Wednesday, January 16, 2019

SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT - JUPITER AND VENUS CLOSEST 1/22/19

Hey Space Placers!

Take a peek in the SE sky at 5 am the next few mornings to see SPECTACULAR Venus and Jupiter pairing.

They will be getting closer to one another and be closest on the morning of 1/22/19. Venus will be the brighter of the two.

I'm hoping to be posting pictures of this this weekend.

Sky Guy in VA

CHANG'E 4 UPDATE

Hey Space Placers!

If you read my blog yesterday - 1/15/19 - regarding NASA being effectively shut down over a political stunt contrast that to China's Chang'e 4 Moon mission.





There is life on the Moon in the form of cotton seedlings!

mooncotton
Cotton plants have been seen budding and growing, as shown by this close-up of the plants sprouting under a protective cover on the Chang’e 4 lunar lander .CLEP  via Astronomy Magazine
 
Pretty Amazing!

Sky Guy in VA











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Sunday, January 13, 2019

THE NEW SPACE RACE

Hey Space Placers!

Interesting article about China and the new space race.

I wrote about this in March of last year .

While the US contends with the longest federal government shutdown in the Nation's history - NASA is essentially shut down - China is exploring the far side of the Moon.

The American people had better wake up and demand their elected members of Congress to their jobs  instead of putting politics over country.

China's Communist Party is focused, financially supported and moving ahead in space.

America needs to do the same.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, January 11, 2019

CHANG'E 4 LANDING VIDEO

Hey Space Placers!

I can look at this all day......the landing video of China's Chang'e 4 far side lunar lander.



I look forward to seeing more Chang'e 4 videos from China National Space Administration.

I also look forward to see other Nations' lunar landing video - India's Chandrayaan 2 possibly at the end of January 2019 and China's - Chang'e 5 in late 2019. There are also four PRIVATE companies attempting Moon landings. 

Per Sky and Telescope:

  • SpaceIL: This Israeli-based company plans to launch its Beresheet lunar lander (named for the first Hebrew word in the Book of Genesis) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on February 13, 2019. The spacecraft will take about two and a half months to reach the Moon, through a slow cycle of elliptical raising orbits.
  • ALINA: Germany's Autonomous Landing and Navigation module (ALINA) could bring two Audi lunar quattro rovers near the Apollo 17 Taurus-Littrow landing site in 2019. ALINA is operated by the Part-Time Scientists, and the company is working to secure a launch contract with SpaceX.
  • Moon Express: The sole remaining U.S. entry in the Google Lunar X prize competition, Moon Express still intends to field two missions in 2019: the MX-1E lander and the Lunar Outpost MX-3 lander. The company plans to launch these missions on Rocket Lab's Electron rocket, which carried out several successful launches from the company's Mahia New Zealand launch complex in 2018. MX-1E will carry a small optical telescope, a laser retro-reflector, and a Celestis memorial container.
  • Team Indus: Headquartered in Bangalore, India, this company is also looking to secure a launch contract in 2019. Two other teams, Synergy Moon and Hakuto, are looking to piggyback with Team Indus.
Looks good for space missions in 2019. 

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, January 10, 2019

AMAZING CYGNUS A

Hey Space Placers!

Been a LOT of astronomical news coming out of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in Seattle this week.

Read this amazing story about a supermassive black hole in the Cygnus A Galaxy that has a ricocheting jet blasting from a giant black hole has been captured by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.




We are living in a golden age of discovery about our Universe, galaxy and solar system. With more spacecraft missions to the Moon and solar system, space based telescopes, and monster ground based telescopes it is only going to get better.

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

HST'S MAIN CAMERA NOT WORKING

Hey Space Placers!

Bad news about Hubble Space Telescope (HST).

The primary camera, Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, is broken and not working.

Worse yet, NASA cannot pull in the people necessary to try and fix it because of the stupid partial government shut down.

