Celebrating our Centennial Flight anniversary

Centennial Flight launch
Launch of Name A Star Live’s Centennial Flight, June 2013, Spaceport America, New Mexico

This is the third anniversary of the launch of Name A Star Live’s Centennial Flight, which was named in honor of the 100th anniversary of New Mexico’s statehood. The launch took place at Spaceport America, New Mexico and carried the star names and messages of our customers into space! Name A Star Live is the only star naming service that makes you part of a real space mission.

Like the clients of our sister company, Celestis memorial spaceflights, Name A Star Live customers had the opportunity to tour the launch pad and mission control, view the liftoff, meet Name A Star Live company personnel, and enjoy the many tourist attractions and the beautiful scenery of New Mexico, which is known appropriately as the “Land of Enchantment.”

A coupleSo many people wrote such nice Star Certificate messages for this mission! Below are some of the flown messages from our customers’ Star Certificates. Note that we’ve changed the names in these messages to protect our customers’ privacy:

  • This is to let you know that not only will you always hold a place in my heart, but you will forever have your own place in the sky. I love you.
  • You are such a light to me, reflecting and pointing to the heart of God. Here’s to celebrating the last year, and us! 🙂
  • This star shall shine as long as our love will last. 🙂
  • Love begins in a moment, grows over time, and lasts for eternity.
  • Congratulations on your Bar Mitzvah! – What a joyous occasion that you will remember for the rest of your life.
  • I name this star after Mary J. Smith on the Date of our wedding; may this star always shine bright in the heavens like the love she shows me shines in my heart forever
  • Happy Birthday Grandpa! Now your amazing legacy will live on forever as your star shines in the night’s sky. I love you so much.
  • Happy 25th Anniversary! All these years and you bring such love and light into my life…our lives. You fill my heart with gratitude and joy.
  • Just look at the stars and we’ll remember that we are always there for one another. Pure Joy is the only thing that can describe our friendship and sisterhood.
  • I wanted to give you a gift that would always be there as a shining remembrance of Janet.

The mission flew aboard an UP Aerospace SpaceLoft XL launch vehicle, which has flown each of Name A Star Live’s missions out of Spaceport America. The spacecraft followed a trajectory like that flown by the astronauts on NASA’s early Gemini missions by flying into space and, after experiencing the zero gravity environment, returning to Earth. The Centennial Flight flew to an altitude of 73.9 miles (118.9 kilometers) and landed at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico approximately 23 miles (37 kilometers) downrange.

This was the 12th overall spaceflight of our parent company, Space Services, Inc. You can always find the latest information about our upcoming missions by visiting our online Launch Schedule.

Here is a short video of the Centennial Flight launch provided by Celestis:

Top Ten Father’s Day Star Messages

Father and DaughterFather’s Day is Sunday, June 19 in the U.S., Canada, Japan, China, India, the U.K., Ireland, Mexico and many other countries.  Here are some of the Father’s Day messages Name A Star Live customers have included on their Star Certificates.  (Of course, we’ve changed the names in the messages to protect the privacy of our customers.)

  1. I have named a star just for you, papa.  Please show me where it is so I can always look up into the heavens and think of you when I see it.  I love you!
  2. My daddy has loved the night sky since he was a boy, a passion he has passed down to me. Now I share my love for him by claiming his very own piece of that sky, another beautiful thing for us to share together.
  3. We searched heaven and earth to find the perfect gift for the man who has everything and at last we found it.  So in honor of Father’s Day, we present you with your very own star.
  4. Everyday we think of you and the good memories we have because of you. You are sacrificing for us and we appreciate that very much. To bridge the distance this Father’s Day we send you this gift. We love you so much and wish you a happy fathers day.
  5. Ursa Major: the “big bear” of the sky, because you have always watched over your little cubs 🙂 Happy Father’s Day Dad!
  6. This star is forever in the sky to celebrate your very 1st Fathers Day.   Happy Fathers Day, I love you
  7. I will never forget wishing on stars with you as a little girl. Here’s to all the past, present and future wishes we make. Happy Father’s Day, I love you.
  8. Happy Father’s Day.  Thank you for every single thing you have done for me over the course of my life.  I know you love space, now a small part of it is named after you.  Love, Mike
  9. This is for the Greatest Dad in the Universe.
  10. To my stargazing husband.  You are my star of 21 years.  I love You!

Name A Star Live is the only star-naming service that launches your star name into space: Won’t dad be surprised! The video above shows our latest spaceflight, The Tribute Flight. See our online Launch Schedule….

