Photo Op July 15 (see blog entry)

By: LowerCal , 22:40:GMT den 26. februar 2012

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CURRENT MOON

moon phases

CURRENT PLANETS and brilliant stars in early July. Directions and times are for the northern subtropics and vary somewhat for other latitudes.
• Bright & golden Mercury is close to the western horizon at dusk, sets WNW after dark.
• Bright & orange Mars is SW at dusk, sets west near midnight.
• Bright & yellowish Saturn is SSW at dusk, sets west after midnight and is
accompanied very closely by the bright and blueish star Spica.
• Very brilliant off-white Jupiter rises ENE predawn, is low east late dawn.
• Extremely brilliant white Venus rises ENE predawn, is low east before sunrise and is
accompanied very closely by the bright and orange star Aldebaran.
• Brilliant & blueish star Sirius will rise before the Sun late July.
• Brilliant white star Canopus will peek above the horizon before the Sun around late August.


Scroll past the links below to find special events for current and future dates.
Scroll farther to find past events.


***** Links *****

Today - SpaceWeather.com
also EarthSky,
Astronomy Picture of the Day,
Lunar Photo of the Day,
365 Days of Astronomy
& Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
This Week - SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
also Jack Horkheimer - Star Gazer, Current Scripts
This Month - SkyandTelescope.com - Sky Tour Podcasts
also HubbleSite - Tonight's Sky: Your guide to constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and events
Anytime - Stellarium (free planetarium for your computer)
also Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart (online planetarium)

Visible Satellites:
Simplest - Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com
More satellites and more info - Heavens-Above.com.

Launches:
Spaceflight Now - Worldwide Launch Schedule
also Vandenberg AFB Launch Schedule
& Wallops Flight Facility Launch Webcast & Blog
Reentries - Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies - Upcoming & Recent Reentries

Live Aurora Cams:
Sodankyla, Finland,
Kiruna, Sweden,
Jokkmokk, Sweden (cam 4),
Jokkmokk, Sweden (cam 5),
Abisko, Sweden,
Reykiavik, Iceland,
Yellowknife, Canada (click on CONNECT AURORAMAX LIVE),
& Poker Flat, Alaska


Most events described below can be viewed with your eyes alone.
Occasionally simple binoculars will improve the view and that will be noted.


***** Current & Future Events *****

Photo Op - Crescent & Morning "Stars"

Image created with Stellarium, a free download.

July 15 before Dawn
ENE before dawn the bright & orange star Aldebaran and the ">" shaped Hyades star cluster will be visible close to extremely brilliant white planet Venus. The tiny dipper shaped Pleiades star cluster will be visible well above very brilliant off-white Jupiter.

Even in the very bright dawn shortly before sunrise the thin crescent moon, Venus and Jupiter will still be visible.


Events earlier than those listed below will be found in previous blog entries.

***** Past Events *****

Moon Rides with Jupiter (& Jupiter's Moons)

WunderPhoto: Jupiter, Venus and the crescent moon....Day 2 by rds817 — Sunday February 26, 2012

February 26 after Sunset
A crescent moon will travel beside the brilliant off-white planet Jupiter. Below them is the brilliant white planet Venus. Jupiter and Venus will appear very close March 12 & 13.

As the sky darkens through binoculars as many as four of Jupiter's largest moons can be seen.

Interactive Animation of Jupiter's Moons
- Current, Past and Future


Jupiter & Venus' Cozy Evenings

WunderPhoto: Jupiter & Venus from the Front Yard by phnielsen — Monday March 12, 2012

March 12 & 13 after Sunset
Brilliant off-white planet Jupiter travels close to even more brilliant white planet Venus.

As the sky darkens through binoculars as many as four of Jupiter's largest moons can be seen.

Interactive Animation of Jupiter's Moons
- Current, Past and Future


Virginia Nightlight Cloud Launches

Milky white tracer clouds from a prior mission.
Credit: Miguel Larsen/Clemson Univ

Mission: Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX)
Launch Vehicle: Terrier-Improved Malemute
Launch from Wallops Flight Facility, Virgina
March 23
12:00-3:00am EDT
March 25
morning

March 27
12:00-5:00am EDT
2:00-5:00am EDT


".... where the rockets may be visible while the motors are burning ...."
Credit: NASA/Wallops


".... the projected area in which the chemical tracers released from the rockets may be visible ...."
Credit: NASA/Wallops

The Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX) will study the 200-300mph ultra-high level jet stream at the edge of space 60-65 miles above the Earth's surface. For details on the mission see
NASA - NASA Jet Stream Study Will Light up The Night Sky.


Crescent & Planets PhotoOps
(and beautiful binocular & naked eye views too.)

March 24-27 after Sunset
There will be good photo opportunities with the crescent moon in the western sky. (See the series of images just below.) Total darkness comes about 1½ hours after sunset. Between half an hour to an hour after sunset are some nice twilight skies. You can step outside any evening starting now, see the brilliant planets Jupiter and Venus, get an idea of lighting at various times and take some test shots.

