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 » »

Talking Trash

Posted by BC on September 20th, 2008

   On September 29, the Jules Verne, full of trash that was loaded from the International Space Station, will come plummeting through Earth’s atmosphere. It will burn up as it passes through the upper layers, while it passes over the south Pacific Ocean.

    The Jules Verne is a small craft that carried supplies to astronauts in ISS five months ago. After it was emptied of its goods, astronauts used it for a variety of things, including sleeping quarters. The final task will be to carry unusable junk and trash that cannot be kept in ISS any longer, and to do a last chore of carrying the trash back toward Earth.

    For a timetable of sightings for Jules Verne, go to the Satellite Tracker.

What’s up with the Sun?

Posted by BC on September 15th, 2008

sunspots - Palmer   Another rumor is debunked. The information on this one comes from Graham Palmer, New Zealand. Palmer keeps members of the Aurora Watch Team posted on solar indices, activity, and aurora potential.

The rumor has been circulating due to the current, very quiet conditions of solar minimum. In the month of August, only one tiny spot was seen by some observatories, and many saw none at all. This low level of activity is the quietest since the minimum which occurred in the mid 1950s. That is what has sparked fears in some people regarding the Sun going quiet.
Read the rest of this post …

Harvest Moon

Posted by BC on September 14th, 2008

Moonrise - Brenda CulbertsonThe Full Moon for September is called the Harvest Moon. The name is appropriate for Northern Hemisphere farmers because they are harvesting crops this time of year. The Full Moon provides light so that farmers can see later into the evening so that they can continue working even after the Sun sets.
Read the rest of this post …

Ike Pulls Partial Roof Off Johnson Space Center

Posted by Lydia on September 14th, 2008

Ike From ISS

Houston survived the powerful rath of Ike. N.A.S.A., located south of Houston, is functioning normally although the roof of the Johnson Space Center was partially removed during the storm.

Sixty five team members worked on-sight during Ike’s raging. No one was hurt and everything is working as normally as possible.

In anticipation of the storm, training preparations for mission

STS-125 were suspended at 1:00 p.m. Thursday.

Atlantis (Mission STS-125 ) is scheduled to launch on October 10, 2008, headed to the Hubble. 

Endeavour ( STS-126) will be the last launch this year, scheduled for November 12, transporting the MPLM  ( Multi Purpose Logistics Module) to the ISS.

The last time a storm whipped up trouble for the J.S.C. was in August, 1983 ( Hurricane Alicia). Damage from Alicia’s frolic through Johnson Space Center was estimated to be about $250,000 U.S.D. Alicia caused damage to the roofing of six major structures, many trees were destroyed and a few windows were shattered. Luckily there were no injuries.

The significant damage caused by Alicia did not delay mission STS-8, which was scheduled to launch the next week.

Ike just trifled with J.S.C. this morning, but may have caused several billion dollars worth of trouble for the Houston, Galveston area.

Great Sunsets

Posted by BC on September 2nd, 2008

Volcanic Sunset 30Aug2008 - BC   Because of the eruption of Kasatochi, an Alaskan volcano, observers in the Northern Hemisphere have been witnessing some great sunrises and sunsets. The eruption occurred on 07 August 2008, and it sent ash and sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, where the winds have carried it across North America and parts of Europe.

The photo to the left was taken on 30 August 2008 from Kansas, USA. Read the rest of this post …

Orion is Visible Again

Posted by Lydia on August 31st, 2008

Constellation of OrionYou know summer is over when Orion shows up in the early morning sky.

Last week at 6am I stepped outside my door with the dog and there he was, just over the trees in the eastern sky. Even though my area is having a few weather “issues”, as is common at this time of year, I am still anxious to know what I could see if the clouds and fog weren’t there. (We also encourage you to check out our Sky Guide!)

Pegasus is up in the east after dark. The Great Square has a lot to offer as a window into deep space, and Arcturus is bright in the west at about the same eye level as the Big Dipper. Read the rest of this post …

Shuttle Programme Gets Political

Posted by Lydia on August 31st, 2008

Space Shuttle LaunchOriginally, the shuttle programme was planned to be “retired” in 2010 and replaced by the Ares-Orion project, scheduled to begin in 2015. The idea was to free up funds from the shuttle for Ares-Orion and the future Moon Landing Constellation programme. The five year gap, from 2010 to 2015 would be filled by the Russian Soyuz missions to the International Space Station.

Read the rest of this post …

Hanny’s Voorwerp

Posted by Lydia on August 31st, 2008

Early in August, several astronomy blogs reported the discovery of what has been called a “Cosmic Ghost”. This discovery by Dutch school teacher, Hanny van Arkel, the first of its kind, is a glowing green, gaseous object with a mysterious hole in the centre of it, and so far fits no known cosmic category.

Read the rest of this post …

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