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:
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.
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!
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.
The best display of shooting stars all year — the annual “Geminid meteor shower” — is going on now! Although the peak occurs over the evening of Saturday, December 14, a bright Moon will interfere with this year’s Geminids, meaning that only the brightest Geminid shooting stars will be visible. In this article we’ll discuss what a meteor shower is, how to view the shooting stars, and when to view them.
All Name A Star Live gift sets include a letter-size Star Certificate that displays the name of your star, what the star is named in honor of (such as a graduation, an anniversary, love, Christmas, Valentine’s Day), the star’s registration date, a personal message you write for your gift recipient, and the astronomical coordinates of your star. Continue reading “The Info on Your Star Certificate”
If you created an account with us before, log in with your username and password. If you don’t remember your password, you can create a new one. NOTE: Please do not create a new account now and expect to find your Launch Certificate — the system does not work that way.
If you did not create an account with us in the past, then use the “LOOKUP BY ORDER NUMBER” option. You will find your order number in the extreme, lower, right-hand corner of your Star Certificate. You’ll also find this number in your e-mail receipt we sent you at the time of purchase.
3. You should automatically be taken to the “My Stars” section of the site. If not, click on either of the “My Stars” links in My Sky.
4. Now that you’re in “My Stars,” click on the “LAUNCH CERTIFICATE” link.
5. A popup box will appear. Click on “Download Certificate” next to the mission of your choice, e.g., “Heritage Flight.” Note that only the mission name(s) that your star name flew on will be displayed. A letter-size PDF file will then download to your computer. For the best effect, we recommend printing this letter-size PDF document on glossy or photographic paper. You may print this document as many times as you wish.
Name A Star Live is the only star-naming service that launches your star’s name into space, and provides you a launch certificate after each launch occurs. We’re operated by Space Services, Inc. – a real aerospace company that has been launching payloads into space since 1982.
We’re often asked by our customers how, exactly, we launch the star names.
First, we launch more than just your star’s name: We launch all of the unique information from your Star Certificate, including the star’s name, what the star is named in honor of, the star’s registration date, the message you write for your gift recipient, the star’s astronomical coordinates and your order number. We save all of this information in our database of stars — our star register, or “archive of star names”: Your star will be assigned the name you give it, and will never be assigned any other name in our star register.
Second, for each mission 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. The technicians must integrate the device into the rocket weeks, or even months before liftoff. So there necessarily is a delay between the time you name your star and the time your star name and other related information are launched.
Please note that our spacecraft and missions are carefully designed so as not to create space debris, and our data storage device is never released into space. For example, for our missions that fly in Earth orbit, our data storage device remains permanently attached to a rocket stage or a satellite that orbits Earth until the spacecraft harmlessly re-enters and is completely consumed by Earth’s atmosphere.
Scheduling a rocket launch is not like booking a flight on an airplane. While airline flights may be delayed a few minutes or hours due to weather or other reasons, normally your airplane flight will take off from your airport at least on the same day your flight is scheduled for departure. In contrast, rocket launches often are delayed for days, weeks, months or even years due to a variety of technical or other reasons inherent in spaceflight. You can find information about our upcoming missions by visiting our online launch schedule.
Third, depending on the mission, your star name will:
Fly on a brief trip to space and return to Earth,
Orbit the Earth (as an “orbital archive”),
Fly to the Moon, or
Fly into deep space.
In most cases you can attend each launch in person! Our parent company, Space Services, Inc., has had payloads launched from locations around the world, including: Kennedy Space Center, Florida; Cape Canaveral, Florida; Spaceport America, New Mexico; Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; New Zealand; the Canary Islands; and the Marshall Islands. But if you can’t join us for the launch, you can usually view the launch live via webcast.
No matter the mission, after each liftoff you can download a letter-size, Digital Launch Certificate confirming that your star name flew in space. This is provided to you via the Internet: You can even order a Printed or Framed Launch Certificate. This certificate displays your star’s name and astronomical coordinates, as well as information about the launch.
Launching your star’s name and other details into space is part of what sets Name A Star Live apart from other star-naming companies: Through our launches, we make the symbolic gesture of naming a star a real and exciting experience!
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.
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!
Thank you for being the star of my life!
To my mommy, I love you to the moon and back.
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.
Happy Mother’s Day, Alice! I love you and I can’t wait to meet our son!
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
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!
For my amazing mother who loves unconditionally, and gives wholeheartedly. I love her with all of my heart, and all of my soul.
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.
To the best mum in the world, you really are a star. We will always love you!
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.
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. 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”
There is a lot to love about astronomy, and 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.
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.
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.
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.