June 26, 2017

Adventures with CALSky.

A most excellent ISS pass! (Photo by Author).

Pssst. I’m going to let you in on a secret observing tool of the astronomical pros. Ever wonder how the astro-imaging elite gets those impossible-looking pictures, such as the International Space Station transiting a partially eclipsed Sun? Like everything else these days, “there’s a web-site for that,” and if you’re willing to wade into world of astronomical data a little bit, you too can be taking bizarre astrophotos like the pros… trust me, we won’t get too “mathy…” [Read more...]

22.05.11: Meteoroids: Sandblasting Satellites?

0.84mm diameter strike on the window of Shuttle Columbia seen after STS-35. (Credit: NASA).

Next time you use your mobile or GPS to bounce signals off of a satellite, thank Stanford professor Ingrid Close… she and other researchers like her think about meteoroid strikes and their potentially crippling effects on spacecraft, so hopefully you don’t have to. [Read more...]

15.05.11: Gravity Probe B Scores Another One for Einstein.

One of the Gravity Probe B Spheroids…(Credit: NASA/Don Harley)

A mission decades in the making has come to fruition. Recently, scientists have announced the results of the Gravity Probe B experiment. This mission was conceived way back in 1963 and had to await the birth of entirely new technologies before even reaching orbit. [Read more...]

Determine Your Longitude: the Lunar Eclipse Method Part I

We’re back now with a new look! Hopefully, it’s less of an eyestrain for our loyal legion of readers… and just in time for this months’ Lunar Eclipse!

Getting an accurate fix on your position has long been a bane of the world traveler. Long before Global Positioning Systems, a way was sought for navigators to calculate their location using the stars. Latitude was easy enough; in the Northern Hemisphere, you simply have to measure the angle of Polaris, also known as the North Star, above the horizon. [Read more...]