If you’re looking for something a little different this Easter, perhaps something a little less messy than a kid with a candy bar, you’re in the right place. Naming a star for someone this Easter is the healthier alternative to the usual basket full of malt, marshmallow and mint. Plus, if you name multiple stars, you could make up a special night time hunt to either replace or enhance the traditional Easter egg hunt. Bonus points for those who don’t like hard boiled eggs or finding them three months later.
Stumped for what to say? See what some of our past customers have written on their Easter orders in the past.
1. A special little guy with a precious smile on the most beautiful face, will forever be a part of the Heavens. Our Liam, our Happy Fella, our Little Guy, forever our Twinkling Star!
2. Happy Easter, Jonah! I am happy to inform you that you now have your very own star! Congratulations! Love, Daddy
3. This gift is to let you know that not only will you always hold a place in our hearts, but you will forever have your own place in the sky. Happy Easter!
4. As we look to Heaven, there will be a special star sending it’s precious light to land gently on our shoulders. That special light is from Our Sweet Angel, Our Star, Kayley!
5. Your star will help you stay the path to success and a life full of adventure while family keeps you feeling safe and loved. Your intelligence will send you soaring down the path to happiness.
6. Reach for the sky with your feet on the ground and family as your safe and loving place. You can be whatever you create for yourself. No dream is too high since you now have your own path in the sky.
7. Happy Easter! Here’s something that is almost as bright and shining as you.
The Moon provides a good guide to finding objects in the night sky. Here we’ll use the Moon as a ‘landmark’ to help you identify stars and planets in January 2012. Look for the red planet Mars rising over the eastern horizon, next to the Moon on the evening of February 9 (Feb. 10 for those of you in Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan…). That evening both Mars and the Moon will be in the Name A Star Live constellation Leo.
On the mornings of Feb. 12 and 13 (Feb. 13 and 14 for those of you in Australia, etc.), look for the planet Saturn near the Moon shortly before sunrise. Both of these celestial objects will be in the Name A Star Live constellation Virgo that morning.
Right after sunset on Feb. 22 (Feb. 23 for those of you in Australia etc.), look for a very thin crescent Moon near the planet Mercury. Both objects will be very low on the western horizon. The Moon will be in the Name A Star Live constellation Pisces, and Mercury will be in the adjacent Name A Star Live constellation Aquarius. Venus will be the very bright object above the Moon. Like the Moon, Venus will be in Pisces that evening.
On the evening of Feb. 25 (Feb. 26 for those of you in Australia etc.), the thin, crescent Moon will appear next to the planet Venus. Both objects will be in the Name A Star Live constellation Pisces that night.
The following evening, the Moon will appear next to the solar system’s giant planet Jupiter. Both will be in the Name A Star Live constellation Aries that night. You should be able to see Jupiter and up to four of its large moons through any telescope — even through a pair of binoculars. These four large moons move so quickly that if you observe Jupiter’s moons every few hours you’ll see that they change their position in relation to the planet. For example, if you observe Jupiter shortly after sunset you might see one or two of its large moons, but if you observe Jupiter a few hours later you might see all four of its large moons — or vice versa!
On the evening of Feb. 28 (Feb. 29 for those of you in Australia, etc.) look for the Moon next to the Pleiades (a.k.a. “the Seven Sisters“), a beautiful collection of stars in the Name A Star Live constellation Taurus. People often mistake the Pleiades for “The Little Dipper.” But the Little Dipper is in another constellation. Take a look at the Pleiades through a pair of binoculars: They are quite beautiful!
Finally, the following night the Moon appears in the Hyades, a V-shaped group of stars that form the head of the bull in the Name A Star Live constellation Taurus. The bright red star in the Hyades is called “Aldebaran,” a binary star only 65 light-years from Earth, which is pretty close in astronomical terms. You should be able to see the two stars in Aldebaran through a good amateur telescope (minimum mirror diameter of 6 inches).
