February 19, 2020

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...]

06.02.11- A “Sail-Flare” Contest!

I have wanted to give a shout out to a cool contest that came to our attention a few weeks back, and this weekend seemed as good a time as any. Last month, NanoSail-D2, everyone’s favorite solar sail test-bed in low Earth orbit, stunned the satellite-spotting community with its amazing comeback.

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02.02.11: A Russian Satellite Goes Astray.

The first launch of February sees a payload stuck in an elliptical transfer orbit, and an interesting opportunity for amateur observers. Yesterday, at 14:00 UT/9:00 AM EST, a Russian Rockot launch vehicle carrying GEO-IK2 lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. A military research satellite, GEO-IK2 has the dual role of providing research into plate tectonics and geodesics for both civilian and military applications (re: pinpoint positioning technology and mapping). Lifted aloft by the two-stage ballistic missile, a Breeze KM upper stage was to fire and deploy GEO-IK2 into a 600 mile orbit… and that’s where the finicky fate of rocket science struck.

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AstroEvent of the Week: Spotting Iridium Flares.

Looking up at the dawn or dusk skies, it’s not uncommon to see a satellite brighten, flare up, and the abruptly disappear from view. What you’ve just seen is an Iridium flare, a glint of sunlight off of a refrigerator sized satellite panel. Motorola launched this series of 66 communications satellites in 1997 through 1998 and they are currently owned and operated by Iridium Communications, Inc.

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Family Backyard Stargazing

We here at Astroguyz firmly believe that astronomy begins in the home.

During warm summer nights, simple star gazing can be a fun family event or a fuss free date. Many think that astronomy involves expensive astronomical equipment and Carl Sagan-like knowledge of the stars; [Read more...]