Monday, July 31, 2017

New Molecules Necessary For Life Found At Titan

Hey Space Placers!

Great reading about Titan, Saturn's moon that is thought to resemble in many ways our primordial Earth.

I highly recommend that your follow our good friends at EarthSky on Twitter, Facebook or one of their other Social media outlets. They also have a daily email you can sign up for on their home page - always worth reading.

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Very Interesting Article - Are We Made Of Other Galaxy Stuff?

Hey Space Placers!

Here is a very interesting article about how galactic winds could be responsible for galaxy growth and the atomic matter in galaxies.

The article states that up to half of all the matter in our Milky Way Galaxy could have come from other smaller galaxies. Ultimately that would mean that half of the atoms that make each one of us up would have come from other galaxies!

Raw material for future stars in the form of gas and dust abound in our Milky Way Galaxy
as can be seen in this picture taken at Shenandoah National Park
Credit: Greg Redfern
We know that the natural elements, other than Hydrogen, are made in the nuclear fusion process that powers the stars and when more massive stars die. But the gas, dust and elements that go into making the protostar would contain a large proportion of matter from other galaxies if this research is correct.

We also know that galaxies grow by collisions with other galaxies which forms a new galaxy in the process. We see this happening throughout the Universe, including our own Milky Way Galaxy. In about 4 billion years the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies will collide to ultimately form a new galaxy - Milkomeda.

Additional research will be conducted to try and prove the results of this supercomputing result.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, July 28, 2017

Water In The Moon's Interior?

Hey Space Placers!

Read all about new research results that indicates there may be water in the lunar interior.

Watery mantleEvidence from ancient volcanic deposits suggests that lunar magma contained substantial amounts of water, bolstering the idea that the Moon's interior is water-rich.Olga Prilipko Huber
With the proposed upcoming lunar missions in the next few years there should be additional findings that will help determine how much water there is and where it is located on the Moon.

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Eclipse Balloons to Study Effect of Mars-Like Environment on Life

Hey Space Placers!

Read about how high altitude balloons will be used for research and live streaming during the August 21, 2017 eclipse.

mage from a balloon flight in November 2016 looking to the southwest. The Tetons and Yellowstone Lake can be seen on the left side of the frame representing a line of sight distance of over 150 miles from an altitude of about 75,000 feet.
Credits: Montana State University
Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

2nd Annual Shenandoah National Park Night Sky Festival 8/18-8/21 2017

Hey Space Placers!

If you are going to be in the Washington, D.C. area August 18-21, 2017, consider going to Shenandoah National Park for the 2nd Annual Night Sky Festival.

This is a GREAT family event that encompasses day and evening events and activities centered around the night sky, space and astronomy.

I hope to see you there!

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Massive Explosion on Farside of the Sun

Hey Space Placers!

Humanity as a whole is so smug and secure in thinking we know everything and are in control of all things.

Today's activity on the Sun proves that we are just as at the mercy of such events in space as we are here on Earth when it comes to events in Nature.

Massive Explosion On Farside of Sun
The most important point in this story - besides the fact that we can detect and thereby get warning of such events - is that it occurred on the 5th anniversary of a Carrington Level Event

Spaceweather - powered by the Sun as is our weather here on Earth - is real and has consequences for humanity. NASA and NOAA work in partnership in both areas. A good thing for humanity.......

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, July 22, 2017

NASA Safety Tips For The 8/21/17 Solar Eclipse

Hey Space Placers!

LESS THAN 1 MONTH TO GO for the August 21, 2017 Total and Partial Solar Eclipse Across the USA.

NASA just released Safety Tips For The Eclipse   -   so PLEASE read and heed this advice.

I will have more on the eclipse as we get closer.

Make sure your eclipse glasses meet the stated specifications - mine do ;-)

NASA Equipped for the eclipse!
If you haven't gotten yours yet you should do so now.

Sky Guy in VA,

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Apollo 11 - 48 Years Later

Hey Space Placers!

48 years ago the world was glued to their TV sets and radios to watch the lunar landing attempt of Apollo 11's Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) 'Eagle' on the Sea of Tranquility. At 4:18 P.M. EDT Eagle touched down safely with less than 30 seconds of fuel left.

I watched events unfold with Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra on CBS News. One of my most prized books is the limited hard cover edition of 'CBS News Coverage of Man On The Moon' which was available only to CBS employees, which my Mom was at the time.

I also took ASA 200 Kodak Ektachrome color slides (which I developed myself) of the TV screen to memorialize the events - I still have them.

Here is what the sky looked like from Mount Wilson Observatory when Neil Armstrong set foot on the  Moon at 7:56 P.M. PDT:

The Sky AT Mount Wilson Observatory 7/20/69 7:56 P.M. EDT
Credit: SkySafari 5 Plus Software
I looked at the Moon with my Edmund Scientific 6" f/8 Newtonian telescope when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on its surface. Of course I couldn't see them BUT I was able to see the SURFACE of Mare Tranquility which was good enough for me. I regret not taking any pics of that observing session but I was really bouncing back and forth from the TV to telescope!

NASA astronauts went to the lunar surface five more times before Nixon killed Apollo Missions 18, 19 and 20 in a budget cutting move. What a waste - the Saturn V and Apollo spacecraft were already BUILT!!!! But when you are in a costly war all things are on the table to be cut........

