The Saturn Opposition

Saturn
NASA image of Saturn

What has Saturn ever done to us?

No, there’s not an insurgency planning to take action against the planet Saturn!  Rather, this month Saturn will be at what astronomers call “opposition,” which is a great time to observe the beautiful ringed planet. On June 27 (June 28 for those of you in Australia, Japan, China, India and other parts of the eastern hemisphere), Saturn will be at opposition, meaning Saturn will be on the opposite side of the sky from the sun: When the sun sets that evening in the west, Saturn will rise in the east. Really, all of June and into July is a great time to see Saturn. You can use the Moon to find Saturn (and Jupiter) in late June:

Saturn, the Moon and Jupiter
Saturn and Jupiter in relation to the Moon the evening of June 25, 2018
Saturn, the Moon and Jupiter
Saturn and Jupiter in relation to the Moon the evening of June 26, 2018

On June 27, look for Saturn immediately adjacent to the Moon.

For the best view, wait until at least two hours after sunset to look at Saturn through a telescope.  (Before then, you’ll be looking at Saturn through the thicker layers of Earth’s atmosphere near the eastern horizon.) So get out your telescope and take a look at the beautiful ringed planet this summer!

Virtual Planetarium Solar System Update
“Solar System Update,” which provides fascinating info about Saturn and other planets, is part of Name A Star Live’s Virtual Planetarium astronomy software. Virtual Planetarium is seven great programs in one! With interactive sky maps, a library of stunning imagery, and updates on the latest space events, space weather, auroras, and more, you’ll navigate the night sky with ease.

Look for Jupiter too!

11 Earth's could fit across JupiterIn addition to Saturn, you can see the giant planet Jupiter in the Name A Star Live constellation Libra this month. Viewed through a telescope, you may see up to four of Jupiter’s largest moons. And did you know that 11 Earth’s could fit across the width of Jupiter?

Jupiter viewed from the northern hemisphere…

Jupiter and Libra
In June Jupiter will be in the constellation Libra (outlined in yellow here), over the southern horizon.

Viewed from the southern hemisphere…

Jupiter and Libra from the southern hemisphere
Viewing Jupiter from Sydney, Australia in June, shortly after sunset. Jupiter will appear above the northern horizon in the constellation Libra.

Get our Moon Tweets!

The Twitter Moon
Our Moon Tweets let you know what constellation the Moon is in each night.

Our Moon Tweets let you know when the Moon is in a Name A Star Live constellation.

Did you know you can use the Moon to identify where your star’s constellation is in the night sky? Follow us on Twitter where we let you know when the Moon appears in a Name A Star constellation (area of the night sky).

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 and planisphere constellation finder!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

What’s this Super-Blue-Blood-Moon-Eclipse thingy?

Lunar eclipse over mountains
The dark red appearance of a full lunar eclipse is something special: Don’t miss this month’s eclipse! Photo Credit: Collin Von Son

If you’ve been online lately, you’ve probably heard about the “Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse” coming up on January 31, 2018. What’s this all about?

Well, there are three lunar events happening during the pre-dawn hours that day:

  1. The 2nd full Moon of the month will occur. When there are two full Moons in a month, the 2nd one is called a “Blue Moon.” The first full Moon of January occurred on New Year’s Day.
  2. This full Moon is a so-called “supermoon” because it will appear a bit larger and a bit brighter than a normal full Moon. This is because this Blue Moon occurs when the Moon is close to “perigee” — the Moon’s closest approach to Earth.
  3. A lunar eclipse will occur early that morning, making the Moon appear to be reddish (like blood) in color.

Put all three together, and you get the “Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse.”

What’s more, this is the first Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse visible from the western hemisphere in 150 years.

Here’s a NASA video about the Super Blue Blood Moon:

 

Continue reading “What’s this Super-Blue-Blood-Moon-Eclipse thingy?”

Top Ten Valentine’s Day Messages

A heart in spaceAs you’re thinking about what to get your significant other for Valentine’s Day, you might be interested in some of the Valentine’s Day messages Name A Star Live customers have included on their Star Certificates. Below are some of the best messages we’ve received so far. 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 loved one.  Have a happy Valentine’s Day! Continue reading “Top Ten Valentine’s Day Messages”

Love is in the stars!

