June 30, 2015

Astronomy Video of the Week: Entering Other Space

A hilarious outer (other) space saga!

Image credit: Yahoo TV

This week, we thought we’d highlight an online comedy sci-fi series that you may not be watching, but should be.

Other Space is a new sci-fi series on Yahoo TV that’s just hilarious to watch. Launched in April of this year, Other Space follows the castaway crew of the UMP Cruiser as they bumble through the cosmos, encountering intelligent clouds, put down robot rebellions involving the sentient coffee maker onboard, and of course, fend off the occasion alien attack. [Read more...]

New Horizons Set to Buzz the Pluto System

Pluto and Charon… in color!

(Credit: NASA/JPL)

(Editor’s Note: This week’s event was hatched as part of our “legacy post project” in October 2009, entitled “12 Very Special Events for the 21st Century.” They’re a time capsule of sorts, meant to carry on the Astroguyz legacy!)

One of the last outposts of the solar system is about to become known. 3463 days after launch, the New Horizons spacecraft is set to whiz by the Pluto-Charon system at a blazing 14 kilometers a second. Launched in 2006, flyby will occur on July 14th 2015. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-The Cloaked Promise Part 3

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Here’s our latest and greatest installment straight from our Solar Winds universe.  Andrea and team may have successfully used the Radium core to lure in and capture a small Legion cruiser… but what will they do next? And will her team rally under her leadership? Things are definitely going down in the outer solar system out near Saturn’s orbit, in our solar system spanning adventure. Set in 2222 AD, Solar Winds follows a the adventures of Scorpius Cell and the Zodiac cartel as they navigate perilous worlds on the brink of open rebellion.Think of it as Star Wars meets 2001: A Space Odyssey. Be sure to start back at chapter 1, or read The Cloaked Promise and other tales of science fiction adventure in their entirety.

 

Solar Winds-The Cloaked Promise

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 3

Andrea watched out the view port as the newly shielded Radium core was dragged back into the loading bay. This little Kuiper belt asteroid had seen a lot of activity as of late. And things had only gotten stranger and more complicated since the hijack of the Daedalus.  The captured communications officer was still in the medical ward. Andrea had scanned her retinal implant and discovered her name was Lori Stutton from Earth.  [Read more...]

Astronomy Video of the Week: Watch the CRS-7 Launch Live

Launch of CRS-2. Photo by author.

It’s the busy season in low Earth orbit once again, as missions are set to head to and depart from the International Space Station this summer. And the first mission in the queue is SpaceX’s Dragon resupply capsule, set to head to the ISS this weekend. Launch of CRS-7 is slated for Sunday, June 28th at 14:21 UT/10:21 AM EDT atop a Falcon-9 rocket. Launch occurs from Cape Canaveral and pad SLC-40, and you can watch the whole thing live on NASA TV beginning at 9:00 AM EDT/13:00 UT: [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-The Cloaked Promise Part 2

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Alright. My back is out as I write this, so we’ll get right to this week’s installment. Be sure to 1.) Start back on chapter 1 from last week, and 2.) Read The Cloaked Promise and other original tales of sci-fi in their entirety.

 

Solar Winds: The Cloaked Promise

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 2

 

Desperately, he searched for a compromise. “Leave us our ship, and we’ll transfer what weapons and supplies we have…”

As if on cue, the hatchway to the bridge buckled inward. Light blinded the crew as two figures moved through. One was fitted with a welder’s harness, and the larger one brandished a maser rifle. The boarding party quickly took up positions on either side of the bridge as a thin figure drifted straight at the Commander. She had the beauty of a Space Siren, but she was all business. [Read more...]

Astronomy Video of the Week: Reclaiming the Night

Dark skies over Bruneau Dunes State Park, Idaho.

Photo by author.

Have you ever stood under a truly dark night sky? In 2015, fewer and fewer citizens of our modern technological age even know what that means, as the light polluted suburbs encroach on once pristine tracks of dark sky wilderness.

Recently, we came across an exciting new Indiegogo project to produce a documentary named Reclaiming the Night. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-The Cloaked Promise

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And with the advent of another Friday, we’re pleased to announce the start of another story straight out of our Solar Winds universe. This tale is Part 2: be sure to read the first chapter of Part 1 entitled Scorpius Cell here. Can’t wait? You can read ‘em all in their entirety including The Cloaked Promise on our Amazon page.

 

Solar Winds- The Cloaked Promise

by

David Dickinson

 

“Have you glimpsed them? Have you sighted their flitting shadows at the edge of the watering hole?”

-Hanna Julian Sweeten,

The Violet Integer

The Radium Core spun lazily in the diminished sunlight of open space. Its shielding elements alternated from light to dark as the locator beacon on its side blinked with a forlorn glow. [Read more...]

Astronomy Video of the Week: A Look at the First Teaser Trailer for the Martian!

Matt Damon on the set of The Martian.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

It’s here!

Well, the first teaser is out, at least. We recently wrote over on Universe Today about how some of the very first promotional images from the upcoming film adaptation for Andy Weir’s novel The Martian had surfaced. Now, a first video promo has surfaced as well over this past weekend. Directed by Ridley Scott and set for release on November 25th, 2015, The Martian is one of THE most anticipated film releases of 2015… and that’s saying a lot, in a Star Wars/Avengers year. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: The Second Coming of Stephen King

This week, we though we’d give you a short tale between Solar Winds adventures… so short, in fact, that it fits into just one short 1,000-odd word post. You can read this story and other original sci-fi tales like ‘em via Kindle, if you prefer. Ever wonder who the next Stephen King might be? Be careful, and don’t take that idea too literally…

 

The Second Coming of Stephen King

By

David A. Dickinson

 

Once there was a writer who thought that he was the Second Coming of Stephen King.

