Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse

Well, didn't get to see the Geminids due to clouds, or the Moon Pleiades conjunction, again due to clouds and snow, but 3rd times the charm, got to see and image a very rare Winter Solstice Total Eclipse of the Moon, WOO HOO! Hasn't been one for over 300 years and the next won't happen till 2094.

Touch and go up to the event whether or not I was going to see it at all, was a light cloud cover throughout but my good ole faithful Moon burnt through to put on quite the show, I hope and actually know some of you got to see it, Astro-Nuts was with and he got some great pics, JJ got some great images as well as Genie, as of this writing Genie and Astro-Nuts have only posted to FB, anyone else get pics just send me some and I will post here.

Went pretty smooth cept for the fact I almost killed myself, as I was carrying my 90 pound scope across my slippy deck to mount it on the tripod I slipped and would have gone down if not for the fact there was a bbq behind me which kept me up, man that so would have sucked. All good in the end and got the shots, 240 of them, I hope to stitch them together soon into a movie, which I will post. Last but not least, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Space Goings On for December

Finally, after almost 3 years we will be treated to a Total Lunar Eclipse starting at 1:32 am EST. December 21. I took the above image during the last Total Lunar Eclipse, February 20, 2008. If you live in North America and miss this one you'll be waiting awhile for the next...April 2014. If you look real close, preferably with binocs just before and right after totality you'll see a beautiful turquoise color, like the above image.

During a Lunar Eclipse, the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon, you see the reddish brown on the Moon as the result of the Sunlight going through the Earth's stratosphere which absorbs the blues and allows the reds through to the Moon's surface, much like our lower atmosphere does during Sunrises/sets. Just before and after totality some of the Sunlight reaches into the Ozone layer which absorbs the reds and allows the blues through to the Lunar surface, just an fyi. Later that day, we have the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, now the good thing about that is after it occurs the days will be getting longer, sweet.

December 13th look to the East for the Geminids Meteor Shower, they have actually started right now but will peak in numbers around 2 am, EST. December 14. If not for my Fisheye lens I would not have been so lucky to capture the low Geminid back in 2008. I was actually out to capture an Ursid Meteor in the Big Dipper near the end of December when by a total fluke caught the latecomer Geminid. Cool thing about low meteors is the dust in the lower atmosphere tends to make them more colorful, like the green above.

On December 18th the Moon and Pleiades will be getting together. If you can score a pair of binocs do so. They are a perfect celestial couple and look awesome through them and since the Moon will be near full it will kind of wash out the Pleiades, the binocs will help make them more visible. I will give reminders here as well and weather permitting take and post the images here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A New Song

So, this is what I've been doing for the last 5 months. I mentioned in my last post that I was working with some talented musicians, well we have a name for our group now and our first recorded song. The name of the song , "Restless Dreams", the name of the group, "Soul Reviver".

But to me it's really not about the music as much as it is about the friendships that have developed in the group, Dennis Perry on Bass, Dale Kostyk on Drums and did the mixdown on the song, and our fearless leader, singer, songwriter Guitarist Ed Saraka, the man who got it all started last July. I've known Ed for some 25 years and when he gave me the call to join the project I thought Ed's involved, gonna be good. The call came at a point in my life when I was wondering what to do next, my life hadn't turned out quite the way I planned, maybe joining a rock and roll group will make it all better, hey God does work in mysterious ways.

Restless Dreams was written at a turning point in my life, you know when you come to a point in your life when you realize you've made mistakes and look within yourself and find there is nothing you can do, or anyone else for that matter, so you make a choice, look to a higher power, ie God and realize crap I should have done this a long time ago, God forgives you, you forgive yourself (the hardest part) and move on, the end. But not really the end, always doubts, we are after all only human, that's why it's nice to have God 24/7 to pull us back into line again when we doubt about our self worth, our purpose.

As far as Blackholes and astrostuff look for more posts, if only as Anna suggested the odd image or so.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Where to Find Astronomy Videos And Photo Galleries Online

I have another great guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about pharmacy technician certification for PharmacyTechnicianCertification.com.

Browsing astronomy video and photo galleries is a great way to learn more about space and get a look at things you might otherwise never see. The following ten sites host thousands of videos and images for your viewing pleasure.

Space.com Video Collection - Space.com has assembled hundreds of astronomy videos from around the web and put them in one easy-to-access collection. More than 500 videos can be view directly in Space.com's video player.