After dark the two star clusters closest to Earth are easily seen above Jupiter and Venus. To the naked eye the Pleiades cluster appears as a tiny white dipper shaped pattern of stars standing above brilliant white Venus. The Hyades cluster appears farther above as a larger V-shaped pattern of stars with the bright and orangeish star Aldebaran at one corner. Binocular views of these star clusters are spectacular.

Crescent Moon, Venus & Jupiter - March 24, 2012 45 min. after Sunset


Crescent Moon, Venus & Jupiter - March 25, 2012 45 min. after Sunset


Crescent Moon, Venus & Jupiter - March 26, 2012 45 min. after Sunset


Crescent Moon, Venus & Jupiter - March 27, 2012 45 min. after Sunset

Images created with Stellarium, a free download.


Vandenberg Delta IV Launch

Photo credit: USAF/Airman 1st Class Lael Huss

Mission: National Reconnaissance Office Launch 25 (NROL-25)
Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Medium+ (5,2)
Launch from Vandenberg AFB, California
March 29
2230-(March 30)0015 GMT
6:30-8:15pm EDT
3:30-5:15pm PDT (local time).
March 30
2238-(March 31)0023 GMT
6:38-8:23pm EDT
3:38-5:23pm PDT (local time).
April 2
2304-? GMT
7:04pm-? EDT
4:04pm-? PDT (local time).

April 3
2312-? GMT
7:12pm-? EDT
4:12pm-? PDT (local time).

The smoke column produced by two solid rocket boosters will be easily visible for this afternoon launch.

Launch status updates are at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

More details and updates appear on a launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

You can find a live launch webcast at
United Launch Alliance.


Annular Solar Eclipse

Photo Credit: sancho_panza
May 20
Partial begins: 2056 GMT
Annular begins: 2206 GMT
May 21
Annular ending: 0139 GMT
Partial ending: 0249 GMT

A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT VIEWING THE ECLIPSE:
"....no matter what, do not use "filters" such as smoked glass, stacked sunglasses, polarized filters, camera filters, candy wrappers, or compact discs. They might reduce the Sun's glare, but enough harmful radiation can sneak through to damage your eyes. Only use materials specifically manufactured for safe solar viewing, or #14 arcwelders glass."

That quote is from Safely View the Upcoming Eclipse and Transit - Observing Highlights - SkyandTelescope.com which gives directions for additional methods for viewing the Sun such as projecting an image, etc.


Map credit: Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA's GSFC
For a explanation of all the lines and terms on the map see
NASA - Key to Solar Eclipse Maps.

See a zoomable and clickable NASA - Annular Solar Eclipse Map that will show specific times and amount of Sun eclipsed for any locations you select.

Some phase of the eclipse will be visible for most of North America before or during sunset. The path of annularity (where the Sun will appear as a "ring of fire" arround the Moon) is at least 150 miles wide. The path of annularity makes landfall at the California-Oregon border and continues into NW Texas. See the general visibility map for North America.


Cape Canaveral Falcon 9 Launch

Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Kevin O'Connell

Mission: Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Demo Flight 2
Spacecraft: Dragon C2+
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
May 19
0855 GMT
4:55am EDT (local time)
1:55am PDT.
no earlier than (NET)

May 22
0744 GMT
3:44am EDT (local time)
12:44am PDT.

Berthing at the International Space Station (ISS)
May 22
1505 GMT
11:05am EDT
8:05am PDT.

Departure from ISS
May 31
1000 GMT
6:00am EDT
3:00am PDT

Deorbit burn
May 31
1451 GMT
10:51am EDT
7:51am PDT

Splashdown west of central Baja California
May 31
1542 GMT
11:42am EDT
8:42am PDT (local time)

If all the ambitious mission goals are met the SpaceX Dragon capsule will be the first private commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and it will also return cargo to Earth.

Launch status updates are at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

More details and updates appear on a launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Dragon Mission Report | Mission Status Center.

You can find a live pre-launch and launch broadcasts at
NASA TV via cable, satellite or internet and
SpaceX.


Partial Lunar Eclipse

WunderPhoto: Lunar Eclipse by jajayy

June 4
Partial eclipse begins 1000 GMT
Partial eclipse ending 1206 GMT


Map credit: F. Espenak, NASA’s GSFC

The partial lunar eclipse will be in progress at moonset/sunrise for all but the most eastern and northern area of the Americas. The entire eclipse sequence will be visible from nearly all the Pacific Ocean including eastern Australia and eastern Indonesia. The partial lunar eclipse will be significantly in progress at moonsrise/sunset for the most eastern areas of the Asia.


Transit of Venus (across the Sun)

Photo credit: Jan Herold

June 5/6
First contact
2209 GMT
6:09 EDT
3:09 PDT

Final contact
0449 GMT


Map credit: Fred Espenak, NASAs GSFC

The transit of Venus will be visible on June 5 until sunset for the 48 states. Alaska and Hawaii will be able to observe the entire transit. Starting west of the International Date Line (IDL) the transit will be visible on June 6. Farther west the transit will be in progress at sunrise.

