Hearing the Stars (cross post)

[Cross posted and backdated from a sideblog. Originally posted on 25 Sept 2018 and tagged #spacekult for Nott.]

[Original text is in all caps in white with aqua to show emphasis, which is represented by the bolded text here.]

Gif 1: This astrophysicist lost her sight, so she learned to listen to the stars

Gif 2: And made a scientific breakthrough

Gif 3: As a kid in Puerto Rico, Wanda Diaz-Merced dreamt of being an astronaut

Gif 4: She earned a doctoral degree in astrophysics

Gif 5: But a long illness left Diaz-Merced blind and threatened her studies

Gif 6: Determined not to give up, she realized she could turn data points into sound

Gif 7: Through sonification, Diaz-Merced was able to pursue a career in astrophysics

Gif 8: By listening to the behavior of stars, she began noticing things people couldn’t see, or hear, before

Gif 9: Diaz-Merced linked star formation to gamma ray bursts – a new idea in astrophysics

Gif 10: Her work has helped astrophysicists consider sound as a new way of analyzing stars

Gif 11: A quote from Wanda Diaz-Merced: “If people with disabilities are allowed into the scientific field, an explosion, a huge titanic burst of knowledge will take place.”

Star Chart glasses




Summer & Winter Star Chart – Astronomy Wine Glasses by Cognitive Surplus


omg! Isnt this lovely


Drinking Space (art)

[Cross posted and backdated from a sideblog. Originally posted on 19 Dec 2017 and tagged #spacekult for Nott.]

Kickstarter Progress

I had intended to wait until I actually had the deck in my hands to post about it here, but since I got an update about it today (and today is my birthday), I thought I’d go ahead and give a heads up.

I backed the Flowers of the Night oracle at the request of Several of my People, though Nott and Fenrir were the ones Who publicly claimed doing so. The following is a sample of the companion book’s description for a card (Angel’s Trumpet) in the Kickstarter’s description.


The email today was that the decks are going to start getting mailed out over the next two weeks, though I’m not holding my breathe on lightning fast delivery (it’s shipping from Australia).

2017 Meteor Showers


Here are the dates of every major meteor shower in 2017

Quadrantids: Jan. 1-10

According to the American Meteor Society, these meteors have
the potential to become one of the most spectacular showers of the
year, though it can fall short because of fickle January weather conditions and its relatively brief six-hour period of peak activity. Its peak night occurs Jan. 3-4.

Lyrids:  Apr. 16-25

The AMS says Lyrid is a medium-strength shower that can be
seen from the Northern Hemisphere at dawn, as well as from the Southern
Hemisphere — albeit at a lower rate. Its peak night takes place on Apr.

Eta Aquariids: Apr. 19-May 26

The Eta Aquariid shower is stronger if seen from the southern tropics. Its peak night occurs on May 6-7, according to Basic Astronomy.

Alpha Capricornids: Jul. 11-Aug. 10

This shower is not too strong but, unlike many, it can be seen on either side of the equator, according to the AMS. Its peak night takes place Jul. 26-27.

Delta Aquariids: Jul. 21-Aug. 23

The Delta Aquariid has a stronger presence in the southern
tropics, but its meteoroids lack persistent trains and fireballs. Its
peak night occurs Jul. 29-30, according to the AMS.

Perseids: Jul. 13-Aug. 26

Among stargazers in the U.S., Perseid is one of the most popular meteor showers, as it peaks on August nights and can be seen from the Northern Hemisphere. According to Basic Astronomy, its peak night takes place on Aug. 12-13.

Orionids: Oct. 4-Nov. 14

The Orionids create a medium-strength shower that sometimes
reaches higher activity like Perseid. The shower’s peak night is Oct.
21-22, according to Basic Astronomy.

Southern Taurids: Sept. 7-Nov. 19

The falling Southern Taurids result in a long-lasting shower
but one produces just more than five shower members per hour, a
relatively low number. Its peak night takes place on Oct. 9-10,
according to the AMS.

Northern Taurids: Oct. 19-Dec. 10.

Like the Southern Taurids, Northern Taurids occur over a
span of two months. When these two showers become simultaneously active
in late October, it creates increased fireball activity. Peak night
occurs on Nov. 10-11, according to the AMS.

Leonids: Nov. 5-Nov. 30

Leonids are known for causing large meteor storms, with some
of the most notable occurring in the mid-1800s, in 1996 and again in
2001. Its peak night occurs Nov. 17-18, Basic Astronomy reported.

Geminids: Dec. 4-Dec. 16

Germanids are usually the strongest meteor shower of the
year, and it can also be seen from the Southern Hemisphere. According
to Basic Astronomy, Germanids’ peak night takes place Dec. 13-14.

Ursids: Dec. 17-Dec. 23

The AMS underscores that this shower, which occurs just before Christmas, is strictly a Northern Hemisphere stargazing show. Its peak night takes place Dec. 22-23, according to Basic Astronomy.

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Solar System: Things to Know This Week


The Quadrantid meteor shower peaked this morning. Here are some fun facts:


1. Where Is

Quadrans Muralis?

The radiant of the Quadrantids lies in the demoted constellation Quadrans Muralis.



2. What Is a

Mural Quadrant?

The Mural Quadrant is an angle measuring device mounted on or built into a wall.

Quadrans Muralis appears on some 19th-century star atlases between Hercules, Boötes and Draco, and different astronomers changed the stars from time to time.



3. New Constellations

In the early 1920’s, the International Astronomical Union divided up the sky into official constellations for consistency in star naming. 88 constellations remained, but over 30 historical constellations, including Quadrans Muralis, didn’t make the cut.



