Tuesday, April 30, 2019


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


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


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


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


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


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
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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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