Wednesday, November 22, 2017

LET'S LIGHT THIS CANDLE

Hey Space Placers!

Look at this picture:

The Four RS-25 Engines That Will Power
The 1st Stage of Exploration Mission-1
NASA
These are four upgraded Space Shuttle Main Engines powered 21 different Space Shuttle missions.  Now designated RS-25, these are the engines that will power the first stage of the very first Space Launch System (SLS) to be launched. 

Called Exploration Flight-1, the SLS will put an unmanned Orion spacecraft into orbit around the Earth. Upon checkout of all systems the SLS upper stage will conduct a translunar orbital insertion (TLI) burn that will put Orion on course for its 25-day mission.

Just writing this makes me excited...NASA launching its new rocket and manned spacecraft to the Moon.

Wow.......

I am hoping to get to see these 4 engines light on the test stand and on the launch pad. If I do, you will see it too ;-)

Sky Guy in VA



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

INTERSTELLAR INTERLOPER IS INCREDIBLE

Hey Space Placers!

If you recall we recently had a visitor to the solar system that came from interstellar space. NASA and others released yesterday information on the SHAPE of the asteroid and to put it mildly, it is out of this world!


For the first time ever astronomers have studied an asteroid that has entered the Solar System from interstellar space. Observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that this unique object was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky or high-metal-content object. The new results appear in the journal Nature on 20 November 2017.




For those of us who are sci-fi fans this is manna from heaven because the physical shape of Oumuamua conjures up the Monolith from '2001' and '2010',  Rama from 'Rendezvous with Rama' - all Arthur C. Clarke creations.

To top it off we have yet to discover anything remotely resembling this asteroid in our own solar system. It is hard to imagine that we would not have detected a 400 meter long linear shaped asteroid.

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, November 20, 2017

APOLLO 17'S JACK SCHMITT TALKS ABOUT THE MOON

Hey Space Placers!

Check out this short interview with Apollo 17's Jack Schmitt.



Be sure to go out and look at the Moon in the Western sky after sunset tonight. Lunar Reconnaissance  Orbiter is humanity's ONLY active lunar mission.

Hopefully this will change in the future......

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, November 16, 2017

SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT: LEONID METEOR SHOWER 11/17-11/18

Hey Space Placers!


Here is info on the Leonid Meteor Shower which should peak the next two mornings. Viewers from a dark sky site might see 10-15 an hour. Best viewing will be in the hours before dawn.

All the best,

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MEET THE NEWEST EXOPLANET NEIGHBOR - ROSS 128 b

Hey Space Placers!

This artist’s impression shows the temperate planet Ross 128 b, with its red dwarf parent star in the background. (M. Kornmesser/ESO)

Read all about the newest exoplanet neighbor to Earth - just 11 light years away

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, November 13, 2017

JWST OBSERVATION PROPOSALS

Hey Space Placers!

No joy on this morning's Jupiter-Venus injunction due to 100% cloud cover :-(

JWST at NASA Goddard in 2016
Greg Redfern
Here are details on the first observation proposals with James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Here is the full list of the proposals.

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, November 9, 2017

SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT!!!! VENUS, JUPITER, MOON PREDAWN 11/10-11/17

Hey Space Placers!

Pre-dawn observers will spot a pretty neat sight in the East starting on Friday, 11/10/17.  Venus and Jupiter are very close to one another and will be less than a degree apart - or in conjunction - 45 minutes before dawn on 11/13. Venus is the brighter of the two planets.

To see the planetary pair observers will need a very clear horizon to the East as the planets will only be a scant 5 degrees - 3 fingers held together at arm's distance - above the horizon. Binoculars will help in the view and it may even be possible to see the 4 main moons of Jupiter with 7x50 binoculars. The view in a telescope with a low power eyepiece will show both planets and Jupiter's moons easily.

Observers can watch the two get closer together and then separate which is always neat to do. The slim Crescent Moon will be joining them on the 16th and 17th. 

The day to day movement in the sky of these celestial objects is due to their own orbits around the Sun, including the Earth's, and the Moon's orbit around the Earth. Venus is 246 million km (14 light minutes) distant while Jupiter is 957 million km (53 light minutes distant.

I will be trying for pics and will share if I get any worthwhile.

Clear skies!

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

HUH? A STAR THAT WON'T DIE!

Hey Space Placers!

Well, here is one for the astro-history books......a star that goes Supernova (explodes) and then is discovered to have gone Supernova before!!!!

This is the first discovery of such an event. Get the details here.

What a Universe!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

PICK A NAME FOR 2014 MU69

Hey Space Placers!

Get creative and pick a name for 2014 MU69, New Horizons' next flyby target.

Artist's concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flying by a possible binary 2014 MU69 on Jan. 1, 2019. Early observations of MU69 hint at the Kuiper Belt object being either a binary orbiting pair or a contact (stuck together) pair of nearly like-sized bodies with diameters near 20 and 18 kilometers (12 and 11 miles).

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Carlos Hernandez

Get details here.

Good luck!

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, November 5, 2017

SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT! MOON COVERS ALDEBARAN 11/5-6/17

Hey Space Placers!

Sunday night the almost Full Moon will cover, or occult, the bright orangish star Aldebaran. The Moon will cover the star at 7:58 pm EST for Washington, D.C. The star will reappear at 8:52 pm EST for D.C. See the link below to look up your viewing site for times - this will be visible in North America and parts of Europe (on the 6th.

To see this event really requires a telescope for the disappearance due to the brilliant Moon but the reappearance can be seen with binoculars. It will be quite a sight.


If the wx cooperates (clouds are predicted) I will have my 'scope set up to photograph.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, November 3, 2017

SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT: FULL HUNTER MOON NOV 3-4

Hey Space Placers!

It is the Full Hunter Moon tonight - Nov 3-4.

Here is everything you need to know about this beautiful Fall sight.

Oh, and here is NASA's take on the Hunter Moon.

Here was last night's view of the Moon.
Last Sunset Before the Full Hunter Moon
Greg Redfern

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, November 2, 2017

HST GETS PHOTOBOMBED!!!

Hey Space Placers!

Here's something you don't see every day (or night ;-) )

HST taking a deep (long exposure) photograph of a huge and distant galactic cluster only to get Photobombed by chunks of solar system debris we call asteroids!



Enjoy looking at the incredible photos of the Cluster and the space rocks.

This reminded me of fireflies photobombing sky pics in the summer months.....

Sky Guy in VA