You can find timetables for major cities at 2012 Transit of Venus - Cities.

A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT VIEWING THE TRANSIT:
"....no matter what, do not use "filters" such as smoked glass, stacked sunglasses, polarized filters, camera filters, candy wrappers, or compact discs. They might reduce the Sun's glare, but enough harmful radiation can sneak through to damage your eyes. Only use materials specifically manufactured for safe solar viewing, or #14 arcwelders glass."

That quote is from Safely View the Upcoming Eclipse and Transit - Observing Highlights - SkyandTelescope.com which gives directions for additional methods for viewing the Sun such as projecting an image, etc.

I was able to buy a pair of eclipse shades like this...

... for $1 at a local camera & telescope store.


JPL Open House


June 9 & 10
9AM - 4PM

The annual Open House at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., welcomes over 38,000 visitors. This year's theme is "Great Journeys," inviting visitors to share in the wonders of space through high-definition and 3-D videos, live demonstrations, interactions with scientists and engineers, and a first look at JPL's new Earth Science Center.

Find directions and other vital info at Open House - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


Cape Canaveral Atlas V Launch

Image credit: NASA/JPL/KSC/Lockheed Martin Space Systems

Mission: National Reconnaissance Office Launch 38 (NROL-38)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
June 20
1228-1327 GMT
8:28-9:27am EDT (local time)
5:28-6:27am PDT.

With no smoke producing solid rocket boosters the launch vehicle will rise on a bright flame with a long barely visible tail. A condensation trail may form at higher altitude.

You can find status updates and launch coverage at
Spaceflight Now | Atlas Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

You can find more information and a live webcast starting a 8:08am EDT on launch day at
United Launch Alliance.


Skinny Moon & Mercury - 20 June 20 min. after Sunset looking WNW

Image created with Stellarium, a free download.

Binoculars can help you find both or just offer another interesting view if you can find them with your eyes alone.


Skinny Moon & Planet Mercury - 21 June 20 min. after Sunset looking WNW

Image created with Stellarium, a free download.

The crescent moon should be more obvious this evening but binoculars still might be needed find Mercury 20 minutes after sunset. Binoculars will also give an improved view of the craters and mountains in the Moon's thin crescent.

By about 45 minutes after sunset Mercury should be obvious to the right of the thin crescent. The pair will make a nice photo op against a twilight sky with silhouettes on the horizon below.


Cape Canaveral Delta IV Launch

Image credit: US Air Force

Mission: National Reconnaissance Office Launch 15 (NROL-15)
Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
June 28
Target
1016 GMT
6:16am EDT (local time)
3:16am PDT,

June 29
Target
1013 GMT
6:13am EDT (local time)
3:13am PDT,

Window?
0930-1430 GMT
5:30-10:30am EDT (local time)
2:30-7:30am PDT.

The beginning of the previously announced launch window is early dawn. The Delta IV Heavy configuration uses two additional first stage engines as strap on boosters. The three RS-68 liquid hydrogen-oxygen engines create long orange flames and water vapor exhaust that shows up as a heavy condensation trail.

The announced target time of launch is about 10 minutes before sunrise. This could result in a condensation trail that rises from low light into bright and reddish sunrise colors - a nice photo op.

You can find status updates and launch coverage at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

You can find more information and a live webcast on launch day at
United Launch Alliance.