When to go stargazing this month
Moonlight ‘drowns out’ the faint light of many stars and other celestial objects, so the best time to view the stars is when the Moon is not visible. If you’re going to stargaze between sunset and midnight, then the best time to do that in February would be during the February 16-25 time period.
Finding your star in the night sky
Stars are located within constellations, which are just areas of the night sky. Scorpius, Aries and Taurus are examples of constellations. Your Name A Star Live Star Certificate displays the name of your constellation. You can use our online World Constellation Guide to determine if you can see your constellation during the evening hours (between sunset and midnight). Of course, you’ll need a telescope to see your star. (That’s why we include the SLOOH online telescope experience in our Deluxe, Framed and Ultimate Gift Sets!) But you can see your constellation without the use of a telescope. You can also find your constellation by using our Virtual Planetarium™ astronomy software. A planisphere is another useful device.
Here are some beautiful space photos that have been posted on the Internet in recent weeks. Enjoy!
Will our Sun look like this one day? The Helix Nebula, located in the Name A Star Live constellation Aquarius, is one of brightest and closest examples of a planetary nebula, a gas cloud created at the end of the life of a Sun-like star. The outer gasses of the star expelled into space appear from our vantage point as if we are looking down a helix. The remnant central stellar core, destined to become a white dwarf star, glows in light so energetic it causes the previously expelled gas to fluoresce. The Helix Nebula, given a technical designation of NGC 7293, lies about 700 light-years away and spans about 2.5 light-years. The above picture was taken in three colors on infrared light by the 4.1-meter Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile.
Orbiting in the plane of Saturn’s rings, Saturnian moons have a perpetual ringside view of the gorgeous gas giant planet. Of course, while passing near the ring plane the Cassini spacecraft also shares their stunning perspective. The rings themselves can be seen slicing across the middle of this Cassini snapshot. The scene features Titan, largest, and Dione, third largest moon of Saturn. Remarkably thin, the bright rings still cast arcing shadows across the planet’s cloud tops at the bottom of the frame. Pale Dione is about 1,100 kilometers across and orbits over 300,000 kilometers from the visible outer edge of the A ring. Dione is seen through Titan’s atmospheric haze. At 5,150 kilometers across, Titan is about 2.3 million kilometers from Cassini, while Dione is 3.2 million kilometers away.
Cosmic dust clouds ripple across this infrared portrait of our Milky Way’s satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is visible in the southern hemisphere constellations Dorado and Mensa. In fact, the remarkable composite image from the Herschel Space Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope show that dust clouds fill this neighboring dwarf galaxy, much like dust along the plane of the Milky Way itself. The dust temperatures tend to trace star forming activity. Spitzer data in blue hues indicate warm dust heated by young stars. Herschel‘s instruments contributed the image data shown in red and green, revealing dust emission from cooler and intermediate regions where star formation is just beginning or has stopped. Dominated by dust emission, the Large Magellanic Cloud’s infrared appearance is different from views in optical images. But this galaxy’s well-known Tarantula Nebula still stands out, easily seen here as the brightest region to the left of center. A mere 160,000 light-years distant, the Large Cloud of Magellan is about 30,000 light-years across.
Galaxies are fascinating not only for what is visible, but for what is invisible. Grand Spiral Galaxy NGC 1232, captured in detail by one of the new Very Large Telescopes, is a good example. The visible is dominated by millions of bright stars and dark dust, caught up in a gravitational swirl of spiral arms revolving about the center. Open clusters containing bright blue stars can be seen sprinkled along these spiral arms, while dark lanes of dense interstellar dust can be seen sprinkled between them. Less visible, but detectable, are billions of dim normal stars and vast tracts of interstellar gas, together wielding such high mass that they dominate the dynamics of the inner galaxy. Invisible are even greater amounts of matter in a form we don’t yet know – pervasive dark matter needed to explain the motions of the visible in the outer galaxy. The Grand Spiral Galaxy is located in the constellation Eridanus, right below the Name A Star Live constellation Taurus.