 

Heart of the Milky Way
Credit: ESO/J. Girard (djulik.com)
There is a lot to love about astronomy, and — in time for Valentine’s Day — photographer Julien Girard offers a “heartfelt” example in this image. A bright pink symbol of love appears to float ethereally against the backdrop of the night sky over the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO’s) Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. Girard drew the heart in the air by shining a tiny flashlight keychain at the camera during a 25-second exposure with a tripod.

The central region of the Milky Way appears in the middle of the heart, as the plane of our galaxy stretches across the image. The stars of the constellation of Corona Australis (The Southern Crown) form a glittering arc of jewels at the top of the heart’s left lobe. The diffuse glow to the left of the heart’s lowest point is zodiacal light, caused by the scattering of light from the Sun by dust particles in the Solar System.

On the far right horizon, the 8.2-metre telescopes of the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) facility stand out in silhouette atop Cerro Paranal. The lights of a car driving down from the observatory platform can be seen just to the left of the telescopes.

Julien Girard is an ESO astronomer based in Chile, who works at the Ver Large Telescope (VLT). He is the instrument scientist for the NACO adaptive optics instrument on the VLT’s Unit Telescope 4. He submitted this photograph to the Your ESO Pictures Flickr group, from where it was picked out as an ESO Picture of the Week.

Antenna Galaxies

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration. Acknowledgement: B. Whitmore ( Space Telescope Science Institute) and James Long (ESA/Hubble).

Colliding galaxies make love, not war

This Hubble Space Telescope image of the Antennae galaxies is the sharpest yet of this merging pair of galaxies. As the two galaxies smash together, billions of stars are born, mostly in groups and clusters of stars. The brightest and most compact of these are called super star clusters.

Heart on Mars
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This picture of a heart-shaped pit on Mars was taken on February 26, 2008 by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It is approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) long and is centered near Mars’ equator. The pit is one of many adjacent to Hydaspis Chaos, a jumbled topographic depression thought to have formed by collapse of the surface due to—perhaps—catastrophic release of groundwater.

A Valentine's Day asteroid
Credit: NEAR Project (JHU/APL)

Just in time for its Valentine’s Day 2000 date with 433 Eros, the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft snapped this photo during its approach to the 21-mile (34 kilometer)-long space rock. Taken Feb. 11, 2000 from 1,609 miles (2,590 kilometers) away, the picture reveals a heart-shaped depression about 3 miles (5 kilometers) long. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory – which manages the NASA mission – processed the image on Feb. 12, 2000.

Name A Star for the New Year with our BOGO Sale!

Crowd watching launch
Watch your star name launched to space!

Name A Star for the New Year and name a second star for free! Regardless of where you live in the world, you can order one of our Instant Gifts, which are provided via the Internet so that you can download, print and give right away! What a nice gift idea for the host of your New Year’s party!

And remember: Name A Star Live is the only star naming service that launches your star name into space! Name a star with us and join us in person to watch the launch of your star name. We’ll be hosting a star party too where you can view the stars and planets through telescopes. If you can’t join us in person, you watch via webcast.

A family stargazing
See the stars and planets at our star party in New Mexico.

It’s all happening in April 2018 at a place called “Spaceport America” in New Mexico — about a two-hour drive north of El Paso. This 21st century spaceflight facility will be used by Sir Richard Branson to fly space tourists into the Final Frontier. Spaceport America is also one of the launch locations we use to fly our customers’ star names. Watching a launch occur over the majestic landscape of New Mexico — the “Land of Enchantment” — is simply breathtaking! Plus, you can tour Mission Control and view the rocket on the launch pad. Name A Star Live makes you a part of real space missions, and you get the full experience at Spaceport America.

Touring the launch pad
Touring the launch pad at Spaceport America

After we launch your star name, you get a  letter-size, Digital Launch Certificate confirming that your star name was part of a real space mission. If you can’t join us for liftoff, you can even watch the launch online. What a wonderful Christmas gift! So name a star today!