ScienceDaily Video Collection - ScienceDaily, a site that reports on the latest science news, hosts a large selection of astronomy videos. Videos include clips of the moon, planets, asteroids, meteors, stars, black holes, space exploration, and much more.

Sixty Symbols Video Collection - Created by the University of Nottingham, Sixty Symbols provides an interesting library of videos about the symbols of physics and astronomy. The site also links to their Flickr photo collection.

Discovery.com Video Collection - Discovery.com has an excellent collection of videos for space and science enthusiasts. The videos feature the top 10 greatest discoveries in astronomy.

National Geographic Video Collection - National Geographic offers dozens of high-quality space videos in their online science video collection. Videos cover everything from the latest news in space and shuttle missions to forces of nature.

NASA Image Gallery - NASA offers a wide range of videos and images on their site. Photos include images from the Kennedy Space Center, NASA aircraft, aeronautics facilities, and research centers. Visitors can browse collections or search for images using NASA's image exchange engine.

Hubble Gallery - The Hubble Site offers a huge selection of images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Site visitors can browse individual images, search albums, or tour entire image galleries.

Astronomy Magazine's Online Reader Gallery - Astronomy Magazine posts a wide range of images snapped by astrophotographers from around the world. Registered members can leave comments on the images or submit their own photo. Image categories include the sun and moon, comets, star clusters, galaxies, and nebulae.

NOAO Image Gallery - This site features pictures taken with the facilities of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). The gallery includes images of the sun, moon, stars, solar system, nebulae, galaxies, telescopes, and more.

APOD Archives - Created by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell, Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) features the largest collection of annotated astronomy images on the web. Archives include images that have been posted daily from 1995 to present day.

Thanks a lot Karen, I little update about me, I have been very fortunate to hook up with some talented musicians and am getting back to creating music with the main goal of putting a CD of originals together within the year, lot easier to write stuff when you understand more about who you are, very exciting times, and I Thank God for this.

I will be getting back into posting more regularly in the future, thanks for all your kind comments and emails, you have all been just super.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Storm Worlds and Lunar Venus Conjunction

National Geographic Channel has come through once again with a super 3 part mini series
Storm Worlds, premiering this Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8-11 PM ET.

Starting off, Cosmic Fire. Imagine a solar event like a huge Coronal Mass Ejection, so powerful it takes out all the power grids across the world and puts us into darkness, destroying communication satellites...no more cell phones. Using dramatic recreations and Computer Generated Imagery National Geographic Channel takes us there, don't think it's possible? Back in 1859 a solar event was so powerful it took out the technologies of the time..the telegraph, over the United States and Europe, actually starting fires in the telegraph offices and just back in 1989 a solar storm one fifth the size of the one in 1859 took out power in Quebec for 11 hours.

A dream team of scientists and policy makers meet in Washington regularly to discuss ways of understanding and dealing with space weather, a natural and alien force that stalks the Earth with the power to send us back to the Steam age. If an event like the one in 1859 was to happen.. and it is when..not if it does, we are not prepared physiologically, culturally or technologically to handle it.

Next up, Alien Wind. Watch with the aid of CGI space storms off the chart in size and power and let me tell you after watching this premier you'll be thanking your lucky stars, for as unpredictable and sometimes stupid our weather is here on our little Earth, it pales in comparison to Saturn's lightning, 10,000 times more powerful than ours..or wind gusts of 11,000 mph on extrasolar planet HD 80606B, methane rain storms on Titan or storms lasting 100's of years on Jupiter. Watch as these storms attack San Francisco using cutting-edge CGI fantasy sequences.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a Martian size dust storm hit Earth? probably not, but you get to see it using the aid of...that's right CGI, watch as talcum fine dust sandblasts everything in it's path, searing flesh like bleach, impossible to breath and there is nowhere to hide..sucks, good thing it's just fantasy, but fun to watch.

Unfortunately again these premiers are only initially showing in the States, not to worry though, coming to a local celestial theater near you, Saturday May 15 a slim crescent Moon meets up with Venus, just look to the west at Sunset, the Moon will be just below Venus, promises to be a pretty site and great photo op.

I want to leave you now with an animation of my "Sprouting Grass Full Moon" with corona, the name given the April Full Moon by early Native Americans.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

National Geographic Channel "Known Universe" Premiere

National Geographic Channel comes through again with a six part mini series highlighting profound mysteries of our known universe. Really the only fault I can find with any of these shows is the fact that they only show in the US, sucks if you live any where else. Computer Generated Imagery, time lapse sequences, slow motion footage, everyday examples and expert's input all go towards great cosmic TV viewing.

