Hubble Hangouts: The Orion Nebula

Update: Recording of the show! On 13 & 14 October, The Space Telescope Science Institute will host a workshop dedicated to the Orion Nebula. Talks and smaller presentations will discuss everything the wealth of ground-based and Hubble observations have taught us about this famous landmark in the sky. Tony Darnell and I will host a Google+ Hangout On Air event while a set of workshops at the Space Telescope Science Institute titled “The Orion Nebula Cluster — as a Paradigm of Star Formation” is being held in Baltimore. During the events, scientists will join the hangout from the workshops to discuss the star forming science of the Orion Nebula. As an added bonus, amateur astronomers from across the world have shared their favorite images of Orion that they’ve captured in their back yard observatories. RSVP to the Google+ event to be able to ask questions, make comments and interact with the hosts, scientists and everyone participating in this live event! To celebrate this event and to offer the attendees an opportunity to talk about their research to the general public, we are hosting two Hubble Hangouts on Monday and Tuesday and 6pm EDT to talk about (among other things): * What kind of stars are being born? * What can infrared observations tell us about Orion? * Ages and age spreads in the Orion Nebula * What does the nebula tell us about star formation? * What can the stars being born in Orion tell us about young star clusters in the galactic center? Interested in the kind of cutting-edge research that pushes the boundaries of our knowledge of this famous...

Virtual Star Party | 25 Aug, 2013

Tonight’s Virtual Star Party is now live! Joining us tonight is Gary Gonnella, David Dickinson, Mark Behrendt and Thad Szabo sharing their views and talking all things...

VSP Photo Contest Winners


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In the second week of May, we at the Virtual Star Party on Google+ decided to hold a contest. Every week, we have a live show where we connect telescopes to cameras from across the world and stream their views live into a Google+ Hangout On Air. While this is happening, however, many other astronomers have started adding their photos into the Event, sharing their still images while we’re live. Because of this fantastic amount of interaction and engagement with our audience, we went forward with a photo contest, where the winners would have their astrophotography featured on the banners, icons and various graphics we use on the show and social media outlets. The response was nothing short of breathtaking. There were about 120 entries submitted in total. Men and Women from across the world joined in by looking up into the Cosmos, capturing those moments, then shared them with the rest of us in the contest. Various types of optics were used, from 14″ Newtonian telescopes to 135mm camera lenses to binoculars. This doesn’t even include the different cameras used! Modified DSLR cameras pitted against dedicated telescope detectors with some iPhone shots thrown into the mix as well! At the end of the day, I was left with the overwhelming task of being the judge of this contest. It wasn’t easy, to say the least. There were no precise criteria that were taken into consideration, except that it needed to be their own work with the details of the object, optics and detector used to capture the image. All sorts of different objects were submitted: Moon, Nebulae, Galaxies,...

Virtual Star Party – 23 December, 2012

In this episode of the Virtual Star Party, Scott Lewis and Dr. Thad Szabo work with astronomers Paul Stewart and Peter Lake and discuss their live observations. Paul Stewart first started the show by observing Venus live in the daytime from New Zealand, while Scott and Thad discussed it’s phase and how it’s actually possible to observe celestial bodies while it’s daylight out. From there, Paul moved along to the closest planet to the sun, Mercury, leading the discussion to why it appears so faint in the sky compared to Venus. This reason being that Venus is not only larger than Mercury and closer to Earth, but also is much more reflective of sunlight than Mercury is! After switching scopes and cameras, Paul observed our closest star, the Sun. His equipment observe light in Hydrogen Alpha, which is a very narrow band of light that is only emitted during a change in energy levels in a Hydrogen atom. The reason why this is beneficial for observing the sun is it allows us to see details of the Sun that are only visible in that range of light. Thad went along to discuss the differences in structures that we were observing on the Sun and the details of why imaging in Hydrogen Alpha is beneficial in many circumstances. Peter Lake, an astronomer from Australia, joined us at the end of the broadcast to share images from his remote observatory in New Mexico, USA. We had a brief discussion about our broadcast earlier in the month where we observed the transit of the exoplanet Qatar-1b. Peter wowed the audience, along the...

deSTEMber on Google+

The twelfth month of the year is deSTEMber! Over at one of my favorite places on the internet, Google+, we’re celebrating the month of December in style! deSTEMber has been an initiative of GirlStart, out of Austin, TX to engage, celebrate and fascinate everyone in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In 2012, GirlStart partnered with Google Science Fair to spearhead a campaign over at Google+, bringing another layer of fascinating content for all to enjoy and participate in! It’s not only GirlStart and Google Science fair that’s involved, either. CERN, National Geographic, Scientific American, The San Diego Zoo, Accuweather.com, and CosmoQuest have partnered up with this amazing way of reaching out to the public to get everyone excited about STEM via Google+! Fascinating Hangouts On Air are being held the entire month and will be archived here, as well as the GirlStart website on their calendar. To access the recordings of the previous broadcasts, head on up to the menu for deSTEMber and click away!   deSTEMber Partners: GirlStart: (Official Site) (+GirlStart) Google Science Fair: (Official Site) (+GoogleScienceFair) Accuweather.com: (Official Site) (+Accuweather) AdaFruit: (Official Site) (+AdaFruit) CERN: (Official Site) (+CERN) CosmoQuest: (Official Site) (+CosmoQuest) National Geographic: (Official Site) (+NatGeo) San Diego Zoo: (Official Site) (+SanDiegoZoo) Scientific American: (Official Site) (+ScientificAmerican) Science Sunday: +ScienceSunday STEM Women on Google++STEM Women on...
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