Humanity is preparing in a BIG WAY to go back to the Moon and I believe to stay this time. I think the Chinese will have Taikonauts on the Moon first with perhaps Europe, Japan and Russia as well.

Full Moon
Greg Redfern
The Moon is the '5th continent' and it, like the U.S.  mainland of several centuries ago is beckoning intrepid explorers to set forth on expeditions of exploration. Moonships are the Calistoga Wagons of old and humans must learn to live off of the land of the Moon just like they did in days gone by.

Finding resources that are available and using them to survive and thrive is just as important now as it was then. Those 1st American explorers were even farther from help than astronauts are today - the difference is the lethality of the environment in terms of space opposed to Earth. Although weather, wildlife and human combat could kill you just as fast as the vacuum of space.

16 private companies, fueled by Google's LunarX Prize are working on lunar landers; SpaceX has two tourists who paid an unknown sum to go into lunar orbit next year. Russia plans on lunar tourism as well.

The Moon is the gateway to deep space and a future colony with its resources of water, sunlight for power and mineral wealth.

If humanity survives its earthbound madness the Moon beckons us. If we can rid ourselves of the hate, distrust and outmoded economic fallacies we now fall sway to, we might become a full fledged space faring species.

Can you imagine what worldwide space budgets of 10+% GNP of the respective space faring nations could achieve? If all of these Nations could pool their resources into a common goal acting on behalf of humanity as a whole?

Heady and seemingly unreachable goals. But then again, so was going to the Moon.

Apollo 11 showed us what TRUE commitment to a goal - financially, spiritually and wholeheartedly as a Nation - can do.

That to me is the true legacy of Apollo 11.

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Hey Space Placers!


Enjoy my pics of the Moon and Venus dancing in the clouds along Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park.

On the morning of July 20 at 4 a.m. local time look to the East.

Glorious and bright Venus will be close to the Waning Crescent Moon for a stunning view. Try to find a horizon free of trees and buildings and no bright lights.

The Moon will have Earthshine - the unlit portion of the Moon that is visible due to the reflection of sunlight off our planet's clouds and oceans, which will only add to the overall beauty of this sky scene.

The celestial pair will be near the Pleiades Star Cluster and the bright orangish-colored star Aldebaran.

4 a.m. local 7/20/17 Morning Sky
Credit: SkySafari 5 Plus Software
I'll be up if it is clear to get some pics.


Sky Guy Greg

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Pluto Like You Have NEVER Seen It!

Hey Space Placers!

Enjoy this flyby of Pluto as seen from New Horizons images taken by the spacecraft during its historic flyby of Pluto TWO years ago - hard to believe.

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Juno's Great Red Spot Pics

Hey Space Placers!

Juno did its flyby over Jupiter and the Great Red Spot and obtained stunning pics in the process.

This enhanced-color image of Jupiter's Great Red Spot was created by citizen scientist Jason Major using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA's Juno spacecraft. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major
It will take time for scientists to analyze the data returned by Juno's instruments during the flyby. This will add to the knowledge we have gained about the 'King of the Planets' due to Juno.

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, July 10, 2017

Sky Guy Internet ALERT! 7/10/17 Juno Flyby of Jupiter

Hey Space Placers!

NASA's Juno mission at Jupiter is going to do a flyby over the giant planet starting tonight at 9:55 p.m. EDT. This flyover is going to take the spacecraft directly over Jupiter's "Great Red Spot" (GRS)  which is a swirling weather system in the planet's clouds that has been ongoing for hundreds of years and is huge.

This true color mosaic of Jupiter was constructed from images taken by the narrow angle camera onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft on December 29, 2000, during its closest approach to the giant planet at a distance of approximately 10 million kilometers (6.2 million miles).
Credits: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
The GRS is visible in backyard telescopes and could easily hold three Earths within its borders!

Juno will train all 8 of its instruments and the JunoCam on the GRS during the flyby and will be about 5,600 miles above the clouds at closest approach. In other words, this will be the closest and quite possibly the best view humanity has ever had of the GRS!

The images are expected to be available on July 14th. You can see raw JunoCam images and download them yourself for processing.

The public votes on JunoCam Points of Interest (POIs) during each of the Jovian flybys and amateur astronomers can submit images taken of Jupiter to help the Juno team in flyby preparation.

Juno celebrated its 1st year in Jupiter orbit on the 4th of July.

Be sure to see some of my previous blog entries that showed the haunting images obtained by Juno during previous flybys.

Jupiter is visible in the South right after sunset; it is the brightest "star-like"object in the night sky. Take a peek tonight and wish Juno a great flyby and good data/pictures.

You can follow Juno on Twitter and Facebook.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, July 7, 2017

Planetary Defense Mission To Test Asteroid Deflection

Hey Space Placers!

Earth strikes back! NASA is designing a mission to hit an asteroid as part of our planetary defense.

DART would test deflection via an impact with an asteroid....a possible strategy if we found a space rock with our name on it. It would have to be far enough away so that such a strategy could work.

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Get The Scoop About Asteroids

Hey Space Placers!

Been almost a week since Asteroid Day so check out this nifty NASA video and story.

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Hey Space Placers!

Happy 4th to my US followers.

No Internet for the computer last 4 days.

The Milky Way is in the E sky now after sunset. Enjoy these recent pics I took at Capon Springs Resort, WV.

They REALLY show the gas, dust and star clouds of our galaxy.

You will have to wait until the Moon is out of the early evening sky - a few days after Full Moon.

Sky Guy in VA