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Jupiter, Venus and the crescent moon (rds817)
Jupiter, Venus and the crescent moon
Important Sunspot Up Date 3/11/12 (Ralfo)
Up Date Photo 3/11/12 . VERY IMPORTANT NEWS. Photo taken at 10:05A.M. What is going on now is the #1 event of importance regarding the Sun and Earths Weather and conditions for now and future. I am and have been entering Photos to advise. Below is a copy of updates and interest info! Sunspots - News Results Solar Storms Continue, Northern Lights Increase WebProNews - Mar 09 08:55am Earth Braces for Geomagnetic Storming After More Solar FlaresPC Magazine - Mar 10 02:48pm Biggest solar storms.
Important Sunspot Up Date 3/11/12
()
Ice and light (Altred)
Ice and light
MidnightDance! (katy99780)
Dynamic, bright, and moving 'at the speed of light.' Constant motion, fast as a shiver in the cold, shimmering in the night sky. 18 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, wee hours this morning.
MidnightDance!
Planets at Night (SBKaren)
I believe these are Jupiter (below) and Venus (above). Just shot this photo without taking any kind of care. I wasn't even sure if they would turn out.
Planets at Night
Red and green (Altred)
Red and green
()
()
Early Evening Conjunction (CameraGuy)
This evening's beautiful conjunction of the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and the Pleiades.
Early Evening Conjunction
Moon & planets form Tringle while Corn Takes Over. (Skyepony)
All hail the corn, it's 8' high & the planets & moon have aligned to form a triangle, with Jupiter sitting with the moon & Venus above. Got 0.21" of rain, followed by perfect weather.
Moon & planets form Tringle while Corn Takes Over.
()
ATREX Misson (Maciejewski)
WALLOPS ISLAND, VA – NASA successfully launched five suborbital sounding rockets this morning from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia as part of a study of the upper level jet stream. The first rocket was launched at 4:58 a.m. EDT and each subsequent rocket was launched 80 seconds apart. Each of the rockets released a chemical tracer that created milky, white clouds at the edge of space.
ATREX Misson
Jupiter, Moon and Venus (CecileWNC)
Jupiter, Moon and Venus
Coastal Flooding (SunsetSailor)
This is the road to my house. We only get this kind of flooding when hurricanes are off shore. Tides were 4-6 ft above normal this evening due to the gravitational pull of the moon.
Coastal Flooding
Fireflies (PruzenskiPhotos)
A sure sign that summer is on it's way. A view from Canadice Lake early this morning revealed fireflies dancing infront of the Milky Way.
Fireflies
Oregon Annular (silverbeaver59)
Oregon Annular
2 hours of the annular eclipse of the sun (redtim)
from Pyramid Lake, NV
2 hours of the annular eclipse of the sun
Solar Sunset Eclipse (LianesLightroom)
View of the partial solar eclipse from the Manhattan Beach Pier. Edited using special filters from NIK Software.
Solar Sunset Eclipse
Annular Eclipse Sunset over Mt. Taylor (witokazu)
Absolutely awesome event. Shot from Albuquerque, NM, USA on I-40 Frontage Rd on MM-245. Nikon D300 and 50mm (non-DX) @ f/5.6 at 3-min intervals centered at mid-annularity.
Annular Eclipse Sunset over Mt. Taylor
Sunset Eclipse (Mousecrafter)
2012 Solar eclipse sunset overlooking Lake Ray Hubbard with clouds.
Sunset Eclipse
Moon Eclipse 3 (gilg72)
Partial Eclipse. Was cloudy all the way thru. Had to wait for clouds to move enough for photos. Different settings etc.
Moon Eclipse 3
walkabout (cyril8)
partial eclipse still visible as the full moon sets
walkabout
VENUS TRANSIT & MANY SUNSPOTS (Ralfo)
Cloudy most of the day but got a break in between clouds. Took this picture at 6:37P.M. with many Sunspots. One of the rarest solar system events (only seven have happened since Galileo's time). Venus' transit of the Sun
VENUS TRANSIT & MANY SUNSPOTS
Delta IV Heavy (Skyepony)
Excellent rumble.
Delta IV Heavy

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441. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
21:13:GMT den 11. august 2012
ya. I am well. Thanks for dropping by.

I've been having internet issues all week.
Member Since: mai 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44892
440. RobDaHood
16:35:GMT den 03. juli 2012
I walked out on the deck this morning and the first thing I notice is a brand new and ultra bright star high in the western sky behind a pine tree.

A supernova? No, it appears that one of the squirrels has hauled a bright and pretty thing up to it's nest. Still trying to figure out what tool I left outside last night.

Just hoping they don't set the tree on fire!!

Have a great day!
Member Since: september 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31810
439. Patrap
01:07:GMT den 03. juli 2012
TWC buys wunderground.com

..one can sense the growing concern over this late breaking news, back to Keeperofthegate and you guy's in the Studio as well"..

Member Since: juli 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127695
438. RobDaHood
01:07:GMT den 03. juli 2012
Nice!

Thanks Skye!

Thanks Oss!
Hardly seems that long.
Member Since: september 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31810
437. LowerCal
01:04:GMT den 03. juli 2012
I added Skye's WunderPhoto of the latest Cape Canaveral launch at the bottom of the blog entry.
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
436. LowerCal
01:01:GMT den 03. juli 2012
Oss Thanks for those links. It's hard to believe half a century has passed. It's good to contemplate all we've accomplished and haven't accomplished in that time. It's a good time to evaluate our pace going forward.
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
434. LowerCal
23:48:GMT den 01. juli 2012
Rob .... I let myself get distracted at precisely the wrong time and missed it! ....

As Forrest Gump said, "It happens."
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
433. RobDaHood
23:06:GMT den 01. juli 2012
About the rumble... there's a reason they call it Heavy.

LOL love that!
Have peeked in a bit but slightly embarrassed to post because I let myself get distracted at precisely the wrong time and missed it!
:o(

As per usual, some great links, photos, and info.

Thanks to all that contribute.

432. LowerCal
We all have to keep yelling until they finally get a clue.

Thanks for reminding us to yell again!
Member Since: september 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31810
432. LowerCal
22:29:GMT den 01. juli 2012
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Watchdog agency warns of dangerous weather data gap
Forecasters will almost certainly face gaps in weather data before NOAA's next-generation polar-orbiting satellites begin launching in 2017, government officials told Congress this week.

Mounting costs and satellite development delays will likely mean NOAA's next polar-orbiting weather satellite will launch after its current operational spacecraft is retired, officials said.

Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA's deputy administrator, said studies show weather prediction would suffer without complete atmospheric data collected by satellites in polar orbit.
....
Delays in launching NOAA's new weather satellites have stemmed from administrative mismanagement and inadequate budgets, according to a watchdog agency.
....
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
431. LowerCal
22:16:GMT den 01. juli 2012
Video: ISS Expedition 31 Crew Lands in Kazakhstan

Expedition 32 began Sunday, July 1, when the Expedition 31 crew undocked from the International Space Station. Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Sergei Revin and Joe Acaba continued their stay and have been living aboard the orbiting complex since May 17. They launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft two days earlier from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan and docked to the Poisk mini-research module.

Three additional Expedition 32 flight engineers, NASA astronaut Suni Williams, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, are set to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft July 14 and dock to the station on July 17.
Credit: NASA - Crews and Expeditions
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
430. LowerCal
22:11:GMT den 01. juli 2012
I updated the CURRENT PLANETS section at the top of the blog entry.
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
429. LowerCal
21:52:GMT den 29. juni 2012
Pat .... I wanna hear CapCom say, Splashdown! again ....

We'll keep pressing every Congress and President until it happens.

Journalist Miles O'Brien and former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao discuss China's space program:
If you are not impressed with the Chinese space program, you are not paying attention. ....

PSL Thanks again. :^)

I hope you were able to catch it.


Skye There were three HOLDs today before the launch finally happened 3 hours later than the announced schedule.

I stayed up too late last night and the only way I would have been awake at the scheduled time would have been to just stay awake. Luckily I didn't and didn't have to stay awake 3 more hours waiting for the actual launch or I would have been of no use to anyone today.

I'm actually suspicious of delays in National Reconnaissance Office launches. I suspect most aren't because of a real problem. I think they're just keeping the real launch time secret until it actually happens, lol. It doen't sound like a bad idea.

I'm looking forward to seeing your contrail pic and hopefully other WunderPhotographers pics of the launch.

About the rumble... there's a reason they call it Heavy.

Awesome view from a launch pad camera of the @ulalaunch Delta... on Twitpic

I considered mentioning the rumble in my heads up for the nearby locals... but I didn't want to spoil the fun. :^D
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
428. Skyepony (Mod)
13:26:GMT den 29. juni 2012
Longest, loudest rumble ever. House was shaking for a minute too. That should rumble across the land freaking people out for atleast a few hours.. Got the people next door.
Member Since: august 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37455
427. Skyepony (Mod)
13:19:GMT den 29. juni 2012
By the sound of that rumble, I think they just launched it. Got a pic of the contrail...
Member Since: august 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37455
426. Skyepony (Mod)
13:00:GMT den 29. juni 2012
Looks like some alarm stopped today's launch.

Thought I'd slept through it..
Member Since: august 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37455
425. PSLFLCaneVet
09:22:GMT den 29. juni 2012

Thank you, Cal. It's neat to see a place here that's all about Space and Technology. Keep up the exemplary work. :)

I'll be looking for the launch, camera at the ready. Hope you all have a wonderful day.
Member Since: juli 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
424. Patrap
02:32:GMT den 29. juni 2012
China's Shenzhou 9 spacecraft returns to Earth

BEIJING - China's Shenzhou 9 spacecraft returned to Earth on Friday, ending a mission that put the country's first woman in space and completed a manned docking test critical to its goal of building a space station by 2020.

The spacecraft re-entered Earth's atmosphere and touched down shortly after 10 a.m. in China's northwestern Inner Mongolia, with its three-person crew, including female astronaut Liu Yang.

Beijing has hailed the nearly two-week mission as a technical breakthrough for the country's growing space programme. The launch and docking exercises with the experimental Tiangong 1 space lab module were carried live on state television.

China is far from catching up with the established space superpowers, the United States and Russia, but the Shenzhou 9 marked China's fourth manned space mission since 2003, and comes as budget restraints and shifting priorities have held back U.S. manned space launches.

The United States will not test a new rocket to take people into space until 2017, and Russia has said manned missions are no longer a priority.

NASA has begun investing in U.S. firms to provide commercial spaceflight services and is spending about $3 billion a year on a new rocket and capsule to send astronauts to the moon, asteroids and eventually to Mars.

China plans an unmanned moon landing and deployment of a moon rover and its scientists have raised the possibility of sending a man to the moon, but not before 2020. - Reuters
Member Since: juli 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127695
423. Patrap
01:53:GMT den 29. juni 2012
Orion s the Best crew compartment built for Americas Space Program to date. Add in the J2-X Engine progress and itsa all on track.
Plus folks are being employed as well.

Plus, I wanna hear CapCom say, Splashdown! again befo I croak.

Member Since: juli 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127695
421. LowerCal
01:40:GMT den 29. juni 2012
Pat Even though we could be making faster progress it's good to know we are preparing for human spaceflight beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) again.

Rob I hope you're rested and the weather cooperates.

BC The most interesting planetary science of all, Earth. :^)
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
420. BriarCraft
19:56:GMT den 28. juni 2012
Not about space, but from space. An interesting view from Earth Observatory, acquired June 21, showing:

A layer of stratocumulus clouds over the Pacific Ocean served as the backdrop for this rainbow-like optical phenomenon known as a glory.

