Monday, May 20, 2019

ISLANDS IN THE DARK - ON THE MOON

Hey Space Placers!


Image of illuminated peaks near the rim of Shackleton crater
Darkness surrounds illuminated peaks between Shackleton crater (rim crest at right) and de Gerlache crater (out of scene left). As lunar days and seaons progress, darkness creeps along this elevated ridge near the south pole. Image width 15 kilometers, NAC M1195011983LR [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
Enjoy this article about the South Pole of the Moon where there are some very special places.

The lunar South Pole is the next big step in exploration of the Moon.

Sky Guy In VA

Sunday, May 19, 2019

FULL FLOWER BLUE MOON

Hey Space Placers!

If you missed the Full Flower Blue Moon last night here is my pic of it. Be sure to click on the image.

The Moon will be almost full again tonight so get out and enjoy the view!


Enjoy!

Sky Guy Greg

Friday, May 17, 2019

HONEY, I SHRUNK THE MOON

Hey Space Placers! THANK YOU FOR PUTTING THIS BLOG OVER 3.1 MILLION VIEWS!

A little humor in the title but serious science - the Moon is shrinking due to heat loss as is explained in this article.

The findings are based on the study of 12,000 photographs taken by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)  - the spacecraft that continues to rewrite what we know about the Moon - showing new wrinkle features in the northern part of the Moon known as Mare Frigoris.


Region of the Moon called Mare Frigoris
Scientists have discovered these wrinkle ridges in a region of the Moon called Mare Frigoris. These ridges add to evidence that the Moon has an actively changing surface. This image was taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).
NASA/GSFC

The shrinking Moon also is thought to have created "moonquakes" that shaped the Moon's surface, especially in Taurus-Littrow Valley where Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmidt (the only geologist to to the Moon so far).



An amazing view of Taurus Littrow Valley by LRO:

The Taurus-Littrow valley is the location of the Apollo 17 landing site (asterisk). Cutting across the valley, just above the landing site, is the Lee-Lincoln fault scarp. Movement on the fault was the likely source of numerous moonquakes that triggered events in the valley. 1) Large landslides on of slopes of South Massif draped relatively bright rocks and dust (regolith) on and over the Lee-Lincoln scarp. 2) Boulders rolled down the slopes of North Massif leaving tracks or narrow troughs in the regolith on the slopes of North Massif. 3) Landslides on southeastern slopes of the Sculptured Hills.
Credits: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University/Smithsonian

The more we learn about the Moon the more amazing a place it becomes.

Sky Guy in VA



Thursday, May 16, 2019

LATEST FROM THE CHINA'S FAR SIDE LUNAR MISSION

Hey Space Placers!

If you read my 5/15/19 blog on Artemis, you'll want to read the latest on China's Chang'e 4 mission to the lunar far side.


Image captured by Chang'E 4 showed the landscape near the landing site. (Image by NAOC/CNSA)
Tomorrow we return to the Moon once more - or I should say to the "Incredible Shrinking Moon'.

Sky Guy in VA



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

MEET ARTEMIS - NASA'S RETURN TO THE MOON PROGRAM

Hey Space Placers!

NASA's "Return to the Moon by 2024' finally has a name - Artemis - the twin sister of Apollo. Read about it here  and here.




More on Artemis:



Only time and money will tell if this all comes to fruition.

Make no mistake, if the U.S. doesn't go to the Moon and stay this time, other nations will with China in the forefront.

America must do this to stay relevant in space AND here on Earth.

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, May 13, 2019

UPCOMING EPIC MOON ROCK RESEARCH

Hey Space Placers!

Here is an excellent Washington Post article on upcoming research that will be performed on pristine Apollo lunar samples that have been preserved for the past half century.

This research will be epic because these samples were preserved by NASA nearly 50 years ago with the express intent of waiting for the development of new techniques and instruments to learn new things about the Moon. That time has come later this year.

We know alot about the Moon from prior studies of the Apollo lunar samples  but we are learning more with new methods and instruments. But to study PRISTINE, sealed and frozen samples with these methods - well, it is like a whole new mission to the Moon. We are going to learn so much I do believe.

I will have more on this exciting story as it develops.

Sky Guy Greg

Sunday, May 12, 2019

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY 2019

Hey Space Placers!

Happy Mother's Day to all Earth bound mothers - human and other species.