We offer 2 types of gifts:

  • Our Instant Gifts are provided to you via the Internet: Download, Print and Give right away, 24/7!
  • Our Keepsake Gifts are printed and shipped to you or to your gift recipient. We offer free Priority Mail shipping to U.S. addresses.

When you take advantage of our Buy One, Get One sale you:

How to Make Your Buy One Get One Purchase:

1. Visit our site and add any Gift Set to your cart.
2. Enter your special offer code at checkout.
3. Complete your purchase.
4. Name both of your stars and gift them to friends & family!

Good through Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

Instant Gift Set Plus
The Instant Gift Set Plus starts at $29.90. Click to see larger image

Featured Gift Set

One of our most popular Instant Gifts is the Instant Gift Set Plus, which starts at $29.90. Provided to you via the Internet, it includes everything you’ll need to make the stars come alive. It’s a great name-a-star gift for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, a birthday, graduation or any special occasion.

The Name A Star Live Instant Gift Set Plus includes:

  • A letter-size Digital Star Certificate that displays the name of your star, your star’s astronomical coordinates, and a personal message you write for your gift recipient.
  • A letter-size Digital Star Chart that shows the position of your star within its constellation (area of the night sky, such as Aries or Taurus).
Launch Certificate
You get a Digital Launch Certificate each time we launch your star name into space — with Name A Star Live, you’re made part of real space missions!

Buy Now

Name A Star for the New Year and Watch Your Star Name Launched to Space

Crowd watching launch
Watch your star name launched to space!

Name A Star Live is the only star naming service that launches your star name into space! Name a star with us and join us in person to watch the launch of your star name. We’ll be hosting a star party too where you can view the stars and planets through telescopes. If you can’t join us in person, you watch via webcast.

A family stargazing
See the stars and planets at our star party in New Mexico.

It’s all happening in April 2018 at a place called “Spaceport America” in New Mexico — about a two-hour drive north of El Paso. This 21st century spaceflight facility will be used by Sir Richard Branson to fly space tourists into the Final Frontier. Spaceport America is also one of the launch locations we use to fly our customers’ star names. Watching a launch occur over the majestic landscape of New Mexico — the “Land of Enchantment” — is simply breathtaking! Plus, you can tour Mission Control and view the rocket on the launch pad. Name A Star Live makes you a part of real space missions, and you get the full experience at Spaceport America.

Touring the launch pad
Touring the launch pad at Spaceport America

After we launch your star name, you get a  letter-size, Digital Launch Certificate confirming that your star name was part of a real space mission. If you can’t join us for liftoff, you can even watch the launch online. What a wonderful Christmas gift! So name a star today!

We offer 2 types of gifts:

  • Our Instant Gifts are provided to you via the Internet: Download, Print and Give right away, 24/7!
  • Our Keepsake Gifts are printed and shipped to you or to your gift recipient. We offer free Priority Mail shipping to U.S. addresses.

When you take advantage of our Buy One, Get One sale you:

How to Make Your Buy One Get One Purchase:

1. Visit our site and add any Gift Set to your cart.
2. Enter your special offer code at checkout.
3. Complete your purchase.
4. Name both of your stars and gift them to friends & family!

Good through Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

Deluxe Gift Set
The Deluxe Gift Set. Click to see larger image

Featured Gift Set

One of our most popular Keepsake Gifts is the Deluxe Gift Set, which starts at $54.95. Shipped to you or your gift recipient, it includes everything you’ll need to make the stars come alive. It’s a great name-a-star gift for Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, a birthday, graduation or any special occasion.

The Deluxe Gift Set includes:

  • A letter-size, Printed Star Certificate showing the name of your star, your star’s astronomical coordinates, and a personal message you can write for your gift recipient.
  • A Star Chart showing the location of your star within its constellation (area of the night sky, such as Aries or Taurus). You get to choose the constellation for your star.
  • Our award-winning Virtual Planetarium astronomy software that brings astronomy to life with seven great programs in one. Explore the Universe with interactive games, breathtaking NASA imagery, and the latest updates from exciting space missions. Plus see a display of which constellations and planets are visible from your home each night. Suitable for all ages.
  • A Digital Launch Certificate provided to you each time we launch your star name into space!
Launch Certificate
You get a Digital Launch Certificate each time we launch your star name into space — with Name A Star Live, you’re made part of real space missions!

