Wednesday, January 28, 2015

NASA Day of Remembrance

Hey Space Placers!

Today, January 28, 2015, is NASA's "Day Of Remembrance". This is the day that the agency marks each year to remember the lost crews of Apollo 1 January 27, 1967, Challenger January 28, 1986 and Columbia February 1, 2003.

I remember each of these accidents well and the aftermath that ensued. Each had a root cause in human error that led to a chain of circumstances that directly caused each accident.

As America prepares to return to manned spaceflight in the next few years the lessons learned from the loss of these crews must be remembered by NASA, SpaceX, Boeing, Virgin Galactic, and all who would fly humans into space.

There will be more losses in space as we fly new missions to places we have never been before and for durations that will push technology and crews. Humanity has to keep pushing the boundaries of space exploration for the benefit of the planet and our species. If we don't, we will become extinct.

Godspeed Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia - you are NEVER forgotten and we see you in the stars that beckon us.

Sky Guy in VA

Our Best Photo of Ceres To Date

Hey Space Placers!

Check out this BEST EVER pic of Ceres, the largest dwarf planet in the asteroid belt, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft.

Dawn is due to enter orbit around Ceres for a long study of the 590-mile world.

Stay tuned, the view is only going to get better!

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, January 26, 2015

UPDATED Incoming Asteroid 2004 BL86 To Flyby Today-1/26/15

Hey Space Placers!


Here is a pic from NASA's Goldstone Deep Space Antenna that bounced radar off the asteroid that shows a moon accompanying the big space rock - not an unusual discovery as other asteroids have been found with moons.


A lot of us are dealing with winter weather today.

1/2 kilometer (1/3 mile) wide Asteroid 2004 BL86  passed at closest approach to Earth today at 11 am EST. This big boy will pass us at about 745,000 miles distance, or about 3 times the distance to the Moon.

Amateur astronomers will be able to see this space rock with their telescopes and even quality binoculars at closest approach on the night of 26-27 January. Scientists are planning on observing the asteroid with radar as it passes by to get as much information as possible.

This is A CLEAR MISS and there is no danger. This is the largest known asteroid to pass us until 2027.

Get more info here and here.

It will be cloudy here in VA tonight :-(

Hope you can see it!

Sky Guy in Winter Weather VA

Friday, January 23, 2015

Comet 67/P Facts

Hey Space Placers!

To follow up yesterday's blog, here is a COOL poster on Comet 67/P:

Here is the very latest update from ESA on Rosetta and Comet 67P as well.

Enjoy - it is only going to get better as the year progresses!

Sky Guy in Wintry VA

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I Am REALLY Getting Into Comets!

Hey Space Placers!

Look at this, can you believe that you are seeing a COMET less than 5 miles away?

Make sure you download the hi-res JPG to see every nook, cranny and pebble on Comet 67/P. This picture was taken by European Space Agency's (ESA) magnificent Rosetta spacecraft that will be orbiting and following the comet as it gets closer to the Sun this year.

I have always tried to visually see (and photograph) every comet I could and the short list (like my memory) is as follows: 
Hale Bopp

But when you work, have a family and lots of commitments it is tough to see them all. I missed   :-(   the northern hemisphere comet classics of Ikeya-Seki and West due to school and being in the Navy.

Comet ISON in 2013 was a real joy to follow on the Internet as was Comet Siding SPring that flew so close to Mars last October.

But I think it is Rosetta that has really showed us how insanely complex and wonderful these remnants of the beginning of our solar system are. They truly are worlds unto themselves.

Sky Guy in VA EAGERLY Awaiting The Next BRIGHT Comet

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Moon Video From ESA

Hey Space Placers!

Sorry I have been out of touch the past few days but a dear, dear friend has entered hospice and it has been hard.

It was great to see this WONDERFUL video from the European Space Agency (ESA) about the past, present and future exploration of the Moon.

Sky Guy in VA