Halley comet to rain down meteor shower tonight

The Halley comet, perhaps the most infamous of them all, will light the night sky in a dazzling display which will be visible for everybody, if the weather permits. The light in the sky The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak early tomorrow morning and will probably thrill nightgazers, if we will be lucky enough to have a clear

$150 million for a trip round the moon and back – one seat left

Like i reckoned in some of my past articles, space tourism is getting more and more popular each year, as more aeronautical companies begin to see the high potential of catering for millionaires’ orbital ambitions. One of the most sought after and ambitious space taxi projects is the highly publicized civilian lunar trip, in the works for a number of

Astronomers plot largest 3D map of the Universe

Unveiled this past weekend, astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have created a 3D map of the Universe using the light from 14,000 quasars, some of the brightest bodies in the universe, to illuminate gas clouds in regions of space some 11 billion light years away. From the study‘s abstract: These features arise as the light from the quasar

Hint: it doesn’t look like a duck, but it lays stars

Some may see a duck, most will probably not, but what you are looking at here (in the center of the image) is Barnard 163, a nebula of molecular gas and dust, which is so incredibly thick that even light doesn’t shine through it. Having a ‘wingspan’ measuring a few light years, this galactic duck (sorry, I’ve always wanted to

Endeavour’s last launch put on hold for at least a week

Space shuttle Endeavour was set to launch a few days ago, and everything seemd to go according to plan; however, technical difficulties are forcing the NASA engineers to delay the launch at least until the end of the week (probably more), which is bad news for everybody who had planned a visit to the launch site (including president Obama and

Astronomers unveil densest rocky planet: ‘super rocky exotic Earth’

The planet in case is 55 Cancri e, and it’s 60 per cent larger in diameter than Earth but eight times as massive, which makes it twice as dense as Earth, and almost as dense as lead. Earth like rocky planets   Generally speaking, planets come in two flavours: rocky earth-like planets, or gas giants (take Jupiter as an example).

NASA fuels Endeavour for one last round

As I was telling you a few days ago, after Discovery, Endeavour is also preparing for its last trip, led by space veteran Mark Kelly. The weird thing is that Endeavour, which will be retired after today’s last mission, is at the moment also NASA‘s youngest orbiter, which kind of speaks a lot about NASA’s capacity to modernize its fleet.

China unveiles detailed plans for its own Space Station

Only a decade since China launched its first human being into orbit, and three years since the first space walk performed by China launched astronaut, Beijing has now unveiled to the world its plans of developing its version of the International Space Station by 2020. China’s space station will be relatively small at size, weighing in at just 60 tones

Government officials introduce bill directing NASA to build a moon base

In what can be considered a highly ambitious project, but quite highly unlikely to get passed bill, Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., has introduced H.R. 1641, the “Reasserting American Leadership in Space Act” or the “REAL Space Act” or simply the “Back to the Moon Bill,” as its named in the vernacular. The key brief of the legislation is a directive

SETI shuts down due to lack of funding

Carl Sagan must be twisting and twitching in his grave. SETI, the project which became synonymus with searching for extraterrestrial intelligent life, was unable to gether the $5 million it needed – which is just 0.0074% (!) of the United States military budget; talk about priorities… Anyway, SETI has shut down its telescope array, which consists of 42 20-foot-wide telescopes

Endeavour’s last flight will also be Mark Kelly’s last

Endeavour will pretty soon begin its retirement, just like fellow space orbiter Discovery did just a while ago. However, Endeavour’s last flight will almost certainly be captain Mark Kelly’s last one too. Kelly, 47, showed his flying skills with twin brother Scott, and signed up for the Navy, then became pilots, and finally, became astronauts; they are the world’s first

NASA releases rose galaxy picture to celebrate the 21st anniversary of Hubble telescope

To celebrate the 21st anniversary of Hubble, NASA released this stunning picture of a pair of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. The larger of the spiral galaxies, known as UGC 1810, has a disk that is distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tidal pull of the companion galaxy below it, known as UGC 1813. Yes, Hubble is more

NASA funds commercial space taxi development worth $269 million

As the last two shuttle flights will mark the end of a thirty year long program, NASA is looking for alternatives to transport astronauts, cargo and equipment to and from outer space. The best alternative seems to come from the private sectore, and with this in mind NASA has awarded a total $269 million dived among several top aeronautical companies

Breathtaking time lapse video of the Milky Way

I’ve recently fallen in love with time lapse videos of the sky, and posted a few lovely ones. We’re setting the bar even higher now, with this brilliant work from photographer Terje Sorgjerd. What happens here is truly magical: a Saharan windstorm invades the sky and throws it into chaos, while the Milky Way is slowly going by its business.

Celestial fireworks from dying stars

A new image of the nebula NGC 3582, which was captured by the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescop at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile shows giant loops of gas that resemble what you would see for New Year’s Eve; however, there probably isn’t much joy in that sector, as these loops are believed to be emitted

Amazing picture of a galactic center

No comment (click the pic to make it big).

Data from NASA’s sky-mapping telescope released

In a move that should make amateur and professional astronomersecstatic, NASA has released a trove of data from its sky-mapping mission, allowing scientists or pretty much anybody with an internet connection to access information and pictures about millions of stars, galaxies, asteroids, etc. Much of the information here is just an update for previous data, but there are a lot

[VIDEO] Watch Yuri Gagarin’s historic orbital flight entirely in “First Orbit”

A few weeks ago I told you a bit about “First Orbit”, a marvelous documentary by Christopher Riley which practically visually recreates the same path Yuri Gagarin undertook exactly 50 years ago when he became the first man ever to go into space. Every six weeks, the International Space Station orbit matches the same arc around the world traced originally

Space ships retirement place announced, Houston snubbed

Everybody was eager to see where the four space ships who will soon be retired will go; the idea was to chose a museum which somehow has connections with the space program, and where a lot of people can see it. Well, what city has more connections with the space program than Houston ? It seems like a no-brainer. But

31 reasons why Yuri Gagarin rocks

Today, we celebrate 50 years since Yuri Gagarin went into outer space, thus becoming the first human being to do this. But there’s more to him than just that. Here’s a list of some of the things that make him awesome: 1. He was the first man to go into outer space, of course. 2. In the middle of the