Name A Planet

   An organization with goals for enhancing/enriching (my words) space exploration, research, and education, Uwingu, has just released their first product with a focus on the many exo-planets discovered so far, and those yet to be discovered. While not actually a product in the physical sense it is an attempt to raise funding for use as grant money in the coming months. Grant applications will become available early next year with funds raised through this product. So in order to raise funding the public is encouraged to propose a planet name to be added to a database of possible names to be used for the many exo-planets being discovered. Each name nominated, or each vote cast for a name costs $0.99 (99 cents).
   Keep in mind that while this database of names will be made available for Astronomers to choose from, whatever name or names one proposes are not official names, nor is it implied that they are official names, unlike the ‘name a star‘ scams. The naming of celestial objects is the the responsibility of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
   Also on the web site are, under the Educate link, are some resources relevant to the search for exo-planets and are arranged by grade level.

   Click here to read a short story about how Uncle Ron and Aunt Nan learned about naming stars.

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

Earth, Space, and Life


   Earth: What is it like in a volcano crater during an eruption? Go to Geoff Mackley’s web site for some incredible videos and pictures from his project to get inside an active volcano on a volcanic island off of the Australian east coast.
   Space: From Kevin Margo is a short (8 minute) video, Grounded, about an astronaut stranded on an alien planet.
“One astronaut’s journey through space and life ends on a hostile exosolar planet. Grounded is a metaphorical account of the experience, inviting unique interpretation and reflection by the viewer. Themes of aging, inheritance, paternal approval, cyclic trajectories, and behaviors passed on through generations are explored against an ethereal backdrop.”
   Life: I first saw this animated short video several years ago and considering the content of the Grounded video I thought this would sort of compliment Grounded. The Beauty of Life is done by Moritz Bunk.
Get some tissues ready!