Stars give birth also - to planets - and here is a great collection of newborns in their respective stellar wombs.






ALMA’s high-resolution images of nearby protoplanetary disks, which are results of the Disk Substructures at High Angular Resolution Project (DSHARP). 
Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), S. Andrews et al.; N. Lira

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, May 11, 2019

HAPPY ASTRONOMY DAY

Hey Space Placers!

Today is the first of two Astronomy Day celebrations with the second one being in the fall.

Check out this website to see if there are any events in your area.

We are clouded out here in VA with lots of rain due :-(

But Northern VA Astronomy Club (NOVAC) will be hosting an event rain or shine.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, May 10, 2019

WATCH A BLACK HOLE IN ACTION

Hey Space Placers!

This is pretty amazing video - a four hour sequence of radio telescope images showing a black hole  Cygni V404 - spewing off plasma clouds in different directions.



Learn more about this amazing system:



The full article is here.

Sky Guy on VA

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

LATEST ON INDIA'S NEXT MOON MISSION

Hey Space Placers!

Here is an NBC News story on India's next Moon missionChandrayaan-2.


It is scheduled for launch between July 9 and 16. The lander and rover are scheduled to land near the South Pole, a very interesting region of the Moon that has never been explored by a lander/rover. It is known to harbor frozen water ice in a likely mix with the lunar soil in permanently shadowed craters.


India's first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1 was very successful. Let's hope Chandrayaan-2 is as well.


Sky Guy in VA

Monday, May 6, 2019

ONE MILLION SPECIES FACE EXTINCTION

Hey Space Placers!

From the Washington Post comes another sobering story on how we are changing the planet.

This was all over the news cycle today.



Scientists on May 6 released a landmark United Nations report on the damage done by modern civilization to the natural world. 

Humanity had better come to terms with this ultimate reality facing us and do it soon or we will suffer the consequences of our collective foolishness.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, May 3, 2019

VIEWING ALERT THIS WEEKEND - ETA AQUARIID METEOR SHOWER

Hey Space Placers!

My weather will be cloudy but maybe yours won't be!

Eta Aquariid Radiant
Credit: American Meteor Society
https://www.amsmeteors.org

Here is all the info you need on this weekend's Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower.  Here is background on the shower's source.

Wishing you clear skies and lots of meteors!

Sky Guy VA

Thursday, May 2, 2019

265,000 GALAXIES IN HST LEGACY FIELD PHOTO

Hey Space Placers!

Just about everything you see in this pic from Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a galaxy - about 265,000 of them! 

Hubble's Wide View of the Evolving Universe
This Hubble Space Telescope image represents the largest, most comprehensive "history book" of galaxies in the universe.
The image, a combination of nearly 7,500 separate Hubble exposures, represents 16 years' worth of observations.
The ambitious endeavor, called the Hubble Legacy Field, includes several Hubble deep-field surveys, including the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF), the deepest view of the universe. The wavelength range stretches from ultraviolet to near-infrared light, capturing all the features of galaxy assembly over time.
The image mosaic presents a wide portrait of the distant universe and contains roughly 265,000 galaxies. They stretch back through 13.3 billion years of time to just 500 million years after the universe's birth in the big bang. The tiny, faint, most distant galaxies in the image are similar to the seedling villages from which today's great galaxy star-cities grew. The faintest and farthest galaxies are just one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see.
The wider view contains about 30 times as many galaxies as in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, taken in 2004. The new portrait, a mosaic of multiple snapshots, covers almost the width of the full Moon. Lying in this region is the XDF, which penetrated deeper into space than this legacy field view. However, the XDF field covers less than one-tenth of the full Moon's diameter.
Credits
NASAESA, G. Illingworth and D. Magee (University of California, Santa Cruz), K. Whitaker (University of Connecticut), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), P. Oesch (University of Geneva,) and the Hubble Legacy Field team
Be sure to click on the images in the release so you can zoom in to see the closest thing to "Infinity" we will probably ever see until the 30+ meter telescope and James Webb Space Telescope come on line in a few years.

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

LOOK AT THIS METEORITE. NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT

Hey Space Placers!

On April 23, 2019 there was a bright bolide (exploding meteor/fireball) over Costa Rica. You may recall that in February 2019 a similar event happened over a village in Cuba and meteorites were recovered.

This Costa Rica meteorite event - known as a fall because space rocks have been recovered - is pretty amazing. Why? Because the type of meteorite that caused it, initially classified as a "CM", is very rare.

