December 12, 2017

April 2010: Life in the Astro-Blogosphere.

Spring is now in full swing in the northern hemisphere, as the nights draw shorter and the climes hopefully warmer. Here is a brief rundown of all-things-Astroguyz in the coming month as we delve into the perpetual quest for the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything astronomy related;

Coming to a Sky Near You: Just past Full on March 29th, the Moon continues a series of occultations of the star Sigma Scorpii this month on April 3rd and 30th. This star is of unique interest because it is a known close binary. Another binary occultation of interest will be ? Arietis on the 16th. The Moon will reach new on the 14th and the Full Pink Moon will occur on the 28th. On the US West Coast, one of the best asteroid occultations of the year occurs on the early morning of April 6th, when +14 magnitude asteroid 824 Anastasia blocks out a +2.5 magnitude star for up to 8.6 seconds. As noted below, numerous launches will be going to and from the ISS, providing numerous pair sighting opportunities. Not the least of which will be a spectacular dawn launch of STS-131 on the 5th! Also, we explore V Hydrae, one of our favorite carbon stars, and ponder, when will you see Sirius B?

This Month in Science: Appropriately, April 1st generally kicks off with James Randi announcing the Pigasus awards, a sort of who’s-who in the infamy of pseudo-science. Here at Astroguyz, watch for our list of the 12 Greatest Moments in Science, when the surreptitious became reality. To make it interesting, we promise to limit ourselves to only two astronomical picks… Ever wonder where things in the universe are headed? This month, we review an astronomical classic; The Five Ages of the Universe. We also venture into the realm of the neurological with Reading in the Brain. This month also kicks off our Great Orbiting Observatory series, with a look at the greatest; the Hubble Space Telescope! Also, for the geek who has everything; we review I Nova’s ultra-violet flashlight!

This Month in Sci-Fi: Note: as loyal followers of this space, you may have noted that reviews are often subject to change without notice. The world is a fluid place, and Astroguyz reflects that! New events and Sci-Fi books come to our doorstep with the frequency of Iridium flares, and we often must make the tough call of which to highlight. Trust me; we get to everything in good time. It does flatter us to think that someone out there is just eagerly awaiting that next Astroguyz post; with that said, we still have respective posts on the Big Bang Theory and the Drabblecast on our collective radars!  And on our nightstand currently; Solis, a Cyber Rip Van Winkle tale by one of our secret faves, A.A. Antanasio…and watch for the recently reviewed Ghosts of Manhattan, out from Pyr Books, as well as a rumored sequel to Driving into the Wreck!

Launches in April: The ISS is about to become a busy place once again in early April. The month starts with a Soyuz launch to the ISS from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 2nd, followed by a spectacular dawn launch of space shuttle Discovery on April 5th.  Discovery will carry a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module packed with scientific instruments, and this will be the orbiter’s second to last flight into space. On April 8th, the ESA’s CryoSat 2 will take flight, again out of Baikonur. Then, on April 12th, all eyes will be on Cape Canaveral for the maiden launch of SpaceX Falcon 9. This demonstration flight will be the first test of the unmanned resupply vehicle, and is considered critical to the commercialization of low-Earth orbit. The US Air Force will also be launching its super-secret X-37B unmanned space plane prototype out of the Cape on the 19th. At Yasny, Russia, the joint Sweden and French Prisma & Picard satellites will launch on a to be determined date as a demonstration of miniaturization technologies. Finally, one final Soyuz resupply launch will occur out of Baikonur on the 27th…all in all, a busy month! Check SpaceFlightNow for the latest updates.

This Month in Astro-History: April 24th 1990 the Hubble Space Telescope was launched on Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-31. Celebrate to Hubble’s 20th this month as we look at the space telescope that just won’t die!

Astro-Blooper of the Month: We just finished watching Disney’s epic Man in Space series on You Tube; it’s amazing how much of it is still fairly valid 50 years later! It did amuse us, though, to see the portrayal of a Lowellian Mars, cross-crossed with canals; such an image of Mars had in fact been refuted by scientists well before the 1950’s!

Astro-quote of the Month: “Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science.”

-          Edwin Hubble

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