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Ride Along With a SpaceX Rocket Back to Earth

On Friday (May 27, 2016) SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket with the THAICOM 8 satellite into orbit. The launch went off right on time (after a one-day delay due to an unusual reading from the upper stage on the Thursday launch attempt),...Show More Summary

A Dozen (Or So) Ways to Die in Space

Macabre? Sure. But my sense of humor runs dark sometimes, and I love science fiction, so this (very) short animation (very) briefly depicting a bunch of ways hapless space explorers can undergo Death in Space cracked me up. I could nitpick...Show More Summary

Cards Against Humanity Just Paid for a Young Woman’s College Tuition

In April 2015, I wrote about a new expansion pack for the ridiculously popular game Cards Against Humanity. The new pack was the brainchild of Zach Weinersmith, who asked me to help come up with some of the funny science-based questions...Show More Summary

Transit Transit

OK, one more Mercury transit video. But trust me. You'll like this one. Thierry Legault is a genius when it comes to solar and lunar transits. He's caught just about everything that orbits the Earth crossing the Sun, including the space station, Hubble, space shuttles, and more. Show More Summary

Sic Transit Gloria Mercury

Yesterday, Mercury passed directly between the Earth and the Sun, the last transit it will make until November 2019. Judging from my Twitter and Facebook feeds, it was watched by approximately eleventy bazillion people. I got to watch...Show More Summary

Watch the Transit of Mercury on Streaming TV (tonight, May 9)

Transit of Mercury as seen from Australia in November 2006 at around 8:30am, click to enlarge. Mercury is the tiny dot roughly in the centre-top. Tonight, May 9 2016, is a rare Transit of Mercury, where Mercury crosses the Sun's face. Show More Summary

SpaceX Nailed Its Most Difficult Landing Yet

On Friday morning, May 6, 2016, at 05:21 UTC, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket roared away from its launch pad in Florida, carrying a Japanese satellite into orbit. Eight minutes and 40 seconds later, the first stage booster set down on a barge...Show More Summary

Did a Super-Mega-Ultra Neutrino Come from a Black Hole Gobbling Down Matter 10 Billion Light Years Away?

[Why yes, I did have fun writing that title. Thank you for asking.] Astronomers may have solved a mystery that started a few years ago. Or 9.5 billion years ago, depending on how you look at it. Even better? This mystery involves, in...Show More Summary

How to Watch the Rare Transit of Mercury Across the Sun on Monday

On Monday, May 9, a very cool astronomical event occurs: the smallest planet, Mercury, will appear to move across the face of the Sun. This relatively rare event, called a transit, happens on average only about 13 times per century. Mercury...Show More Summary

Jimmy Kimmel: Climate Hero

I have so much to say about it, but really, just watch this (note: lots of bleeped swearing for comedic effect, including from a kid, if that kind of thing offends you): There are so many great lines in this segment, but I think my favorite...Show More Summary

Three Earth-Size Planets Found Orbiting a Nearby Ultracool Star

The search for Earth-like planets continues, as astronomers scour the sky examining stars for telltale clues of orbiting worlds. Most of the exoplanets found are big, like Jupiter, because they’re the easiest to detect. But our technology...Show More Summary

SpaceX Wants to Go to Mars—And It Actually Can

So, SpaceX wants to land a spaceship on Mars in 2018. Wait. Seriously? Yup. Last week, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, made the startling announcement on Twitter: He wrote, “Planning to send Dragon to Mars as soon as 2018. Red Dragons will...Show More Summary

The Earth Is Getting Greener… But That’s Not a Good Sign

A new study just published in the journal Nature Climate Change reached an interesting, if not totally surprising, conclusion: The Earth has become significantly greener over the past 33 years. The main reason? All the extra carbon dioxide...Show More Summary

360° View of the SpaceX Booster Ocean Landing

This is just too cool. Click in the video and drag it around. Hint: At the beginning, tilt up. The Falcon 9 booster landing on April 8, 2016 was pretty amazing. It was windy out, as you can see from the video; once the booster made contact it slid a few meters. Show More Summary

No, Saturn Won’t Be Huge in the Sky on May 1

Another day, another weird Facebook astronomy hoax. The photo with the caption above have been spread around Facebook quite a bit the past few days; it shows Saturn looming huge in the sky over a city, with the annotation, “On 5/1/16 Saturn will be the closest it ever has been to Earth. Show More Summary

Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane … Actually, It’s a Bird and a Rocket.

If you look up into the sky long enough, you’ll see the weirdest things. Astrophotographer Grahame Kelaher was in Western Australia late at night on Feb. 6, and he saw the odd, fan-shaped blue glow in the photo above moving across the sky. Show More Summary

The Future Is Here: A Festival Celebrating Science and Science Fiction

Are you a) a science enthusiast, 2) a science-fiction fan, and ?) live near Washington, D.C.? Then you’re going to love this weekend: Smithsonian magazine is holding a festival called “The Future Is Here,” from Friday to Sunday, April 22–24. Show More Summary

How Do You Get Better Science in TV And Movies? You Have to SEE.

Oh, do I love science fiction on TV and in the movies. I’m grooving on The Expanse, 12 Monkeys, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and more. The science in a lot of these productions may not be perfect, but it’s pretty dang good. Certainly way better than it was even a few years ago. A big reason for that is SEE: the Science and Entertainment Exchange. Show More Summary

Time-Lapse: Field of View

Y’know, every now and again you just need to sit back, breathe deeply, and watch a stunning and lush time-lapse video of thunderstorms and stars circling in the sky. Happily, Randy Halverson has made one for you. Called “Field of View”, the 3+ minute trailer is available in resolution up to 4k, so make it big and enjoy: Oh, my. Show More Summary

SpaceX Sticks the Landing!

Eight minutes and 35 seconds after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched into space, the first stage booster came back to Earth and successfully landed vertically on a barge floating in the Atlantic Ocean. This was seriously one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life. Show More Summary

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