NORAD Santa Tracker

In what has become a yearly tradition for NORAD, the “Official NORAD Santa Tracker” is online! You can see where Santa is by visiting:

At this time, Santa has left his fortress of solitude at the North Pole. Based on reports from NORAD, Santa has started to make his deliveries.

For over fifty years, NORAD has tracked Santa each Christmas eve, starting in 1955 after a Colorado Springs retailer had a misprint in their advertisement for children to call Santa. The number printed happened to be the direct “hotline” for the Commander in Chief of CONAD (NORAD’S predecessor agency).

The Operations Director at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, went along with the mishap and ordered his staff to check the radar for indications of Santa heading south from the North Pole. Luckily, the children who called were given information on Santa’s location, and thus, the tradition was born.

In 1958, the United States and Canada formed the joint air defense command, known to us all as NORAD. Since NORAD’s creation, many people have volunteered their time to help track Santa on Christmas Eve. In recent years NORAD’s efforts have made their way to the Internet.

Merry Christmas!

Coming Soon: The Cosmic Ray Show!

The Cosmic Ray Show – Tuesdays at 10:00PM Pacific – only on Google+

You may have heard by now, but on August 28th, A new web-based astronomy/space/science talk show called “The Cosmic Ray Show” will be launching. Utilizing Google+ “hangout” technology, the show will air live with yours truly as the host.

What exactly is The Cosmic Ray Show you ask?

From the “welcome” post over at :

Simply put, My co-host and I will be giving our viewers current news, educational segments, interviews, space history, and of course, all the nerdy shenanigans and hijinks you’ve come to expect from me.

A good way of looking at our show is that it is “By space geeks, for space geeks”. Seriously! As astronomers, my co-host and I are well aware there are many groups and organizations out there doing great things. We’d like to spread the word about organizations and people who are really making a difference in science.

Of course, the show won’t be just a bunch of talking heads either. We have some awesome segments in the works – behind-the-scenes looks at observatories, night sky guides, book reviews, and more. We’re going to have a great time doing this show, and we hope our viewers have just as good a time watching us.

Learn more about The Cosmic Ray Show at
You can follow the show on Twitter (@cosmicraytv), Facebook, and Google+


Angry Birds in Spaaaaaaace!

Earlier this week at the SXSW festival, NASA presented the above video featuring astronaut and ISS flight engineer, Don Pettit.

The video is a tongue-in-cheek demonstration of basic physics concepts such as trajectories. In order to show how trajectories work, Pettit used bungee cord to catapult a stuffed Angry Bird toy through the International Space Station.

For those of you who participate on Google+ be sure to add Don Pettit to your circles, as he regularly posts great content from aboard the ISS.

You can view Pettit’s Google+ profile at:


Valentine’s Day Message From The Moon

A Valentine's day message from our Moon.
Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Apparently our Moon misses us, and would like us to come back soon!

The original image is of a lunar crater, made famous by a sharp-eyed observed who was browsing the public LROC data set

If you aren’t aware of the The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, it is designed to address two of the prime LRO measurement requirements:

  • 1.) Assess meter scale features to facilitate selection of future landing sites on the Moon.
  • 2.) Acquire images of the poles every orbit to characterize the polar illumination environment (100 meter scale), identifying regions of permanent shadow and permanent or near-permanent illumination over a full lunar year.
  • In addition to the above objectives, the LROC team is conducting meter-scale mapping of polar regions, stereo images that provide meter-scale topographic measurements, global multi-spectral imaging, and a global landform map.

    The LROC Center at Arizona State University also houses one of a handful of Lunar samples – Apollo Sample 15555.

    Sample 15555 is a sample of lunar basalt – a type of volcanic rock. The sample dates back to nearly 3.3 billion years ago. The sample on display in the LROC Visitor Gallery at ASU is a small piece of original rock – one of the largest and most studied basalt samples collected at the Apollo 15 landing site.

    If you’d like to learn more about Apollo Sample 15555, visit:

    To learn more about the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, visit:

    Read more about the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter at:

    Source: LROC Featured Images

    Imagine Mars Project: Mars Rap “Bye Bye Earth”

    A group of students from Chicago have composed a rap song about Mars after using computers to create digital models of a future human outpost on the red planet. The student group calls themselves “Chi-Town Royalty and the Media Wizards”, and the song, “Bye Bye Earth” was inspired by a teacher and NASA/JPL outreach.

    For more information on the Imagine Mars project, visit:


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