be at the right place and time to see it. The road, as pictured above, is actually the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy; the right place, in this case, is dark Laguna Cejar in Salar de Atacama of Northern Chile; and the right time was in early October, just after sunset.

You can follow APOD on Twitter, too.

John Dobson, telescope designer, former monk and open source astronomy advocate, dies at 98

The Los Angeles Times has a beautiful obituary for amateur astronomer and telescope pioneer John Dobson. He died on January 15, at 98 years of age. My grandfather was an amateur astronomer, too; like my grandpa, Dobson used and repurposed salvaged or inexpensive materials (ship portholes, cardboard tubing) to craft his telescopes. In Dobson's design, "a simple, sturdy and highly effective wooden mount that allows users to easily point the scope at any spot in the sky" was the most notable feature.

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Happy holidays from Saturn and its moons, and from the astronomers who study them


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Saturn and two of its most fascinating moons, Titan and Enceladus, are the focus of a holiday image release from NASA's Cassini imaging team. Cassini Imaging Team leader Carolyn Porco writes:

We on the Cassini imaging team deliver to the world this holiday season ... what else! ... the gift of heavenly imagery starring the majestic globe of Saturn and its two most astounding moons, Titan and Enceladus. In this, our 10th Christmas offering from across the hundreds of millions of miles that lie between us and Saturn, you will find some of the most splendid and fascinating sights this historic exploration of the ringed planet has uncovered: the hexagonally-shaped jet stream encircling the pole in Saturn's northern hemisphere, the graceful shadows of its rings arcing across its south, the northern lakes and seas of liquid organics hidden under the hazy atmosphere of Titan, the brilliant ball of glittering ice that is the small active world of Enceladus, and more.

More about the image above:

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Panoramic image of Curiosity Rover under Mars's night sky

Jeffrey sez, "360Cities' intrepid member Andrew Bodrov, stitching master of interplanetary awesomeness, has constructed this composite image (i.e. 'fake view') of the Curiosity Rover at night under the Milky Way. You can even see Phobos, Mars' own moon in the night sky."

Mars Panorama - Curiosity rover: Martian night

China air pollution from space

Speaks for itself, doesn't it? NASA:

When the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image on December 7, 2013, thick haze stretched from Beijing to Shanghai, a distance of about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles). For comparison, that is about the distance between Boston, Massachusetts, and Raleigh, North Carolina. The brightest areas are clouds or fog. Polluted air appears gray. While northeastern China often faces outbreaks of extreme smog, it is less common for pollution to spread so far south.

How we know what atmosphere is like on a planet outside our solar system

WASP-19b is an exoplanet whose atmosphere is probably super hot and super poisonous — filled with methane and hydrogen cyanide instead of water. This video explains how astronomers can even begin to guess at the composition of the atmospheres of far away worlds. (Bonus: A soothing elevator music soundtrack!)

Star-themed tees to raise money for astrophotography gear


Jason sez, "I am trying to raise money to buy better astrophotography gear, so I can take even better pictures, so I'm doing this by selling shirts I have designed."

The Main Sequence (Thanks, Jason!)

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Asteroid named after Randall "XKCD" Munroe

Holy. Smokes. Randall "XKCD" Munroe has had an asteroid named after him. Good old 4292 is big enough to wipe out life on Earth, but alas, its Mars/Jupiter orbit is boringly stable. Still, there's hope it will decay eventually, and create the splash Randy deserves!

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Enormous timescales made graspable by graphs

Wait But Why has a fantastic series of graphs that aim to help us wrap our heads around the enormous timescales on which forces like history, biology, geography and astronomy operate. By carefully building up graphs that show the relationship between longer and longer timescales, the series provides a moment's worth of emotional understanding of the otherwise incomprehensible.

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Excellent goals from an eight-year-old


This list of third-grade goals is presented by redditor Elbostonian as the work of his eight-year-old son. It's a rather ambitious document, but admirably so -- an excellent mix of stupid body tricks, theoretical astrophysics, identity development, culinary adventure, and mystery.

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See a star explode with your bare eyes

Now, to temper this awesome news with a bit of harsh reality: Nova Delphini is not a supernova and it's not going to be as bright an object as you're probably imagining. Discover's Corey Powell has instructions for how to spot it (it probably won't be super obvious, especially if you're in a city) and galleries of photos, just in case you can't see it yourself.