Summer is the season for Noctilucent Clouds

Full Moon and Perigee Moon converge for a Supermoon

Track down two asteroids, Ceres and Vesta

Planetary pairings of Saturn and Mars, Jupiter and Venus

The Perseid meteor shower peaks

The Equinox restores balance to days and nights

Mars meets its rival, Antares

An early Harvest Moon occurs in September

Look out for Noctilucent Clouds
Full details in the Sky Guide » »

Great 3D Panorama of Space Shuttle Atlantis

Posted by Lydia on May 27th, 2009

Atlantis in the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center.

(To move around on the image, click and drag left, right, up, down. Also visible is part of the Ares I-X Upper Stage Simulator in High Bay 4.)

This link courtesy of Mr. Chuck Shaw (JSCAS) on the Sidereal Technology telescope drive yahoo group – the illustrious Mr. Shaw was responsible for planning and coordinating the Hubble Repair mission.

Just as the telescopes of the 17th century opened the sky for discoveries of star clusters and nebulae, 21st century telescopes examining these star cities give us a glimpse of early star formation in the Universe, and of the origin of the basic elements of the periodic table. Some globular clusters harbour black holes, while others may be the remnants of galaxies shredded by the tidal forces of the Milky Way. And above all, globular clusters are magnificent sentinels in the night sky, shining with the power of hundred thousand suns.

The Lunar and Planetary Institute invites all inquisitive adults to attend Dr. Catherine Pilachowski’s presentation Star Cities of the Milky Way. This free public presentation on June 18 Read the rest of this post …

Atlantis Successfully Lands in California (update)

Posted by Lydia on May 22nd, 2009

“Welcome home Atlantis.” Atlantis landed safely and successfully at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edward’s Air Force Base in the sunny California desert after 12 days, 21 hours and 37 minutes in space, completing 197 orbits of our Blue Planet and travelling a total of 5,279,124 miles. STS-125 successfully completed a high profile mission to update the Hubble Telescope during a total of thirty six hours of spacewalks.

Sunday Update to Original Post: Persistent bad weather in Florida gives our space travellers another day to view our home from above. As they carry supplies to last through tomorrow, Monday 24 May 2009, a decision will be made soon on the landing site. Will it be California or Florida? Mother Nature will decide. -LL

Read the rest of this post …

Atlantis Slated to Return Friday

Posted by Lydia on May 21st, 2009

Atlantis’s heat shield has been reviewed and is safe for landing. The crew is anxious to get back home to Earth after a successful 11 day Hubble repair mission. Hubble is again ready to wow scientists, amateur, professional and arm chair astronomers worldwide at least until the year 2015. Read the rest of this post …

Mars Hoax Recirculating and a May Observing Suggestion

Posted by Lydia on May 16th, 2009

The Mars hoax is out visiting blogs again. Don’t be fooled by this nonsense. Instead, take a look at Jupiter near the Moon in a beautiful pre-dawn close encounter on May 17, 2009. NASA and the ESA may collaborate on a future mission to explore two of Jupiter’s Moons, Europa and Ganymede, called the Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM). ESA will send a spacecraft to Ganymede and NASA’s craft will visit Europa. They are calling the joint probes the Jupiter Europa Orbiter (JEO) and Jupiter Ganymede Orbiter (JGO). More on the subject at a later date.

Atlantis Avoids Space Junk

Posted by Lydia on May 15th, 2009

Yesterday afternoon NASA and the high riding Atlantis astronauts working on the Hubble 350 miles up avoided a 10cm piece of Chinese Space Junk, a remnant from a 2007 anti-satellite test. The debris passed within three kilometres of the shuttle. Space debris, lingering in orbit, remains a constant threat to satellites and manned shuttle missions alike. Read the rest of this post …

Perfect Launch for Space Shuttle Atlantis

Posted by Lydia on May 11th, 2009

Atlantis, transporting Mission STS-125 is on its way to visit Hubble, now in its 19th year of service. This is the first time two shuttles were on the launchpad simultaneously. Due to the location of Hubble which is in a high density “space junk” field, another shuttle is on the pad in “ready mode” for any arising emergency. Five spacewalks are required to repair two inactive instruments along with the installation of two new ones and necessary instrument updates. During the eleven day mission the public can stay in touch via NASA’s Twitter page. Read the rest of this post …

Alien Volcanoes and Black Holes!

Posted by Marc on March 15th, 2009

Cover of Book: Alien VolcanoesWe regularly review books at Astronomy Today but we don’t often review books about “regular” things. This week is no exception, our two book reviews focus on two very interesting aspects of space science: one planetary: Alien Volcanoes, while the other is cosmological: The Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy.

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