Swirling von karman vortices that are visible to the right of the glory.

Full story at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id =78380&src=eoa-iotd

Member Since: juni 21, 2004 Posts: 78 Comments: 3955
419. RobDaHood
18:52:GMT den 28. juni 2012
Yesterday was a really long day. 24 hours between sleeps. I did wake up at 5:30 but couldn't bring myself to do anything more than drink a glass of water and go back to bed.

Will try to do better tomorrow!
:o)

Lots of good info to dig into here.
Member Since: september 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31810
418. Patrap
18:34:GMT den 28. juni 2012
Uploaded by SpaceReports on Nov 9, 2011
Exploration Flight Test-1 Animation

This animation depicts the proposed test flight of the Orion spacecraft in 2014. During the test, which is called Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), Orion will launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., perform two orbits, reaching an altitude higher than any achieved by a spacecraft intended for human use since 1973, and then will re-enter and land in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the United States

www.nasa.gov/multimedia for more related content and information on this project

Member Since: juli 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127695
417. LowerCal
18:23:GMT den 28. juni 2012
PSL Thank you and a you're welcome!

It warms my heart (and motivates me) to know that you're checking for new content even when I haven't announced it. :^)

Pat Thanks for the photo and further details on the Orion crew vehicle effort.
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
416. Patrap
17:35:GMT den 28. juni 2012


First Space-Bound Orion on Its Way to Kennedy

A major milestone has been achieved for NASA’s Orion program with the first Orion destined for space being shipped to the Kennedy Space Center. Construction on the spacecraft was finished at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana this week, and final outfitting and heat shield installation will take place at KSC.

This spacecraft will fly on Exploration Flight Test-1, an unmanned test that is scheduled two years from now. The EFT-1 flight will take Orion to an altitude of more than 3,600 miles, more than 15 times farther away from Earth than the International Space Station. Orion will return home at a speed of 25,000 miles per hour, almost 5,000 miles per hour faster than any human spacecraft. It will mimic the return conditions that astronauts experience as they come home from voyages beyond low Earth orbit. As Orion reenters the atmosphere, it will endure temperatures up to 4,000 degrees F., higher than any human spacecraft since astronauts returned from the moon.

This first Orion will fly atop a Delta IV Heavy, a rocket operated by United Launch Alliance. While this launch vehicle will provide sufficient lift for the EFT-1 flight plan, NASA’s SLS rocket will be needed for the vast distances of future exploration missions.

Following EFT-1, the first integrated flight test will launch an uncrewed Orion on the SLS in 2017. That test will put the entire integrated exploration system through its paces. The Orion spacecraft will have the capability to carry astronauts to the moon, asteroids, Mars and other deep space destinations.
Member Since: juli 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127695
415. PSLFLCaneVet
17:06:GMT den 28. juni 2012
Quoting Skyepony:
Yay Orion:))

Thanks for the launch updates..


I heartily concur.

You've really added a lot more great stuff, Cal. Thanks!
Member Since: juli 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
414. LowerCal
16:35:GMT den 28. juni 2012
The launch forecast is now 90% favorable for tomorrow morning's Cape Canaveral NROL-15 mission. (See the blog entry for more details and webcast info.)

Skye You're welcome. :^)
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
413. Skyepony (Mod)
14:20:GMT den 28. juni 2012
Yay Orion:))

Thanks for the launch updates..
Member Since: august 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37455
412. LowerCal
16:27:GMT den 27. juni 2012
NASA & Commercial Space Development News

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Space-bound Orion capsule to arrive in Florida next week
Lockheed Martin Corp. is preparing to ship the pressure shell for the first space-bound Orion capsule from a Louisiana factory to the Kennedy Space Center, where it will be readied for liftoff on an orbital test flight in 2014.
....
The Orion capsule's first voyage in space - called Exploration Flight Test 1 - will verify the spacecraft's heat shield during re-entry at speeds mimicking what the capsule will experience on subsequent missions to the moon, asteroids, or other deep space destinations.
....
The Orion spacecraft - also called the multipurpose crew vehicle - is NASA's next human-rated spacecraft designed for astronaut voyages beyond low Earth orbit.

Piloted Orion flights will blast off on the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket, which is scheduled for its first test flight in 2017. NASA's schedule calls for the first crewed Orion mission in 2021.

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Antares rocket joins NASA's fleet of available launchers
NASA has added the Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket to its fleet of launchers for robotic research and exploration missions, the space agency announced Tuesday.

The two-stage rocket is being developed by Orbital Sciences as a cargo launcher to serve the International Space Station, but it could double as an economical booster for NASA's scientific satellites.

With costs of proven United Launch Alliance rockets on the rise, NASA is seeking new launch options for its research missions, especially polar-orbiting Earth observation satellites, which have been hardest hit by launch woes.
....
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
411. LowerCal
16:26:GMT den 27. juni 2012
Re. the Cape Canaveral launch of the NROL-15 mission (see the blog entry for more details):
....
The forecast for Friday has jumped to 70 percent favorable, and the backup opportunities on Saturday and Sunday mornings have a 70 percent of acceptable weather too.
....

