Wednesday, October 31, 2018

HAPPY HALLOWEEN & HST IS BACK

Hey Space Placers!

Happy Halloween - the half way point from fall to winter. Check out what happens when JPL has a pumpkin carving contest!





HST is operating again after 3 weeks down time due to a faulty gyro and a troublesome back up gyro. Good news indeed!

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, October 29, 2018

MARS PARACHUTE TESTS

Hey Space Placers!

Check out pulling the ripcord on Mars-bound parachutes.



Testing was done in Virginia at NASA's Wallops Flight Test Facility.

Pretty cool......

On to Mars with the 2020 Rover.

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, October 28, 2018

IT'S A PICKLE: LEARN ABOUT HOW GALAXIES FORM

Her 2+ey Space Placers!

Have you ever wondered about how galaxies form and evolve? We live in the Milky Way Galaxy, one of 2+ TRILLION known galaxies in the observable Universe. Galaxies form and evolve over billions of years.

This is a LONG but easy to understand and insightful article written by an astrophysicist about his research into how galaxies form and evolve under the influence of dark matter. His ongoing research shows that galaxies seem to start out as "cosmic pickles" and evolve.






Simulation and video by Daniel Ceverino in collaboration with the author.

We can currently look back to the early Universe to about a billion years after the Big Bang and see young galaxies in their early stages of evolution. With new monster telescopes on the horizon we might be able to detect the very first galaxies to form!ex us

The enigmas of dark matter and dark energy still vex us as to what they are. We certainly can observe their effects on the Universe but are still in the dark - forgive the pun - as to what they truly are.

Perhaps one day we will know......

Sky Guy in VA


Friday, October 26, 2018

EARTH'S DUST CLOUD SATELLITES CONFIRMED

Hey Space Placers!

We are still learning about our own backyard.

Astronomers have confirmed a 1961 observation of two dust clouds that are essentially "satellites" orbiting the Sun with the Earth at a distance similar to that of our Moon. These dust clouds have formed at two locations that are fairly stable gravitationally.

Artist’s impression of the Kordylewski cloud in the night sky (with its brightness greatly enhanced) at the time of the observations. Credit: G. Horváth

They are exceptionally faint which is why it took so long to confirm their presence. They consist of dust grains which could come from comets, asteroids and planetary impacts. Dust is very common and present everywhere in our solar system. Our Moon has a permanent lopsided dust cloud, the Zodiacal Light is composed of dust grains and Earth is bombarded daily by dust.

Mosaic pattern of the angle of polarization around the L5 point (white dot) of the Earth-Moon system. The five rectangular windows correspond to the fields of view of the imaging polarimetric telescope with which the polarization patterns of the Kordylewski dust cloud were measured. Credit: J. Slíz-Balogh

Our own solar system is such an enigma.....we are searching for a major planet in its distant depths and will be flying by a denizen of the deep solar system on New Year's Day 2019 - Ultima Thule - with the New Horizons spacecraft.

Who knows what else lurks in our midst?

The joy is in exploring and finding out.

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

VIEWING ALERT 10-24-18 FULL HUNTER'S MOON

Hey Space Placers!

Tonight is the Full Hunter's Moon.  Take advantage of these beautiful fall evenings to see it rise at sunset in the East. You will probably see it rising in the Earth's Shadow, another beautiful sight to see.

Full Moon Rising Out Of The Earth's Shadow
Shenandoah National Park
Greg Redfern
Enjoy the view and beauty of moonlight tonight.

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, October 22, 2018

SEE YOUR PLANET'S SHADOW

Hey Space Placers!

Every clear night in the East at sunset and every clear dawn in the West at sunrise you can see our planet's shadow. It is accompanied by a pink band called the "Belt of Venus" and both are quite easy to see if you have a clear view of the horizon.

Be sure to look on October 24th when the Full Hunter's Moon is rising in the East.