Known Universe: Cosmic Collisions

Thursday, April 1, at 10 PM ET.

Apophis a 230 meter near earth object is slated to come between Earth and it's geosynchronous satellites December 2029, it will just miss us but if it happens to enter what they call the keyhole, an area 600 meters wide above the Earth, the Earth's Gravity will alter it's orbit which will put it into a collision course with us on it's return trip April 17, 2036, fatalities estimated at 10 million. We are in a shooting gallery and it is not a question of if but when we get hit by one of these near earth Objects. Using Computer Generated Imagery you'll see, various cosmic collisions like a major asteroid hitting the north pole of Mars, removing the Martian crust and creating the Lowlands, covering almost half the planet. An asteroid hit Venus so hard that it changed it's direction of spin, you'll see 2 neutron stars collide creating more energy in a micro second then our Sun will produce in it's entire 10 billion year lifetime.

Known Universe: Stellar Storms

Thursday, April 8, at 10 PM ET.

Start off with seeing the worst, tornadoes, earthquakes, lightning/thunderstorms, heatwaves the Earth has to offer then travel to Jupiter to visit the Great Red Spot, a storm 3 times the size of Earth that has been going on for maybe 1,000s of years, with winds up to 500 mph, which btw would rip into wood, Earth's fastest recorded wind is 300 mph. Head to Neptune's Great Dark Spot, a storm the size of Earth with winds of up to 1000 mph, then off to exoplanet HD80606B (image above) with storm winds of up to 11, 000 mph. Saturn's Moon Titan coming in at around -300 F has methane showers and lakes, exoplanet Corot-7b with temps of 3,000 F has rivers and lakes of molten minerals and liquefied zinc showers. See dust storms on Mars that cover the whole planet, you'll visit these places and more with the aid of cool CGI

Known Universe: Alien Contact

Thursday, April 16, at 10 PM ET.

The age old question, is there other intelligent life out there somewhere in the Cosmos? Did God create the heavens so we could take pictures of cool things like galaxies just so we could use them as wallpaper on our desktops? I personally think there is other intelligent life out there, I mean there are billions and billions of galaxies, and billions and billions of stars in each of those galaxies, with the majority having planets orbit them, odds are there has got to be a few with intelligent life on them. You'll learn of the Kepler Mission to hunt out Earth like planets, visit SETI, travel to Saturn's Moon Enceladus, Jupiter's Europa, both ice wolds that may have life beneath their surface.

Known Universe: Decoding The Skies

Thursday, April 29, at 10 PM ET.

What we take for granted, and rarely even look at anymore, our cosmos, was what the ancients used and decoded for survival. Being able to understand the stars was key in developing, clocks and calenders, gave the hunter gathers of the time the ability to know when the best time was for planting crops, giving them the power to adapt, therefore they could advance from hunter gatherers to settlers and better make use of their time to solve more of their day to day problems. You'll see some of the most magnificent and largest monuments ever built, such as the Pyramids and Stonehenge how they are related to the heavens and if maybe the ancients had a little help with the construction from alien visitors. Just a cool fact, one of many in this show. The Dogon tribe in North Africa worshiped a star Sirius B back in 3200BC, the thing is it wasn't even discovered till 1862, how did they know about it, simple, they said they had visitors from there, well I'm not saying it's true, I'm saying it's kind of cool, the Ancients if nothing else have very interesting histories.

Known Universe: Final Frontiers

Thursday, May 6, 10 PM ET.

The two major frontiers left to explore, Deep Space and our Deep Oceans, we have only explored 5% of our oceans and less then that of space. Blind shrimp, albino crabs, huge clams, giant tube worms, with human like blood, up until just a while ago we never knew these things ever existed here on earth, deep in our oceans. The ability to stand and thrive in extreme pressures with no sunlight, life was more adaptable and creative then we could ever have imagined, life elsewhere in the universe became a whole lot more probable. This gave scientists who are looking for alien life a better understanding of how life on other planets might thrive and where to go looking for it, like the ice moons of Enceladus and Europa . Interesting fact, there are 2 million animal and plant species, living on the Earth, 200,000 living in our oceans, some scientists are saying there might be as many as 25 million more marine species to be discovered. From Deep Oceans to Deep Space, you'll learn how our universe is expanding and why. Ninety Five percent of our Universe is made up of stuff we do not know the nature of, Dark Matter and Dark Energy may be the cause of it's expansion.