NASA scientists TODAY are flying and enroute to meet with Mike Farmer, a meteorite hunter/dealer I have known and bought from for decades, to obtain samples of this newest space rock from him. It is very possible that this fall came from a known dead/inactive comet.

I talked with Mike today about fall this before he was set to leave for Costa Rica for more hunting. He shared with me this incredible photo of a recovered meteorite from this fall and said I could share it:

4/23/19 Costa Rica Fall
Individual Meteorite
Credit: Robert Ward photo via Mike Farmer 
In decades of studying meteorites I have NEVER seen anything like this. The color is real and the specimen was collected before rain occurred so it is as fresh as an Earth specimen can be. What is that BLUE color?

The black color is fusion crust which is about 2mm thick and formed when the outer surface is melted by the friction of entering the Earth's atmosphere and only lasts a few seconds. We know that CM meteorites contain a LOT of chemical compounds and are of great interest in learning about our solar system.

The Murchison Meteorite reminds me of this fall and I think that this space rock will get a great deal of scientific attention.

Be sure to visit Mike's website if you are interested in purchasing genuine meteorites, including this one.

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

FOLLOW PLANETARY DEFENSE CONFERENCE LIVE

Hey Space Placers!

Tune in here for Livestream of the Planetary Defense Conference going on this week in Maryland.

NASA Administrator endorses NEOCam - which I blogged about on April 25, 2019. Let's hope this FINALLY leads to NEOCam becoming a reality.

All of this is a needed life insurance policy for humanity- protecting against future impacts that WILL happen.

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, April 28, 2019

BIG NEWS ON GRAVITATIONAL WAVES!

Hey Space Placers!

Today we are leaving the solar system WAY behind and heading out into the Universe because of BIG NEWS from the world of gravitational waves - see my previous blogs.

On April 1, 2019 the newly upgraded Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) LIGO and Virgo Observatory in Italy went back on line. And shortly thereafter new discoveries followed.

A second neutron star merger was discovered and maybe, just maybe, the first ever merger of a black hole and neutron star.

Artist’s depiction of the last instances of a neutron star and black hole merger
Scientific simulation of a black hole consuming a neutron star.Credit: A. Tonita, L. Rezzolla, F. Pannarale
The astronomical jury is compiling more data to try and see if this really was observed. It is a detection event that is eagerly anticipated.

The other big news is that with this upgrade it is predicted that a new black hole merger will be detected EVERY WEEK with a merger of neutron stars EVERY MONTH!   WOW!!!

Get more information here.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, April 26, 2019

THIS IS A DRILL - EARTH PREPARES FOR AN ASTEROID HIT - LIVE SM COVERAGE

Hey Space Placers!

Continuing on our asteroid defense theme of the past few blogs ESA is preparing for a live on Social Media asteroid hit drill.



As stated by ESA, "For the first time, ESA will cover progress of the hypothetical impact scenario from 29 April to 3 May live via social media, primarily via the @esaoperations Twitter channel."

Tune in and be an observer on how this first time ever event unfolds.


Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, April 25, 2019

EARTH STIKES BACK

Hey Space Placers!

Read the latest about humanity's fight against asteroids that threaten us.

Hyabusa 2
Credit: ESA
Really important also in this fight is detection - you can't fight them if you can't see them coming.

Important to detection is NASA's NEOCam.  It will detect many Near Earth Objects (NEOs) especially those that we cannot see from Earth due to the Sun. Dr. Amy Mainzer has been working on  NEOCam and has also been the Primary Investigator for NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission. 

Comet C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto as imaged in multiple exposures of infrared light by the NEOWISE space telescope. The infrared images were taken on Feb. 25, 2019, when the comet was about 56 million miles, or 90 million kilometers, from Earth. C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto is a long-period comet originally from the Oort Cloud and coming in near the Sun for the first time in over 1,000 years.
Appearing as a string of red dots, this comet can be seen in a series of exposures captured by the spacecraft. Infrared light detected by the 3.4-micron channel is mapped to blue and green, while light from the 4.6-micron channel is mapped to red. In this image, stars show up as blue because they are hotter, whereas the cooler dust around the comet - with a temperature near the freezing point of water - glows red.
Credit: NASA JPL-Caltech
NEOWISE released its fifth year of survey data on April 11, 2019. The five years of NEOWISE data have significantly advanced scientists’ knowledge of asteroids and comets in the solar system, as well as the stars and galaxies beyond.


