Astronomer, NASA advisor, and serial sexual harasser Geoff Marcy to resign from UC Berkeley

Geoffrey Marcy, possibly contemplating his next victim. [NASA photo]

Geoff Marcy, a famous and respected American astronomer, has announced his intention to step down as a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley, according to an email obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Marcy also works with NASA on the search for extraterrestrial life, via the NASA Kepler Mission.

Buzzfeed first broke today's news of Marcy's plans to step aside. It is the first real fallout he's facing from sexual harassment claims that the reported victims say were ignored for years.

Why would those claims be ignored by UC Berkeley? Because Marcy is kind of a big deal in the field of astronomy, and his name meant money for the struggling California academic institution. Read the rest

NASA rocket launch to be visible along U.S. East Coast Wednesday night

Predicted visibility map for NASA rocket launch Oct. 7.

If you're on the East Coast, keep your eyes on the skies this evening--you might see something rare up there.

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A distinctive, discontinued telescope: the Edmund Scientific Astroscan


I am frequently asked about this beautiful telescope! People think it is a bong! The Edmund Scientific Astroscan sits in the center of my living room coffee table.

I have heard astronomy buffs screech like wounded monkeys at the idea of my actually using this telescope to view the skies. I'm no celestial connoisseur, and this beautiful post-modern masterpiece offers me all I need in an at-home or camping telescope. Screw telling you about the optics, how much magnification it offers (variable based on your eyepiece,) or any other technical data! Here is the important thing:

I love how it looks!

Several years ago, I asked Mark what telescope he'd recommend. He sent me a picture of this one and I bought it immediately. Only later did I find out he just liked how it looked, neither of us did a bit of research on its utility as a functional sky viewing telescope.

Honestly, it is fine. Here is a great video that'll tell you more than you need to know:

If you'd like to find an AstroScan, try eBay! Mine is a lovely, functional conversation piece. Do not attempt to use it as a water pipe. Read the rest

Over 8,400 NASA Apollo moon mission photos just landed online, in high-resolution


Space fans, rejoice: today, just about every image captured by Apollo astronauts on lunar missions is now on the Project Apollo Archive Flickr account. There are some 8,400 photographs in all at a resolution of 1800 dpi, and they're sorted by the roll of film they were on. Read the rest

Scale model of the solar system in Nevada's Black Rock Desert


“On a dry lakebed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits: a true illustration of our place in the universe.” A film by Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh [HT: Mark Day]

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New close-ups from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft show off Pluto's mysterious complexity

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The New Horizons spacecraft sent back new close-up images of Pluto, and they are stunning. Read the rest

World's most powerful digital camera gets green light from U.S. Dept. of Energy

”The LSST’s camera will include a filter-changing mechanism and shutter. This animation shows that mechanism, which allows the camera to view different wavelengths; the camera is capable of viewing light from near-ultraviolet to near-infrared (0.3-1 μm) wavelengths.
Illustration: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.”
Construction has been okayed for a 3.2-gigapixel digital camera, which would be the world’s largest, at the heart of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

Cops mistake students' telescope for rifle, fortunately no shots fired


A group of Fargo, North Dakota police officers confronted two men they thought were mounting a rifle on a tripod behind a garage at night. One man appeared to be wearing a tactical vest. Turned out that the "tactical vest" was a sweater and the two college students were just setting up a telescope behind their house to check out the moon.

NDSU student Levi Joraanstad told WDAY 6 that he and his buddy thought that it was just a couple of their neighbors trying to prank them by shining bright lights at them and yelling.

"I was kind of fumbling around with my stuff and my roommate and I were kind of talking, we were kind of wondering, what the heck's going on?," Joraanstadt said. "This is pretty dumb that these guys are doing this. And then they started shouting to quit moving or we could be shot. And so at that moment we kind of look at each other and we're thinking we better take this seriously."

Apparently the cops apologized when they realized that they had misread the situation. "Better safe than sorry," said one of the officers. Read the rest

Hubble captures shimmering, luminous Twin Jet Nebula

Bipolar planetary nebulae occur when a twin star system lies at the center, forming beautiful wing-like symmetrical lobes. The Hubble team estimates this translucent beauty occurred only 1200 years ago. Read the rest

SunCalc: customizable data for the sun at any time and place


SunCalc is a nifty site and app by Torsten Hoffman that allows visitors to enter any location and date and find out all the details of that day's local solar path: Read the rest

Marvel at the space-beauty of Cassini's final close-up image of Saturn's moon Dione

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Two of the new images show the surface of Dione at the best resolution ever.

Fantastic video of Pluto fly-by made from still images


Astronomical artist Björn Jónsson stitched together still images captured by the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew past the dwarf planet Pluto last month. Read the rest

Landscape astrophotography highlights stars in stunning locales


This gorgeous vertical starscape taken near Death Valley by f1p4 is one of many examples of Reddit's landscape astrophotography group. Earthporn meets starporn! Read the rest

Dark Side of the Pluto

'shooped by Xeni.
"There is no dark side of the Pluto really. Matter of fact it's all dark."

Dark Side of the Pluto revealed in new NASA image from New Horizons mission

Pluto haze! In my brain. Lately, things, they don't seem the same.

How to name an exoplanet, by XKCD

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.08.36 AM
XKCD's hot take on the recent space news around Kepler 452-B and Pluto.

NASA unveils gorgeous new false-color image of Pluto

It may be 'shopped, and we can tell by the pixels, but it's just the most beautiful image of Pluto mankind has ever seen.

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