In late January 2012 a strong solar storm hit Earth’s atmosphere. Charged particles from the sun interacted with the Earth’s magnetic field to create spectacular night shows of green light — the “Northern Lights,” or “Aurora Borealis.” See a beautiful video of the Northern Lights shot in late January from Norway!
As 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 in recent weeks. 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!
Kiss me and you will see stars, love me and I’ll give them to you…
Since the day I first saw you, I knew you were special. I’ve loved you to the moon and back since that summer. And now that we are finally together, life is complete. One Love. Forever
For hearing my thoughts, understanding my dreams and being my best friend… For filling my life with joy and loving me without end…
Now we will always be together, no matter what happens. Love you always.
This star is for us, Janet. It represents everything we’ve been through and all the other things that haven’t happened yet. As long as this star shines in the night sky you will be in my heart. I love you.
Will you be mine?
There wouldn’t be a sky full of stars if we were all meant to wish on the same one. Happy Valentine’s Day!
You are my guiding star and this will serve as my compass to you. You are the love which fills my heart, nourishes my soul and guides me to being a better person, friend and partner to you.
I love you more than anything on this earth. I didn’t know how to tell you so I figured this star would remind you that you’re the brightest person in my life. Happy Valentines Day.
Now our star will forever be in the sky, and it holds my promise to you. I love you.
You can get a good view of Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn this month plus a nice meteor shower!
Venus dominates the night sky in January 2012. It’s the bright point of light you’ll see in the western sky during the early evening hours: It will be the brightest astronomical object you’ll see this month, other than the moon and the sun! Venus will appear higher and higher in the western sky as the month progresses. Venus begins the month in the constellation Capricorn and moves into Aquarius January 12.
Look for our solar system’s giant planet — Jupiter — toward the southern horizon (toward the northern horizon for those of you in the southern hemisphere) at sunset. Jupiter will pass very close to the Moon on the evening of January 2 (January 3 for those of you in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, etc.). The same thing will happen on the evening of January 29/30. You should be able to see Jupiter and up to four of its large moons through any telescope — even through a pair of binoculars. These four large moons move so quickly that if you observe Jupiter’s moons every few hours you’ll see that they change their position in relation to the planet. For example, if you observe Jupiter shortly after sunset you might see one or two of its large moons, but if you observe Jupiter a few hours later you might see all four of its large moons — or vice versa! Currently, Jupiter straddles the border between the constellations Aries and Pisces, but will move fully into Aries by month’s end.
Marsrises over the eastern horizon shortly after midnight this month, and is above the southern horizon shortly before sunrise (above the northern horizon for those of you in the southern hemisphere). If you are an early bird, look for the Red Planet near the Moon shortly before sunrise on January 13 and 14 (January 14 and 15 for those of you in the eastern hemisphere of Earth). The red planet begins the month in the Name A Star Live constellation Leo, but then moves into Virgo toward the end of the month.
You can see the beautiful, ringed planet Saturn in the eastern sky during the predawn hours in January. Saturn is in the constellation Virgo. On the morning of January 16 (January 17 for those of you in the eastern hemisphere) look for Saturn next to the Moon.
An Impressive Meteor Shower in Early January
The Quadrantid meteor shower promises to put on a good show of ‘shooting stars’ this month, but you’ll have to get up really early (or stay up really late!) to get the best view. Look for the shooting stars between about 3:00 a.m. and sunrise on January 4 (January 5 for those of you in Australia, Japan and China). Normally you can see about 120 meteors per hour at the peak of the Quadrantid’s, although you may see anywhere from only 60 to as much as 200 meteors per hour.
Time lapse photo showing shooting stars from the Geminid meteor shower. Credit: NASA/JPL
A meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through a cloud of dust particles, typically left from past visits by comets to our part of the solar system. As the high-speed dust particles vaporize in Earth’s atmosphere, they appear as ‘shooting stars.’ Meteor shower names derive from the constellation (the area of the night sky) from which the meteors appear to originate. The Quadrantid meteor shower gets its name from an old, and now defunct, constellation name (a name no longer used in astronomy) called “Quadrans Muralis”. This area of the night sky is now in the modern constellations Draco and Boötes, the latter of which is adjacent to the Name A Star Live constellation Virgo.