Buy Now

 

Instant Gifts: Download, Print and Give 24/7!

Crowd watching launch
Watch your star name launched to space!

There’s still time to name a star for Christmas! Regardless of where you live in the world, you can always order one of our Instant Gifts, which are provided via the Internet so that you can download, print and give right away!

And remember: Name A Star Live is the only star naming service that launches your star name into space! Name a star with us and join us in person to watch the launch of your star name. We’ll be hosting a star party too where you can view the stars and planets through telescopes. If you can’t join us in person, you watch via webcast.

A family stargazing
See the stars and planets at our star party in New Mexico.

It’s all happening in April 2018 at a place called “Spaceport America” in New Mexico — about a two-hour drive north of El Paso. This 21st century spaceflight facility will be used by Sir Richard Branson to fly space tourists into the Final Frontier. Spaceport America is also one of the launch locations we use to fly our customers’ star names. Watching a launch occur over the majestic landscape of New Mexico — the “Land of Enchantment” — is simply breathtaking! Plus, you can tour Mission Control and view the rocket on the launch pad. Name A Star Live makes you a part of real space missions, and you get the full experience at Spaceport America.

Touring the launch pad
Touring the launch pad at Spaceport America

After we launch your star name, you get a  letter-size, Digital Launch Certificate confirming that your star name was part of a real space mission. If you can’t join us for liftoff, you can even watch the launch online. What a wonderful Christmas gift! So name a star today!

We offer 2 types of gifts:

  • Our Instant Gifts are provided to you via the Internet: Download, Print and Give right away, 24/7!
  • Our Keepsake Gifts are printed and shipped to you or to your gift recipient. We offer free Priority Mail shipping to U.S. addresses.

When you take advantage of our Buy One, Get One sale you:

How to Make Your Buy One Get One Purchase:

1. Visit our site and add any Gift Set to your cart.
2. Enter your special offer code at checkout.
3. Complete your purchase.
4. Name both of your stars and gift them to friends & family!

Good through Monday, December 25, 2017.

Instant Gift Set Plus
The Instant Gift Set Plus starts at $29.90. Click to see larger image

Featured Gift Set

One of our most popular Instant Gifts is the Instant Gift Set Plus, which starts at $29.90. Provided to you via the Internet, it includes everything you’ll need to make the stars come alive. It’s a great name-a-star gift for Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, a birthday, graduation or any special occasion.

The Name A Star Live Instant Gift Set Plus includes:

  • A letter-size Digital Star Certificate that displays the name of your star, your star’s astronomical coordinates, and a personal message you write for your gift recipient.
  • A letter-size Digital Star Chart that shows the position of your star within its constellation (area of the night sky, such as Aries or Taurus).
Launch Certificate
You get a Digital Launch Certificate each time we launch your star name into space — with Name A Star Live, you’re made part of real space missions!

Buy Now

The Christmas Tree in Space

Here’s a holiday treat from outer space: The Christmas Tree Cluster!

Imagine the beautiful green, wispy branches of a Christmas tree — adorned with red, blue and white lights — gracefully on display in the heavens above.

The Christmas Tree Cluster
The Christmas Tree Cluster (a.k.a. “NGC 2264”) is located in the constellation Monoceros, near the Name A Star Live constellations Orion and Gemini.

Newborn stars, hidden behind thick dust, are revealed in this image of a section of the Christmas Tree Cluster from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Infant stars appear as pink and red specks toward the center and appear to have formed in regularly spaced intervals along linear structures in a configuration that resembles the spokes of a wheel or the pattern of a snowflake. Hence, astronomers have nicknamed this the “Snowflake Cluster.”

