June 6, 2020

October 2009: Life in the AstroBlog-o-Sphere.

(Editor’s note: If case you haven’t noticed, we’re shaking things up here a bit at Astroguyz. Specifically, our news bits have gone to a daily affair, to allow for more nimble and timely coverage. It’s a swiftly changing world out there in the realm of space blogging, and Astroguyz is right there with you! Our monthly news round up will instead be a sneak peak at the month ahead, some bits old and some new. Read on…

Coming to an October Sky near you: This month, all telescopes will be turned on the south pole of the Moon on the 9th as the Delta Centaur upper stage known as LCROSS slams into the lunar surface. Will anything be visible? The only sure way to know is to look! The Harvest Full Moon, a rarity for October, arrives this month on the 4th. Later on, Venus and Saturn are in one of the closest planetary conjunctions of the year, at a mere 36′ on the 13th, and are joined by the Moon on the 16th. The new Moon occurs on 18th, which dove tails well with the Orionid meteors on the 21st…expect up to 30 swift moving meteors in the early AM hours. And for those along the Florida Space Coast, watch for the test launch of the Ares X-1! (see below).

This Month in Science: In addition to the LCROSS impact, October kicks off will the Nobel Prize Awards on the 5th, and their ugly step child, the Ig Nobels on the weekend of October 1st-3rd held at Cambridge, Massachusetts. This years contenders will be hot out the gates as you read this on the 1st; among the sportier titles in the 2008 winners were the “Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String” and “Ovulatory cycle Effects on Tip Earnings by Lap Dancers: Economic Evidence for Human Estrus?” Closer to home, look for 12 Very Special Events in Astronomy for the 21st Century, and Remembering Carl Sagan here at Astroguyz.

This Months’ buzz in Sci-Fi: Offerings abound on the science fiction front. ABC’s Defying Gravity has appeared to be axed, which may be a good or bad thing. CBS Big Bang Theory season 3 is now in full swing… On the Sci-Fi review front, expect pieces on Kristine Kathryn Ruschs’ Diving into the Wreck… and don’t forget that September 27-October 3rd is Banned Books Week, all week. Sure, everybody knows those famous banished science books, such as Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium and Darwin’s pesky Origin of Species, but did you know that Sci-Fi greats Ray Bradbury and George Orwell have suffered under the yoke of censorship as well? This might be a fine time to dust off that old paper back copy of Fahrenheit 451, or read Animal Farm to the kids for a bedtime story…and don’t forget to celebrate the advent of Halloween as we do here at ye’ ole Astroguyz…with a re-airing of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds!

Launches for October: Of course, everyone is eagerly awaiting the test launch of the Ares X-1 rocket on October 27th out of the Kennedy Space center at 8 AM). Sure, its unmanned and suborbital. But the launch will represent one small re-step back to the Moon. Other launches include a Minotaur 4 space Based Surveillance System (SBSS) out of Vandenburg AFB on October 31st at 12;41 EDT, (using a missile that was formerly an old Peacekeeper) and World View 2 also launching out of Vandenburg on the 8th at 2:38 EDT. World View 2 will be an Earth imaging satellite parked in a Sun synchronous orbit. Keep up with all the latest goings on by checking in with SpaceFlightNow.

Astro-Blooper of the Month: An oldie but goodie floated back into our astronomy consciousness as of late while watching Superman Returns… the implausibility of Kryptonite falling to Earth as a meteorite. True, pieces of the Earth’s Moon and even Mars and Vesta have been proven to have fallen to Earth, but presumably, ignoring the early 1930 Superman comics that placed Krypton in our solar system (!) the planet Krypton was an extra-solar world orbiting a red giant star. How this exotic element makes the light-years long journey to Earth and rains down in such vast quantities to fuel Supes battles with Lex Luthor is simply beyond belief!

This Month in Astro-History: On October 7th, 2008 (yes, its history now!) Asteroid TC3 2008 slammed into the Sudanese desert marking the first time an asteroid was studied before and after impact!

Quote of the Month: “We’re stuck with technology, when all we want is stuff that just works.”

-Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt.


  1. webmaster says:

    Hi Lucy;
    They did indeed, with NASA’s instrument package on India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission. The big questions now are where and in what quantities; this could decide where we decide to “plant the flag” for future permanent habitation.

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