Space Book Alert: Your Ticket to the Universe

Every once in a while an astronomy book comes out that combines stunning high-definition images from the world’s most advanced telescopes, comprehensive descriptions of cosmic objects that are both approachable and easy to understand (but not overly simplistic) and a gorgeous layout that makes every page spread visually exciting and enjoyable. This is one of those books.

A Spooky Space Ghost for Halloween!

Looking like something out of a Tim Burton movie, the eerie shapes seen above are part of a cloud of gas and dust located 1,200 light-years away in the constellation Cepheus. First identified in 1966, the human-like figures with “arms” raised give the nebula its spooky nickname: the “Ghost Nebula”.

“Wonders” App Takes You on a 3D Tour of the Universe

Can’t see the video below? Click here. If you’re a fan of space, you may have seen the BBC/Science Channel series “Wonders of the Universe”, hosted by the award-winning physicist Brian Cox. Professor Cox’s natural enthusiasm for astronomy is nothing short of infectious, and his explanations of far-out concepts help bring the amazing mysteries of…

Vision: Save The James Webb!

Do you love astronomy? Do you appreciate science? Do you have a curiosity about the nature of our Universe, how it came to be and what our place is within it? If you are even reading this I assume your answers to all of those questions is a resounding “yes!” and so I present to…

Kepler Finds a Real-Life Tatooine

Can’t see the video below? Click here. Kepler, NASA’s exoplanet hunter extraordinaire, has confirmed the existence of the first planet orbiting two suns, not unlike Luke’s homeworld Tatooine from the Star Wars films! Unlike Tatooine, however, the planet –named Kepler-16b – is a cold Saturn-sized gas giant unlikely to harbor life. Still, it showcases the…

From the LITD Archives – VLT: A Space Opera

Can’t see the movie below? Watch on YouTube here. Here’s an enchanting video by the European Southern Observatory highlighting the discoveries of their Very Large Telescope (VLT) array, high in the mountains of the Atacama Desert in Chile. The Atacama is the driest place on Earth, far from the light pollution of major cities, and thus…

Space Cell

I don’t usually post images from outside our solar system here on LITD, but this one was too good not to share! NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory made this image of the Tycho supernova remnant, an object in our Milky Way galaxy about 13,000 light years from Earth, in the constellation Cassiopeia. In visible light it…

A Matter of Scale

One of the things that fascinates me so much about the Universe is the incredible vastness of scale, distance and size. On Earth we have virtually nothing to compare to the kinds of sizes seen in space. We look up at the stars and planets in the night sky but they are just bright points…

Lesson Learned

Another good one from the awesome that is xkcd. Brilliant. The Stingray Nebula (Hen-1357) is one of the youngest known planetary nebula – the result of a dying star shedding its outer layers and illuminating the expanding gas with radiation. Located in the southern constellation Ara (the Altar) the Stingray Nebula is 18,000 light-years away….

VLT: A Space Opera

Here’s an enchanting video by the European Southern Observatory highlighting the discoveries of their Very Large Telescope (VLT) array, high in the mountains of the Atacama Desert in Chile. The Atacama is the driest place on Earth, far from the light pollution of major cities, and thus provides the clearest, darkest skies allowing these massive…

Inside a Black Hole

Unlike the typical artist’s portrayal of a black hole as being surrounded by a massive glowing accretion disk of inwardly-swirling matter, like some sort of galactic bathtub drain, this scenario shows a rather naked-looking black hole exerting a lensing effect on the background field of stars. This is a result of a new simulator application…