Category: Video Blog

Hubble's Hotties

By Phil Plait | December 2, 2008 12:00 pm

For the past few months I’ve been doing a series of short astronomy videos with producer/director Tom Lucas. Unlike my own videos I do in my house, these are professionally made, and I’ve been very happy with the past few.

Yesterday the sixth episode was posted, called "Hubble’s Hotties". It’s a Top Ten List of Hubble images, except it’s only really the Top Six. Sorry, but there’s only so much you can squeeze into five minutes!

It’s also available in high-res (click the link under the video on the YouTube page).

We filmed this at the Denver Museum of Science & Nature, and I’m grateful for the use of their facility. And I’ll be back there on the 11th of December to give a talk about asteroid impacts and my book, Death from the Skies! It’s a great place, and I hope some of you can join me there.

dot astronomy talk

By Phil Plait | October 11, 2008 6:20 pm

A little while back I participated in the "dot astronomy" conference; a new meeting designed to promote online astronomy. It was held in Cardiff, and oh, Doctor, how I wish I could have attended in person! But instead I skyped into the meeting and gave my 20 minute presentation on being an all-powerful blogger, capable of crushing worlds beneath me.

Or I just talked about how to set up a blog, and how it will soon dominate your life. The sound quality isn’t the best, but I think you can make out what I say. And I only ran 6 minutes long (including Q&A) so that’s pretty good, too. There are lots of other talks online (including Pamela Gay’s and Emily Lakdawalla’s), so you can spend lots of time learning about what astronomy you can do indoors and ethernetted.

Sadly, the resolution is too low to see how carefully I placed my copy of Death from the Skies! behind me. It’s just an orange blur. Sigh. What’s that? You’d like to see it better? Why, I’m glad you asked!

My thanks to Robert Simpson for getting this all set up and being patient with me.

High Roller

By Phil Plait | October 10, 2008 8:30 am

Wanna see the coolest video set to music from a webcam attached to the very first privately owned company rocket that made it into orbit that you’ll see… well, ever?*

Yes. Yes, you do.

Screen shot from Space X video of rocket launchSpace X took the webcam video from their successful launch of the Falcon-1 rocket and set it to music. The result is made of awesome. The editing is a thing of wonder.

Hint: turn up your speakers.

And yes, you want the high-def version.

Now to go find me some Crystal Method disks…

Tip o’ the heat shield to my anonymous mole at Space X.


This is the same phrase I used to submit this to Fark, and it got greenlit! W00t!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Space, Video Blog

But baby it's cold outside

By Phil Plait | September 26, 2008 2:22 pm

I have always wanted to travel to Antarctica. Such beauty, such alien landscapes! I’ve had my taste of cold weather, too; I live in Colorado, after all, and have lived in Michigan.

But somehow, this video makes me less eager to head on down.

http://view.break.com/487339 – Watch more free videos

Sure, if I ever went, I’d want a flamethrower to make sure I could ward off any shape-shifting aliens trying to take over the bodies of my co-workers. But I wouldn’t have thought I’d need it just to stay warm.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Humor, Video Blog

MESSENGER of the Gods

By Phil Plait | August 25, 2008 9:05 am

We’re in a bit of a lull with Mercury right now; the MESSENGER probe passed it a few months ago, and it’ll be a little while before it makes pass #2. In the meantime, though, you can watch a video I made about the planet and the probe for SpaceRip, part of the high-res video series I’ve been doing with professional director/producer Tom Lucas.

For American viewers, it’s also up on Hulu, and it’s available through Joost as well. I think this is the best one we’ve done so far. We filmed it at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in their Gates Planetarium. If you happen to be in the Denver area, drop by and show them some love; they’re good folks.

The other videos in the series so far are Saturn: Lord of the Rings, Black Hole Death Rays, The Changing Face of Mars, and Cookbook of Galactic Cannibalism.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Science, Video Blog

Video of NASA rocket failure

By Phil Plait | August 23, 2008 5:09 pm

Via Universe Today comes word that a video of a NASA rocket launch that went very, very awry is now on YouTube:

Yikes. Go to UT to get the details!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: NASA, Space, Video Blog

Shuttle launch from an airplane?