Name a star for Father’s Day!

See Saturn throughout June

 

Saturn
Saturn

This is a wonderful time to see the beautiful, ringed planet Saturn, which reached “opposition” this month. You can see Mars and Jupiter too!

“Opposition” just means that Earth is directly between Saturn and the sun – Saturn and the sun are on opposite sides of Earth. So Saturn rises in the east as the sun sets in the west. With Saturn at opposition, you can get a very good look at Saturn all month.

Saturn at opposition
Saturn and the sun are on opposite sides of the Earth in June. You can get a good view of the ringed planet all month! Image Credit: NASA

Saturn will be in the constellation Ophiuchus throughout the month. Ophiuchus is one of the constellations of the zodiac, like Aries, Taurus and Cancer. But it’s the one constellation of the zodiac not used for birth signs.

Saturn and Mars
Saturn and Mars in June’s night sky as viewed in the northern hemisphere

If you live in the northern hemisphere of Earth, look for Saturn toward the southeast about an hour or so after sunset. It will be the bright point of night just to the east of the bright constellation Scorpius. If your telescope is powerful enough, you will be able to see the dark gap in the rings known as the “Cassini division,” named after the French astronomer Jean D. Cassini who discovered the gap in 1675. While you’re checking out Saturn with your telescope, take a look at nearby Mars: If you look closely, you may see Mars’ ice cap!

Saturn and Mars
Saturn and Mars in June’s night sky as viewed in the southern hemisphere. You’ll find Saturn and Mars over your eastern horizon after sunset.

 

Fun Fact!

Saturn is the basis for the “Father Time” figure we see every New Year.

Father Time
Father Time traces its origins to Saturn from Roman mythology. Image Source: Pinterest.com

Father Time is usually depicted as an old man carrying a harvesting scythe, usually with the baby New Year. Actually, this association of Saturn with Father Time is an historical error that can be traced back to at least the Renaissance when the Roman god Saturn was mistakenly confused with the Greek god Chronos, god of time. Saturn was the Roman version of the Greek god Cronus, which sounds a lot like Chronos! So it’s easy to see how the two names could be mixed up! Just to be clear:

  • Cronus was the ancient Greek god who was the father of Zeus, king of the gods. The Romans adopted Cronus and renamed him Saturn, and adopted Zeus and renamed him Jupiter. In other words, Saturn was the father of Jupiter.
  • Chronos was the ancient Greek god of time. (We get the word “chronological” from Chronos.) But the names Cronus and Chronos were confused during the Renaissance (if not earlier), and the  Father Time figure was thus associated with Saturn by mistake.

See Saturn’s son Jupiter this month too!

Jupiter
Jupiter is in the constellation Leo throughout June. If you’re in the northern hemisphere of Earth, look for Jupiter and Leo toward the west-southwest shortly after sunset.

Jupiter, the son of Saturn and king of the gods, is also the name of the king of the planets. It’s easily seen in the constellation Leo throughout the month of June. Jupiter will be the brightest object in Leo this month — except when the Moon passes by!

Jupiter and Leo
Jupiter and Leo as viewed from the southern hemisphere of Earth. Look for Jupiter over the north-northwestern horizon shortly after sunset in June.

Did you know you can use the Moon to find constellations in the night sky? Follow us on Twitter where we post information each day about what constellation (area of the night sky) the Moon is in that evening.

Name A Star Live offers some really good tools to learn about the night sky and find your star’s constellation. Visit our website to learn about our Virtual Planetarium software, planisphere constellation finder, and First Light Astronomy Kit!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

The Night Sky of May 2016

The skies of May 2016 provide some wonderful celestial delights. Read on to see what you can see in the night sky this month!

Mars
Mars, the “Red Planet”
See the planet Mars in the night sky in May: The brightest it’s been in over a decade!
Mars opposition
Mars and the sun are on opposite sides of the Earth on May 22, which makes for a great opportunity to view the red planet! Image Credit: NASA

Mars reaches “opposition” on May 22, reaching peak visibility for 2016. In fact, Mars will appear brighter than it has since 2005. “Opposition” just means that Earth is directly between Mars and the sun – Mars and the sun will be on opposite sides of Earth on May 22. So during that evening Mars will rise in the east as the sun sets in the west. On May 30 Mars will reach its closest approach to Earth for the year. The two planets will be only 46.8 million miles (75.3 million kilometers) apart – that’s about half of the distance between the Earth and the sun. Continue reading “The Night Sky of May 2016”

Our green, name-a-star space launches

Astronaut in Earth orbit
Name A Star Live makes you part of a real space mission!