Dr. Amy Mainzer, NASA JPL with Sky Guy Greg
It is only a matter of when, not if, that Earth gets smacked again......

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

ASTEROID ARMAGEDDON? HOW TO TELL

Hey Space Placers!

Here's a good article on how to tell if an asteroid is trying to kill us.

Remember, the dinosaurs are dead because they didn't have telescopes or a space program.

Earth will be clobbered again by a "big one" and a few good sized space rocks.

Comets can have our number too but they are a whole different and even more scary story.

Grandpa Sky Guy in VA

Monday, April 22, 2019

LATEST ON CHANG'E 4 & YUTU 2

Hey Space Placers!

Been busy being a new and first time grand parent!

Enjoy this latest update on China's Chang'e 4 far side lunar mission and its rover Yutu 4.





Chang'e-4 LRO timelapse
CHANG'E-4 LRO TIMELAPSE
This time series of the Chang'e-4 landing site from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter shows Yutu-2 roving away its lander.NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University


Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

MERCURY'S LARGE INNER SOLID CORE

Hey Space Placers!

Read the latest findings on Mercury's large and solid inner core.

An illustration of Mercury’s interior based on new research that shows the planet has a solid inner core.
Credit: Antonio Genova.

Pretty amazing......

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, April 13, 2019

NASA WEB PAGE

Hey Space Placers!

Please take a look at today's NASA Web Page.

Look at the breadth of stories - black holes, the Moon, Citizen Science, Space Launch System, Mars, Benefits for Humanity, the Kelly Twin Study.

BTW today is "Citizen Science Day" so see what you can do to further science.

It is an amazing snapshot of what NASA does each and every day for humanity and science.

You should follow NASA on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with their latest and greatest.

Sky Guy Greg in VA

Thursday, April 11, 2019

ISRAEL MOON LANDING FAILS

Hey Space Placers!

Here is background on how Israel's commercial lunar landing mission would hopefully go today. It had successfully entered into lunar orbit earlier this week and all looked good for the Thursday landing attempt.

Unfortunately the lunar lander failed to safely make it to the surface according to SpaceIL on Twitter. A selfie image was taken of the spacecraft  22km above the Moon and the landing attempt proceeded. Apparently the main engine failed during the final descent at 150 meters from the surface.


Replay of Live Broadcast
Credit: SpaceIL

There are other private companies that may still try to be the first to land on the Moon.

The Moon will continue to beckon us....

Sky Guy in VA



Wednesday, April 10, 2019

1ST EVER BLACK HOLE IMAGE

Hey Space Placers!

Back on land and through March Madness with my Virginia Cavaliers winning the Men's Basketball National Championship.

Huge space news today and tomorrow - private Israeli spacecraft attempting Moon landing.

Today, April 10th, 2019 will be a historic date in the history of science as it was the day humanity saw the first ever image of a supermassive black hole. Get the details here and here.

Here is M-87's supermassive black hole taken with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).

Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. Credit: Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration
FROM NASA/JPL

This video shows you where M-87 is in the sky and takes you into the heart of the galaxy to reveal the above image: 
This zoom video starts with a view of ALMA and zooms in on the heart of M87, showing successively more detailed observations and culminating in the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole’s shadow.
Credit: ESO/L. Cal├žada, Digitized Sky Survey 2, ESA/Hubble, RadioAstron, De Gasperin et al., Kim et al., EHT Collaboration. Music: niklasfalcke


If you want to experience a breath taking ride into a supermassive black hole like M-87, go to a dark room with all of the lights off, set your computer's display to full brightness and full screen and WATCH THIS VIDEO!  IT IS STUNNING.....IT ALMOST GAVE ME VERTIGO!


This virtual reality simulation by Jordy Davelaar and colleagues shows a black hole surrounded by luminous matter. This matter disappears into the black hole in a vortex-like way, and the extreme conditions cause it to become a glowing plasma. The light emitted is then deflected and deformed by the powerful gravity of the black hole.
Credit: Jordy Davelaar et al./Radboud University/BlackHoleCam



M87
Credits: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: P. Cote (Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics) and E. Baltz (Stanford University)
EHT also took data over a year ago on our Milky Way Galaxy's own supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). It is a 4.4 million solar mass beast at the center of our galaxy. Today I telephonically contacted Peter D. Edmonds, Public Information Officer, Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian, to ascertain the status of the Sgr A* image. 

