Monday, January 18, 2016

StarTalk Live at Sketchfest!


Star Talk Radio is on the road again! This week, Bill Nye The Science Guy will be hosting their annual Sketchfest gig in San Francisco!  Lucky, lucky audience in California.

Okay, okay, don't say it... if it's Star Talk Radio LIVE and ONSTAGE, it's... not.. exactly RADIO. But who's quibbling with the best radio show and podcast around?

I'm so flattered to tell all my readers that the StarTalk social media team invited me, for the second year in a row, to "guest-host" their Twitter account during Bill Nye's show on Friday, January 22nd. Joining me for fun across multiple social media platforms will be the ├╝ber-cool host of The STEMulus, aerospace engineer Stephanie Evans!

Star Talk Radio Podcasts

StarTalk, from Curved Light Productions, is the first (and still only) popular commercial radio/television broadcast devoted to space exploration, the search for life in the universe, astrophysics, and cosmology -- and they manage to make all these subjects accessible to listeners of all ages and backgrounds with facts, humor, and celebrities.

If you are not a regular StarTalk listener... um, who are you and what are you doing on my blog?? No seriously, if you're new to the show, you can brush up on the format and fun by seeing their greatest hits on their YouTube channel or iTunes.

There is one episode where Neil deGrasse Tyson had a conversation with GOD. Make time.

Engineer, Emmy-winning TV host, comic, and owner of 350+ bow ties, Bill Nye is also the current CEO of The Planetary Society.  I happen to be a proud, card-carrying member. It will be my distinct pleasure to put all my Nye-rich knowledge into describing the show on Friday night at the historic Nourse Theatre in San Francisco.

If you live in or near the SF Bay Area, you can purchase tickets to come live-tweet #StarTalkRadio with us, or follow along with all the great sciency comedy from home by following the social media hashtag #StarTalkLive.

The above video is from Nye's San Francisco StarTalk show, at the annual SF Sketchfest. Watch this if you want to get an idea of what's in store!

For all the news this week about #StarTalkLive, you can follow the major players on Twitter at @Pillownaut, @StephEvz43, @AndyWeirAuthor, @TheScienceGuy, @EugeneMirman, and of course the Big Guns: @StarTalkRadio.

Friday, January 15, 2016

FREE 2016 "Year In Space" Bill Nye Calendar!


Readers and Tweeters! Some lucky SpaceTwit is going to win a stunningly gorgeous 2016 Year In Space Calender, hot off the Starry Messenger Press, published in cooperation with The Planetary Society.

And when I say SpaceTwit, I mean that in the nicest possible way. Because all you have to do to enter the contest is tweet about the new calendar to spread the word, and we will announce the winner on Friday, January 22nd during StarTalkLive's Bill Nye show at Sketchfest 2016!

Designer Steve Cariddi created this large-format 2016 Year In Space Calendar to appeal to space enthusiasts of all ages, and the introduction was written by everyone's favorite Science Guy, Bill Nye!

This beautiful creation has his stamp of approval, and it's not difficult to see why. I got my hot little hands on it, and have been absorbed for hours. The photography is stunning, and every square centimeter is packed with colorful collages, planets, astronauts, space crafts, and profiles of famous scientists. The calendar grids feature moon phases, sky-gazing guides, space exploration milestones throughout history and fun space facts.

2016 Year In Space Bill Nye Calendar


Circulate any of the tweets below, or create your own tweet with the calendar link, and CC: back to my account so I know to enter your Twit-handle in the drawing.

Win a FREE Year In Space 2016 calendar w/fabulous space photographs! Intro by @BillNye The Science Guy! cc @pillownaut

FREE @BillNye Year In Space 2016 Calendar contest at #StarTalkLive by @StarTalkRadio on Fri 1/22! cc @pillownaut :)

Win a FREE Year In Space 2016 Calendar Created by @YearInSpace + @exploreplanets the Planetary Society cc @pillownaut

Also, if you are a fan of Bill Nye The Science Guy, be sure to buy tickets for Sketchfest in San Francisco next week! We will be tweeting live with StarTalkRadio and announcing the winner during the show!

