Tuesday, May 26, 2020

SKY GUY IN VA LAUNCH ALERT!!! 5/27/20 4:33 PM EDT

Hey Space Placers!

Image
Demo-2 Spacecraft on Pad 39A
Credit: SpaceX
Get READY for the planned launch of SpaceX & NASA Demo-2.

You can tune in to watch the launch as part of a virtual worldwide community. 

NASA DOES NOT WANT people coming to the launch due to Covid-19 concerns.

Currently all systems are GO for launch 5/27/20 at 4:33 PM EDT from Pad 39A which launched Americans to the Moon and the Space Shuttle.

Weather is currently predicted at 60% for launch and is the only concern for a launch hold/resked.

Sign up and tune in Virtually!

LIGHT THAT CANDLE!!!

Sky Guy in VA


Saturday, May 23, 2020

UPDATES ON NASA - SLS & COMMERCIAL CREW

Hey Space Placers!

Here are two detailed updates on NASA.

Space Launch System (SLS) by Matt Williams.

Commercial Crew Demo-2 Launch by Marcia Smith.

Both of these programs are entering critical phases. SLS will launch America to the Moon and beyond while Commercial Crew returns launch capability to American soil with American hardware.

You can watch the Demo-2 launch virtually by signing up.

TIME TO LIGHT THESE CANDLES!!!

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, May 21, 2020

NO, NASA HAS NOT DISCOVERED A PARALLEL UNIVERSE

Hey Space Placers!

If you have been on Twitter or other social media outlets in the past few days you may have seen headlines stating that NASA may have discovered a PARALLEL UNIVERSE.

Well, it just isn't so.

Read the true story about what the research in Antarctica REALLY found.

More research is needed to resolve the mystery - and that is how science works.

Sensational headlines are NOT how science works.

Be sure to get out and see Mercury and Venus tonight after sunset......

I am currently living under clouds and have been for over 10 days which will continue for a few more excruciating days.

Sky Guy in CLOUDY VA

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT!!! VENUS AND MERCURY MEET 5/21 & 5/22

Hey Space Placers!

Venus and Mercury will meet in the western sky on May 21st and be only ONE DEGREE apart! I hope you have had clear skies to see the two planets moving closer to one another these past few days. I HAVE HAD CONSTANT CLOUDS!!!!

After sunset tonight and the next two nights go out and look in the western sky for brilliant Venus. Usually hard to find Mercury will be just below and easy to see. Binoculars will help enhance your view as will a clear horizon free of trees and buildings.

Watching over the next few nights will show how the motion of these two planets as well as our own planet occurs each and every day.

Credit: Sky and Telescope 

Credit: Sky and Telescope
Grab your camera and take a pic of this celestial meeting.

Enjoy the view and practice social distancing if with others.

Sky Guy in CONSTANTLY CLOUDY VA

Thursday, May 14, 2020

SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT!!! MERCURY AND VENUS

Hey Space Placers!

Right now May skies are bringing us another celestial treat to see - Mercury and Venus.

The two planets are in the western sky and can be seen about a half hour or so after the Sun sets.

Here is what the two planets look like in the sky. This was the view in the Coral Sea in 2016.
Venus (top) and Mercury
Credit: Greg Redfern
Venus is bright and thereby easy to spot with  just your eyes. Binoculars will make for a better view. Venus is getting lower and lower each night in May.

Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun is bright but always near the Sun. It will be rising higher each night in May.

Once you have found Venus look towards where the Sun set as Mercury will be along a slight diagonal to the right from Venus. This is where binoculars will really help you in your view.

Mercury and Venus 5-14-20, 8:30 PM EDT, 38 deg N latitude
Credit: Sky Safari 6 Pro 
Having a clear view of the western horizon is essential to spotting Mercury although it will be higher each night making it easier to spot.

With Mercury getting higher and Venus lower day by day it is well worth taking a peek each night to see solar system celestial mechanics at work.

The two planets will be very close to one another on May 21st so mark your calendar now.

Try using your camera to take a picture of the duo, especially when they are closest to one another. You can also capture their movement in the sky each day and have a nice slideshow. They are bright as is the sky so exposure time will be fast. You may be able to take pics without a tripod but if you zoom in on them it is best to have a tripod or brace yourself against a building or or other solid structure.

Enjoy this wonderful sky treat!!

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN....THE GREAT MAY 1921 GEOMAGNETIC STORM

Hey Space Placers!

We orbit a star that makes life possible. We are lucky that it is a stable star in terms of its energy output and behavior.

A LARGE SUNSPOT GROUP
Credit: Greg Redfern

But our Sun CAN erupt with an energetic fury that has direct and possibly dire consequences for modern day civilization.

The Sun has caused power outages, aircraft polar route changes, GPS and communications issues.

Fortunately nothing in the 21st Century has happened with our Sun that rises to the level of the "Great Geomagnetic Storm" of May 1921. This was quite the event as you can see from the article.

The Sun had another significant outburst in the 19th Century that is known as the "Carrington Event", named for the astronomer who was the only one to observe it happening. This was the largest solar eruption recorded in 160 years of Sun monitoring and is thought to be a once in 500 year event.

We have to be prepared for the next big solar storm event. NASA and NOAA monitor the Sun constantly and the Space Weather it produces so we should have some advanced warning. Then it will be up to infrastructure points - power, airlines, communications, GPS and other satellites - to take immediate action to avoid damage.

By the way, the 1921 solar storm was a once in a 100 year event.

2020 marks 99 years since 1921......such an event will happen again.

Here are some resources for further information:
https://www.raeng.org.uk/publications/reports/space-weather-summary-report
https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/solarscience/index.jsp
http://www.astro.sunysb.edu/fwalter/AST248/Carrington.pptx.pdf

Sky Guy in VA




Tuesday, May 12, 2020

SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT!!!!! NEW COMET SWAN

Hey Space Placers!

We have a new and perhaps brightening comet that is now coming into view for Northern Hemisphere observers.

Comet SWAN has been visible down under and is just now popping above the eastern horizon before dawn.

Comet SWAN
Credit: Sky and Telescope.com

Read about the comet here.

I hope to see it soon and photograph it. When I do I will let you know.

Good hunting, but remember, comets are like cats - no one knows what they will do!!

Sky Guy in VA