Rob It's looking better and better.
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
410. RobDaHood
22:20:GMT den 26. juni 2012
Quoting LowerCal:The payload capability of the Falcon 9 v1.1 will be increased by over 40%.


Sweet!

Already seeing some blue sky. Looking forward to all the clouds being sucked out of here by launch time!
Member Since: september 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31810
409. LowerCal
19:33:GMT den 26. juni 2012
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Modified Merlin engine completes full duration firing
....
SpaceX also said it completed multiple restarts of the Merlin 1D engine at its test facility in McGregor, Texas. A modified version of the engine for vacuum firings will be used on Falcon 9 upper stages.

"An enhanced design makes the Merlin 1D the most efficient booster engine ever built, with a vacuum thrust-to-weight ratio exceeding 150, while still maintaining the structural and thermal safety margins needed to carry astronauts," SpaceX said in a statement.

The company says the engine is also tailored for high rates of production utilizing fewer parts and robotic construction methods.

The payload capability of the Falcon 9 v1.1 will be increased by over 40%.
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
408. LowerCal
19:12:GMT den 26. juni 2012
1750 GMT (1:50 p.m. EDT)
With a weather forecast showing a Thursday launch attempt would be futile, mission managers this afternoon decided to wait until at least Friday to try flying the mammoth Delta 4-Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral.



sp You called it!

It is a great URL for video on Landing the Mars rover. Anyone rattled by comments to blogs or blog titles for that matter probably won't stick around the Weather Underground blogs for long anyway, lol.


Rob Hopefully you'll get some blue sky in the east at the right moment on Friday morning.
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
407. RobDaHood
00:43:GMT den 26. juni 2012
Quoting LowerCal:
Rob Will it take 40 days and nights to float your boat? ;^)

Thought so for a while.
Now revising that theory.

Thanks for the updates!

Oh...I actually did see a thin strip of blue sky this evening about 20 degrees above the western horizon...briefly!
:o)
Member Since: september 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31810
406. sp34n119w
21:05:GMT den 25. juni 2012
I'm gonna go out on a limb, here, and suggest that people don't go to great lengths to change their plans in order to see that launch, LOL Never know, though - Debby may give them a break.
A big-rocket launch right before sunrise will certainly be a perfect photo op!

Thanks, LC, for all the news bites (on the previous page's comments). The Chinese seem to have a real plan. Very exciting!
The ESA bit was interesting ... maybe they're thinking ahead, too? Between the two, we may yet have orbiting habitats in our lifetime.
When I was a kid I thought I'd be living on a space station (or the moon). Now I just hope that I avoid senility long enough to read about other folks living their lives in space.
Hmmm. I wonder if my current disappointment with the U.S. space program is coming through in my writing ... Sorry ;) It really is an exciting time.

Oh, wait! Here - a little overview of the latest Mars Rover, due to touch down in August:
http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/06/2 3/landing-the-mars-rover/
Not linked because ... well. Folks may not like all the comments there but the entry has good stuff all together in one place :)
Member Since: januar 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
405. LowerCal
20:06:GMT den 25. juni 2012
I updated the Cape Canaveral launch window and target time in the blog entry. Here's my current commentary on the possibilities of the launch's appearance:

The beginning of the previously announced launch window is early dawn. The Delta IV Heavy configuration uses two additional first stage engines as strap on boosters. The three RS-68 liquid hydrogen-oxygen engines create long orange flames and water vapor exhaust that shows up as a heavy condensation trail.

The announced target time of launch is about 10 minutes before sunrise. This could result in a condensation trail that rises from low light into bright and reddish sunrise colors - a nice photo op.


All of that commentary is conditional on whether or not the proximity of Debby causes any violations of launch weather constraints.

Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
404. LowerCal
20:05:GMT den 25. juni 2012
Rob Will it take 40 days and nights to float your boat? ;^)
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
403. RobDaHood
00:31:GMT den 25. juni 2012
LOL
Heaps and gobs!
Need it though. Although we aren't too dry anymore, the lake is still really low.
Member Since: september 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31810
402. LowerCal
23:49:GMT den 24. juni 2012
Rob Got rain?

;^)
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
401. RobDaHood
22:19:GMT den 24. juni 2012
Thanks for the news.

I think I remember seeing the sky one day last week.

Member Since: september 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31810
400. LowerCal
22:12:GMT den 24. juni 2012
Miscellaneous News:

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | NASA funds satellite mission to measure hurricane winds
....
The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, or CYGNSS, will receive $151.7 million from NASA over the next five years. Eight microsatellites will launch together in 2017 on a single rocket, then deploy in low Earth orbit.
....
CYGNSS will use GPS signals to derive the roughness of the ocean surface, from which wind speed is retrieved, according to NASA.

The satellites will make measurements similar to the QuikSCAT satellite, which lost the use of its spinning radar scatterometer instrument in 2009. During its 10-year mission, QuikSCAT detected wind speed and direction over 90 percent of the Earth's surface every day.
....


Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | ATV evolution studies look at exploration, debris removal
....
The European Space Agency is considering options to fulfill a debt of about $600 million owed to NASA for Europe's share of the space station's operating costs between 2017 and 2020.
....
One evolution study will look at using the ATV's service module section to provide propulsion for NASA's Orion spacecraft, which is designed to carry astronauts to deep space destinations such as asteroids, the moon and Mars.

The combination of the ATV's service module, which is currently built by Astrium Space Transportation in Germany, with the Orion capsule would meet ESA's obligation to the space station program and give Europe a major role in future space exploration.

The other alternative to be evaluated by Astrium will define a concept to develop a versatile spacecraft to support space stations, remove old satellites and space debris from orbit, and provide resources to orbital free flyers and habitats.
....


Spaceflight Now | Shenzhou Mission Report | Astronauts to attempt China's first manual docking in space
Three Chinese astronauts will temporarily depart their quarters inside the orbiting Tiangong 1 space lab early Sunday, backing away inside a Shenzhou spacecraft before pilot Liu Wang takes control of the capsule to complete the first manual docking in China's burgeoning space program.
....
The manual docking maneuver is crucial for China's future space aspirations, which include the launch of a larger man-tended Tiangong space lab in a few years. But first, China plans another crewed flight to Tiangong 1 within a year.

China plans to launch a larger space station around 2020 to potentially house permanent inhabitants.
....
UPDATE: Two of the Chinese astronauts have successfully accomplished manual docking so far today. Link
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
399. LowerCal
19:23:GMT den 21. juni 2012
Rob As Jack Horkheimer used to say, "Keep looking up!" :^)
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
398. RobDaHood
19:15:GMT den 21. juni 2012
Maybe I'll get a break in the clouds in just the right spot at just the right time?

Hey...one has to be optimistic!
Member Since: september 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31810
397. LowerCal
19:07:GMT den 21. juni 2012
I was out looking for the thin Moon and Mercury yesterday evening.

I spotted the extremely thin partial crescent of the Moon 15 minutes after Sunset about 7° above the WNW horizon with binoculars. At first it looked like barely more than 1/4 of a circle's edge. When the sky grew darker it grew to about 1/3 of a circle's edge.

Two minutes later I was able to spot the crescent with naked eye. If I hadn't already spotted it with binoculars and known exactly where to look I doubt I would have spotted it so soon.

I was able to spot starlike Mercury above the crescent with binoculars 25 minutes after sunset and 11 minutes later I could locate it with naked eye.

Tonight the crescent moon won't be so thin. It will be brighter, higher above the horizon and easy to spot without binoculars. Mercury will be to the right of the crescent. The pair will make a nice photo op against a twilight sky with silhouettes on the horizon below.
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
396. Patrap
01:16:GMT den 21. juni 2012
Lets get back in da Space Business.

Anytime Rob
Member Since: juli 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127695
395. RobDaHood
20:57:GMT den 20. juni 2012
You are welcome.

If we don't have any tropical mischief, I might be in the St. Augustine area on the 28th. Would give me a little different perspective.

Pat, Thanks for the link.
Member Since: september 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31810
394. LowerCal
20:50:GMT den 20. juni 2012
I added a couple of computer graphics images in the blog entry to help with spotting the rarely seen skinny Moon and rarely seen planet Mercury appearing briefly after sunset today and tomorrow.
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
393. LowerCal
20:46:GMT den 20. juni 2012
Rob Thanks for the coverage, reports and link.

Skye Thanks for the report.

Next up from Cape Canaveral is a Delta IV Heavy before dawn on Thursday, June 28. I hope the weather is better for the locals then. I've added detail and links for the June 28 in the blog entry.

Pat Thanks for that news. Canoga Park is right next door and Hawthorne (SpaceX) is just down the freeway but I wish that all the players could get a chance to present their best effort for selection.
Member Since: juli 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9158
392. Patrap
14:54:GMT den 20. juni 2012
Boeing with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne LAS Hot Fire Test

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne successfully hot-fired the launch abort engine it is developing for The Boeing Company's CST-100 spacecraft in Canoga Park, Calif., on March 9.
Member Since: juli 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127695
391. RobDaHood
13:08:GMT den 20. juni 2012
Good Morning Skye!
Sorry you couldn't see it, but at least I don't feel left out!
:o)
Member Since: september 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31810

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APRSWXNET Woodland Hills CA US
Calabasas, CA
Elevation: 984 ft
Temperatur: 51.0 °F
Duggpunkt: 34.0 °F
Fuktighet: 53%
Vind: Stille
Vindkast: 2.0 mph
Updated: 05:33:PST den 01. desember 2013
At Gonzales Drive
Woodland Hills, CA
Elevation: 984 ft
Temperatur: 90.7 °F
Duggpunkt: 52.2 °F
Fuktighet: 27%
Vind: Stille
Vindkast: 7.0 mph
Updated: 18:41:PDT den 31. juli 2014

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