Name A Star Live is the only star naming service that launches your star name into space! But did you know that our space missions are eco-friendly?

Our launches don’t pollute the atmosphere.
Here is how our launches work: We save our star database onto a data storage device. We then ship this device to the facility where the rocket is assembled. Technicians integrate the device into the rocket as a “secondary payload” — we ‘piggyback’ on rockets that carry scientific or communications “primary payloads” into space. Those rockets will fly with their primary payloads whether we’re on board or not. It’s like we are car-pooling — perhaps “rocket-pooling” — into space.

Apollo 17 View of EarthOur missions don’t pollute outer space.
Our spacecraft are carefully designed so as not to create orbital debris. Each Earth-orbiting spacecraft stays permanently attached to a rocket stage that orbits Earth until the spacecraft harmlessly re-enters and is completely consumed by Earth’s atmosphere — blazing like a shooting star!

For missions that are launched aboard a commercially purchased launcher, the Office of Commercial Space Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration issues a license that verifies that our payload does not contribute to orbital debris. For missions not subject to FAA approval, we voluntarily follow the same guidelines that prevent orbital pollution from our missions.

Save money – and the Earth – with our Instant Gifts!
Name A Star Live offers two types of gift sets:

  • Keepsake Gifts are printed and shipped to you (or to your gift recipient).
  • Instant Gifts are provided to you via the Internet: You download your letter-size Star Certificate and any other documents you may add on. You can then print these documents, or display them on your computer, digital photo frame or other device. The PDF documents you download are the same PDF files we would use to print and ship a Keepsake Gift to you. So you get the same quality documents, but because we don’t physically ship them to you, we’re not using packaging or burning fossil fuels to deliver your gift.

Our Earth Orbit missions launch out of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This video shows the significant natural habitat that adjoins the high tech launch facilities at the Cape and at the Kennedy Space Center.

Mothers in the Sky

Andromeda and Cassiopeia
Cassiopeia and Andromeda — Two constellations (areas of the night sky) named after mothers from classical mythology. You can name a star in either constellation!

Naming stars for our mothers is popular today.  In fact, many objects in the night sky have been named after mothers for thousands of years.  And now mothers fly among the stars as astronauts!

The Name A Star Live constellations Andromeda and Cassiopeia are named after two beautiful mothers from classical mythology.  Cassiopeia, the Queen of the Ethiopians and the mother of Andromeda, was a prideful woman who boasted that she was more beautiful than the female attendants to Poseidon, the god of the sea.  For this transgression Poseidon punished Cassiopeia by sending a sea monster to attack Cassiopeia’s country and to kill Andromeda.  But Andromeda was saved and would later have seven children of her own.  Now both mothers travel together in the heavens above as the constellations we know them by today.

Continue reading “Mothers in the Sky”

Top Ten Mother’s Day Messages

 

Name A Star Live's "Star Bear"
Name A Star Live’s “Star Bear”

As you’re thinking about what to get your mother for Mother’s Day, you might be interested in some of the Mother’s Day messages Name A Star Live customers have included on their Star Certificates. Below are some of the best messages we’ve received. Of course, we’ve changed the names in the messages to protect the privacy of our customers.  We hope these examples will give you some ideas about what to write for your mom.

Have a happy Mother’s Day!

  1. Thank you for being the star of my life!
  2. To my mommy, I love you to the moon and back.
  3. Your wisdom and knowledge have shown us the way, and we are thankful for you as we live day by day.  We don’t tell you enough how important you are, in our universe you’re a bright shining star.
  4. Happy Mother’s Day, Alice! I love you and I can’t wait to meet our son!
  5. The Mother’s Day star will always be in the sky for you – Happy Mother’s Day. Thanks for loving us, no matter what. The Mother’s Day star never fades
  6. As the stars in the sky are countless, so too are the ways you’ve helped me, encouraged me, and showed me your love.    Happy Mother’s Day! I love you!
  7. For my amazing mother who loves unconditionally, and gives wholeheartedly. I love her with all of my heart, and all of my soul.
  8. A star is like a mother’s love, bright, beautiful, warm and everlasting; your star will shine forever in the far above, for you deserve the light it will always be casting.
  9. To the best mum in the world, you really are a star.  We will always love you!
  10. Happy Mothers Day!!! I am so proud to be your son, you are such an amazing woman and I am truly thankful for everything you are and do.  You are my hero, best friend and an amazing mother.