He stated, "That's a good question. The Sgr A* EHT image work is quite complicated and it is ongoing. We currently do not have a release date for that image."

Hopefully one day we will see the image of our galaxy's resident black hole. When we do that will be another historic day.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, April 5, 2019

MARK YOUR CALENDAR - 4/10/19

Hey Space Placers!

Mark your calendar - 4/10/19 at 9 a.m. EDT.

A Press Conference will be held to share the first results from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) - humanity's first attempt to photograph a black hole at the center of our galaxy and one other galaxy.

Simulated image of black hole
Simulated image of black hole
Simulated image of black hole
Simulated image of black holeSimulated image of black hole

A simulated image by the University of Arizona shows the turbulent plasma in the extreme environment around a supermassive black hole.

Credit: University of Arizona.

We have been waiting for over a year to see if the attempts to photograph a supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy would be successful.

Maybe we will finally find out.

Sky Guy Greg in Lisbon heading home tomorrow!!!

Monday, April 1, 2019

SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT! MOON, VENUS, MERCURY PRE-DAWN 4/2/19

Hey Space Placers!

If your weather is clear for 4/2/19, and you have a good, unobstructed view of the Eastern horizon, make sure you get out about 30 minutes before local sunrise (check your local sunrise time) to see a nice sky sight.

Depending on whether you are in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere impacts how well you will see the very old Waning Crescent Moon, Venus and Mercury. This sky sight favors the Southern Hemisphere as the three will be higher in the sky.

For Northern Hemisphere observers if you have binoculars it will help to look for bright Venus first. The Moon will be directly below it with Mercury to the left.

This star chart is for the Washington, D.C. region at 6:30 a.m.

Sky For Washington D.C. area 4/2/19at 6:30 a.m.
Sky Safari Pro


I'll be trying for a pic from the Atlantic Ocean.

Here's to clear skies!

Sky Guy Greg in the Atlantic 100 NM off the coast of Africa

Sunday, March 31, 2019

International Dark Sky Week 2019

Hey Space Placers!

I hope you had a good Earth Hour event last night. We did onboard Azamara Pursuit! Pretty brisk wind & cooler temps with passing sprinkles and clouds BUT we saw Polaris and the Southern Cross on each side of the ship......THAT does not happen often!


DARKEN SHIP!
UNKNOWN 
We can keep the fight against wasted energy and light pollution going with the celebration of

International Dark Sky Week 2019 which starts today and runs through April 7th.


Visit the web site and see if there are any events in your area and see what you can do to help combat light pollution.

Sky Guy in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa

Saturday, March 30, 2019

DINOSAUR'S ACTUAL DAY OF DEATH FOUND?

Hey Space Placers!

This is an absolutely incredible scientific find - fossils and tektites from the actual day, if not the HOUR,  the dinosaurs died has been found in a layer of soil in a place called appropriately Hell Creek, North Dakota.


A meteor impact 66 million years ago generated a tsunami-like wave in an inland sea that killed and buried fish, mammals, insects and a dinosaur, the first victims of Earth’s last mass extinction event. The death scene from within an hour of the impact has been excavated at an unprecedented fossil site in North Dakota.
(Graphics and photos courtesy of Robert DePalma)
From UC Berkeley News


Here are three stories to read:

Washington Post

New Yorker - An in-depth and EXCELLENT article

UC Berkeley News

The claims and evidence from Hell Creek will have to be scrutinized and verified by other scientists before it can be judged as verified. But I have to say that it certainly appears to be an incredible find.

Sky Guy in Cape Verde


EARTH HOUR TONIGHT WORLDWIDE

Hey Space Placers!

Tonight worldwide is Earth Hour - when we turn off the lights outdoors for one hour at 8:30 p.m. local time.



Join the world in this hour about the Earth. On Azamara Pursuit we are turning off all topside lights for one hour and will have a stargazing session. I will tell guests and crew about our planet, the stars and the Universe they are a part of.

Turn off the lights, see the sky and think about our home planet and all life that resides on it.

Sky Guy in Cape Verde

Friday, March 29, 2019

WHAT A PRETTY COMET! OH, WAIT, THAT'S AN ASTEROID

Hey Space Placers!

Comet or asteroid?

