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

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

Surprisingly, the solar system isn't odorless — it has a distinct scent that some astronauts like and others think is stinky. So, what does it smell like and why?

By Valerie Stimac

The Big Dipper is one of those star groupings everyone seems familiar with, but how much do you really know about it?

By Valerie Stimac

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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

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

Humans have made it to the moon a number of times so we know how long the journey should take.

By Valerie Stimac & Austin Henderson

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

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The coldest place in the universe exists some 5,000 light-years from Earth. Do you know where it is and what it's called?

By Valerie Stimac

Is the same substance that makes your shampoo so 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

Apollo astronauts left a lot of stuff behind on the moon. Can you see any of that from Earth, even with a telescope?

By Valerie Stimac & Sascha Bos

A light-year is a way of measuring distance, which doesn't make much sense because "light-year" contains the word "year," which is normally a unit of time. So, how does a light-year measure distance?

By Valerie Stimac

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Aldebaran is not just the brightest star in the constellation Taurus, it's also the 14th brightest star in the sky.

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 & Desiree Bowie

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 & Desiree Bowie

In 2022, the full moon, called the hunter's moon, will occur Oct. 9. Why is it called that and when can you see it?

By Valerie Stimac

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Blood moons always bring out the stargazers though they aren't that rare. So what makes blood moons red? And do they differ from lunar eclipses?

By Valerie Stimac

There are eight phases in the lunar cycle and the moon is in one of them every night. What are these phases of the moon?

By Valerie Stimac

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

By Valerie Stimac

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

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Astronomers at Haleakalā Observatory in Hawaii noted a bright X-ray emission in 2018, which persisted for three weeks and glowed ten times more brightly than previously studied supernovas, but are just now beginning to understand it.

By Valerie Stimac

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

Many people dream of climbing Mount Everest, but what if you could scale the highest mountain in the solar system? That one is more than twice as tall as Everest! So, where is it?

By Valerie Stimac

Do you love looking at beautiful pictures of the night sky? How do space photographers get those shots? And could you join their ranks?

By Valerie Stimac

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And this month's buck moon is extra-special because it is a supermoon!

By Valerie Stimac

This doughnut-shaped ring around the sun is home to millions of comets, moons, dwarf planets and other celestial objects. What are these objects doing in the Kuiper belt?

By Valerie Stimac