4. Where Is It Now?

Most of the Quadrans Muralis stars are now within the boundaries of the official constellation Boötes, but the name of the meteor shower did not change.



5. Where Do Meteor Showers Come From?

Meteor showers are usually the residue that collects in the orbits of comets. Unlike most meteor showers’ parent bodies, the Quadrantids are associated with an asteroid—2003 EH1.


Discover the full list of 10 things to know about our solar system this week HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Solar System: Things to Know This Week


Learn more about our Deep Space Network, where to watch the Ursid meteor shower, Cassini’s ring-grazing at Saturn and more.


1. A Deep Space Anniversary

On Dec. 24, 1963, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Deep Space Information Facility was renamed the Deep Space Network. And, it’s been humanity’s ear to the skies ever since.

+ History of the Deep Space Network


2. Ursid Meteor Shower 

The best time to view the Ursids, radiating from Ursa Minor, or the little Dipper, will be from midnight on December 21 until about 1a.m. on December 22, before the moon rises.



3. At Saturn, the Ring-Grazing Continues

Our Cassini spacecraft has completed several orbits that take it just outside Saturn’s famous rings.

The first ring-grazing orbit began on November 30. The spacecraft will repeat this feat 20 times, with only about a week between each ring-plane crossing.

+ Learn more

4. Preparing for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Next year North America will see one of the most rare and spectacular of all sky events. Learn how to prepare.

+ 2017 Solar Eclipse Toolkit


5. Searching for Rare Asteroids

Our first mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth will be multitasking during its two-year outbound cruise to the asteroid Bennu. On February 9-20, OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer) will activate its onboard camera suite and begin its search for elusive “Trojan,” asteroids, constant companions to planets in our solar system as they orbit the sun, remaining near a stable point 60 degrees in front of or behind the planet. Because they constantly lead or follow in the same orbit, they will never collide with their companion planet.

Discover the full list of 10 things to know about our solar system this week HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Solar System: Things to Know This Week


Ready for a free show? Here’s our guide to the brightest shows on Earth for 2017–meteor showers! And, there’s no telescope required.

The sky may not be falling, but it can certainly seem that way during a meteor shower. Shooting stars, as meteors are sometimes called  occur when rock and debris in space fall through the Earth’s atmosphere, leaving a bright trail as they are heated to incandescence by friction with the air. Sometimes the number of meteors in the sky increases dramatically, becoming meteor showers. Some showers occur annually or at regular intervals as the Earth passes through the trail of dusty debris left by a comet. Here’s a guide to the top meteor showers expected in 2017.


1. Quadrantids, January 3-4

At its peak this shower will have about 40 meteors per hour. The parent comet is 2003 EH1, which was discovered in 2003. First quarter moon sets after midnight and meteors radiate from the constellation Bootes.


2. Eta Aquarids, May 6-7

This shower will have up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak and is produced by dust particles left behind by comet Halley, which has been known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from April 19 to May 28. The waxing gibbous moon will block out many of the fainter meteors this year. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius.


3. Perseids, August 12-13

The annual Perseid shower will have up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseids are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors. The shower runs annually from July 17 to August 24. The waning gibbous moon will block out many of the fainter meteors this year, but the Perseids are so bright and numerous that it should still be a good show. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Perseus.


4. Draconids, October 7

This is a minor shower that will produce only about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900. The Draconids is an unusual shower in that the best viewing is in the early evening instead of early morning like most other showers. The shower runs annually from October 6-10 and peaks this year on the the night of the 7th. Unfortunately, the nearly full moon will block all but the brightest meteors this year. If you are extremely patient, you may be able to catch a few good ones. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco.


5. Geminids, December 13-14

The Geminids may be the best shower, producing up to 120 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon, which was discovered in 1982. The shower runs annually from December 7-17. The waning crescent moon will be no match for the Geminids this year. The skies should still be dark enough for an excellent show. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Gemini, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

Discover the full list of 10 things to know about our solar system this week HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

What’s Up for December 2016?


What’s Up for December? Mars and Neptune above the crescent moon and a New Year’s Eve comet!


2016 ends with fireworks as three planets line up as if ejected from a Roman candle. Mercury, Venus and Mars are visible above the sunset horizon all month long.


As Venus climbs higher in the sky, it looks brighter and larger than it appeared last month.


On New Year’s Eve, Mars and Neptune appear very close to each other. Through telescopes, rusty red Mars and blue-green Neptune‘s colors contrast beautifully.


There are two meteor showers this month – the Geminds and the Ursids. The best time to see the reliable Geminids will be next year, when the full moon won’t be so bright and interfering. This year, however, we may luck out and see some of the brighter meteors on the evening of the 13th and the morning of the 14th.


The best time to view the Ursids, radiating from Ursa Minor, or the little Dipper, will be from midnight on the 21st until about 1 a.m. on the 22nd, before the
moon rises. They may be active on the 23rd and 24th, too.


We haven’t had a good easy-to-see comet in quite a while, but beginning in December and through most of 2017 we will have several binocular and telescopic comets to view.


The first we’ll be able to see is Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, which will appear low on the western horizon on December 15th. On that date, the comet will pass the pretty globular cluster M75.


By the 21st, it will appear edge-on, sporting a bluish-green head and a thin, sharp view of the fan-shaped tail.


On New Years Eve, the comet and the crescent moon will rendezvous to say farewell to 2016. A “periodic” comet is a previously-identified comet that’s on a return visit. Periodic comet 45P returns to the inner solar system every 5.25 years, and that’s the one that will help us ring in the new year.


Watch the full What’s Up for December video:

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com