Friday, April 21, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT!!!! Full Moon & Jupiter 4/10/17

Hey Space Placers!

Hello from Jamaica!

Tonight the Full Pink Moon will be accompanied by brilliant Jupiter so be sure to look. The Full Pink Moon is named for the pink moss and flowers that bloom in early spring.

Enjoy these pics from the Oosterdam:


Sky Guy at Sea

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Event Horizon Telescope & Astronomy Month

Hey Space Placers!

from at sea aboard the ms Oosterdam in the Gulf of Mexico. 

A cosmic first got underway this week - humanity’s attempt to image a black hole using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)   http://eventhorizontelescope.org  . Using radio telescopes located around the globe to combine their separate signals into the equivalent of an Earth sized radio telescope antenna, the EHT will be making several observations.

Radio Telescopes like this one atop Mauna Kea, HI will be used worldwide
to obtain the 1st ever image of a black hole
Greg Redfern
EHT will try and image the supermassive black hole (SBH) located at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*)       and the SBH located in nearby galaxy M87. EHT will also be observing several other galaxies.

SBHs are thought to be at the center of most galaxies. Sgr A* is over FOUR MILLION times as massive as our Sun and is 26,000 light years distant.  Due to intervening gas and dust we cannot see the center of our Milky Way Galaxy using optical telescopes but we can do so using radio telescopes.  EHT has been a decade long project that has now come to fruition with this history making observing run.

EHT will be collecting a huge amount of data during its 10 day observing run. The first several days have been going well and according to schedule. After the observing run is concluded EHT astronomers will then begin the arduous task of correlating and analyzing all of the data to try and achieve the first ever image of Sgr A*. It will take months of work before they know if they have been successful and publication of their results is expected in 2018. 

April is Global Astronomy Month (GAM)   http://www.gam-awb.org  , organized each April by Astronomers Without Borders (AWB)  (http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org. It is the world’s largest annual global celebration of astronomy and brings new ideas and new opportunities. GAM 2017 is currently underway and is bringing enthusiasts together worldwide to celebrate Astronomers Without Borders’ motto “One People, One Sky”. You can find more information one events here  http://astronomerswithoutborders.org/global-astronomy-month-2017.html .


Be sure to look at bright Jupiter in the southeast at sunset as it will be in the sky for several months. Venus has moved to the morning sky and is visible before dawn. 

Sky Guy at Sea

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mighty Jupiter UPDATED & SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT 4/7/17 Jupiter

Hey SPACE PLACERS!

UPDATE:

Info on Jupiter opposition from NASA.



Check out the latest pic of Jupiter taken by Hubble Space Telescope (HST).

NASA
You can see Jupiter for yourself by looking in the SE right at sunset as tomorrow Jupiter will be directly opposite the Sun or what astronomers call opposition. Jupiter will remain bright in the sky all night.

If you have binoculars you can see the four main moons if you hold the binoculars steady enough. Bracing against a wall or car top helps. A telescope really brings forth the 'King of The Planets' in all his glory.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

NASA'S CASSINI MISSION PREPS FOR GRAND FINALE

Hey Space Placers!

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is making preparations for its finale at the planet Saturn. This mission has written the book on the Saturnian system. The spacecraft is running on fumes and starting April 26 will begin its final phase - a 'Grand Finale' - eventually plunging into Saturn.

The September 15, 2017 death plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn is being done to protect the surrounding moons of Saturn, especially Enceladus, from any possible contamination. Enceladus has a warm ocean under all of its ice and is one of the prized places in the solar system to look for life.

Cassini will provide us an amazing look at the rings and Saturn for as long as possible and then become part of the planet it has studied for over 13 years.

Enjoy this amazing video that highlights the Cassini mission....enjoy the stunning vistas of Saturn.

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Horizons Spacecraft Update

Hey Space Placers!

The New Horizons spacecraft will be at the halfway point to its next target, 2014 MU69 this Friday. The spacecraft is traveling at 32,000 miles per hour and is 3.5 BILLION miles from Earth. Controllers will place New Horizons into hibernation on April 7th after being awake and operational for the past 2 1/2 years. The spacecraft will remain in hibernation for 157 days and upon reawakening will start to prepare for the flyby of 2014 MU69 that will occur on 1/1/19.

A KBO among the Stars: In preparation for the New Horizons flyby of 2014 MU69 on Jan. 1, 2019, the spacecraft’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took a series of 10-second exposures of the background star field near the location of its target Kuiper Belt object (KBO). This composite image is made from 45 of these 10-second exposures taken on Jan. 28, 2017. The yellow diamond marks the predicted location of MU69 on approach, but the KBO itself was too far from the spacecraft (544 million miles, or 877 million kilometers) even for LORRI’s telescopic “eye” to detect. New Horizons expects to start seeing MU69 with LORRI in September of 2018 – and the team will use these newly acquired images of the background field to help prepare for that search on approach.
Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Sleep well New Horizons!

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, April 1, 2017

SpaceX Makes History

Hey Space Placers!

SpaceX made history on March 30, 2017 by using a previously flown and recovered orbital class rocket to launch another spacecraft into orbit. This is the first time this has been done and will help to further decrease the cost of rocket launches.

Watch the mission launch replay.

Sky Guy in VA