Monday, December 31, 2018


Hey Space Placers!

Been sick - first illness of the whole year and it made up for lost time.

Courtesy Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Read all about my top space story for 2018.

May the New Year bring peace and sanity to humanity.

Sky Guy Greg

Monday, December 24, 2018


Hey Space Placers!

I hope this holiday season finds you in good spirits and health.

Here is my commentary on Apollo 8, fifty years later.

We can be BETTER than what we are right now......

We HAVE to be if we want to survive and thrive as a species....

Apollo 8 shows that we can do daring things.......

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, December 23, 2018


Hey Space Placers!

As you get that lat minute shopping done make sure you take some time out tonight to watch the ALMOST Full Moon rise.

Full Cold Moon - Last Full Moon of 2018
Greg Redfern 12/22/18
If you have snow on the ground the Moon will REALLY light up your surroundings.

Moon rise will be a little over an hour after sunset.


Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


Hey Space Placers!

For the next few mornings at least 30 minutes before sunrise check out the SE. You will see the BRILLIANT "Morning Star" Venus. You can't miss it.

Look to the lower left and you will see two "stars" that are the planets Mercury and Jupiter. They will be edging closer together and be closest 12/21 and 12/22.

Here are my pics from this morning.

Mercury is really easy to see right now which isn't usually the case. I know it is cold out for most of us but hey, I took these in 23 degree F temps ;-)

Get out and enjoy the view.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


Hey Space Placers!

WOW, oh, WOW!

We have learned so much about the Cosmos around us it is sometimes easy to forget how little we know about our own backyard - the solar system. There are two big events that are going to add significantly to our knowledge of the family of the Sun.

First, two weeks from today the New Horizons spacecraft of Pluto flyby fame in July 2015 will be performing another solar system first - a flyby of Ultima Thule, a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO). This will be the farthest flyby ever accomplished of a planetary body in the solar system, a full billion miles farther than Pluto! New Horizons will also pass closer to Ultima Thule than it did at Pluto and we should really see this world up close and personal.

I'll be blogging on this as we get closer and after the flyby.

Rendering of Ultima Thule with scale
Artist's concept of Ultima Thule
© 2018 The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

The second big event is "Farout" - the newly discovered 500km wide object located deep in the solar system that is 120 times farther from the Sun than Earth. To give you an idea of how far out "Farout" is from the Sun, Pluto is 34 times more distant from the Sun than Earth. 
Movie using the two discovery images of 2018 VG18 "Farout". Credit: Scott S. Sheppard/David Tholen.

Artist concept of 2018 VG18 "Farout" with scale of Solar System distances. Credit Roberto Molar Candanosa/Carnegie Institution for Science
More observations of Farout are planned in order to determine its precise orbit around the Sun which will take about a thousand years! Farout is thought to be spherical in shape with an icy surface composition. This discovery also might help in the ongoing search for Planet Nine

These events are truly historic in the timeline of our discoveries about the solar system. As we discover more exoplanets and alien solar systems in the process of being formed we will learn more about our own family of the Sun.

Pretty farout and ultima cool.....

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, December 15, 2018


Hey Space Placers!


Here is my pic of Comet Wirtanen from last night. 

This is an 8-second exposure with a 50mm lens and Digital SLR. The comet WAS NOT visible to the unaided eye and was somewhat dim even in 7x50 binoculars.

The ever increasing moonlight along with the comet now receding from the Sun and Earth will make the comet harder to see. If there is an outburst to make Comet Wirtanen brighter I will let you know.

Sky Guy in VA

For my world-wide readers be sure to check out the "Christmas Comet" this weekend that will pass only 7 million miles from Earth.

If the skies ever clear again I'll try to get some more pics.

Sky Guy in Rain Soaked VA

Friday, December 14, 2018

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Hey Space Placers!

We've got the Geminid Meteor Shower and Comet 46P/Wirtanen in the sky right now. The Geminids should provide a really good sky show and the comet is visible in dark skies.