Known Universe: Cosmic Fury

Thursday, May 13, 10 PM ET.

Volcanoes and Earthquakes have killed 75 million people in recorded history, can you imagine if we had planet wide volcanoes like Venus, at any one time, Venus has 1600 major erupting volcanoes and up to 100,000 smaller ones. Io, one of Jupiter's Moons has 300 going on at the same time , with eruptions 100s of miles in the air. Being so close to Jupiter the tidal forces at work are such that during it's high tide the surface is actually stretched 330 ft in the air. Our Sun has solar flares thousands of miles into space, when they break they snap down onto it's surface creating a Sun quake, 11.3 on the Richter scale, 100 times more powerful then our largest ever recorded Earthquake. Talk about Cosmic Fury, Magnetars, a type of Neutron star, their flares can cause quakes of 32 on the Richter scale, that would turn Earth's crust inside out.

Well there you have it, some cool shows coming your way the next couple months. I'll leave you now with a preview of the first in the series Cosmic Collisions.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mostly Images

Been quite busy taking tons of images lately and just thought I'd post some of them. The Moon and Pleiades are my favorite celestial grouping and a week from tonight, Saturday March 20 they will once again be dancing together across the night sky, look to the SW just after Sunset to see them, use binoculars if you can.

I used to think that atmospheric phenomena such as Solar and Lunar halos were rather rare,

but am finding due to the fact that I am out and about more these days, I have noticed that they come and go frequently, got 3 halos a corona and some sundogs within a time frame of just over a month.

What it is, they aren't so much rare as fleeting, caught all the events while either just leaving or coming home from some place and rushing to get my camera, which by the way I have set up and ready to go by my back door.

The Solar halo above for example, I was just pulling into my driveway from work and noticed while getting out of the car and looking up, half a solar halo, ran into the house grabbed my camera which was already set up by the back door allowing me to be out on the back deck taking images just as it was completing the arc, took a few pics and then watched it dissolve away right before my very eyes, total time..around 5 minutes.

Same with the sundogs and solar pillar, coming home for lunch noticed the dogs, got the camera and snapped the image, they lasted the longest of all the phenomena, around 15 minutes, it's all about stopping to smell the roses, look and you shall receive.

Went out with Astro-Nuts to capture the elusive zodiacal lights. They are very faint but beautiful, they mimic light pollution. The zodiacal light is a product of Sunlight being scattered by cosmic dust left behind by comets and asteroids, therefore it is most apparent right above the setting Sun, lower right in the above image. Notice as well the wasted light on the left of the image taking out part of Orion, caused by Saskatoon's famous light polluting, Co2 producing Dakota Dunes Casino, wasting energy, light and also taking away our God given beauty and wonders of the night sky......they have no shame.

And a favorite thing of mine, a morning Moon, took the above image with my telescope a week ago, woke up early morning, no wind, birds chirping. God is so good putting me at the right place at the right time, to be able to transform these temporary and fleeting moments into images to be shared and appreciated by you.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Apollo Missions and Life

10...9... main ignition start...6...5...4...3...2...1...0......lift off.....we have lift off, 32 minutes past the hour................launch tower cleared.

"I describe it as a nervous novice driving a wide car down a narrow alley, gotta make corrections and what it is , it's those big motors underneath gimbling underneath, you know swirling back and forth to keep you in balance. You feel by the seat of your pants, thinking gee that launch tower is just a few feet off the one side, I hope this sucker ain't gonna gimble in that direction too much and then when they tell ya launch tower cleared you kinda say oh wosh, we don't have to worry about hitting that moose, then off you go" Mike Collins Apollo 11.

Was watching In The Shadow of the Moon last night for like about the 20 gazillionth time and it really hit home how these astronauts who ventured to the Moon all had profound experiences, how all their lives had changed, so much so that what they once thought was important, now seemed trivial. Some even made major decisions about following God, it changed their lives, little things like not worrying about the price of gas any more, about crowded places like malls, Alan Bean is happy now there were people after visiting such a desolate place as the Moon.

After going through a life changing event myself I can relate to some of their thinking, let me make this perfectly clear, I don't pretend that what has happened to me is any worse then what has happened to a lot of other people, I know of people in far off worse places then I, serious illnesses and the such, but I know somewhat how they feel and what they are going through, but that's what it is all about , helping each other get through difficult times to the other side.

