Hello everyone, Mark 'Indy' Kochte here,
I just wanted to remind you about the Geminid Meteor Shower that is peaking this weekend. Given the holiday craziness, end of year craziness, and general life craziness, I know how quickly things can become lost in the....what was I writing this email about again? Oh, right, meteor shower.
When astronomers first saw this gleeful little galaxy, they most likely had a good chuckle. What if you looked through your telescope and saw something smiling back at you? Two black holes in the center of this cheerful galaxy makes it look like a smiley face.
December will close 2014 with a plethora of exciting space launches and sky watching events. Friend, Mark 'Indy" Kochte is currently working on the MESSENGER mission and stays up to date with the happenings with space exploration and night sky watching. Below he breaks down all of the amazing events happening this month.
Getting out at night and catching an eye full of the heavens can sometimes give us new awareness of the cosmos. Astrophotographer Brian Drourr took these stunning panoramas of the Milky Way. He says being under the stars has changed the way he sees the universe and our place in it.
"If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently. How so? Well, when you look into infinity, you realize that there are more important things than what people do all day." -Calvin and Hobbes
These aren't your average everyday selfies. Each photo is unique and creative because the photographer captured their own image against the ultimate backdrop, our Milky Way. When one spends so much time under the big open night sky, there is no escaping contemplating the deeper meaning of the universe. Whether we star gaze alone, with friends, or with the one we love, we can't help but feel small and humbled in the grandeur of the cosmos. We come to the understanding we are part of something so incredible and so much larger than ourselves. It was hard picking just one photo from each talented photographer. Please click the link under each name to see more captivating images of our night sky. Thank you to all the photographers who contributed images. The last image is an open invitation for anyone who would like to experience a front row seat to the most amazing show this planet has ever seen. We invite you to go out and enjoy the magic of the night as the Milky Way puts on an unforgettable cosmic show!
Summer is in the air and the Milky Way is high in the night sky. Astrophotographers bring the wonders of the universe right to our eyes without us ever going outside. With light pollution creeping in on every part of the globe many never see the Milky Way any more and sadly some have never seen it. Photographers have been eager to share their recent shots of the glorious Backbone of Night, each one a sparkling stellar masterpiece. Sit back and enjoy these extaordinary shots of cosmic eye candy!
Far away, deep in space, a new baby star has been born in the universe. Hubble and ESA teamed up to bring us this remarkable image. This young star is zooming through the cosmos at supersonic speed with a tail made up from the very star that made it. The the gas and dust that surrounds it will eventually become planets and moons of this newborn alien sun.
It's hard to believe the captivating and gorgeous nebula in this image was created by one tiny sun-like star that exploded. Planetary nebulas are kind of like snowflakes, they are extremely intricate and beautiful and no two are exactly alike. Scattered throughout the universe these dazzling cosmic marvels give scientist a glimpse into our own star's distant future.
This is the newest image gifted to us Earthlings by the Hubble Space Telescope, a tale of two galaxies merged together as one. Catalogued as 2MASX J05210136-2521450 this majestic galactic treasure is certainly deserving of a more exciting name. As it's bright nucleus shines inside a cocoon of brightly lit swirls of hot dust and gas new stars are flashing into life.