Hubble image of asteroid (6478) Gault
This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the gradual self-destruction of an asteroid, whose ejected dusty material has formed two long, thin, comet-like tails. The longer tail stretches more than 500,000 miles (800,000 kilometers) and is roughly 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) wide. The shorter tail is about a quarter as long. The streamers will eventually disperse into space.
Credits: NASA, ESA, K. Meech and J. Kleyna (University of Hawaii), and O. Hainaut (European Southern Observatory)
If we saw this in the sky odds are we would all think it is a comet and its tail.

But that is not the case.....it is an asteroid in the process of gradual self-destruction!

Read the story behind the stunning image.

All of that debris will become part of the dust in the solar system that I blogged about yesterday,

Sky Guy in the Atlantic

Thursday, March 28, 2019

DUST EVERYWHERE

Hey Space Placers!

Dust is EVERYWHERE! You may have thought it was only something you have to contend with in your home, car, everywhere. But dust abounds in the Universe.

Read this exciting story about dust rings that surround Earth, Venus and now Mercury. Astronomers think there may even be undiscovered asteroids responsible for these dust rings - WOW!

Dust rings in the inner solar system
Image credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith

The prevailing theory as to how planets form involves dust and far larger solid fragments that form rings around new born stars. These rings are thought to eventually coalesce into protoplanets and finally planets over time.

A new discovery of just that happening was announced with an accompanying photograph.

Fuzzy concentric rings, the inner one more distinct and brighter, around an orange dot.
From EarthSky.org
ALMA image of the dusty disk around the young star DM Tau. You can see 2 concentric rings, where planets may be forming. Image via ALMA.

With over 4000 planets beyond our solar system having been discovered to date, this is a routine byproduct of stellar birth. It is estimated that a few TRILLION planets orbit the hundreds of BILLIONS of stars in our galaxy alone. Astronomers are discovering more exoplanets almost weekly.

Sky Guy Crossing the Atlantic

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

ASTRONAUTS ON THE MOON IN FIVE YEARS SO SAYS ADMINISTRATION

Hey Space Placers!

Read this story about the announcement from the Administration to land astronauts on the Moon in five years.

Here's my two cents worth on this.

No buck$, no Buck Roger$.

Unless this Administration does more than talk a good game this is as meaningless as Bush's speech in 2004 announcing the Constellation Program.

Remember the push for Apollo and the Space Shuttle to "go, go, go"? Safety essentially went out the window and we got the Apollo 1 and  Challenger disasters as a result.

Until REAL money is added to NASA's budget this is political theater.

I can assure you China is on track for the Moon to include landing Taikonauts. Russia is way behind with no proven rocket or crew-rated spacecraft or lander cut from metal.

I know it is not favored by some but the Lunar Gateway makes a LOT of sense for protracted and wide ranging lunar orbital and surface missions.


Show me the money......until then this is just another sorry chapter of grand promises spoken but never kept.


Sky Guy in the Atlantic

Monday, March 25, 2019

RETURN TO THE MOON POLITICS

Hey Space Placers!

I'm no fan of politics in our space program but it is central to it.

Here is a GEAT article by Marcia Smith on what is currently going on politically with America's "Return to the Moon". You should follow her on FB and Twitter

Sky Guy in Recife, Brazil

Sunday, March 24, 2019

BECOME A CITIZEN SCIENTIST

Hey Space Placers!

Here is the latest opportunity for you to contribute to science.

As described in the press release, "AstroQuest—researchers are looking for volunteers to study images of galaxies and figure out which light is coming from which galaxy. AstroQuest is a chance for anyone who’s interested in astronomy to be involved in one of the biggest scientific projects of the next ten years, astrophysicist Dr Luke Davies, from the University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said.

“You can essentially be at the forefront of scientific research and help out a huge million-dollar international project just by being at your computer and drawing over pictures of galaxies,” he said."

If you have wanted to do something to contribute to science, this is your latest opportunity.
There are other citizen science projects that you can become involved in at https://www.zooniverse.org.

Here's hoping you will consider helping science.....

Sky Guy in the Atlantic


Saturday, March 23, 2019

BOEING PUSHES BACK STARLINER LAUNCH & LATEST ON SLS

Hey Space Placers!

More bad news for Boeing.

Boeing is pushing back the maiden launch of an uncrewed Starliner from April to at least August.

