Sunday, April 21, 2024

WHERE ARE WE IN OUR MILKY WAY GALAXY?

Hey, Space Placers!

If you are an early riser in the hours before dawn and live in a dark sky area, you may have seen a bright band of light in the South East sky. That is the center of our Milky Way Galaxy rising.

As the coming months lead to August, the Milky Way will rise in the South East earlier and earlier until it becomes visible as it gets dark.

Read more about our galaxy and where we are located within it.

I will be at sea soon away from the lights of land with the Milky Way easily visible. I hope to get pics to share with you.

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, April 20, 2024

NASA PICKS 3 COMPANIES TO ADVANCE MOON MOBILITY FOR ASTRONAUTS

 Hey Space Placers!

An artist's concept design of NASA's Lunar Terrain Vehicle.

An artist’s concept design of NASA’s Lunar Terrain Vehicle.

NASA

NASA has selected three companies to develop plans for the new Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) for Artemis astronauts. 

NASA will evaluate and select the new LTV and "NASA will acquire the LTV as a service from industry. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, milestone-based Lunar Terrain Vehicle Services contract with firm-fixed-price task orders has a combined maximum potential value of $4.6 billion for all awards."

Japan's space agency JAXA and NASA have signed an agreement to carry NASA astronauts aboard JAXA's new "Lunar Cruiser" that is being developed by JAXA and Toyota.  

Exciting times for lunar exploration....

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, April 15, 2024

FREE EBOOK FROM NASA ON THE "DARK UNIVERSE"

Hey, Space Placers!

Cover image of the Hubble Focus: Dark Universe e-book. Black background with a galaxy cluster that is superimposed with a blue-white haze that indicates the location of dark matter. Top of the image holds the phrase, "Hubble Focus." The "o" in focus is Hubble as we look down the tube of the telescope.

As described by NASA:

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope team has released a new downloadable e-book in the Hubble Focus series, called “Hubble Focus: The Dark Universe.” This e-book highlights the mission’s recent discoveries about two mysterious components of our universe, known as dark energy — an unexplained cosmic pressure that’s speeding up the universe’s expansion — and dark matter, an invisible substance detectable only by seeing how it gravitationally influences visible matter.

A highly enjoyable and informative read!
Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, April 14, 2024

New Horizons finds evidence for 2nd Kuiper Belt

 Hey, Space Placers!

New Horizons: Disk with many white dots. There are 4 circles with different colors at the center of the disk. Five lines come out of an orange sphere at the inner top of the disk.

Only 5 earthly spacecraft are headed out of solar system, into interstellar space. These are the Pioneers 10 and 11, Voaygers 1 and 2, and New Horizons. This image shows their approximate trajectories. Image (not to scale!) via NASA/ Johns Hopkins APL/ SwRI.
  • The New Horizons spacecraft, launched in 2006, achieved historic flybys of Pluto in 2015 and Arrokoth in 2019, making it the fastest spacecraft ever sent from Earth.
  • Chief scientist Alan Stern here provides an update, highlighting unexpected discoveries of dust impacts, an extended Kuiper Belt or even a second one, and outlines plans for future exploration.
  • Its long-term mission goals include reaching the heliosphere’s termination shock and venturing into interstellar space, using its modern instrumentation to complement the findings of NASA’s Voyager spacecraft.

Read more about this exciting story from the far reaches of our KNOWN solar system. New Horizons is probing the distant unknown and can continue to do so for decades.

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, April 13, 2024

NASA VIEW OF THE SOLAR ECLIPSE

A portion of the Earth seen from above, blue and partially covered with clouds. In one area is a very dark, black and gray circular shadow.

 Hey, Space Placers!

The Moon's shadow, or umbra, is pictured covering portions of the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick and the American state of Maine in this photograph from the International Space Station as it soared into the solar eclipse from 261 miles above. NASA


Back in VA after 12 days and almost 5K miles.

Here is the link to see what NASA saw across the country on April 8th, 2024.

Next two total solar eclipses are in '26 and '27. I plan to be at sea for both.

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, April 8, 2024

CLOUDS BUST TOTALITY IN THE SKY

Hey, Space Placers!

Did you see the solar eclipse today?

Click link for pics

185 moon shadow chasers Camp Riverview converged in this enchanting western section of Texas next to the Frio River to see 4 minutes 27 seconds of totality. Alas, we saw the moon gobbling up the sun during breaks in the clouds - known as sucker holes - but did not see totality in the sky. We DID see the moon's shadow turn off the daylight in a big way as the temp dropped and the birds went silent.
FIrst Bite
The moon starts to swallow up the sun.
Bye Bye Sunspot
A large sunspot is about to be covered by the moon.
Night Night
A Butterfly Under the Moon's Shadow.
Seconds From Totality
Sun almost covered by the moon.
Lights Out
Totality's darkness is evident with Venus in the center of the picture.
Daylight's Back

Totality has ended and the sun returns. 

Sky Guy in TX