The conditions necessary to make the heliosphere, namely the balance of an outward pushing stellar wind and the inward compression of surrounding interstellar gas is so common, that perhaps most stars have analogous structures, called astrospheres. Photographs of three such astrospheres are shown in the first image, as taken by various telescopes.

Due to the protective shielding of dangerous Galactic Cosmic Rays provided by a heliosphere or astrosphere, these structures are important for the planets that orbit the respective stars. Only over the last 15 years, we have been able (exoplanets)to detect the first astrospheres and planets around other stars.

The second image show a zoom into the most immediate environment around the Sun, showing the locations of known astrospheres and exoplanets. The nearest star, alpha Centauri has an astrosphere, and we know of at least two cases where we have detected both an astrosphere and exoplanets. These systems are truly analogous to our system in which the heliosphere shields a diverse planetary system.

The solar journey through space is carrying us through a cluster of very low density density interstellar clouds. Right now the Sun is inside of a cloud that is so tenuous that the interstellar gas detected by IBEX is as sparse as a handful of air stretched over a column that is hundreds of light years long. These clouds are identified by their motions as shown in the third image.


Astronomy Cast Ep 290 Failed Stars

If you get enough hydrogen together in one place, gravity pulls it together to the point that the temperature and pressures are enough for fusion to occur. This is a star. But what happens when you don’t have quite enough hydrogen? Then you get a failed star, like a gas giant planet or a brown dwarf.

Duration: 39:43

by Astrosphere Vids.

I want to talk about the feeling

That feeling that you get when you step outside during a hurricane.

That feeling of brisk, harsh life in your bones. 

You realize that you aren’t just a person caught up in gossip and stress and politics,

But a human being existing in a world blooming are you. 

It is the feeling at an amusement park when you get in line for the ride that scares you.

Maybe it’s the astrosphere. 

And you get inside the little tunnel,

Where they prep you and warn you about the flashing lights.

And you get scared even though you’ve been on this ride a hundred times before.

The disgruntled, twenty-something worker opens the door and high fives you.

The lights are on and everyone finds a seat on the glorified scrambler. 

It is the calm before the storm. 

And the lights quickly turn off and the room is pitch black. 

You have to reach out and hold the friend next to you because it’s always going to be scary.

No matter how many times it happens. 

And the lights start to move slowly with the intro to the music. 

There is a laser show on the ceiling of the dome and strobe lights make you feel alive.

You will feel alive.

And the air is warm and sticky because its summer and thats how it is.

Its dark but not scary anymore because you can’t stop smiling.

And the scrambler moves quickly through the darkness and jerks your body around the old metal seat. 

This is what it feels like to be young

And realize that you are a human being who exists to create wonder. 

And that is the feeling that I want to talk about.

The feeling that you get from the astrosphere.

Or a hurricane. 

A feeling that will remind you to be alive.


Astronomy Cast Ep. 334 - Chelyabinsk, One Year Later

Around this time last year a space rock crashed into the Earth above Chelyabinsk, Russia. It brightened the skies for hundreds of kilometers, broke windows and injured many people. Let’s look back at the event. What happened, and what did we learn?
This show is made possible through your donations.

Duration: 57:02

via Astrosphere Vids.


Virtual Star Party - 2013-05-19

We had a full Virtual Star Party this week, hosted by Fraser Cain and Scott Lewis. Gorgeous views of deep sky objects, including LOTS of interacting galaxies, were brought to you by Andrew Dumbleton, Gary Gonnella, Roy Salisbury, and Bill McLaughlin with his brand new telescope. Nicole Gugliucci brings expert commentary and a funny hat that makes her look a bit like Guinan from Star Trek: TNG. Scott also previews all of the submissions to the VSP photo contest!

Duration: 01:02:38

via Astrosphere Vids.


Learning Space №58: Space Books for Kids! And Adults

This week, we’ll be talking with astronomer and author Jeff Bennett.

Duration: 01:00:51

via Astrosphere Vids.