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Marketing Space

I have to admit, I laughed, especially at the “Pluto” part. Still, I do sometimes worry about the future of NASA marketing. Promoting movies like “The Martian” is great, but I wonder if this will backfire in the long run. I agree with...Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: Multiple Star Systems

The stars are not as they seem. The nearest one is tens of trillions of kilometers away, a distance so terrible that the might and power of Alpha Centauri is reduced to a faint spark that can be washed away by the lights of a nearby city. Distance shrinks details, too. Show More Summary

Global Epic Eclipse

Well, despite some baseless fears, we’re still here after Sunday night’s lovely lunar eclipse. It was quite nice here in Colorado; the Moon was still very low to the horizon when it started to pass into the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow. Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: Black Holes

OK, so here’s the thing about black holes: They’re weird. Well, that’s not the only thing about black holes. And that’s the problem. There’s a lot to know about black holes, and it goes from simple to brain-melty pretty quickly. I had...Show More Summary


A microburst might sound like some astronomical minicatastrophe, but it’s actually a much more terrestrial event: A sudden accelerating downdraft of wind from a cloud that can, at times, be quite violent. Some are dry, with just air descending at high speed, while some are wet, loaded with water. Show More Summary

Ride Along With a Soyuz Rocket Into Orbit

One of the best innovative uses of remote cameras is when space agencies strap them onto the sides of rockets. It’s probably the closest most of us will ever get to seeing what it’s like to hitch a ride into space. On April 3, 2014,Show More Summary

Plucky Milky Way

Just when I think I’ve seen every variation of time-lapse animation of the night sky, along comes Joaquín Baldwin with his very clever and captivating short animation “Scintillaris”: Ha! I love how the music punctuates his plucking the stars from the sky. Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: High Mass Stars and Supernovae

High mass stars are a bit scary. These are beasts more than roughly eight times the mass of the Sun. The rate at which they generate energy goes up hugely with mass, so a star with eight times the Sun’s mass shines thousands of times more brightly. Show More Summary

What Climate Change Deniers Sound Like to Normal People

Y’know, I can rail about trillions of tons of ice melting from the poles, and how we’re dumping billions of tons of CO 2 in to the air every year, and how our sea levels are rising, and how 97 percent or more of climate scientists agree...Show More Summary

Video of an Extremely Bright Fireball over Bangkok

An extremely bright fireball was seen over Bangkok, Thailand this morning (Sep. 7, 2015) at about 08:40 local time (0:40 UTC). Many witnesses saw and heard it, and it left a vapor trail as well. The video is impressive (the meteor comes...Show More Summary

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

What would you do if you happened upon a lovely and quaint English village, tucked away in a lush valley… and everyone there was gone? Vanished, suddenly, with meals half-cooked, birds lying in the streets where they’ve fallen, mysterious...Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: In Which I Mispronounce Things

Last week, we put up Episode 30 of Crash Course Astronomy, and after every [episode modulo 10 = 0] episodes we post a blooper reel, outtakes from the last few episodes we’ve recorded. So here you go, Outtakes No. 3, which is mostly me...Show More Summary

INTENSE Aurora Display over Sweden!

Astrophotographer Göran Strand was out on the night of Aug. 26, 2015 in Östersund, Sweden, when the sky erupted in auroral flames! He caught the whole thing in both time-lapse and real-time video, and it’s stunning. Wow! Aurorae are formed when subatomic particles from the Sun are funneled down into our atmosphere by the Earth’s magnetic field. Show More Summary

Solar Photobomber

So you’re taking telescopic photographs of the Sun, watching the solar disk seethe under intense forces while blasting huge, towering prominences tens of thousands of kilometers into space, when your photo is completely ruined by a rude...Show More Summary

Satellite Re-Entry Surprises Hawaii

Folks in Hawaii got a shock — or a thrill, depending on how much they knew about what they were seeing — when a very bright and dramatic “shooting star” blew across their skies on Aug. 31, 2015. Here’s video: That’s one example of many...Show More Summary

Inundated By Global Warming

Do you think global warming is something that only affects us sometime in the future, decades or centuries from now? Think again. Our planet heating up is affecting us now, and has been for decades. We’re already seeing a lot of serious...Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: White Dwarfs and Planetary Nebulae

I’ll be honest: Every episode of Crash Course Astronomy has been fun to write, edit, and shoot. They all really have. But the past few episodes, and the next few to come, deal with one of my favorite topics in astronomy: What happens...Show More Summary

Make Me Dream, Under the Stars

One of the things I love best is when someone looks through a telescope for the first time. Even better when it’s a kid; a simple glance through the eyepiece, a single moment, and a lifetime of joy and wonder is theirs. During the week...Show More Summary

Bubbly Hurricane

I used to play a lot with soap bubbles. Long after I grew up, I mean. Scientifically, they’re very interesting; they explore such topics as thin film surfaces, optical interference, least-area surfaces, shape packing, and all kinds of...Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: Low Mass Stars and the Fate of the Sun

It’s time to take a step out into the greater Universe in Crash Course Astronomy. Sure, exoplanets and brown dwarfs got us out of the solar system, but when you want to understand what’s going on in the cosmos, you have to look at stars. We dipped into them in Episode 26, but now it’s time to start poking into their guts in detail. Show More Summary

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