The problem is that NASA Goddard, where many of HST's expert work, is closed.

We'll have to see what happens.......

Sky Guy Greg

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

CHECK OUT THE NEW BINARY ASTEROID

Hey Space Placers!

We continue to learn more about our solar system almost every single night.

Here is the latest binary asteroid .


Range-Doppler radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2016 AZ8 with range resolution (vertical axis) of 7.5 m/pixel and Doppler frequency resolution (horizontal axis) of 0.03 Hz where (left) is the sequence of images over the almost 40 min of data and (right) is the first frame, obtained over about 3 min.

Pretty amazing what we can see with radar on these worlds.

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, January 7, 2019

TRIANGULUM GALAXY AS SEEN BY HST

Hey Space Placers!

Happy 2019.

Back from being sick and the holidays.

Check out this INCREDIBLE video of the nearby Triangulum Galaxy (M-33) released today by the SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE  using Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images:



Be sure to read the story about the 665 MB picture taken by HST.

Triangulum Galaxy Shows Stunning Face in Detailed Hubble Portrait
Release type: American Astronomical Society Meeting
CREDIT: NASA, ESA

For comparison here is my astrophoto of M-33 taken with my 10-inch telescope and DSLR:


Local Group Galaxy M-33 in a 10-inch Telescope and DSLR
Credit: Greg Redfern


Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, January 3, 2019

CHINA'S CHANG'E 4 ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON

Hey Space Placers!

China successfully landed on the far side of the Moon hours before midnight East Coast time.

Here is the first picture from the lander on the far side of the Moon:

Credit: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-moon-landing-dark-side-chinese-spacecraft-change4-a8708951.htm

Here is an excellent video about the mission:




Twitter is reporting that the Yutu 2 rover has deployed also.

2019 will be a year of planned lunar missions by Israel, India and China.

Meanwhile NASA remains furloughed over a Wall......

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

SAY HELLO TO ULTIMA THULE

Hey Space Placers!

UPDATE: PRESS RELEASE

Latest images from New Horizon spacecraft (screen shot from press conference 1/2/19):


The first clear image of the object nicknamed Ultima Thule, beamed back after the New Horizons spacecraft's flyby on Jan. 1.CreditCreditJHUAPL/NAS


The first color image of Ultima Thule, taken at a distance of 85,000 miles (137,000 kilometers) at 4:08 Universal Time on January 1, 2019, highlights its reddish surface. At left is an enhanced color image taken by the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), produced by combining the near infrared, red and blue channels. The center image taken by the Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) has a higher spatial resolution than MVIC by approximately a factor of five. At right, the color has been overlaid onto the LORRI image to show the color uniformity of the Ultima and Thule lobes. Note the reduced red coloring at the neck of the object.  Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute


The BEST is yet to come as these pics were taken BEFORE closest approach. There will be hundreds of pics and data that will take until 9/20 to download back to Earth.

The amazing thing to realize is that we are looking at a primitive solar system body that in all probability has not been changed since it took this form. This could be the way the solar system formed planets by ever larger bodies colliding to build ever larger bodies.

Ultima Thule is a contact binary where it appears that two smaller bodies joined together.

The color is also reminiscent of the color of Pluto's biggest moon Charon at its North Pole.

ULTIMA THULE rotates about once in 15 hours and its pole is almost directly pointed at Earth.

This is just amazing and will add so much to our knowledge of the solar system and planet formation.

Sky Guy in VA 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

NEW HORIZONS PHONES HOME

Hey Space Placers!

Ultima Thule Rotation
This sequence of three images, received on Dec. 31, 2018, and taken by the LORRI camera onboard New Horizons at 70 and 85 minutes apart illustrates the rotation of Ultima Thule.  

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institu
New Horizons phoned home today to indicate it had successfully executed its flyby of Ultima Thule as planned.

Next up will be the receipt of data and pictures over the next two years.

Sky Guy in VA