This blog post is something I have put off for a long time, I hope by reading it you will in some way benefit, maybe even help you get through your rough times. It's about how I handled an overwhelming situation by making what I feel to be the right lifelong decisions, and of course relating it back to the Apollo Missions, my most favorite thing ever, so here we go.

When it seemed no one was was there for me, God was. I said God look, just been told after 30 years of Marriage, the one I loved no longer wants to be with me, mostly my fault made some bad decisions, God said no problem, he is after all in the business of forgiveness, with Jesus, John 3:16 and all, He took me, put me in the command module, strapped me in, said hold on, and I was off.

Now the fun begins. Initially I was trying to make all kinds of course corrections early on with all the buttons at my disposal in my command module to try and get where I thought I had to get to, God of course was correcting my wrong corrections with the rocket's motors, pulling me away from the Launch Tower at just the right time, keeping me straight. It is reassuring that no matter how bad we continue to screw things up, God knows about it ahead of time, I mean it's not like he's up there saying "Wow...never saw that coming....any ideas, Peter...Jesus........anyone?" he is there to guide and correct you from as Mike Collins put it "hitting that moose" which is very comforting.

"Will metal stand this kind of vibration, have the engineers realized how this thing shakes? because it shakes so much more then I ever imagined." Alan Bean Apollo 12.

Since God is my engineer, he knew what I could stand, no matter what I was going through especially in the early stages of my adventure like getting off the launch pad and the forces at work against it, with God's help I got through it in one piece.

"Those engines, those 5 engines, when ignited shakes the whole body to reverberation from it, it's very emotional." Edgar Mitchell Apollo 14.

Actually very emotional, you know when God's guiding engines cut in, even though it shakes you to the core, you know you are going somewhere forward.

"You're not just riding along, a lot of people think you're just lying on your back waiting for it to happen, but not really, because every second is something of significance" Dave Scott Apollo15.

From the outside looking in it looks like the person who is working through a major upset is kinda just getting on when in reality, the person is changing their whole outlook on life, making decisions on the go, reflecting and growing, coming to grips with what has been dealt them and in my case couldn't have happened without God, Christ and the Holy Spirit to help me.

Once you get off the launch pad, into space and on to your new place, somewhere between where you were and where you're going, the blindfold comes completely off, you look behind to see where you came from getting smaller and smaller, but more important it's gravity or effect on you is less and less, your new destination on the other hand getting big and bigger and it's pull on you, it's gravity increases, the "why me".... "who's fault is it" questions start to fade away and the anticipation of a new start becomes more focused.

"I always thought of myself as one of the more fearful astronauts, really, and when I look out that window of the spacecraft I would think if that window blows out I'm going to die in about a second...there's death right out side there about an inch away." Alan Bean Apollo 12.

Sometimes, alone in your little command module, you do fret what God has in store for you, even though you are not alone, God is always there even though sometimes it feels like he's not. You vacillate between fear and exaltation.

"I didn't feel it as loneliness, I certainly didn't feel it as fear, I felt it as awareness almost a feeling of exaltation, I kind of liked it, good feeling, everything was going well in the command module, had my happy little home, had the bright lights on, everything was fine, I enjoyed that time."
Mike Collins Apollo 11.

This post was not about me insomuch as what God has done for me, given me a richer fuller life, a greater appreciation for his creations, whether it be people, or the cosmos, oh and eternal life, not afraid of dying anymore. Where this blog goes from here is still unknown to me, won't be quite the same as I'm not quite the same, I'll still post some of my images, some reviews, who knows. Through it all God has placed key people in my life and even though it's quiet most times in my brightly lit command module their voices come through loud and clear on my com channel giving me words of encouragement and guidance, a lot have been my readers and I thank you for that, special mention to Astro- Nuts and Fishhawk who have been on the com almost daily.

"I felt that I was standing on a plateau, a plateau somewhere out there in space. A plateau that science and technology allowed me to get to but now what I was seeing, even more important, what I was feeling at that moment in time, science and technology had no answers for, literally no answers. Because there I was and there you are...there you are Earth, dynamic, overwhelming, and I felt that the world just...just too much purpose, too much logic, was just to beautiful to have happened by accident. There has to be somebody bigger then you and bigger then me and I mean this in a spiritual sense not a religious sense, there has to be a creator of the universe who stands above the religions that we ourselves create to govern our lives."