Top notch reporting by the Washington Post gives us the inside scoop on Boeing issues with the Space Launch System (SLS)    and     this additional article on the Starliner.

What I find to be most interesting is how the pressure being applied to NASA and its contractors is centered on political purposes surrounding the 2020 election. a LOT of the Nation's problems in its exploration of space have come from political sources. But NASA's greatest accomplishment of landing on the Moon was a purely political one as well.

Maybe someday NASA will be given a budget free of politics, one legislatively defined as a certain percentage of the federal budget. Such a defined budget would really go along way in improving the timeliness and mission accomplishments of NASA.

Sky Guy in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

Thursday, March 21, 2019

ASTEROID MISSIONS UPDATE

Hey Space Placers!

Be sure to check out my pics of the Equinox Full Supermoon from last night  https://twitter.com/SkyGuyinVA/status/1108518231130734593

Here's the latest on two active missions that exploring up close and personal different asteroids. It is pretty amazing what they are finding out and how they are doing so.

I am in awe of the pics from Bennu showing ROCKS being ejected from the surface of the asteroid

This view of asteroid Bennu ejecting particles from its surface on January 19 was created by combining two images taken on board NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Other image processing techniques were also applied, such as cropping and adjusting the brightness and contrast of each image.
Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin

This is absolutely incredible! And no one knows WHY this is happening, either. Maybe some of these  will eventually make their way to Earth as meteorites. Meteorites (Space Rocks) come from the asteroid belt, the Moon and Mars. Oh, and there are 60,000+ classified meteorites!

Chances are this magnificent bolide produced meteorites that fell into the Bering Sea.

Caught in action
In this animated sequence of photos taken by Japan's Himawari 8 weather satellite on Dec. 18, 2018, you can follow the progress of the dark dust cloud and glowing trail left by the meteoroid as it came crashing down into Earth's atmosphere at an estimated 32 km/s (72,000 mph). 
Japan Meteorological Agency
Humanity is at risk due to the impact threat. We need a space based asset like NEOCam that can look for threats approaching Earth that we cannot see due to the Sun.

Sky Guy at Sea

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT 3/20/19: FULL SUPER EQUINOX MOON!

Hey Space Placers!

Happy Equinox day! It is now spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Fall in the Southern Hemisphere.

Regardless of where you are on the planet, tonight the Full Moon is a Full Super Equinox Moon - there hasn't been a Full Moon on the equinox since March 2000! And it won't happen again until March 2030!

This is also the last 'Supermoon' for 2019.

So get out and enjoy the Equinox Full Supermoon - it will be 30% brighter than normal.

I'm hoping to get pics of it here in Rio de Janeiro to share with you.

Sky Guy in Rio

Monday, March 18, 2019

What Does the Milky Way Weigh?

Hey Space Placers!

I am sure you are getting your March Madness Brackets set up.

Check out the most accurate to date determination of how much our home galaxy "weighs", or more precisely, how much mass does it contain.

Center of Milky Way Galaxy
Taken Underway on Azamara Quest

Pretty amazing story and result.

Most of our galaxy's mass is in the form of dark matter - something we can detect by its gravitational influence but cannot see.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, March 15, 2019

Cooking up Alien Atmospheres on Earth

Hey Space Placers!

Now that we have just gone over 4,000 KNOWN PLANETS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM - known as Exoplanets - with many more to come, research is being done on what they may be like.

This artist's concept shows planet KELT-9b orbiting its host star, KELT-9. It is the hottest gas giant planet discovered so far.
Credit NASA JPL

Read the story on how alien atmospheres are being made and studied in the laboratory.

Pretty fascinating.

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Friday, March 8, 2019

CREW DRAGON SAFELY SPLASHES DOWN

Hey Space Placers!

The SpaceX Demo-1 mission has concluded with the successful splashdown of the Crew Drago spacecraft in the Atlantic Ocean at 8:45 a.m. EST.


NASA TV





This is a BIG step forward on returning astronauts to space using US built hardware launched from US soil.

I'll have much more tomorrow.

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

SPACEIL BERESHEET SPACECRAFT SELFIE

Hey Space Placers!

Here's something you don't see very often - a spacecraft headed to the Moon selfie!

I LOVE IT!

A picture taken by the camera of the Beresheet spacecraft 23,363 miles from Earth. Photograph: AFP/Getty 
via
UK THE GUARDIAN


SKY GUY IN VA