Monday, October 20, 2014

Comet Siding Spring Post-Mars Encounter

Hey Space Placers!

Comet Siding Spring - see my last blog - passed Mars yesterday and all 3 NASA orbiting spacecraft are A-OK. I think ESA and India's orbiters are as well as I have not heard anything contrary.

Here is a NEAT pic of the comet and Mars from the live Slooh coverage:

And a beauty of a pic taken by Nick Howes and the  observatory group:

It will take a week or so for the data and pics obtained by the orbiting spacecraft and the two rovers on the surface to be downloaded and analyzed. I am sure there will be some good stuff from this historic event.

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sky Guy INTERNET ALERT Comet Siding Spring & Mars Encounter 10/19/14

Hey Space Placers!

Here's my story on the close encounter tomorrow between Mars and Comet Siding Spring.

Sky Guy in VA

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT Orionid Meteor Shower

Hey Space Placers!

If it is clear the next few mornings before dawn get out and look for the Orionid Meteor Shower. These cometary particles that hit the Earth's atmosphere at an amazing velocity of 148,000 mph are from  Halley's Comet.

The best time to see thew bright Orionids is about an hour or two before dawn when the bright stars and constellations of winter are in the sky. You can see where to look on this sky chart from NASA, Dr. Tony Phillips:

The shower is underway now with the peak predicted for Tuesday morning before dawn. The predicted peak is about 20 meteors an hour.

Get more details here. Hope you have clear skies and a good show.

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rosetta Mission Trailer

Hey Space Placers!

Check out the Rosetta mission trailer (see my previous blogs on the mission) done by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). It is a teaser for the upcoming landing on Comet 67/P of the Philae lander on November 12th. There is supposed to be an 11-minute film coming out as well.

Better than sic-fi because it is real and is going to be something to see….

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Hey Space Placers!

Tune in today, 10-14-14, at 2 p.m. EDT to hear the latest finding from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission to Mars.

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, October 13, 2014


Hey Space Placers!

Straight from NASA:

NASA Invites Public to Join #SkyScience Cloud Study

NASA is inviting people around the globe to step outside during Earth Science Week, Oct. 12-18, observe the sky and share their observations as citizen scientists.

NASA's #SkyScience activity is part of an annual educational event organized by the American Geosciences Institute to encourage the public to engage in Earth sciences. Citizen scientists can participate in this global Earth science data collection event by observing, photographing and reporting on clouds over their location as a NASA satellite passes over. Reports and photos will be compared to data collected by NASA Earth-observing instruments as a way to assess the satellite measurements.

Using the hashtag #SkyScience, participants are encouraged to post their cloud and sky photos and observation experiences to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Flickr. Throughout the week, NASA will share some of the most interesting photos on the agency's social media accounts.

In addition to #SkyScience, NASA has been engaging students in cloud observation for years through the agency's Students' Cloud Observations On-Line (S'COOL) project.

“#SkyScience is another opportunity to get lots of reports in a short period of time and enable additional statistical analysis," said S'COOL project lead Lin Chambers of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

To learn how to get involved in the #SkyScience activity, visit:

For information about NASA's Earth science activities in 2014, visit:

Hope you will join in. 

Sky Guy in VA

Sky Guy NEWS ALERT! 10/13/14 Lunar Volcanism

Hey Space Placers!

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you know that I am a lunatic as to ALL things lunar. My fave NASA mission is the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) which has been rerouting the books on the Moon since its launch in 2009. NASA has extended LRO for another 2 years and I am sure we will learn more about our Moon during that time.

The BIG news released by NASA on October 12, 2014, is that LRO has found very strong evidence that volcanic activity on the Moon took place much later than previously thought. Before LRO's findings it was generally thought that volcanic activity on the Moon ceased over a billion years ago.

LRO's detailed and exquisite photographic coverage has found surface features that show volcanic activity as "recent" as 50-100 million years ago. In geologic time that is fresh and recent. Called "irregular mare patches" (IMP) by lunar scientists, over 70 of them have been found by LRO whereas only 1 was previously known.

This news follows the recent announcement that the Sea of Storms is not an impact crater but is a large surface feature caused by volcanic structures beneath the surface - see my blog.

Here are some of the IMP images  and here are two NASA news releases:

We will be learning more about Moon in the years to come as LRO and other nations' spacecraft explore this most beautiful and intriguing world.

Sky Guy in VA

PS My last "Let's Talk About Space at Shenandoah National Park" for this season is tonight at 9 pm at Skyland Conference Center. My talk is a special one, "The Universe and You". I wish you all could be there…..