Sunday, August 31, 2014

Latest on How the International Space Station (ISS) Benefits Us

Hey Space Placers!

Got this from NASA contacts a few days ago and wanted to share it with you. I hope you will tune in to the links as they really show how ISS benefits us here on Earth.

From NASA:

Always on the lookout for good products and content to share, we’re pleased to share a video that highlights how the International Space Station is impacting the lives of people around the globe through its evolving role as a groundbreaking platform for scientific research. We are finding that many people are quite interested in the benefits of space for life on Earth.
The newest of the "Benefits to Humanity" video series, this 6 minute video takes you on the high seas of the frigid Atlantic for a glimpse at how technology onboard the space station is making travel on the waves a safer place - watch the video here - and please share it with others at your site, professionals in your field, and even your family and friends!
In a nutshell, the Vessel-ID System investigation on the ISS demonstrates the ability for a space-based radio receiver to track a ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) signal, the marine equivalent of the air traffic control system. Since being turned on in 2010, Vessel-ID has been able to relay more than 400,000 ship position reports from more than 22,000 ships in a single day, proving a quantum leap in the ship tracking ability of coast guards around the world. This ability, coupled with multiple AIS tracking satellites launched since, is already making travel safer for those aboard thousands of ships around the globe. The ship identification and tracking system technology already aided in orienting rescue services for a lone survivor stranded in the North Sea, giving new hope to once impossible situations.
In earlier videos of the "Space Station Benefits for Humanity" series, NASA showed how the station’s water purification technology is used to provide clean, safe drinking water to an area plagued by contaminated water. You met doctors who use a life changing tool in neurosurgery adapted from the station’s complex robotic arm, the same “arm” used to lift huge cargo ships on the orbiting laboratory. And, we introduced the next generation of explorers inspired to create and learn more because of a virtual connection to the astronauts living and working in space. All of these videos are readily available for use at museums, science centers, and other venues.
Take a few minutes to see how the International Space Station is working – Off the Earth, For the Earth.
Find out more about science aboard the International Space Station at

Remember, you can see ISS from your location. Just sign up at

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT!!!!! 8-30 & 31 Moon, Saturn Mars

Hey Space Placers!

Tune in to the sky tonight and tomorrow night to watch the Moon move in on Saturn and Mars. The two planets are keeping each other company in the west and the Moon will make a nice addition to the sky scene. You can also get an idea about how far the Moon moves in the sky from night to night by watching tonight and tomorrow.


Sky Guy in VA

Friday, August 29, 2014


Hey Space Placers!

Tune in today, 8/29/14 at Slooh to see Neptune - starting at 8 p.m. EDT - and asteroid 2002 CU11 at midnight EDT (8/30/14).

Slooh will be on the Internet streaming live views of these solar system objects using a telescope in the Canary Islands.

Neptune is at opposition tonight, or directly across from the Sun and 2002 CU11 is making a close approach to Earth.

Enjoy the show!

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, August 28, 2014

NASA's Mars 2020 Rover, MAVEN Mission Update, NASA Journey to Mars Poster

Hey Space Placers!

NASA made an announcement on July 31st as to what the agency's next Martian rover will comprise. You can read about the Mars 2020 Rover here.

With new instruments and exploration objectives this new rover will build upon the experiences and discoveries of previous Red Planet explorers.

The new rover will be primarily based on the nuclear powered Curiosity Rover/Lab but will feature changes in chassis and I am sure wheel design. Curiosity's wheels have actual gaping holes in them caused by the tortuous and rocky terrain it has been traveling over.

NASA's Maven mission will be arriving at Mars next month on the 21st and all is GO on the spacecraft.

Finally, here is a VERY COOL poster from NASA and how they intend to get HUMANS to Mars:

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer Milky Way

Hey Space Placers!

Sorry I missed you yesterday but I came down off the mountain from NOVAC's Almost Heaven Star Party and had to unpack after 4 days being in a tent, etc., etc.

Here is my have pic I took of the summer Milky Way:

People really like it and it has been published:

I am going to be at Shenandoah National Park tonight at Big Meadows Lodge 9 pm giving my next talk in the "Let's Talk About Space in the Shenandoah National Park", "So, You Want To Be An Astrophotographer?"

We will also be at Big Meadows afterwards having a star session. Looks like it will be clear so people can see the Milky Way for themselves.

More pics coming of the sky from AHSP soon.

Sky Guy back in VA

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Horizons Crosses Neptune's Orbit UPDATED

Hey Space Placers!

UPDATE: New NASA Press Release

Hopefully you have been able to tune in to the news conferences on NASA's New Horizons missions that I blogged about yesterday. I was not able to as I am listening to talks and getting ready to hopefully see the sky tonight at the Almost Heaven Star Party. I am giving a talk tonight on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and after that it is out to MY telescope which I have set up:

Today is a big day in New Horizons' mission as the spacecraft crosses the orbit of Neptune and next up will be Pluto at closest approach on July 14, 2015.

Yesterday was a landmark date for Pluto as well….it was the 8th anniversary of Pluto being reclassified as a dwarf planet. I am wearing my "RIP Pluto" T shirt to commemorate the event.

Here's to clear skies and as tropics tonight.

Sky Guy In WVA

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sky Guy INTERNET ALERT!!! 8-25-14

Hey Space Placers!

Still living inside the clouds here at Almost Heaven Star Party! Was real windy last night and it is a total "in the clouds" day today.

NASA will be carrying live on the Internet two different sessions tomorrow, 8-25-14, on its New Horizons mission to Pluto. The sessions will run 1-2 pm EDT and 2-3 pm EDT. You can submit your questions via social media also.

Sky Guy Living in the Clouds in WVA