Full Snow Moon Rising out of Earth's Shadow & Belt of Venus
Taken at sea aboard Azamara Quest
Tasman Strait off the Coast of N. Australia
Greg Redfern
It is a daily reminder that you live on a planet that is in perpetual sunlight and as a result casts its shadow out into space. This is the "magic hour" of sunrise and sunset.

Take a look for yourself and contemplate the end and/or beginning of the day.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

VIEWING ALERT ORIONID METEOR SHOWER

Hey Space Placers!

The predicted Orionid Meteor Shower peak takes place tonight into tomorrow morning.


Viewing Chart for Orionids
Credit: www.skyandtelescope.com

Details for viewing are here.

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, October 20, 2018

INTERNATIONAL OBSERVE THE MOON NIGHT OCTOBER 20, 2018

Hey Space Placers!

Sorry for the lapse bu the Internet was not working too well as we crossed the Pacific.

Tonight is the Moon's Night - International Observe the Moon Night.

Credit: NASA

Check to see if there is an event near you. If not there is a Live Stream event starting at 12 pm EDT today, October 20



The Full Hunter's Moon is October 24th so be sure to watch it rise and light up the night.

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

HST IN SAFE MODE DUE TO GYRO ISSUE

Hey Space Placers!

Hubble Space Telescope is in "Safe Mode" due to a gyro issue. The telescope is fine but ground controllers are assessing the situation. The gyro involved is probably "dead" but HST can continue doing science when it goes back on line as it still has 3 other gyros and can operate one one.

Here's to more years with HST!

Sky Guy in HI

Sunday, October 7, 2018

LOOK FOR DRACONIDS 7-9 OCTOBER

Hey Space Placers!

The next three nights should be good ones for the Draconid Meteor Shower.

Read the article and find yourself a good viewing location.

Here's to clear skies and "dragon shooting stars".

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, October 5, 2018

APOLLO 8 HONORED

Hey Space Placers!

To honor the upcoming 50th anniversary of the iconic Apollo 8 mission to the Moon, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named two craters on the far side of the moon "8 Homeward" and "Anders' Earthrise".



























CAPTION
The Earthrise colour photograph taken by astronaut William Anders. It depicts the moment that our shiny blue Earth came back into view as the spacecraft emerged out of the dark from behind the grey and barren Moon. This is arguably the most famous picture taken by Apollo 8. It became iconic and has been credited with starting the environmental movement.
Two of the crates seen in this photo have just been named by the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN) of the International Astronomical Union.
Credit:
NASA/IAU

I will be doing a special write up for Apollo 8's 50th, but suffice it to say this image is in all probability the most famous of all from Apollo.

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

THE SOFT GLOW OF HYDROGEN

Hey Space Placers!

Imaging using the the MUSE spectrograph on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope reveals a universe full of gently glowing hydrogen clouds.
Imaging using the the MUSE spectrograph on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope reveals a universe full of gently glowing hydrogen clouds. 
ESA/HUBBLE & NASA, ESO/ LUTZ WISOTZKI ET AL

This calming picture shows myriad galaxies amidst  the soft glow of hydrogen gas caused by a well known process called Lyman Alpha emission (light). Essentially the hydrogen left over from the Big Bang fills the observable Universe and is constantly being energized from a lower to higher energy state causing the glow.

The hydrogen "cocoons" surround ancient galaxies in the early and distant Universe. This discovery will allow new observations of these clouds and their galaxies.

So the next time you look up at a dark, moonless sky, imagine the soft glow of hydrogen that fills our Universe.



Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE SIMULATION

Hey Space Placers!

Wanna' take a ride on the wild side - of supermassive black holes that is. These beasts are thought to reside at the center of most, if not all, galaxies. Our own Milky Way Galaxy has a 4.4 MILLION solar mass supermassive black hole at its center called Sagittarius A Star or Sgr A* for short.

Check out this video simulation to learn more about these beasts of the galactic deep.



Sky Guy in VA