Victoria Jaggard

comments. So far, no one’s sent me any fish. Four years ago I set out on a mission to inspire National Geographic readers to care not only about the planet but about *all* planets … and stars, galaxies, black holes, supernovas, and all the other wonders of the cosmos. Now it’s time for me to...

According to the Khoisan of southern Africa, once upon a time girls were dancing around an evening fire, and one of them was inspired to throw some embers into the heavens. There the embers stayed, forever illuminating the firmament as a softly glowing band of light—the Milky Way. The tale is just one example of...

As someone who’s been known to enjoy her cupcakes with a side of science, I was excited to find out about the National Planetary Exploration Car Wash & Bake Sale, coming to a town near you on Saturday, June 9. Jupiter cupcakes, a recipe designed by Jamieanne Hassler for our Planetology cupcake contest. —Photo courtesy...

[In honor of Yuri’s Night 2012, I’m reposting a piece I did for the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s first spaceflight, which originally appeared on the National Geographic magazine blog Pop Omnivore. The post includes an interview with a film director who last year premiered his movie about Gagarin, which uses some stunning imagery from a...

It seems there’s no shortage of jaw-dropping astronomy time-lapse videos floating around the web, which highlight the gorgeous spangle of stars visible over lovely locales (for instance, in the high Chilean desert, the northern U.S. West, and the mountains of La Palma, in the Spanish Canary Islands). But in a new twist, astrophotographer Babak Tafreshi...

Earth v. Titan Saturn‘s moon Titan is unique in our solar system, being the only natural satellite to boast a significant atmosphere, somewhat like Earth’s. Also like Earth, Titan has bodies of liquid on its surface that support processes akin to our water cycle—the huge moon has clouds, spring rains, and fog—and even shows signs...

[MARCH 22 UPDATE: The game has landed! Initial reviews seem pretty excited about the science-fueled gameplay. In case you missed it, NASA also released a fun video of astronaut Don Pettit demonstrating Angry physics aboard the International Space Station, now embedded!] The Eagle Nebula, a grand old bird roughly 6,500 light-years away. Image courtesy T....

(Make sure to watch this full-screen with the sound on!) It’s cold, it’s dry, the air is thin. The nearest city is miles away across a barren landscape of boulder-strewn hills. At night, the only lights to guide you are the stars in the sky. Astronomers, welcome to paradise. Known as the driest place on...

On Thursday, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this colorful close-up video of a long-lasting M-class solar flare. The eruption shot out of active region 1401, a large sunspot that’s been spitting flares about once a day since satellites saw it advancing onto the sun’s Earth-facing disk. As seen in the new video, the latest...

Artist’s concept of the Milky Way galaxy. Picture courtesy NASA/JPL There’s certainly no shortage of gorgeous pictures of the Milky Way as seen from Earth, many of which show our home galaxy in shades of purple, pink, blue, and cream. But what we see in these pictures can be colored by two big factors: Many...

Reports are now swirling around the web of a mysterious “space ball” that reportedly crashed in Namibia in November. Experts are investigating and trying to confirm the true nature of the dusty, hollow sphere—is it a spent fuel tank, a pressurized gas canister, a random piece of non-spacey junk? It may be a while until...

On December 25, 2010, a NASA telescope spotted a bright “star” that suddenly appeared in the sky. The brilliant object was a gamma-ray burst—a distant and mysterious flash of some of the most intense light in the cosmos. (Related: “Ultrabright Gamma-ray Burst ‘Blinded’ NASA Telescope.”) In general, gamma-ray bursts are divided into two categories: long...

In late October people around the world saw an unusually brilliant round of auroras, including blood-red northern lights that reached as far south as Alabama in the U.S. The sky show was the product of what’s called a coronal mass ejection, or CME—a cloud of charged particles that came bursting off the sun on October...

It probably won’t surprise anyone who knows me, but Halloween is my all-time *favorite* holiday. I usually opt to go more traditional when it comes to costumes—vampire, ghost, Death, evil homicidal doll. But a friend recently asked me about ideas for space-themed Halloween costumes, and I couldn’t resist a challenge. Specifically, I wanted to riff...

Photographer Luc Perrot knows his way around the night sky, and he’s even won awards for his pictures of celestial beauty as seen from the French island of Réunion (map). From this remote outpost mostly free of light pollution, Perrot captures some amazing views of the Milky Way, the planets, and the stars wheeling around...