Friday, November 30, 2012

Mercury Water-Ice Detected

Hey SPace Placers!

NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft that is in orbit around Mercury has detected the presence of water-ice in the permanently shadowed craters at the North Pole of the planet. Other craters that had part of their interiors permanently shadowed were detected to have water ice as well - the pic below shows where these deposits are located.

Scientists estimate there could be anywhere from 100 billion to 1 trillion tons of water-ice locked in the frozen depths of the craters. That is enough water to cover Washington D.C. to a depth of 2 miles!

This is the same result we found at the South Pole of the Moon - water-ice locked in the frozen depths of craters that have never seen the presence of sunlight.

What's more, the presence of complex organic compounds was found as well at Mercury perhaps covering the water-ice. Sounds a lot like the result of numerous cometary impacts to me - water-ice and organics all mixed in.

Image from Press Conference 11/29/2012

Read More About It:

Tomorrow we'll discuss the Curiosity announcement onDec.3 that is being downplayed byNASA.

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stunning Saturn

Hey Space Placers!

What an INCREDIBLE pic from Cassini at Saturn:


Go to the mission web site to learn more about the pic and the ringed planet Saturn:


Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT Dawn 11/28 Venus and Saturn

Hey Space Placers!

Tomorrow before dawn check out the eastern sky to see brilliant Venus and Saturn very close to one another - about a degree will separate the two:

Dawn view

Then notice as the days go by how quickly the two separate in dsitance.

Sky Guy in VA

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT 11-27 and 28 Full Moon and Jupiter

Hey Space Placers!

Tonight's Full Moon will be high in the sky in the later hours of the evening and will light up the darkness.

Ever notice how things look in moonlight, especially in the winter if there is snow on the ground?

It is one of my favorite things to see - a bright Moon high in a clear sky with winter being seen in the moonlight.

If you look to the left of the Moon tonight, and especially tomorrow night, brilliant Jupiter keeps our orb very close company.

Enjoy the view, in the sky as well as on the moon lit ground.

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Total Solar Eclipse with a Cloudy View

Hey Space Placers!

Take a look at the recent Australian total solar eclipse with a cloudy accent:

Pretty cool. We will have a total solar eclipse in the U.S. in 2017 - hopefully with clear skies!

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, November 23, 2012

Curiosity Earth Shaking News Set

Hey Space Placers!

Word is that NASA will have a news conference on December 3, 2012, to announce the Curiosity results that has the community buzzing about.

See my blog for 11/21/12 for the background about this developing story.

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Milky Way's Black Hole Is Feasting

Hey Space Placers!

NASA has put together an excellent story on our Milky Way Galaxy's black hole that resides at the center. Astronomers have been able to capture the beast feasting on matter composed of possibly gas, planets, comets, asteroids, etc.

So while we in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving, take a moment to learn how our Galaxy's black hole beast feasts

Happy Thanksgiving America.

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Curiosity Hub Bub

Hey SPace Placers!

I do not know if you have heard, but there is news going around that NASA will be announcing "an earthshaking" announcement soon regarding Curiosity data.

Several news outlets have picked up on this and there was an NPR interview of one of the main scientists who stated that the discovery is coming from soil analysis, but would say nothing more -

Mars has burned NASA before as to announcements that had to be essentially retracted - the most famous being the Mars meteorite that NASA claimed had what they described as  organic compounds in it.

Well, NASA is biding its time with this announcement as it is probably checking and rechecking the data and results.

What could it be?

The most "earthshaking news" possible would be that Curiosity had found actual active life forms in the soil; next would be that fossils had been found and thisrd, may be that the necessary precursors for life - chemicals, amino acids, water, etc, etc are common in the Martian soil. Methane in the soil might be another possibility as life forms on Earth produce Methane.

Whatever it is, it will probably be weeks before we hear as the holidays are upon us and even NASA takes time off.

So we will just have to wait to see what is in store for the history books......

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, November 19, 2012

Curiosity Update

Hey Space Placers!

Check out the link to get the latest on weather and radiation on Mars as determined by NASA's Curiosity rover

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Farthest Galaxy to Date Found

Hey Space Placers!

