Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Curiosity's 1st Scoop Sample Results

Hey Space Placers!

The first results are in from Mars regarding the scoop sample taken by Curiosity. The mineralogy of the sample is similar to the weathered basalt of volcanic origin in Hawaii!

The results show that all is working in the instruments of Curiosity and this first sample result will be useful for comparison purposes as Curiosity continues her drive across Gal.e Crater

Read More About It:

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dragon Splashdown

Hey Space Placers!

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft successfully undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday and splashed down in the Pacific safely.

For news and pictures see

Be careful with Sandy if you are in the path.....

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Getting Ready for Sandy.....

Hey Space Placers!

Been spending time getting ready for Sandy yesterday and today.

If you are in the vicinity of this storm, get ready NOW as this is a NO-Joke storm..

Have your car topped off, have plenty of water and food and be prepared for no power for a few days.

Check FEMA and your local authorities for updates.

See Sandy from space:

See Sandy in whole Earth image

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, October 26, 2012

9 GB of the Milky Way For Your Viewing Pleasure

Hey Space Placers!  If You Are in the Path of FRANKENSTORM PLEASE PREPARE TODAY!!!!!

You have to check out the 84,000,000 stars visible in the 9 GB views of our very own Milky Way Galaxy that were taken using a new camera on a large telescope located in the Southern Hemipshere. The views concentrate on the Galaxy's center and bulge and are zoomable.

You will enjoy the views and the accompanying video:

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, October 25, 2012

See Saturn's Big Storm

Hey SPace Placers!

Check out the really cool video about Saturn's huge storm

Tommorw the Milky Way as you have never seen it!

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Our Black Hole Gets Fed

Hey SPace Placers!

Our Milky Way Galaxy has a supermassive black hole just as many other galaxies do, residing at its center.

A new NASA satellite has been able to actually capture our black hole in the processing of feeding on some type of matter which caused it to flare up

Pointing X-ray Eyes at our Resident Supermassive Black Hole

NuSTAR picked up the 180 million degree flare up from Sagittarius A-Star, or Sgr A* for short, during a several day observing run.

Read More ABout It:

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, October 22, 2012

Latest Research on Formation of the Moon

Hey Space Placers!

Check out these links on the latest research on hom our Moon was formed:

Make sure you go out and marvel at our Moon tonight once you have read the incredible story on how it was created and how the Earth and Moon are related

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Surprise Finding in Galaxy Evolution

Hey Space Placers!

Our very own NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center has produced a cool video about galaxy evolution that details some surprising results from research done with the Keck telescopes in Hawaii and Hubble SPace Telescope.

Tune in to the 3-minute video and see some great computer simulations and hear the latest on galaxy evolution:

Tomorrow some interesting research on our own Moon.

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, October 20, 2012

See Inside a Dragon

Hey Space Placers!

The Orionid Meteor Shower continues so take a peek after midnight tonight.

Take a look inside of a Dragon (capsule) here:

Someday SpaceX will have a similar view inside of their MANNED Dragon capsule.

But until then enjoy the view!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT Orionid Meteor Shower 10-20 to 24

Hey Space Placers!

Check out the Orionid Meteor Shower tonight and the next several days. The best view will be after midnight -the 20th, until it starts to get light at dawn. The meteors will appear to come from the southeast - see the graphic below from Sky and Telescope.

Find an area free of lights, make yourself comfortable and warm and enjoy the show. You should see about 25 an hour

How to see Orionid meteors

Enjoy the show.....

Sky Guy in VA

Watch Endeavour on the Streets of LA

Hey Space Placers!

Here is a GREAT 2 minute video of Endeavour making her way through the streets of Los Angeles.


Sky Guy in VA

P.S. Tomorrow we will give tips on seeing the Orionide Meteor Shower.....

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Closest Star Has Earth-like Planet

Hey Space Placers!

The closest star to Earth (besides the Sun) is Proxima Centauri, with 3 other Sun like stars as part of the star system.

Alpha Centauri, at 4.3 light years away, has been found to have an Earth-like (in terms of mass) planet.

Once again we are finding that planets abound and this find so close to Earth is further proof that where there are stars, even multiple ones, there are planets.

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Moon's Water Likely Comes From the Sun

Hey Space Placers!

A recently published study says the likely source of the water found on the Moon is from the deposit of Hydrogen protons from the solar wind that chemically reacts with oxygen that is in the lunar soil.

The results also indicate that it is possible that water exists in similar fashion on Mercury and the asteroid Vesta.

Read More About  It: 

Sky Guy  in VA

Monday, October 15, 2012

Endeavour Made It To New home

Hey Space Placers!

After the millions of miles flown in space at 17,000+ mph, Space Shuttle Endeavour's last journey to her new home took two days traveling at less than 2 mph!

Endeavour was quite a sight for the crowds in Los Angeles to see as she crept down roadways and made a tough turn at a donut shop enroute to he new howm at the California Science Center.

Photo credit: Washington Post

See also

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Studying A Piece of Mars - On Earth

Hey Space Placers!

My last blog was about Curiosity reaching out to touch her first rock on Mars.