Eugene Cernan, Apollo 10&17, Last Man on the Moon.

I'll leave you now with my first Moon video taken years ago, kind of crude, but it shows that even though something that looks like it isn't going anywhere.... when you look up at the Moon for example.......well when you look real close, when you look under a magnifying glass, aka telescope at it you see nothing is constant, you see movement.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

10 Free Astronomy Podcasts on iTunes

Karen Schweitzer, the About.com Guide to business School and who also writes about online degrees for OnlineDegreePrograms.org has once again offered her most excellent services, this time giving us 10 places to receive free podcasts from iTunes.

Have your iTunes application open before hand and then click on the below links which will then open up your iTunes store with the free astronomy podcast.

Listening to podcasts can be a great way to learn about anything while you are on the go. There are hundreds of astronomy-related podcasts that you can listen to and participate in online. Many of them are available for free through iTunes. Here are 10 to try in your spare time.

Astronomy Cast- Hosted by Dr. Pamela L. Gay of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Fraser Cain of Universe Today, Astronomy Cast is iTunes' most popular astronomy-related podcast. Most episodes focus on what is known about the universe and things that are still being discovered.

This Week In Space- This Week in Space is a new podcast that reports astronomy-related news. Episodes are hosted by Miles O'Brien, a journalist and member of the NASA Advisory Council.

NASACast- NASACast is a video podcast direct from NASA. Episodes focus on the latest astronomy news as well as current NASA missions.

Hubblecast- Hosted by Dr. Joe Liske, a German astronomer at the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), Hubblecast covers news about astronomy and the famed Hubble Space Telescope.

Astronomy.com- This weekly podcast from Astronomy Magazine reports up-to-date news and previews upcoming sky events.

Astronomy 141- Professor Richard Pogge of Ohio State University presents audio recordings of his lectures through this free podcast. Lectures are designed for non-science majors and explore life in the universe.

Naked Astronomy- Naked Astronomy is a relatively new podcast from the Naked Scientists, a group of physicians and researchers from Cambridge University. The podcast hosts explore a wide range of space science topics and conduct interviews with professional astronomers.

Slacker Astronomy- This podcast offers interesting interviews as well as news stories about astronomy and science. Slacker Astronomy also presents the occasional video on special topics.

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe- This weekly podcast features a discussion among five skeptics who cover everything from the paranormal to controversial claims--all from a scientific point of view.

Mysterious Universe- The Mysterious Universe podcasts covers the latest in science, technology, and astronomy with a strong emphasis on the strange, extraordinary, and just plain weird.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

National Geographic Channel's "A Traveler's Guide to The Planets"

Get ready with an out of this world journey to the planets with National Geographic Channel's "A Traveler's Guide To The Planets" a 3 day, 6 part mini series premiering Sunday February 14, a.k.a Valentines Day 9pm EDT. What better way to cap off an evening with that someone special then to tour Saturn and Jupiter.

Using a combination of the latest images taken with the biggest and best Earth telescopes and stunning CGI animations you'll navigate through Saturn's rings, tour it's surface and view it's amazing auroras, then it's on to Jupiter, dive below it's atmosphere which is so dense the pressure of which could crush a car into the size of a tin can. Jupiter the solar system's vacuum cleaner, with it's immence gravitational pull sucking in comets and asteroids that would otherwise pummel the Earth, without Jupiter they estimate we'd be hit by a comet every 50 years or so, life as we know it would not exist.

Monday, February 15, at 9pm EDT. Travel to Mars, Venus and Mercury. Did you know that 4.5 billion years ago Venus and Earth began as planetary twins, formed right next to each other, even exchanging materials, parts of Venus were falling on Earth and visa versa. You'll learn all kinds of cool things about these 3 planets, again the animations and visuals on the preview dvds were awesome.

Tuesday, February 16, at 9pm EDT. Last stops on our journey of the Planets, Neptune, Uranus and yes..little Pluto, still a planet in Bobland. You'll see stunning new pictures of these planets and visit the New Horizons control room where scientists are working with the first spacecraft to visit Pluto around 2015, just past Jupiter, 1979 more days to arrival at Pluto.

Unfortunately the mini series is only showing for now in the U.S. but as in past NGC space shows have come to Canada within 6-8 months through the Discovery and Canadian National Geographic Channels.. I will update you on this one either through my blog or my Facebook where I am spending some time at.

I'll leave you now with a preview clip of Saturn.