Thursday, July 21, 2011

Atlantis re-entry seen from ISS.


4/14/81 - 7/21/11



"Hey thanks, Butch, great words, great words," Ferguson said. "You know, the space shuttle has changed the way we view the world and it's changed the way we view our universe. There are a lot of emotions today, but one things indisputable -- America's not going to stop exploring.
"Thank you Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Endeavour and our ship, Atlantis. Thank you for protecting us and bringing this program to such a fitting end. God bless all of you, God bless the United States of America."  
 -- STS-135 commander, Chris Ferguson

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Final Ascent video STS-135

Beautiful video, beautiful ship on her last flight.

Final shuttle departure from the ISS.

Atlantis and the shuttle program leave the ISS forever.    The final fly-around.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Caution wake turbulence.

I just came across one of the more interesting angles of a shuttle launch from last week.
Photo was taken from the Shuttle training aircraft just after Atlantis passed by.
Here is the view looking directly down the fresh SRB plume.  I wonder if the Shuttle leaves wingtip vorticies like an airplane does on takeoff?
...and a nice shockwave shot looking right up Atlantis' tailpipe.  Almost the opposite angle of the plume photo.  Great stuff!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Drop in astrophotography interest? (and a view of M-16)

Some interesting information showed up in my email recently.  I guess there is a drop in activity on the astrophotography forums.  People are posting less photos and there seems to be a decline in the interest.
I got this info in the AIC (Astro Imaging Conference) newsletter in my email.   A quote from the letter:
The study found overall interest, as represented by forum posts, declined over 66% between 2005 and 2009. 2010 saw an up tick in activity but 2011, based on the first four months of submissions, is projected to fall short of both the 2010 and 2009 totals indicating an ongoing erosion in participant enthusiasm.
...Overwhelming, poor weather was the single greatest reason for spending less time taking astronomical images. This was followed by time requirements of job related responsibilities. While other hobbies or interests accounted for the third most frequently cited reason.
So it appears that probably weather is a huge factor, which is my main problem here also.  So I'm not the only one suffering this last year due to clouds!  Next is job related responsibilities (economic indicator I would assume) and finally other hobbies.  I can see that, when the skies aren't there, other things will take over.

I'm still at it though, when I can.  Clear skies are rarer then ever over the last few years.  Seems to get worse all the time, and other than the natural frustration involved with this hobby, I still make an attempt to take some photos any time the skies are clear.  Here is my latest image of M-16 Eagle Nebula. 
Technical stuff....
Exposures: 14 at ISO 800
Time: 7 minutes each
Scope: Meade LX200 Classic 12" at f/6.3
Camera: Canon 350D (with IR mod)
Guider: Orion 80ED (with Starshoot autoguider and PHD Guider software)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Final shuttle "nose art" cancelled.

From this morning:
Update | July 6, 2011: Due to the logo being inadvertently applied to the door upside down, Atlantis will fly without its nose art. A plain black door was installed instead.
The final flight was originally going to have the shuttle program logo on the tank, but it was printed wrong so it won't fly on the final mission.
Kind of sad if you ask me, almost like flying the American flag upside down as in distress.  Although, with the state of the space program after this flight, I guess it's kind of appropriate!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Infographic: Shuttle history.

Another nice graphic of the shuttle program. Why does all this great stuff come out when the program is ending?!  (Click for full size)

Shuttle sound.

I came across a very nice Youtube recording of a launch.  Just view it in HD mode, and turn up your subwoofer.

UPDATE:  Looking at the video there was another suggested video on the list.  Again, enough subwoofer boost to scare the cats out of the room and knock the shampoo bottle down in the shower (yes, I've done this!) is required for proper effect.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

STS-135 press kit

The press kit for STS-135 is available for free download now.  It's 172 pages long and has a lot of information about the entire 30 year shuttle program.  It's a 172 page .pdf file, so save your ink and print it (discretely) on your printer at the office!

Discovery in February....and now with wings clipped.

I guess I didn't post this one before, but here it is.  This is just a compilation of some of my best photos from the Discovery STS-133 launch in February.  I did a little processing of the images and put them together in a sequence.
(as always click the image to see in it's full size glory!)
Now where is Discovery?  She is sitting in the OPF at KSC getting torn apart, cleaned and prepared for transport to the Smithsonian Udvar Hazy museum at Dulles Airport.  There was a day recently where special media guests were invited inside - yes - INSIDE, the shuttle to look around and take photos.
(Photo: Ben Cooper)
A couple of my space shuttle acquaintances were invited, Robert Pearlman and Ben Cooper.   If I could go inside the shuttle like that, I would have to wear a diaper.