2016 Year In Space Bill Nye calendar
Click to see Calendar Pages!

And Get This: you get a special discount for being a Pillow Astronaut Reader and Tweeter! Of course, only one person can win the free prize, so when the rest of you purchase multiples for your kids, and I know you will, check out the discount grid.

Check in the box for the Internet Discount, which ranges from 22% to 39%, depending on quantity ordered; then in the comment section, let them know Pillownaut sent you!

If you do not have a Twitter account, feel free to share this article to Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, or Tumblr!  Then, leave me a comment here on this blog post to let me know! Anyone who shares is entered. :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Post-Thanksgiving Planet


For any international readers, you may have noticed American social media buzz about a curious little holiday we call "Thanksgiving", which we pretend is about Pilgrims and Natives preparing meals together at the dawn of our colonial period. It's kinda really totally actually NOT, but as with most holidays, we like myths more than we like historical facts.

This excuse to over-eat is held each year on the third Thursday of November. Then, on the third FRIDAY of each November, we celebrate an even more curious custom known as... Wishing We Could Move To Planet Mercury.

Your Weight On Other Worlds
There is a great contraption at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where you can step on a large scale and see what you weigh on all the planets. I've been on it, and it's quite a fun experience. They also have their calculator on a web page, so you can see Your Weight On Other Worlds.

(I think it goes without saying, there will never, EVER be a book fad known as "The Jupiter Diet".)

Why the discrepancies? In simple terms, gravity is the force of attraction between objects. Gravitational pull is what makes the Earth orbit the sun, or the moon orbit the Earth. Suns, moons and planets are all surrounded by fields of gravity. These fields will be different, depending on things like planet size, mass, speed, its location in any solar system, and any other objects around it in space.

If Earth's force of gravity is measured at 1.00, force on other planets would be:

List of Planets and their Gravitational Forces
We'll include Pluto for the purists. And so I don't have to listen to any arguments.

More complex components of gravity come into play, but in general: the larger the object, the greater the gravity. However, the further away you travel from an object, the less you are affected by its gravitational field. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, so it has the strongest field (except for our Sun, which is over 27+!). You cannot stand on Jupiter, because it's mostly gas. However, if it had a surface, the force holding your body on the planet would be much greater. This increases your weight, even though your mass remains the same.

At any rate, multiply your weight by any of these numbers, and you will see what you weigh on that planet.  Oh goody, math homework!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Death Star Math


So there's this realty company named Movoto, and they somehow grew a sense of humor, despite being a realty company.

Death Star

Not only are they funny, they are space enthusiasts! On the Movato blog, they profess an admiration for SpaceX, and say they have been inspired by commercial space initiatives to think up interesting ways to relate to space!  Hey, don't most of us do this all day?

On this same blog is an amusing info graphic about how many average homes could fit into the DeathStar, and I'm digging whomever they go to complete their artwork.  In terms of working environment, this place must be a hoot. Clink on the link or the picture to see the answer. :)

Launch Your House Into Space

It gets better. Want to know how much money it would take to launch your entire house into space? I tried it. It would take $678 million to put my dwelling up into the black. 

To put that number into perspective, that's just slightly over the nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of Ecuador. 

They don't happen to mention whether you will just be orbiting around Earth in your floating house or if you theoretically get to travel somewhere interesting. Pity, as I was expecting the follow-up graphic to be the mileage to Europa!

Earth's Moon

The space fun doesn't stop there. Last but not least, just how large would a house have to be in order for it to be visible on the moon??

No joke, just a little larger than the city of Houston.  I'm betting we wouldn't lack for construction volunteers on the project, however...when do we leave?  Check out Movoto's site -- but make sure it's when you have some time to kill.