The best way to view a meteor shower is to lay down and look up: No telescopes or binoculars needed! You might use a fully reclining lawn chair or cot. Be prepared to stay up late to see the best show.
When to go stargazing this month
Moonlight ‘drowns out’ the faint light of many stars and other celestial objects, so the best time to view the stars is when the Moon is not visible. If you’re going to stargaze between sunset and midnight, then the best time to do that in January would be during the January 15-28 time period.
Finding your star in the night sky
Stars are located within constellations, which are just areas of the night sky. Scorpius, Aries and Taurus are examples of constellations. Your Name A Star Live Star Certificate displays the name of your constellation.
You can use our online World Constellation Guide to determine if you can see your constellation during the evening hours (between sunset and midnight). Of course, you’ll need a telescope to see your star. (That’s why we include the SLOOH online telescope experience in our Deluxe, Framed and Ultimate Gift Sets!) But you can see your constellation without the use of a telescope.
Two meteor showers grace the night skies in December. The Geminid meteor shower is the most famous meteor shower of all, and is visible from most locations on Earth every December. However, this year’s Geminid shower, which peaks on the night of December 14, occurs at a time of the month when moonlight will drown out most of the meteors we would otherwise see. But for those of you in the northern hemisphere, check out December’s other meteor shower — the Ursids.
As you’re thinking about what to get your friends and loved ones for Christmas and/or Hanukkah, you might be interested in some of the holiday messages Name A Star Live customers have included on their Star Certificates in recent weeks. Below are just some of the many holiday messages so far from the 2011 season. (Of course, we’ve changed the names in the messages to protect the privacy of our customers.)
Merry Christmas 2011. Our love is as boundless as the stars.
Christmas comes but once a year, but now you always have this star to bring you great cheer. Whenever you look up at the sky remember this star and let it symbolize what will last forever.
Merry Christmas! Thank you for being the most amazing dad all year round. I hope every time you look up at this star you are constantly reminded of how much we love you and care for you!
The best yuletide decoration is the twinkles from above on a clear moonlit night. Merry Christmas!
God gave His greatest Gift in Baby Jesus on that first Christmas night. May the wonder and promise of Jesus always guide and light your way.
Merry Christmas Princess. Watch your star sparkle in the sky! Love you xx
Dearest Jane, We named this star after you to celebrate your first winter solstice, Chanukah, and Christmas. Your beautiful smile is as bright as a star. We love you endlessly.
Merry Christmas Alfred. Wishing you have many fun nights star gazing and dreaming
A new star named Henry will be shining bright From Christmas Day then to be seen every night
Happy Christmas May your star always be watching over you
Jupiter is the bright point of light you see in the eastern sky during the early evening hours this November: It will be the brightest astronomical object you’ll see this month, other than the moon and the sun! You should be able to see Jupiter and up to four of its large moons through any telescope — even through a pair of binoculars. These four large moons move so quickly that if you observe Jupiter’s moons every few hours you’ll see that they change their position in relation to the planet. For example, if you observe Jupiter shortly after sunset you might see one or two of its large moons, but if you observe Jupiter a few hours later you might see all four of its large moons — or vice versa! Currently, Jupiter is in the constellation Aries. Continue reading “The Stars and Planets in November”
Many people who want to view their star through their own telescope go out and buy a telescope right away, but later find that the expensive telescope they bought doesn’t really suit them. Or they eventually determine that they really didn’t like astronomy as a hobby like they thought they would. Either way, their telescopes end up buried in a closet, basement or attic, and they find that they’ve wasted a lot of their hard-earned money. Many needlessly burn out on a hobby they might otherwise have enjoyed the rest of their lives if they had only taken a more measured approach in the beginning.
It’s really best to ease into astronomy, learn about the different types of telescopes, try using a few, become an educated consumer, and then make a purchase. A great way to start is to get the following: