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Category Archives: Reviews

Space Geek Gift Alert: The Year in Space 2017 Calendar!

If The Year in Space calendar were any more densely packed with information it would become a black hole. And try hanging one of those on your wall.

If The Year in Space calendar were any more densely packed with information it would become a black hole. (Don’t try hanging one of those on your wall!)

What brings you an entire sidereal year of awesome space facts and pictures, each and every day? That’s right: The Year in Space calendar! And it makes a super great gift for the space fan in your life (especially if it’s yourself.) Find out how to order below.

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It’s Officially 2016 and Officially Time for a New Calendar

These are the calendars you're looking for.

These are the calendars you’re looking for.

If you just looked at your calendar and realized you’re literally out of days (Happy New Year!) then it’s way past time to get yourself a new one. And if you love space, these are the ones you’ll want.

Produced by Starry Messenger Press in conjunction with The Planetary Society, the 2016 Year in Space calendar is (like its predecessors) a gorgeous 16″ x 22″ (40.5 cm x 56 cm) work of art filled with over 120 images of space exploration and hundreds upon hundreds of bits of information about everything space. Sure it tells you what date it is like any other calendar, but no other calendar I know gives you so much great information about cosmic objects, astronauts and scientists, worlds of our solar system, and daily space exploration history. If you love space then you owe it to yourself to get one of these on your wall NOW. (I just put mine up and instantly learned that Ceres was discovered on this day in 1801!)

And, because Lights in the Dark has your back (and its illustrious author is not only mentioned on the inside front cover but this year was also responsible for writing all of the 53 photo descriptions on the desk version) you can get a discount by mentioning that you saw it on the internet. Order details are below:
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One Space Blogger’s Review of The Martian

The Martian is a sci-fi film that's really a romance about science.

The Martian is a sci-fi adventure film that’s really a romance about science.

If you’re a space fan and you’ve decided to hold off seeing The Martian on opening weekend until you know what to expect, I totally understand — I very rarely see films on opening weekends myself (I have a thing about overcrowded theaters, but that’s another story.) And I also hate to be sorely disappointed in films, which is all too often the case when I’m going in with particularly high expectations. This of course was exactly what I had with The Martian, having read and enjoyed Andy Weir’s book shortly after it was published and subsequently being thrilled not even a year later to hear that one of my favorite directors (Sir Ridley Scott) would be making the movie version of the novel. But, being the big ol’ space geek that I am I felt I would have been amiss to not see the film ASAP, and so I went this past Saturday afternoon. Here’s what I thought of it.

(Spoiler: just writing this gives me a big smile, so you already kinda know how I feel!)

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Where Are All of Earth’s Impact Craters?

Impact Craters of Earth by astronomer Thomas Wm. Hamilton (©2014, Strategic Book Publishing)

Impact Craters of Earth by astronomer Thomas Wm. Hamilton (©2014, Strategic Book Publishing)

When you look up at the Moon through a telescope or pair of binoculars you see a world covered in craters of all sizes. It only stands to reason that Earth must also have craters like the Moon, if not many more because of its much larger size. So where are they all?

As it turns out there are many impact craters on Earth visible today, even though millions of years of erosion by weather and tectonic activity have virtually erased all but the largest and deepest. Former astronomer and planetarium director Thomas Wm. Hamilton has compiled the names, locations, and brief data on each known crater around the world – as well as a few on other worlds – and lists them in his latest book Impact Craters of Earth.

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Learn How to See the Big Picture With “The Orbital Perspective”

The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles (By Ron Garan Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.)

The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles (By Ron Garan Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.)

If you’re anything like me you get a lot of your information online through various news and social media sources. This is great, as it puts the most up-to-date news in front of you instantly. But sometimes it’s nice to sit down and open up a book – yes, a real live book with pages you turn and non-clickable text (gasp!) – and explore a topic much more intimately than you normally could in a web article.

As a member of the “OP release crew” I recently had the opportunity to do precisely that with a pre-release copy of Ron Garan’s book The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles. A decorated fighter pilot, astronaut, and entrepreneur, Ron has logged 178 days in space and over 71 million miles in orbit (hence the title.) He is the founder of the nonprofit social enterprise incubator Manna Energy Foundation and is also the founder of Fragile Oasis, which uses the orbital perspective to inspire positive social and environmental action. During his time living and working in space over the course of two missions – shuttle mission STS-124 and Expedition 27/28 aboard the ISS – as well as participating in various humanitarian programs on Earth, Ron has developed a sense of acute awareness of the interconnectiveness of humanity, of how we really are “all in this together.” Unfortunately, regardless of how beautiful our planet looks from orbit there’s no denying that living conditions in many places around the world are belied by that beauty. Having seen the world first-hand from both viewpoints, Ron has become aware of the paradox but doesn’t feel that it has to be “just the way things are” – he believes we have the ability to change things on a global scale but only if we work together… only if we can achieve an orbital perspective.

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