Name a star for your mother this Mother’s Day!

The Big Dipper

When you name a star with Name A Star Live you choose the constellation (area of the night sky, such as Aries or Taurus) in which your star will be located. Many people want to name a star in the Big Dipper. But did you know the Big Dipper is not actually a constellation? It’s really a group of stars that are part of a very large constellation called “Ursa Major,” which is Latin for “big bear.”

Ursa Major
The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major, the “big bear.” Image Credit: Pinterest.com

Various cultures around the world have interpreted these stars in interesting ways. The Iroquois and Micmac peoples of North America viewed the bowl of the Big Dipper as a bear that was pursued by a group of hunters — the stars in the Big Dipper’s handle. The Arabians viewed the Big Dipper as a funeral procession with the Big Dipper’s bowl as the deceased and the stars in the handle as the mourners. The Germans thought of the Big Dipper as a large wagon. And in classical mythology the Big Dipper and the nearby Little Dipper were a mother and son that Zeus, the king of the gods, had transformed into bears and placed in the heavens.

Alaska's flag
This is the state flag of Alaska, which features the Big Dipper and the North Star. In the Alaskan flag the two stars on the right-hand side of the Big Dipper point to the North Star.

Sailors, pilots and hikers have long used the Big Dipper to navigate. The two stars on the outer edge of the Big Dipper’s bowl are referred to as the “Pointer Stars.” If you draw a line from these two stars, the line will point to the North Star. In fact, American slaves escaping through the Underground Railroad used the pointer stars of the “drinking gourd” (as they knew the Big Dipper) to find their way North to freedom.

Alcor and Mizar
The stars Alcor and Mizar are circled in green.

When you look at the Big Dipper, see if you can distinguish between the two bright stars Alcor and Mizar in the Big Dipper’s handle. Being able to distinguish between these two, close stars is a traditional test of one’s eyesight. These two stars — a.k.a. “the horse and the rider” — are about 83 light-years from Earth. The brighter star Mizar is actually a quadruple star system, and its dimmer neighbor Alcor is a binary star system.

When can you see the Big Dipper?

The Big Dipper is visible all year from most of Europe, the northern U.S. and Canada. In the southern U.S. it can be seen in the springtime during evening hours. Visit our online Constellation Calendar to see when the Big Dipper (in Ursa Major) is visible from your community.


 

Star Bear Gift Set
Name a star in Ursa Major with the Star Bear Gift Set

If you’re thinking of naming a star in the Big Dipper for someone, consider Name A Star Live’s popular Star Bear Gift Set. This unique gift includes:

  • A Star Bear — a cuddly teddy bear holding a star. What more appropriate way to name a star in the “Big Bear”?
  • A printed Star Certificate;
  • A digital, letter-size Star Certificate that you can download and print right away;
  • A digital Launch Certificate we provide to you after we launch your star’s name into space: We’re the only star-naming service that makes you part of a real space mission!

 

See Jupiter and the Moon tonight!

Jupiter will appear near the Moon tonight.
Jupiter will appear near the Moon tonight.

Tonight you’re in for a special treat: The mighty planet Jupiter will be near the Moon. Both celestial objects will be in the Name A Star Live constellation Leo all night long.

Jupiter and its four largest Moons as viewed through an amateur telescope.
Jupiter and its four largest moons as viewed through an amateur telescope.

While no telescope is required to spot Jupiter — it will be the bright, star-like object nearest the Moon — if you have a telescope you will likely be able to see Jupiter’s four large moons. These moons are known as the “Galilean satellites” named in honor of Galileo, who discovered them in 1610 and observed their movement through a telescope. These four moons are known as Io, Callisto, Europa and Ganymede — Ganymede is larger than the planet Mercury.

If you can stay up late tonight, try viewing the moons twice this evening, about two hours apart. You’ll notice the moons change position relative to Jupiter. In fact you may see the four moons at one time, and see only two or three of the moons a couple of hours later.

The Sky Tonight
The “Sky Tonight” module in Virtual Planetarium shows you what planets and constellations are visible in the night sky.

Tip: With our Virtual Planetarium astronomy software you can see what planets are visible any night of the year! Specifically, Virtual Planetarium’s “Sky Tonight” module shows you the constellations and planets you can see tonight, or any night. Details….