The Best Time To See August’s Perseid Meteor Shower

perseid meteor shower

For those people living in the Northern Hemisphere, August is the month to enjoy the Perseid Meteor Shower.  However, this year many skywatchers will be facing a mean adversary in their attempt to see this annual spectacle:  the bright presence of the Moon.  But don’t fret, there’s still some windows of opportunity for you to catch a few shooting stars.

Continue reading

Once You Eat One Planet You Can’t Stop

planet being consumed by sun

Recently, at a press conference at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Gongjie Li of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics predicted the death of two exoplanets.   “As far as we know, this is the first time two known exoplanets in a single system have a predicted ‘time of death,'” she said.  The two planets she’s talking about, Kepler-56b and Kepler-56c, are predicted to be swallowed by their star in 130 million and 155 million years, respectively.

Continue reading

The Musical Side of Christiaan Huygens

Christiaan Huygens

Do you remember that probe we sent to Titan?  You know, the one that was the first ever to land on Saturn’s largest moon?  Well that was the Huygens probe and was part of the Cassini-Huygens mission.  I bring this up because it was named after Christiaan Huygens, a man that has contributed a huge amount to science:  early telescopic studies of the rings of Saturn, the invention of the pendulum clock, and the discovery of several interstellar nebulae and double stars to name a few.  But even if you are familiar with Christiaan Huygens you still may not know that he actually contributed quite a bit to the world of music as well.

Continue reading

A Secret Ocean Has Been Discovered

Mega Ocean

Yes, the oceans are quite large.  You wouldn’t want to get lost in one.  But did you know that there was a recent discovery of an ocean reservoir that has a volume three-times larger than all the other oceans combined?  This finding is making scientists rethink the origins of Earth’s water supply.

Continue reading

Astronomers Discover new Mega-Earth

Mega-Earth

Five Hundred and Sixty light years away, in a constellation called “Draco,” circling an old star named “Kepler-10,” resides a recently discovered planet that is twice the size and 17 times heavier than our own Earth.  This so called “Mega-Earth” was announced on Monday at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Boston.

Continue reading

Scientists Tell Congress We’ll Find Alien Life In Our Lifetime

SETI finding alien life

How great would it be to wake up one morning and find out that Scientists have finally discovered proof of intelligent alien life out beyond our planet?  I’ve often wonder if I’d live to see the day when the answer to the question “are we alone in the galaxy” is finally answered.  Well, recently at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing Wednesday (May 21), Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute gave us a timeline for when this question might be answered when he said, “”It’s unproven whether there is any life beyond Earth.  I think that situation is going to change within everyone’s lifetime in this room.”

Continue reading

Creating a Planetarium Soundscape: Part 2 – From Studio to Theater

Part 2 - Creating a Planetarium Soundscape

In the first part of “Creating a Planetarium Soundscape” I covered what it was like going from script to the voice-over recording process.  But now we’re going to go into what it’s like to actually craft the music, sound effects, and 5.1 surround sound mix of a planetarium soundtrack.

Continue reading