Here are my pics of the comet from a suburban location in Central Virginia taken last night. The green color and the movement of the comet against the background stars can be easily seen.

I hope your skies are clear to see these two celestial spectacles.....

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, December 10, 2018


Hey Space Placers!

Voyager 2 is beyond the realm of the Sun. Voyager 2 joins its sister ship, Voyager 1, beyond the Sun.

Artist's concept of Voyager 2 with 9 facts listed around it
Artist's concept of Voyager 2 with 9 facts listed around it. Image
Credit: NASA 

Both spacecraft, even though they are traveling through interstellar space, HAVE NOT left the solar system. Our solar system extends at least 1 light year, 6 trillion miles, out into the Milky Way Galaxy.  To travel to the realm beyond the solar system is at least 30,000 years in the future! 

Space is a VERY BIG PLACE - even our solar system.

The Voyagers should be able to continue sending back data for years to come.

Well done, Voyagers.......well done.

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Friday, December 7, 2018


Hey Space Placers!

China has successfully launched their Chang'e 4 mission to the far side of the Moon.

Chang'e-4 rover
The Chang'e-4 rover will explore a huge impact basin on the far side
Credit: CNSA
Hopefully China will keep us apprised on the mission's progress AND share data with the world.

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Hey Space Placers!

WOW! I just can't help but look at all of the different types of rocks that are on this asteroid - it's like looking at a meteorite collection on display! The lack of impact craters and the appearance of BENNU reminds me of a rubble/sand pile - it just absorbs everything that it encounters. NASA's OSIRIS-Rex arrived at the space rock on 12/3/18 and will settle into orbit to start its mission of discovery - can hardly wait.

NASA JPL had another success with the InSight landing 11/26/18. We'll learn much about the interior of Mars - and the other rocky planets of our solar system - through this mission.

Russia launched a new crew to ISS which reported aboard 12/3/18.  This was a major accomplishment following the Soyuz mishap that destroyed the launch vehicle just a few months ago.

SpaceX also had a launch of a resupply mission to ISS on 12/5/18......

Busy times at ISS and space in general.

Tomorrow (US time) the Chinese are expected to launch their Chang'e 4 mission to the lunar far side for a landing. I'll be following that!

Sky Guy in VA

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018


Hey Space Placers!

There is a comet that may be visible to the unaided eye from dark sky sites in the South after dark. It covers an area of the sky as large as the Full Moon but is dim. This comet does not have a huge tail or  is as conspicuous as Hale-Bopp in 1997.

It is still worth looking for in the next few days before the Moon returns to the evening sky and makes the sky bright thereby negating being able to probably see it.

I have had cloudy weather for the past 2 weeks so I am hoping for a chance to see & photograph it.

Here are two links for you to read about 46P and both have finder charts to help you zero in on this green visitor.

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, December 2, 2018

SKY GUY ALERT 12/3/18: NASA Provides Live Coverage of Spacecraft Arrival at Asteroid

Hey Space Placers!

As stated by the NASA Press Release, "NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is scheduled to rendezvous with its targeted asteroid, Bennu, on Monday, Dec. 3 at approximately noon EST."

Tomorrow, 12/3/18, NASA will air a live event from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. EST on NASA Television, Facebook LiveUstreamYouTube and the agency's website. NASA TV also will air an arrival preview program starting at 11:15 a.m. EST.

This is an EXCITING mission to the asteroid belt that will give us an up close and personal view of this space rock we call Bennu. We will also be looking forward to the return sample scheduled to arrive in September 2023.

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, December 1, 2018


Hey Space Placers!

Back from being at sea. Internet reception wasn't very good so I could not publish my blog - sorry about that but it does happen underway.

Read this story about NASA's new private partners in lunar exploration. NASA held a news conference this past week to announce the partners and plan as to how we will get back to the Moon in very short order. This is a very good thing especially with the Chinese missions that are due to launch in 2018 and 2019.

The best part of the story is that we will go to the Moon next year, probably with our Israeli partner, SPACEIL.

Israeli Lunar Lander

I can hardly wait......

Sky Guy back in VA