Sunday, September 7, 2014
MPEC 2014 R26 on September 3rd. It was clear from the outset that this 15-26m object was going to make a very close pass, and tonight as Daniel Ricciardo lines up on the grid in the Italian Grand Prix, the asteroid will make a very close pass at 40,000 klms over Australia and New Zealand. It is thought to be about the same size as the Chelyabinsk meteorite. Its Father's Day here and I have had a great day, and all the teenagers have retreated to work on their STEM elements of their education. So whilst Daniel Ricciardo battles it out with the William's boys I'll be drive another advanced piece of technology, targeting something travelling MUCH, MUCH, FASTER!!!! The first set of images are in an will be posted shortly. The aim is to show the rapid "apparent acceleration" as it whizzes past earth. Of course the speed of the asteroid doesn't change, just its apparent relative velocity appears to increase as it passes (like watching a car travelling at 100 klms per hour approach from a distance)
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Paul Spudis comments on Buzz Aldrin's case for the immediate adoption of a new national goal in space – a human mission to Mars. that describes the effects of asteroid bombardment on the early Earth close look at the surface of Mercury with PlanetMappers as the MESSENGER Spacecraft makes its closest approach to the planet so far. Also from the team at Cosmoquest - What's the forecast for this year's Perseid Meteor shower, and how can you contribute to citizen science and observations of meteors and fireballs?
Perhaps at this point I can put in a little plug for the brilliant the new App "Fireballs in the Sky" developed by the team at Curtin University. You can measure and report meteors and bolides with your phone as they happen.Spacewriter talks about "Telescopes to Tanzania", a project of Astronomers Without Borders. There is alot of great work going on in Africa with astronomy right now! takes a look at a few of the many excellent space and astronomy education resources available to educators and outreach professionals. announced the winners of the high stakes science instrument competition to fly aboard the Mars 2020 rover at a briefing held today, Thursday, July 31, at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Scientists analyzing the reams of data from NASA’s Cassini orbiter at Saturn have discovered 101 geysers erupting from the intriguing icy moon Enceladus and that the spewing material of liquid water likely originates from an underground sea located beneath the tiny moons ice shell, according to newly published research. Read all about it here including similar experiments in China ...... Next Big Future also reports on producing black light power using Hydrinos. when two passions collide. A crafty spacer explores an idea and lives to tell the tale!
I think she nailed it!! - Editordensity perturbations in the early universe from which galaxies and others structures formed, with a visual explanation of the effect of gravity on these perturbations. found here. If you run an astronomy or space science blog you can contact carnivalofspace @ gmail.com to be added to the editorial circulation list.
Monday, August 4, 2014
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
As the European Space Agency's Rosetta Mission ramps up in a busy week of astronomy, Observatory W96 and Observers A. Maury, J.-G Bosch, J.-F. Soulier were the first amateurs to report positions of 69P (this apparition) to the MPC. Amateur images of Comet 67P have also been acquired by the Professional-Amateur Collaboration in Astronomy (PACA) for comet 67P led by Dr Padma Yanamandra-Fisher in partnership with Amateur Astronmers. The PACA group uses social media to connect amateur and professional astronomers to provide observation follow-up, monitoring and collaboration on science missions. Comet 67P is about to be visited by the Rosetta Probe and ESA released their first photos, 2 weeks ago, of the comet starting to come to life as it heads on in towards the sun. The Rosetta mission is to follow the comet round the sun during the part of its orbit where the ices and dusts begin to discharge and form the tail. In november 2014, Rosetta will deliver a landed named Philae that will touch down on the nucleus of the comet to sample the particles as they become active. Pictured here at a very faint magnitude 21.2 you can see Comet 67P, and the position of the Rosetta spacecraft is also marked (even though it is way too faint to see). ESA this week began a number of engine burns to slow the spacecraft as it approaches the comet. MPEC 2014-K54 Previously in 2012, amateurs using the the Faulkes Telescopes had photographed 67P at aphelion (its furtherest point from the sun), also a remarkable effort!. In January 2014 the large telescopes in Chile, European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Very Large Telescope (VLT) recovered 67P and have been following it regularly, this was the first occasion that amateurs had obtained images on this apparition. For more information about the program check out the Year of Southern Comets article at iTelescop.net. PACA has a Facebook and Flikr group for members and a website under construction, it is open to any amateur astronomers who have their own telescope, are familiar with photometry and astrometry, are members of iTelescope.net, or have access to other telescope facilities and are prepared to work as a team on the science effort. The Rosetta Spacecraft was named after the Rosetta Stone which assisted historians and archeologists decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs, scientists hope that in the same way the data gathered will assist in our understanding of the early solar system.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Swift space telescope, the senitnel for detecting Gamma Ray Bursts raised an alert on the Gamma Ray Co-Ordinates Network, and slewed to the target to begin imaging. Astronomers around the world scrambled for their personal devices, re-tweeting their excitement, rallying the observational firepower available to image a tiny area in the Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Scott Manley's amusing tweet.] The whole event of course prompted the usual round of "milli-second humor" and hilarious tweets. Like: "What, something in a galaxy far, far away just blew up" and the usual round of deathstar references and starwars humor. What happened will be discussed energetically over the next weeks, but it appears it was what the IT Industry would call a false positive, but not necessarily a bad thing. Social media and the Internet of Things (IP devices intelligently wired to elevate raw data to the status of information, knowledge and wisdom that can be acted on) has the benefit of the instantaneous alert. However these alerts require context and verification. In this case scientists around the world rallied to verify the result using their standard methods and found a perfectly logical and rational reason as to why the alert was triggered, but there was no GRB or ULX event. The science team for the LIGO Gravity Wave detector, which was was offline for an upgrade, were relieved they hadn't missed anything. What we actually had was a great teaching moment.SpaceI09 Blog was quick out of the blocks with a brilliant article on GRBs and what was happening. Science as always requires confirmation of results and over the next few hours alot of effort and comparison of results identified that a known Xray source had popped up above a detection threshold, possibly due to a nearby "hot pixel" in the image. Nick Howes from the Faulkes Telescope Project suggested on Twitter "the neat thing about it was now lots more people know about GRBs an ULXs", and I certainly concur. The lesson here is that instantaneous alerts come with their own set of risks, but if the communication flow is well managed and carefully explained to everyone, a situation like this can be a great opportunity to build a broader awareness of what has transpired.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Thanks for joining us tonight for the live hangout on air. Enjoy! Not really ideal. The full moon was shining through thin cloud washing out a bit of the detail. The telescope is still ste up hopefully the cloud will clear and I can get some better stills on the egress.