Meteor Showers, an Eclipse & the Planets

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.

Shooting Stars
Time lapse photo showing shooting stars from the Geminid meteor shower. Credit: NASA/JPL

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Top Ten Holiday Messages

Christmas ornamentsAs 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.)

  1. Merry Christmas 2011. Our love is as boundless as the stars.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. The best yuletide decoration is the twinkles from above on a clear moonlit night. Merry Christmas!
  5. 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.
  6. Merry Christmas Princess.  Watch your star sparkle in the sky!  Love you xx
  7. 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.
  8. Merry Christmas Alfred. Wishing you have many fun nights star gazing and dreaming
  9. A new star named Henry will be shining bright  From Christmas Day then to be seen every night
  10. Happy Christmas  May your star always be watching over you

Name a star for the holidays!

Our Astronomy & Space Software

At Name a Star Live we like to make your star naming experience as interactive and educational as possible. This is why we partnered with Rice University to bring you Virtual Planetarium: Five Astronomy Programs in One. This software brings you the latest in space updates and imagery. You can choose to simply run the software from the disc or install it to download updates with the click of a button. This software comes with our Deluxe, Framed and Ultimate Gift Sets or is available for purchase on its own through our Facebook store.
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The Stars and Planets in November

Jupiter and its four large moons
Jupiter and its four large moons as viewed through binoculars

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.
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Telescope Buying Tips

Telescopes

Two Dobsonian telescopes. The tube of a Dobsonian telescope is easily removed from its base, making for easy transport. Credit: NASA

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:

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