Friday, October 31, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
RA-2h34.2m/Dec-3.42"and is 6.6 in magnitude.
While observing this rock the next couple of nights, remember DAWN is on the way to Vesta. The spacecraft left Earth in September 2007 and should catch up to Vesta in August 2011. I am sure the pictures will be great and we will learn more about this rock. I am looking forward to viewing these snapshots as my Odyssey continues...
Sunday, October 26, 2008
As of Saturday there were 992 PHAs out there roaming near our earth, some closer; some bigger than others. This weekend Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft crossed the 150,000 km distance mark from Earth, officially entering deep space, on course for the moon.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I have been out twice to view and count. This group [Windows to the Universe] uses the constellation Cygnus as a guide. Using the number of stars you can visually see in Cygnus as the formula to determine how many stars are visible from my backyard. My backyard is on the rim of the City. My sky has some light pollution from the city and not surprising the sky above my backyard is not the best.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
The biggest problem during a meteor watch is whether to sleep in or stay up late. I opted to sleep in then went out at 4AM Monday morning to look at Orion. It was a dark, clear; cold predawn morning. The Orion Constellation was high and in the SE. The waning gibbous Moon was hanging to the left of Orion in the Gemini Constellation like a bright torch filling the sky with moonlight. I counted 5 meteors within the first fifteen minutes. I'm sure I missed more dim ones with all the moonlight. They originated from just left of Betelgeuse moving downward and across the Orion Constellation. 2 were very bright and they all were very fast!
Clouds are forecast to roll in overnight tonight but if it is clear, I may try another look at Orion early Tuesday morning.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I have never been a big fan of Pluto one way or the other.
I have viewed Pluto many times through a telscope over the past decade, while it swung close to our orbit. Like most distant objects and Asteroids in the telescope, it is just a white dot that moves slowly through the night sky. The only way to tell you have it in the eyepc is to compare pictures or placement from consecutive nights and watch that dot move around the other white dots in view.
Now only a 14 magnitude speck near the Planet Jupiter in Sagittarius, this rock is far, far away in a very cold and dark corner of the Solar System. If I wanted to visualize it again, I would have to use a 10" or larger scope and let the computer find it and goto that white dot.
The Minor Planet Center (MPC) assigned Asteroid # 134340 to Pluto back in September 2006. Then in 2008 the IAU classified this rock as a "Plutoid". The Planet debate continues after it was dropped as a Planet.
We should not forget the Mission to this Plutoid and the Kuiper Belt is on it's way, launched January 2006 and should arrive in 2015. Hopefully the camera and instruments on the ship will wake up and function to send us some great photos and information from that dark and cold corner of our Solar System.
Maybe it will be re-classified a Planet by then... then again, maybe not!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Chandrayaan-1 Mission is almost ready to visit the moon. Scheduled to launch next week, October 22, the satellite will target our moon to Map the lunar surface features from space and observe the presence of radioactive isotopes to help researchers determine the origins of the Moon.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Orion, the great hunter is one of the best known patterns in the night sky. This asterism is prominent in our evening sky in late November. But in October we can catch it early in the morning after midnight. The constellations are constantly moving across our sky. By midnight tonight Orion will be starting his climb higher with the bright star Sirius that leads you to the belt and the sword. There M42, the Great Orion Nebula, glows like a beacon in the night sky. I always check the red super- giant star Betelgeuse has not gone super- nova yet. In addition you can see the Pleaides and the red star Aldebaran near by in Taurus.
The Orion meteor shower will peek on October 21. This year the moon will be in the third quarter and give a favorable night sky to view these falling stars. Normal rate = 30-40 per hour. Will try to view and do a count during this event. The cooler months of October and November are great for exploring the night sky.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The Constellation Hercules is finally behind the trees from my location. The strong man continues his nightly voyage farther West on one of his twelve Herculean Adventures. I took my last look at the Key Stone and found the Great Hercules Cluster, M13. Globular Clusters are billions of years old. This ball of stars is 25,000 light years away and is packed with around 500 thousand suns. It can be seen on a clear night in binoculars as a fuzzy patch near the star Eta Her on the wider side of the Key Stone. Always a prime target for the Telescope and always a great site in the eyepiece. M13 bw/photo is from SLOOH Telescope session I took in 2005.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Asteroid 2008 TC3 hit the Earth Tuesday morning above Africa and put on a good sky display.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I have tracked the ISS from the first launch in 1998. Still under construction, I have watched a dim point of light grow into a larger brighter "shining star"moving across the sky and have logged countless sightings in the last decade. Look forward to the next decade as it glides across my backyard. You can find the pass information for your location @ the Heavens Above website.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Entry~081004 Viewed the Crescent Moon just after sunset- Clouds rolling in....
Cloudy skies are a good time to catch up on reading, transcribing all those notes; penciled symbols you wrote from past observations and add them to your journal.
Today the folks with eyes on Minor Planets are tracking 988 PHAs
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I am sure Galileo focused on the moon along with Jupiter and its moons that first night after his telescope was delivered. I felt as if I was as old as Galileo while I broke out the 4'' Celestron and pointed it toward the moon to look at the Terminator then Jupiter with its four moons trapped in orbit. The Celestron has a German mount on a heavy tripod. That makes viewing difficult but I managed to complete the viewing without tripping over myself.
Last night's waxing crescent moon was up at sunset, high above the tree line but sinking fast. I placed the camera on the back of the scope but I got nothing but blurred images. I forgot to attach the auto shutter release... Next Time!!
I did enjoy the Terminator and the Craters along the darkened rim before the jagged moon glided down below the trees.
Jupiter is easy to spot and there were three moons showing. In my eyepiece there was one on the left and two on the right. But my Celestial Calendar tells me the spacing on the left was off because Europa was tight on the rim of the Planet. Europa should be visible at 10 pm.
Went back out at 10 pm and Europa was close to edge of the Planet... there were four moons visible.
As of Friday October 3, 2008 there are 987 known PHAs.
That's lot of Rocks* moving past my Planet!
*Amors, Apollos, and Atens are the three categories of Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs). Amor asteroids approach the Earth's orbit from the outside, Apollo asteroids cross the Earth's orbit, and Aten asteroids approach the Earth's orbit from the inside. Potentially Hazardous asteroids (PHAs) are larger than ~0.2 km (0.1 mile) and approach close enough to present a potential hazard but not a current hazard.
Never stop watching the sky and keep Tracking.....
Friday, October 3, 2008
The Moon was two days old last night.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
A waxing crescent moon–sometimes called a “young moon”–is always seen in the west after sunset. At this moon phase, the Earth, moon and sun are located nearly on a line in space. If they were more precisely on a line, as they are at new moon, we wouldn’t see the moon. The moon would travel across the sky during the day, lost in the sun’s glare. Instead, a waxing crescent moon is seen one day to several days after new moon. It rises one hour to several hours behind the sun and follows the sun across the sky during the day. When the sun sets, and the sky darkens, the moon pops into view in the western sky.
Every night sky is different from the night before. Last night was clearer than the night before. Tonight the moon will be higher and I will be waiting to view that evening crescent moon.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I have downloaded hundreds of NASA photos and marvel at all of them. Take some time and look at those Photos again while you wait for the next Service Mission to keep the HST capturing new Discoveries.
I have followed each Launch plus each Spacewalk and viewed the Telescope sailing across my back yard multiple times. We have Five months to review those past three missions.
STS 109 the third service mission March 2002
STS 103 the second service mission December 1999
STS 82 the first service mission February 1997