By Phil Plait | August 20, 2008 2:06 pm

This is possibly a Delta launch, and not a Shuttle launch. Either way, very cool. Thanks to commenter Paolo below.

BABloggee Greg Smith pointed me toward this amateur video showing a Space Shuttle launch from an airplane window (note: mild NSFW language in the vid)!

I have to say, this looks real to me. Hard to say if it’s a Shuttle or some other rocket, but the footage itself appears legit. Normally NASA restricts the airspace around a launch, but judging from the video it looks like the airplane was 50 or more miles away from the launch site. The rocket veers away from the camera, indicating the plane was west of the launch, so that hangs together as well. Sadly, the video ends before the solid rocket boosters separate from the Shuttle (which happens roughly two minutes into the flight); that would be very telling, and I have to admit it’s weird the video doesn’t go for longer. The problem with videos like this is the lack of any real info on the hosting sites! If anyone finds more, please leave a note in the comments below.

I have seen some weird stuff from airplanes, and I carry my camera on board all the time now Just In Case. I’d dearly love to catch something like this…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, NASA, Video Blog

Comic Con: My panel on science and scifi

By Phil Plait | July 30, 2008 1:30 pm

The reason I went to Comic Con was because the Hive Overmind (Discover Magazine) sponsored a panel discussion about the Science of Science Fiction, and invited me to be on it. They paid for my junket, which was very cool of them, and of course buys my loyalty for at least a week or two.

The panel was a lot of fun. They recorded it, and it’s now live:

The audience seemed to enjoy the discussion, and we got a lot of great questions. The panelists were me, Kevin Grazier (science advisor for Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, and The Zula Patrol), and Jaime Paglia (Executive Producer of Eureka). The moderator was Stephen Cass, who contributes to the Science Not Fiction blog at DM.

io9 has comments on the panel (more about them later), and it’s also up at the official Eureka writers’ blog, Eureka Unscripted.

After the panel, DM took us all out to dinner (Kevin had to leave early, which is too bad; we’ve been friends a while and I would’ve liked to have hung out more). Jaime went, as well as Eureka writer Eric Wallace and his wife Wendy (coproducer of seasons 1 and 2 of Eureka). Eric is teh awesome, and we spent a lot of time cracking each other up and squeeing over Doctor Who. In fact, everyone I met was totally cool. I’m really having a hard time assimilating that fact; everyone was fun to be with.

I have more Comic Con info coming later, but I’m still struggling to catch up with email, the blog, and life in general. But I have to tell y’all about the SciFi Channel’s afterparty… but that’ll have to wait for later.

But it was AWESOME.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Science, SciFi, Video Blog

Comic Con: Mahalo!

By Phil Plait | July 26, 2008 6:44 pm

A while back I wrote about the human-driven search engine called Mahalo.

Mahalo has a daily vidcast they do, and they’re here at Comic Con. Well, I was looking for Wil Wheaton to ask him about Manga (long story) and when I found him he was being interviewed by Mahalo. When he was done, he instantly told them they needed to interview me, because that’s just how super-awesome Wil is. So Leah D’Emilio, the host, talked to me about Bad Astronomy and Death from the Skies!

Spreading the love, after we were done I sent them to JSto. Push it forward, folks.

What are the Lagrange points?

By Phil Plait | July 25, 2008 9:00 am

In my live video chat session Saturday, I was asked about the Lagrange points, places of gravitational stability. I decided I needed props for this (yes, the return of the Squishy Brain of Science and the Mintie of Science!), and it works even better with pictures, so I created a video for it.

You can learn more details about the Lagrange points at the Montana University site. The Lagrange point images (and the WMAP picture) come from the WMAP website. The JWST picture is from the (duh) JWST site. The portrait of Lagrange is from Wikipedia. Everything else is pure me, baby.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Science, Space, Video Blog
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