Star-forming clouds like this one are dynamic and evolving structures. Since the stars trace the straight line pattern of spokes of a wheel, scientists believe that these are newborn stars, or “protostars.” At a mere 100,000 years old, these infant structures have yet to “crawl” away from their location of birth. Over time, the natural drifting motions of each star will break this order, and the snowflake design will be no more.

Like a dusty cosmic finger pointing up to the newborn clusters, Spitzer also illuminates the optically dark and dense Cone Nebula, the tip of which can be seen towards the upper right corner of the image.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/P.S. Teixeira (Center for Astrophysics)

And here’s some other neat space imagery for you!

ESO Observatory
An outstanding image of the sky over European  Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory.  Image Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org)

The object that is glowing intensely red in the image is the Carina Nebula.  The Carina Nebula lies in the constellation of Carina (The Keel), about 7500 light-years from Earth. This cloud of glowing gas and dust is the brightest nebula in the sky and contains several of the brightest and most massive stars known in the Milky Way, such as Eta Carinae. The Carina Nebula is a perfect test-bed for astronomers to unveil the mysteries of the violent birth and death of massive stars.  Click here for more information about this image.

Finally, here is a beautiful video — set to equally beautiful music — showing the night skies over Cornwall and Scilly, in Great Britain.


Name a star for that special someone this Christmas!
Consider our Instant Gifts: Download, Print and Give 24/7!

Buy Now

BOGO and Watch Your Star Name Launched to Outer Space!

Crowd watching launch
Watch your star name launched to space!

Name A Star Live is the only star naming service that launches your star name into space! Name a star with us and join us in person to watch the launch of your star name. We’ll be hosting a star party too where you can view the stars and planets through telescopes. If you can’t join us in person, you watch via webcast.

A family stargazing
See the stars and planets at our star party in New Mexico.

It’s all happening in April 2018 at a place called “Spaceport America” in New Mexico — about a two-hour drive north of El Paso. This 21st century spaceflight facility will be used by Sir Richard Branson to fly space tourists into the Final Frontier. Spaceport America is also one of the launch locations we use to fly our customers’ star names. Watching a launch occur over the majestic landscape of New Mexico — the “Land of Enchantment” — is simply breathtaking! Plus, you can tour Mission Control and view the rocket on the launch pad. Name A Star Live makes you a part of real space missions, and you get the full experience at Spaceport America.

Touring the launch pad
Touring the launch pad at Spaceport America

After we launch your star name, you get a  letter-size, Digital Launch Certificate confirming that your star name was part of a real space mission. If you can’t join us for liftoff, you can even watch the launch online. What a wonderful Christmas gift! So name a star today!

We offer 2 types of gifts:

  • Our Instant Gifts are provided to you via the Internet: Download, Print and Give right away, 24/7!
  • Our Keepsake Gifts are printed and shipped to you or to your gift recipient. We offer free Priority Mail shipping to U.S. addresses.

When you take advantage of our Buy One, Get One sale you:

How to Make Your Buy One Get One Purchase:

1. Visit our site and add any Gift Set to your cart.
2. Enter your special offer code at checkout.
3. Complete your purchase.
4. Name both of your stars and gift them to friends & family!

Good through Monday, December 25, 2017.

Star Bear Gift Set
The Star Bear Gift Set starts at $39.95. Click to see larger image

Featured Gift Set

One of our most popular Keepsake Gifts is the Star Bear Gift Set, which starts at $74.95. Shipped to you or your gift recipient, it includes everything you’ll need to make the stars come alive. It’s a great name-a-star gift for Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, a birthday, graduation or any special occasion.

The Name A Star Live Star Bear Gift Set includes:

  • A loveable, cuddly 6″ bear holding a generic parchment certificate, and adorned with a gold ribbon and star.
  • A 5×7″ Printed Star Certificate displaying the name of your star, your star’s astronomical coordinates, and a personal message you can write for your gift recipient.
  • A letter-size Digital Star Certificate that you can download, print and give right away while your Star Bear and Printed Star Certificate are on the way in the mail.
Launch Certificate
You get a Digital Launch Certificate each time we launch your star name into space — with Name A Star Live, you’re made part of real space missions!

Buy Now