June 6, 2020

29.03.11: Lunar Lava-Tubes.

Living on the Moon will be a tough proposition for future astronauts. With lunar daylight stretching for two terrestrial weeks, astronauts and equipment will have to be prepared for swings in temperature from +120 to -180 Celsius in the shade.

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Review: Hubble 3D IMAX.

After much anticipation, we finally had a chance to make the pilgrimage to the Kennedy Space Center earlier this week to catch the IMAX film Hubble: 3D! All we’ve got to say is…wow! This is definitely one not to miss. Hubble 3D takes you from the launch pad to on-orbit repairs following the crew of STS-125 as they train for a mission that almost never was. But the film is more than simply a tale of a telescope; Hubble 3D is no less than a testament to mans quest for understanding in the universe. Some of the 3-Dimensional fly-arounds were particularly captivating; I felt as if I could reach out and touch some of those proto-solar cocoons in M42 as we dived in!

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Attack of the Smartphones: A NASATweetup at the Johnson Space Flight Center!

We came, we saw, we tweeted profusely… last month’s Tweetup at the Johnson Spaceflight Center was a resounding success. Only the fourth official NASA tweetup ever held, this was the first at the JSC and the first attended by Astroguyz. What follows is a sort of after-action report, both of the JSC and the world of space-tweeting in general; [Read more...]

12.01.10: Asteroid 2010 AL30 to Make a Close Pass Wednesday.

An interloper to the Earth-Moon system is paying us a visit tomorrow. Asteroid 2010 AL30 is gliding past us at a distance of 78,000 miles, only a little over three times the distance of the geosynchronous satellites and about one –third the Earth-Moon distance, an approach worth noting. First detected by astronomers conducting the LINEAR Near Earth Object survey on Monday, January 11th, 2010 AL30 appears to be a 10-meter class object, and its one year solar orbit raises the possibility that it may be a spent man-made object currently in orbit about the Sun. This has occurred previous, with the recovery of J002E3 in 2002, which gave away its Earthly manufacture due to the presence of titanium oxide paint (a highly un-asteroid-like coating!) in its spectral signature. Interestingly, the final stage Apollo boosters that sent men to the Moon were about 18 meters long and about 7 meters in diameter. Some objections have been raised ABOUT this hypothesis, however, because 2010 AL30’s velocity is inconsistent with a man-made object. Goldstone radar intends to monitor AL30 during its pass Wednesday, January 13th 2010. Amateur astronomers with large apertures and/or CCD imaging capability should be able to pick up AL30 as a swift moving, 14th magnitude (think faint) star gliding through the constellations Orion, Taurus, and Pisces. Chalk up another miss in the Near Earth Object category!

Spot the Lunar High- & Low-lands with the Naked Eye!

Did you happen to notice that the Moon was fat and nearly full Halloween night? The technical full Moon for November falls today, Monday the 2nd, at 2:14 PM EST (yes we’re back on standard time now; did you get to work an hour early this morning?) Of course, the full Moon, like all phases, only occurs at an instant in time. That instant is the time that the Moon is exactly 180 degrees, or 12 hours of right ascension opposite to the Sun.

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