What would it look like from Earth if the Moon were a giant disco ball?

So, technically, this is what it would look like if the Moon were a disco ball AND orbited Earth at the same distance as the International Space Station, i.e. roughly 420 kilometers (260 miles) above the surface of the Earth. But that doesn't make it any less incredible looking. » 4/05/14 9:30am 4/05/14 9:30am

Watch an X-Class Solar Flare Ignite the Skies Over Iceland

On February 25th, the Sun let loose an X4.9-class solar flare. It was our parent star's most violent outburst of the year. When the debris from the ensuing coronal mass ejection collided with Earth's atmosphere, it produced one of the most colorful auroral displays in recent memory. » 4/03/14 11:04pm 4/03/14 11:04pm

A sobering reminder of the risks inherent to space exploration

Via YouTuber Fabio Baccaglioni comes a solemn compilation of rocket launch failures, from the early days of space exploration to present. That it's just shy of 32 minutes long is a testament to something that can't be overemphasized: getting to space is hard. It's grueling, it's dangerous, and, as we all know too… » 3/15/14 2:00pm 3/15/14 2:00pm

Watch a surprisingly stirring short film about mountains

We don't usually think of mountains as having life spans, but these colossal geologic entities live and die in cycles like countless other forms of matter (albeit on much larger time scales). The Weight of Mountains is a short film by Temujin Doran that explores this process through stunning geophysical imagery. » 3/08/14 9:35am 3/08/14 9:35am

A Wonderful Interview with Frank Drake

In June 2012, SETI Institute Board Member Andrew Fraknoi sat down with astrophysicist Frank Drake, father of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, for a fantastic 45-minute interview about Drake's current projects at SETI and the history of his research – including the work that led to the famous equation of » 2/04/14 10:30am 2/04/14 10:30am

Ball lightning has been captured on video for the first time ever

Reports of ball lightning have existed for hundreds of years, but footage of the rare phenomenon, which appears transiently in the form of a glowing sphere of electrical activity, has never been acquired outside the lab. Now, a team of Chinese researchers claims it has obtained the first recorded scientific video of… » 1/19/14 10:55am 1/19/14 10:55am

NASA recreates the moment Apollo 8 astronauts photographed Earthrise

The photograph of the Earth rising over the moon taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts in 1968 is one of the iconic images of the US space program, and in this visualization, NASA recreates the moment the photo was taken, pairing digitally rendered views from inside and outside the spacecraft with the astronauts' audio. » 12/22/13 9:00am 12/22/13 9:00am

San Diego traffic, organized by color, is surprisingly hypnotic

Filmmaker Cy Kuckenbaker is back to delight our eyeballs with a meticulously edited 4-minute video of traffic footage shot from San Diego's Washington Street bridge – which doesn't sound something you'd want to spend four minutes watching, but then maybe you don't know who Kuckenbaker is, or the time-(col)lapse… » 12/19/13 8:40am 12/19/13 8:40am