Images From Space

GalaxySpace wallpaper ( offers lots of free images that you can use for your computer’s desktop background (i.e. wallpaper), all of them with a space theme, of course. I love that stuff.

The space wallpapers are created from NASA, ESA and NOAO/AURA images as well as from contributions from astro-photographers and space artists around the world.

And yes Greg, does exist.

The Best Meteor Shower Of 2004

Your guide to a “gem” of a meteor show:

What could be the best meteor display of the year is scheduled to reach its peak on Monday night.
Skywatchers with dark skies away from city lights could see one or two meteors every minute during the Geminid meteor shower. The greatest activity is expected to be visible from North America, Europe and Africa.

From NASA:

Tell your friends: the best meteor shower of 2004 is about to peak on a long cold December night.
It’s the Geminids. The best time to look is Monday night, Dec. 13th. Sky watchers who stay outside for a few hours around midnight can expect to see dozens to hundreds of “shooting stars.”
Where should you look? Anywhere. Geminids streak all over the sky.

That’s cool. I hope it’s clear tonight so my daughter and I can watch it.

It’s Full Of Stars!

star gazingStellarium Astronomy Software:

Stellarium is a free software available for Linux/Unix, Windows and MacOSX. It renders 3D photo-realistic skies in real time. With stellarium, you really see what you can see with your eyes, binoculars or a small telescope.

This is excellent, free software with lots of features. I installed the Windows version and it works great: you set your location and it displays the stars with a time control that can be manipulated, allowing you to see star formations over time. Some of its features:

  • Over 120000 stars from the Hipparcos Catalogue with name and infos for the brightest ones.
  • Planets and major satellites in real time, with a powerful zoom mode to see them like in a telescope.
  • Time control (real time and accelered time modes).
  • Clickable stars, planets and nebulas with informations.
  • Drawing of the 88 constellations with their names.
  • Drawing of the 88 constellations mythological figures.
  • Textured displaying of more than 70 nebulas (Orion, M31 etc..).

Although it’s nicer seeing the stars outside than staring at a computer.

Watching The Sky

CometThe Observing page at Sky and Telescope lists weekly celestial events you can watch out for. This week:

…two comets will put on rather different performances in each hemisphere.
For skywatchers living at north temperate latitudes, Comet NEAT promises the easiest show to watch. In early May, just when NEAT is brightest, it will rapidly climb out of the Sun’s glare into good view above the southwest horizon after sunset. By the middle of May it will be high in the dark evening sky evening even as it begins to fade.