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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Space Holiday Gifts

By Phil Plait

If youâre much like me, you wait until the last minute to send holiday cards to your friends and family (if youâre exactly like me then you just give up and never send them). But time is short, and if you havenât gotten any by now you may be out of luck at the stores.

So why go at all? If youâre reading this blog (and I have to assume you are), then you like spacey stuff, and your luck just changed: Head over to the Hubble Space Telescope site and check out their selection of Hubble Holiday cards!

They have a pretty nice variety of cards featuring gorgeous Hubble images (some of them integrated into the cards in very clever ways). And theyâre free: You download the pictures themselves and print them on your own card stock. Each card has a brief blurb telling you what it is: a supernova remnant, a planetary nebula, a star field, a massive galaxy cluster bedecked with boughs of dark matter. Why give your friends someone elseâs made-up sentiment when instead you can give them the whole Universe?

Speaking of which, I want to quickly plug two calendars you can get for 2013 along this line.

The first is The Year in Space, created by Steve Cariddi. Itâs a 16â x 22â wall calendar loaded with pictures, facts, Moon phases, and more. He made it in cooperation with The Planetary Society, so it has lots of space exploration tidbits as well. Steve sent me one, and it would be really nice for the space aficionado in your life.

The other calendar is America By Starlight, which features the astrophotography of Tony Rowell. Iâve featured his work on my blog before; he takes exceptional long-exposure photographs of the night sky and has created time-lapse videos as well. He sent me a copy of his calendar, and itâs gorgeous.

Among the pictures on the calendar is his amazing photograph of Orion and a meteor seen right through the Granite Arch in the Sierra Nevada mountains (the photo here is a very small version of it). Itâs stunning.

Iâm sure there are tons of other inexpensive space-themed holiday gifts yâall know about. Feel free to leave them (with links!) in the comments below. Share your love of the Universe, because hey! Itâs quite literally all there is.

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