Tuesday, January 19, 2021


 Hey Space Placers!

NASA and Boeing conducted their Test Run of the SLS which I blogged on. However the test ran for only 67 seconds instead of the 8 minute plus scheduled run. The test shut down due to a hydraulic issue.

The Washington Post has a good article with more information. 

I personally think that another test run will need to be conducted that meets the 8+ minute mark AND achieves all of the test data objectives that engineers want.

NASA will be getting a new Administrator soon and that will help determine the future of SLS.

I am hoping there is no deviation from going to the Moon to STAY this time.

Only time will tell......

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, January 13, 2021


 Hey Space Placers!



NASA has scheduled to light SLS's 4 "candles" at 4:20 pm EST TODAY. Watch on NASA TV or https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

While the Nation endures the pandemic and aftermath of January 6th, NASA is moving ever closer to returning to the Moon with its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft.

 The static firing of the core stage of SLS is set for January 16th on the B Stand. I would have been there to witness it if not for the pandemic. I was there in 2014.

B Stand Undergoing Modifications for SLS in 2014. 

Over a million pounds of concrete and steel being added (White area called the battleship)

If the test goes well and data shows all is A-OK, then NASA will be in a good position to launch Artemis 1 in October 2021. I plan on being there.

There will be 2021 NASA launches of Crew Dragon and you can sign up with NASA to follow them virtually.

It is vitally important to the Nation that NASA continues moving forward to the Moon and beyond regardless of what is happening. I remember so well how Apollo 8 saved 1968.


Sky Guy in VA

Friday, January 8, 2021


 Hey Space Placers!


Here is what the Planetary Trio looked like 1/9/21 at 5:50 PM EST:

Greg Redfern

Binoculars really help in finding the trio with Jupiter being easiest to find. Once locked in on Jupiter, look just lower to find Mercury. As they get lower towards the horizon and it gets darker, Saturn will become visible. You REALLY have to have a clear horizon to the SW to see the trio at their best.

If you enjoyed the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn last month, the two gas giants are still fairly close in the southwest (SW) sky after sunset.

If you look in the SW today, 1/8/21, shortly after sunset,  the two are being joined by the elusive to see planet Mercury.

Mercury will be getting higher in the sky the next few days and will form a cosmic triangle - known as a planetary trio - with Jupiter and Saturn. They will be grouped closest together on 1/10/21.

Start looking about a half hour after sunset. The trio will be low in the sky and your best chance to see them will be to find a viewing site that has a clear view of the SW. Binoculars will help immensely in your search and enhance your viewing.

Jupiter will be brightest with Mercury next, and then Saturn. 

Mercury will continue to rise higher in the sky in January and the young Waxing Crescent Moon will join the view in the SW on the 14th as a very thin crescent. 

Finding the planetary trio will not be as easy as the Great Conjunction was due to the glow of sunset and their lower positioning in the sky. But it will be worth your effort. 

Try to follow Mercury's swift appearance in the sky as it will become easier to find as January progresses. Many people throughout time have seen Mercury but mistook it for a star. Become an earthling that spotted the Winged Messenger and knew it to be the planet closest to the Sun!

Mercury at Sunset

Greg Redfern

Here's to clear skies!

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, January 5, 2021


 Hey Space Placers!

This was sunset on January 2, 2021 from my residence. It was quite spectacular and I hope a omen for a better 2021.

Take some time to read and see how NASA is returning to the Moon to STAY this time. It is an effort that not just NASA, but all of humanity must undertake if we are to survive and thrive as a species. 

The Moon is the 8th continent and is a place where we must go to start a new economy, establish a permanent and thriving human outpost and conduct new science.

If the US doesn't go, other countries will.

If COVID allows I plan on being at the Launch of Artemis 1 later this year.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, January 1, 2021


 Hey Space Placers!

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Get a new telescope from Santa?

Check out this great article from Sky and Telescope regarding what to see with it.

Oh, and when you are ready to consider taking astropics with your 'scope, consider my book to help you.

Enjoy the sky in 2021!

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, December 31, 2020


 Hey Space Placers!

Sirius and Canis Major 

Greg Redfern

Ring in the New Year of 2021 with the brightest star in the night time sky - beautiful Sirius.

Visible in the sky from just about anywhere on the planet at local midnight tonight, it will be at its highest as the New Year rings in. This happens every New Year so maybe this will become part of your annual celebration.

Sirius is the heart of the Big Dog - Canis Major - that accompanies Orion the Hunter in the sky. It is in a glorious part of the winter sky that includes Orion and the Milky Way. The sheer beauty of this section of our Galaxy becomes apparent in deep exposures of this area.

Sirius (bottom), Orion (upper right) and the Winter Milky Way

Greg Redfern

Just about anywhere on the planet, you can see Sirius. It is bright enough to show through the worst light pollution. Clouds have to be thick to obscure it as it will be visible through thin clouds and gaps in thick clouds.

SO as we say good riddance to 2020 and hope for a far better 2021, make Sirius part of your New Year celebration. 

You may find that you so enjoyed doing such that you will look to the night skies far more often in 2021. With the night sky you will always find peace and respite for your mind and mood......

Take advantage of such a wonderful gift......

Happy New Year everyone!!!!

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, December 29, 2020


 Hey Space Placers!

Full Moon

Greg Redfern

Tonight's Full Moon is known as the Full Cold Moon or the Full Long Night Moon. They are so named due to being the Full Moon that takes place in the depths of Winter's cold and long nights.

This December's Full Moon will also be the last of the year 2020 and the decade which ends with the ringing in - thank God - of 2021.

The moment of the Full Cold Moon takes place at 10:28 p.m. EST, which is the precise moment when the Moon is directly opposite the Sun and at 100% illumination. It will light up the nightcap on Earth and in the sky all night. Fresh snow will be a wonderful viewing bonus.

No matter where you are in the world look for yourself to see this special Moon as the Sun sets tonight. It will be rising as the Sun sets and will be quite the view in the NE for the Northern Hemisphere or l in the SE for the Southern Hemisphere.

Spend a few quiet moments enjoying the peace and quiet of the night sky, regardless of where you are. 2020 has been a wretched year for so many in so many ways......

I hopeful for a better state of humanity and the planet in 2021.

Sky Guy in VA