DId you know there are rocks from Mars that we can touch here on Earth????

Meteorites - rocks from space - have been found that come from the asteroid belt, including recently visited Vesta by the DAWN spacecraft. Space rocks from the Moon and Mars have been found which compliment our knowledge of those bodies that we gained from previous missions.

Here is the link to a story about the newest (I believe) known Mars meteorite - one that was actually witnessed as it fell -

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, October 12, 2012

1st Mars Rock Touched by Curiosity

Hey Space Placers!

Read all about the first rock on Mars to be touched by Curiosity. There were some surprises for the scientists!

Target: Jake Matijevic Rock (Annotated)

Sky Guy in VA


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT 10-12-12 Moon and Venus

Hey Space Placers!

If you are a before dawn riser, or even if you are not, be sure t get up on 10-12-12 to view the waning crescent Moon and Venus in the east. The celestial pair will be a gorgeous sight. The Moon may exhibit the pale color of Earthshine on the unlit portion of the Moon which is caused by the reflection of sunlight off of Earth's clouds and oceans.

It will be well worth your while to try and get a picture of the two using a tripod and a 5 second or so exposure at ISO 200. If you zoom in you will get more detail on the Moon. I may try and get some pics myself.

Dawn view

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mars Mystery Partially Solved

Hey Space Placers!

It appears that the mysterious object on Mars photographed by Curiosity is a piece of "benign plastic" from the rover herself:


NASA is still not sure of the material's exact origin from Curiosity but more details may come out from today's teleconference.

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mystery on Mars

Hey Space Placers!

Curiosity picked up more than her 1st scoop of soil on October 7 - she spotted something small and shiny in the martian soil.

The scoop sample testing will have to wait while this mystery is solved. The object is too small to see here on my blog so go these sites to see it:

I am sure the mystery will be solved with more pictures and perhaps even smapling with Curiosity's instruments. I do not see any evidence of an impact, or even dropping off of Curiosity - the fine grained and very smooth soil seems undisturbed.

My oh my.....this is why we go to Mars and explore - we NEVER know what we will find!

More on this as it comes in.....

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, October 8, 2012

SpaceX Puts America Back in the Space Business

Hey Space Placers!

Last night at Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 8:35 p.m. EDT, SpaceX launched their first official cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). This is a huge accomplishment as it marks the return of American built and American launched space access for ISS.

Falcon 9 lifts off

When the last space shuttle mission flew America had no longer had capability to resupply ISS so it fell upon Europe and Russia to do so. With the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon capsule carrying over 1,000 pounds of supplies safely in orbit it will be Wednesday until they dock with ISS.

The 6 astronauts on board ISS will unload the supplies and put 2,000 pounds of used equipment and experiments in the Dragon capsule for return to Earth in about three weeks.

I can't emphasize how critical this return to capability is for NASA and America's space program. We now can commercially access space with our own resources. We still have to rely on Russia to ferry astronauts to and from ISS but that will change in the near future. The Falcon 9-Dragon system can be modified to carry astronauts instead of cargo. That step will come in the not so distant future.

NASA is already building the first space rated Orion crew capsule for launch on an unmanned mission in 2014. SpaceX will not be far behind with their man-rated Dragon capsule.

See the launch:

Read More About SpaceX:

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Black Holes Discovered in Globular Cluster

Hey Space Placers!

Not one, but two black holes have been discovered in a globular cluster 10,000 light years from Earth. This is the first time that black holes have been found inside the relatively compact spherical cluster of stars that can contain hundreds of thousands of stars. Globular clusters orbit our galaxy and they are found to be part of other galaxies as well.

The astronomers were expecting to find perhaps one black hole according to their understanding of how these ancient star clusters evolve - they are billions of years old. But finding two was a surprise and will occupy them as they try to model how and why this occurs.

Read More About It:

Black-Hole Graphic

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, October 6, 2012

New Black Hole in Milky Way Galaxy

Hey Space Placers!

A new black hole discovery in our own Milky Way Galaxy has just been announced.

See the neat video and read more about it

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT 10-4 and 5 -12 Moon and Jupiter

Hey SPace Placers!

Tonight at abput 11 p.m. be sure to check out the waning gibbous Moon in the east-north east as it will have a bright companion in the sky - Jupiter.

Late evening scenes

If you have binoculars be sure to look at Jupiter - you can see the four main moons or fewer.

Also check out the east before dawn and see the waltz going on between Venus and the bright star Regulus.

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oct 4 Curiosity Teleconference

Hey Space Placers!

Tune in Oct 4, 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) for the latest on Curiosity at Gale Crater.

Audio and visuals of the event will be streamed live online:

Visuals will be available at the start of the event:

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Is This a Pic of

Hey Space Placers!

You are looking at the clearest picture ever taken from the ground of distant Pluto and its main moon Charon.

This remarkable image was taken using special techniques and the Gemini Telescope. Read More About It:

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, October 1, 2012

Listen In on Earth

Hey SPace Placers!

Listen in on some eerie sounds that come from our own planet.

This would be a great soundtrack for Halloween!

There's a very interesting and deadly scientific side to the sound as well.

Sky Guy in VA