Valerie Stimac

Valerie Stimac

Contributing Writer

Valerie Stimac Bailey is a California-based freelance writer and travel blogger. She runs several websites on travel, space tourism, and even Harry Potter — she's basically been lucky to turn all of her favorite things into her professional career. When not busy writing, you can find her out exploring as near (or far) as she can, stargazing, or going to the movies.

Recent Contributions

The gegenschein, "faint light" in German, occurs under very specific astronomical conditions when the sun reaches the exact opposite of Earth from wherever you're stargazing.

By Valerie Stimac

Winter is the perfect time to look for Orion's Belt in the Northern Hemisphere. If you're new to stargazing, we'll show you how to find it.

By Valerie Stimac

The Quadrantids are a short but powerful meteor shower that shows up in early January. How can you glimpse it?

By Valerie Stimac

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Whether to deepen faith or just to have some time for personal reflection, thousands of people walk, ride or bike el Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrim's route, every year. Want to join them?

By Valerie Stimac

Using the Chandra X-ray Observatory, a team of scientists discovered what could very well be the first exoplanet outside the Milky Way. It's massive and might even orbit a black hole.

By Valerie Stimac

Before humans can go to Mars, NASA needs to know how to prepare for the challenges. So, they're looking for a few brave men and women to live in isolation for a year at the Johnson Space Center. Want to join them?

By Valerie Stimac

Today, Blue Origin flew its billionaire founder Jeff Bezos and three others into space, a week after Virgin Galactic flew its billionaire founder Richard Branson on the same mission. Will space tourism be more than a millionaire's hobby?

By Valerie Stimac

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Researchers have been asking this question for almost a century and now we're a little closer to the answer. Something else to ponder: Every 27.5 million years there is usually a mass extinction.

By Valerie Stimac

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his brother plan to blast into space next month. But even if you're not related to a billionaire, you can still experience the fun of space at a 'down-to-Earth' price.

By Valerie Stimac

In recent years, Saturn has overtaken Jupiter as the planet with the most moons in our solar system. How many does it have and could it have even more?

By Valerie Stimac

You know Saturn and Venus and Mars and ... some others. Can you put the eight planets of the solar system in the correct order? There are several ways to do this.

By Valerie Stimac

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Missions to Mars are increasing and the dream of landing a human on the red planet is no longer far-fetched — it might even happen in the next decade. So, how long does it take to get there?

By Valerie Stimac

In 2014, scientists observed a space hurricane for the first time; they reported their findings this year. But what's a space hurricane — and do we on Earth have to worry about with them?

By Valerie Stimac

Humans have made it to the moon a number of times so we know how long the journey should take. But sometimes it may be much faster than that.

By Valerie Stimac

O Canada ... the country where you can order a cocktail with a human toe in it (and other quirky things about those Canucks up North).

By Valerie Stimac

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Is the same substance that makes your shampoo so pleasantly sudsy really going to give you cancer? Here's the real dirt on whether sodium lauryl sulfate is bad for you.

By Julia Layton & Valerie Stimac

British researchers have found that cats really respond when their owners slow blink at them. It's a great way to improve communication with your cat.

By Valerie Stimac

Dusk is a beautiful time of day. So is twilight. But when does one turn into the other? And did you know there were three versions of each?

By Valerie Stimac

Even if you've never looked through a telescope, you've probably seen Vega, one of the brightest stars in our galaxy. In fact, thousands of years ago, Vega was our North Pole star, and will be again in the future.

By Valerie Stimac

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A magnetar is a neutron star with a super-strong magnetic field. Astronomers consider them among the scariest objects in the universe, but why?

By Valerie Stimac

Arcturus is 113 times brighter than our sun, even though it's only a little bigger. What else should we know about this red giant?

By Valerie Stimac

Whether it's a solar eclipse, a meteor shower or the launch of the long-awaited James Webb Space Telescope, 2021 has a lot to offer.

By Valerie Stimac

You might call it a Christmas miracle. Jupiter and Saturn will align so closely they may look like a double planet. The last time we saw this was in 1226.

By Valerie Stimac

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It's only 180 square miles, but it packs a lot of personality. In fact Andorra is the only country in the world that's ruled by co-princes from different countries.

By Valerie Stimac