Saturday, November 29, 2008

The sky is falling on Canada, eh?

There was a lot of well deserved hype about a week ago when a meteor fell on Canada. This monster was predicted to be about 10 tons and the size of a desk. Not sure if that was one of those wimpy Ikea desks make of fake wood or a hefty 1950s metal monsters with the floppy chair that dumps you off the left side.
It was hoped that this thing left some chunks on the ground since it was so big, and sure enough, they did find some small pieces in a pond.
| Photos from Universe Today of the meteorite |

Here is the video of the falling "space desk" from a dashboard camera.

I'm never up early enough, out at the right time, or looking the wrong way when these happen. There was one a while back that was reported and I was outside at the time in the backyard observatory, but I think I was staring at the computer screen and missed it all. I did get lucky recnetly when I was walking home from the bus after work. I saw one go across the whole sky and broke up over Tacoma (or at least in that direction). It was reported on the news. My comments are under 'Tom_renton' at the end of the article.

Solar system cluster.

Over the next few nights, look west after sunset. You'll see Jupiter and Venus closing in on each other, and on Dec. 1, the moon will join up for a nice gathering of solar system objects. If we are lucky, maybe we can see this here in Seattle, but I don't get my hopes up. We'll just have to look at other people's photos of this astronomical clumping of objects. Darn clouds....

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving fireball over Seattle.

I would never have seen this since 5am is NOT a time that I'm conscious. This is kind of fun since it was caught on live tv.

Juno to Jupiter.

"Juno" is the next spacecraft that will go to Jupiter. Launching is planned in August 2011, and arriving at Jupiter in 2016. This will be the first spacecraft to be put into a polar orbit where it will spend 1 year and 32 orbits skimming as low as 3,000 miles over the cloud tops.
The "plutonium protesters" won't have to fuss over this one launching, since it will also be solar powered despite being 400 million miles from the sun - 5 times farther than Earth.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The ISS turns 10.

It's been already 10 years now, and the ISS is nearly done, at least it should be done by 2010 when the shuttles are supposed to be put in museums (we'll get one in Seattle if Dr. Dunbar has any say in it!). always has some really amazing photo essays on their site. They had one last week for the ISS. With some great photos.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shuttle STS-126 SRB rocket cam videos released.

These are always amazing to watch. I think this is the first time I've really noticed the plume from the bottom separation motors when they fired. But then again...most launches have been during the day until recently.

(click the video to see full screen and more camera views)

Well done interactive site...

I found this a few weeks ago and was quite impressed. It's one of those interactive web page things with videos simulations and other things that move around and make neat noises when you click on them. Maybe I'm easily amused....

Tribute to Phoenix

Sadly, the mission of the Phoenix lander ended about a week ago when the lander quit calling home. JPL made up a really nice, but kind of sad, tribute to Phoenix.
You kind of get attached to those little robotic guys, far from home sending back photo post cards every day from their one way vacations from Earth.

How big is the ISS?

Ok, this is kind of fun. We can see the ISS flying over our house every now and then, I've taken photos with the telescope, but how big is that thing?
This is kind of the geeky comparison, but gives a pretty good idea. Galactica is a pretty big ship!

ISS Size:

Mass: 300,214 kg (661,857 lb) (June 18, 2008)
Length: 58.2 m (191 ft) along truss (February 22, 2007)
Width: 44.5 m (146 ft) from Destiny to Zvezda
Height: 27.4 m (90 ft) (February 22, 2007)

Solar arrays span: 73.15 m (240 ft) (February 22, 2007)

Picture from

....and here it is with something a little more familiar - a Boeing 747.

First posting....why the blog?

As president and webmaster of the Eastside Astronomical Society, I'm always trying to find good, interesting things to post on our web site. The problem is I'm always finding too much good stuff! I put stories and links on the club page often but thought the blog method would be a good informal way of sharing my findings. I did try a forum on the web page, but it didn't get much activity from members. I could hear an echo in there all the time, and it was a quiet place. I then got tons of message postings from someone who seemed to take it over for his own use. Yeah, it was all space related stuff, but just way too much. I banned that guy, got tired of removing Viagra spams, and finally gave up on it.
So...I'll try the blog and see what happens.