The newest "farthest galaxy" has been found by NASA space telescopes. The red blob on the graphic is 13.3 BILLION light years away and is a very young galaxy much smaller than our own Milky Way Galaxy. The Universe was only 420 million years old when this galaxy formed.

The large galaxy cluster allows astronomers to see this distant island of stars due to the magnifying effect caused by the cluster's gravity. If it weren't for this effect of Einstein's relativity we probably wouldn't be able to see the baby galaxy.

The newly discovered galaxy, named MACS0647 JD, is very young and only a tiny fraction of the size of our Milky Way.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, November 16, 2012

Viewing ALERT Leonid Meteor Shower Dawn 11-17-12

Hey Space Placers!

Tomorrow morning before dawn is the predicted peak of the Leonid Meteor Shower. Viewers in a dark sy sit could see 15-20 per hour.

Bundle up, get comfortable and face the east a couple of hours before dawn focusing in on the constellation of Leo the Lion as shown in the graphic. Keeping WARM will be crucial to enjoying the experience.

Read More About It:

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tour The Milky Way Galaxy With a New Google App

Hey Space Placers!

Google has come out with a new application that needs to run on Google Chrome which allows you to tour the Milky Way Galaxy in splendid detail.

The app, called 100,000 Stars, is beautiful to see and fun to explore. It is a combination of imagery and excellent art work but has solid science at the foundation.

Touring with it gives you a real sense of the size of our stellar neighborhood.

Check it out here:

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Sci-fi Flick - Europa Report

Hey Space Placers!

Looks like we will be getting a new sci-fi space flick sometime in the near future called "Europa Report".

Check out the trailer :

Been a long time since we had a space flick - Apollo 18 and Prometheus were the last ones by my recollection.

The trailer looks cool and there are some interesting PR sites for the movie too - and

No release date yet, but looking forward to it.

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, November 11, 2012

NASA "Mascot"????

Hey Space Placers!

Read the great story about a rubber chicken that may be the unofficial mascot for NASA -

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sign Up for Free ISS Sighting Alerts From NASA

Hey Space Placers!

NASA is offering a free service that allows you to get email-tetxt alerts on when the International Space Station (ISS) will be visible from your specified location.

It is SO COOL to see the ISS glide silently by, especially when it is a high overhead and therefore bright, flyby.

Sign up today:

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Asteroid Belts and Life

Hey Space Placers!

Here is an interesting story on how asteroid belts make a definite contribution to the conditions necessary for life as we know to exist and evolve.

This illustration shows three possible scenarios for the evolution of asteroid belts.

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Everything You Wanted to Know About Infra Red Light

Hey SPace Placers!

Want to learn all about infra red light - the heat of the Universe????

Check out this fantastic learning video from NASA Goddard

This will be very imporant in the James Webb Space Telescope - Hubble's follow on in space.


Sky Guy in VA

Monday, November 5, 2012

In America, Please VOTE Tuesday 11-6-12

Hey Space Placers!

Sorry for the political bent on this blog entry but I wanted to make sure that everyone in the USA that sees this gets a nice reminder to vote tomorrow.

This is a very, very important election for the U.S. and every single vote matters.

So please, make sure you vote tomorrow, Tuesday, 11-6-12.

I will be doing so the very first thing in the morning so I know my vote is in and counted.

Sky Guy in Crucial State VA

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Read the Latest on Vesta

Hey Space Placers!

DAWN is on her way to Ceres but the research and findings about the time spent at Vesta are still to come.

One of the results is that Vesta has a "young" surface - one that is constantly being churned by countless impacts.

Read more about it:

Canuleia, Up Close

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT 11-1-12 Moon & Jupiter

Hey SPace Placers!

A real viewing treat is in store for you tonight as the waning gibbous Moon joins Jupiter and reddish Aldebaran in the East well after it gets dark.

Use binoculars to view each of them and get an appreciation of the scale of our solar system and Galaxy - Jupiter is 1,500 times farther away than the Moon. Aldebaran, to their right, is 930,000 times more distant than Jupiter!

Your binoculars will show the main moons of Jupiter as well.

Enjoy the cool crisp air of fall.

The scene around 9 p.m.

Sky Guy in VA