“I’m going to write horror stories,” he announced to the unsuspecting world one day. “I’m going to write great horror stories, and people are going to pay me shitloads of money for them.” [Read more...]

Review: A Ray of Light in a Sea of Dark Matter

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What is it?

It’s an amazing revelation of modern cosmology to realize that we’re comprised of the rare exceptions of the universe. Baryonic matter, the stuff that you, your Iphone and radio telescopes are made up of, is the left over minority in the cosmos.

It turns out that it’s all dark, at least to our limited primate eyes.  A Ray of Light in a Sea of Dark Matter by Charles Keeton is a short work which narrows in on the subject, looking at the discovery and history of the hunt for dark matter and where the research and the field of cosmology might be headed. Part of the Pinpoints series out from Rutgers University Press, A Ray of Light looks to address a modern question of science in a simple and concise way. [Read more...]

Astronomy Video of the Week: A Ride with Dragon

Launch! Image credit: SpaceX

Whoa.

How would you escape from the launch pad in an emergency? Recently, SpaceX demonstrated just such a capability with the abort test of its Dragon capsule, carried out on May 6th at Cape Canaveral. This is a crucial step towards certifying the spacecraft for crewed missions, which are expected to begin in April 2017. Dragon went from 0 to 100 mph in just 1.2 seconds, and reached a maximum velocity of 345 mph. [Read more...]

Review: Explore the Cosmos Like Neil DeGrasse Tyson

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Ever want to explore the universe through an astronomer’s eyes?

The reboot of the Cosmos television series has cemented Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s place in the universe as the successor to the late great Carl Sagan. But before he was a science celebrity and a household name, Tyson was a research astrophysicist as well as a tireless science popularizer and the director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell Part 6

And here it ’tis, faithful reader… the conclusion of Scorpius Cell and the first of several tales to come from our Solar Winds universe. Be sure to start back on Chapter 1, or read Scorpius Cell and other sci-fi tales in their entirely.

Enjoy!

Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell

by

David Dickinson

Chapter 6

 

The Professor caught a flash out of the corner of his eye. “What the… look out!” he exclaimed, dropping the lift extensions. The pallet drifted to the floor as Karl attempted to turn in his cumbersome suit. Andrea caught him by the helmet and used the accumulated momentum to spin him around, smashing his faceplate against the exposed radium ore. The faceplate shattered, exposing Karl’s face to the ore. The smell of charred flesh permeated the air. [Read more...]

Astronomy Video of the Week: Happy Towel Day from the ISS

Image credit: NASA

Don’t panic… the good crew of the International Space Station have got you covered on this Towel Day 2015. Today is not only the variable holiday of Memorial Day in the United States, but it is also Towel Day, marking author Douglas Adams’ landmark work that started it all, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. As all fans know, if you know where your towel is, you’ll be able to face down whatever the universe can throw at you… on this, or any day. European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Christoforetti even managed to stay on the international Space Station just long enough to mark the occasion: [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell Chapter 5

Here’s our ‘Free Fiction Friday’ offering straight out of our Solar Winds universe. Be sure to start back with chapter 1, or Read the first two tales Scorpius Cell and The Cloaked Promise on our author page.

 

Solar Winds: Scorpius Cell

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 5

 

When she arrived at the space port, she found an automated one-way passage to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, awaiting her. Pretty unassuming, she thought, since Titan boasted the largest University at Cronus City. Still, Andrea never dreamed of attending, having never before left Mars Provincial. Who exactly was footing the bill, she wondered? [Read more...]

Review: Universe Between Edited by Dean Wesley Smith

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Note: once we’d returned from our travelling expedition last month, we arrived to an expected stack of review books from the past year. Though our current writing obligations demand that we can’t go full tilt back in the world of book reviewing, we thought we’d crank out the current stack we found on our doorstep as part of our summer reading. As a writer of both fiction and non-fiction ourselves, we feel that just about every book deserves a fair shake, especially if someone gave us the privilege and obligation to read and review em!

The fantastic is often were you find it. Adventure awaits in the realm of the very small, the very large, and in time frames too fast or slow to be perceptible to the human eye. We always love the idea that the strange and wonderful is always riding side-by-side with us through life, if we only know where to look for it… [Read more...]

Astronomy Video of the Week: Watch the Launch of AFSPC-5 Live

The X-37B during encapsulation.

Image credit: Boeing/USAF/ULA

The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B takes to space once again this week with several high profile public missions aboard.

This will be the fourth flight of the automated reusable space plane for the USAF. Also aboard are the Planetary Society’s LightSail test demonstrator, a NASA experiment studying advanced materials and long term exposure to space, and the ULTRASat cubesat dispenser.

Launch is set to occur from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday morning May 20th at 14:45 Universal Time (UT)/10:45 AM EDT. The X-37B will ride into orbit atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket flying in a 501 configuration. The launch window is four hours long. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell Part 4

Here’s our weekly  installment of free sci-fi goodness. Our current tale is the first in our ongoing space opera saga set in the Solar Winds universe. Start back with chapter 1, or read Scorpius Cell and other works of science and speculative fiction in their entirety.

Enjoy!

Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell

by David A. Dickinson

Chapter 4

The Professor squeezed his wine out into the cabin and gulped down the inky globules. Laughing, Andrea downed hers in swift swallows, the musky odor rushing to her temples.

“And me without my boots,” she said, kicking up her bare feet.

As the star closed in on them, it grew into a sharp elongated spindle. As they closed the gap between them, portal lights shining, lit from within by an amber glow, became visible. [Read more...]