MOON SHOT!

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Image Credit & Copyright: Sebastien Lebrigand.  CLICK image for larger view and look below for information and links.

I just love these images from Mr. Lebrigand of aircraft transiting the Sun and the Moon.  He lives directly in the flight path of Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris where he patiently awaits for the opportunity to capture what looks like a direct hit of the Moon.  To capture the shot he attaches his DSLR to a refracting telescope and waits for the moment.  This approach seems to work wonderfully as he has many images just like this on his links.  Just wanted to share this with you all as it’s something that with the right equipment you can attempt as well.  Though it may take you a while to become this good at it.

 

Sebastien Lebrigand Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sebastro/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lebribri

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/116679896078977628337/posts

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/lebribri2/feed

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MILKY WAY OVER TRONA PINNACLES

14-243 Image Credit & Copyright: Evan Thomas.  CLICK image for larger view and look below for information and Evan’s links.

This is an incredible image of a very interesting place that I’ve actually been; the Trona Pinnacles, Trona, California.  It’s a superb place to stop for a photo op if you’re making the drive from Los Angeles to Death Valley.  Unfortunately I never had the chance to view it under dark skies, because as Evan Thomas shows us here, its night side has a mystique all its own as the brilliant light of the Milky Way Galaxy rises overhead from many thousands of light years away.

There’s some perspective to be had here……not just with the mind boggling scale and distances involved with the night sky and our home galaxy in this image but of the pinnacles themselves.  These 500 or so pinnacles also known as “Tufa” are 30-40 ft. wide and rise high as 140 ft. and get this, they were formed under water.  That’s right, where this image was taken is called Searles Lake Basin and the area used to be deep under water due to runoff from the Sierra Nevada’s creating a chain of inland seas.  In addition to Evan’s links, which you need to go check out because his work is amazing; I added (as I always do) a link to this area so if you wish you can read more about it.

 

Even Thomas Photography: http://www.evanthomasphoto.com/

Blog: http://exploreabitmore.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/evanthomasphoto

500px: http://500px.com/evanthomasphoto

Instagram: http://instagram.com/exploreabitmore

Department of the Interior: Trona Pinnacles: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/ridgecrest/trona.html

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JULY 20, 1969: “ONE SMALL STEP FOR A MAN”

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Image Credit & Copyright: Neil Armstrong & NASA of Buzz Aldrin and the Lunar Module.  CLICK image for larger view and look below for information and links.

 

On July 20, 1969 at 20:17:39 UTC (16:27:39 EDT) Lunar Module “Eagle” with its crew of two, set down safely on the Moon after some nervous moments to become the 1st ever humans to land, shut down engines and walk on another planetary body, half way to fulfilling the promise by made almost a decade prior by then President John F. Kennedy “Before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

Not only was that mission accomplished, but man landed on the Moon 6 times in total with 12 astronauts leaving footprints on the Moon.  Had the near disaster of Apollo 13 not taken place as well as the premature end to the program by congress (As Project Apollo was scheduled through Apollo 20) due to lack of interest and the Soviet Union bowing out of the race we would have had a total of 20 sets of footprints from the proposed 10 lunar landings.

Some Apollo 11 Facts:

Launch:  July 16, 1969 at 1332 UTC (0932 EDT) Saturn V rocket (SA-506) Launch Pad 39A on Cape Canaveral FL.

Lunar Touch Down:  July 20, 1969 at 20:17:39 UTC (16:17:39 EDT) Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin touched down in the Sea Of Tranquility.  From that time, as long as they were on the surface the name “Eagle” was replaced with “Tranquility Base”.  The 3rd member of the team Michael Collins orbited in “Columbia”, the Command Module above in lunar orbit.  As alarms were coming into Mission Control and knowing fuel was nearly 15 seconds from dry with autopilot off and Armstrong himself flying the craft nobody was more relieved than Flight Director Gene Kranz and his team at CAPCOM to hear those famous (Recognized) 1st words spoken from another planetary body; “Houston uh, this is Tranquility Base.  The Eagle has landed.” – Neil Armstrong.  Charlie Duke uttered some famous words of his own after hearing Armstrong’s voice; “Roger Trank…Tranquility we copy you on the ground.  You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue.  We’re breathing again.  Thanks a lot.”  Charlie Duke would later be Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 16 and the tenth person to walk on the Moon.

What goes unnoticed through all of this are the ACTUAL but never recognized TRUE 1st words from the lunar surface that go like this (You can watch any YouTube clip to hear this, go have a listen for yourself.)….

Aldrin: Contact Light. Armstrong (on-board): Shutdown. Aldrin: Okay, engine Stop. Aldrin: ACA out of Detent. Armstrong: Out of Detent. Auto. Aldrin: Mode Control, both Auto, Descent Engine Command Override, Off, Engine Arm, Off. 413 is in. Armstrong: Houston uh, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed. Aldrin: Thank you.

1st Steps:  The 1st time a human being took a step on anything other than the Earth took place on July 21, 1969 at 02:56:15 UTC (22:56:15 EDT on the 20th) and even if you weren’t even alive who doesn’t know one of the most famous quotes in human history; “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Although Armstrong himself said that there is an “A” before “Man” in the statement.  Total boots on surface time between Buzz and Armstrong totaled 2h 31m 40s while the total landing to ascent time on the lunar surface was 21h 36m 21s.

Ascent off the lunar surface: LM Lunar Liftoff Ignition (LM APS) occurred at 17:54:00 UTC (13:54:13 EDT) on July 21, 1969.

Splashdown:  Splashdown took place in the North Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969 at 16:50:35 UTC (12:50:35 EDT).  The crew of 3 legends was now safely home after being picked up by the USS Hornet (CV-12) with 47.5 lb. of lunar samples and total mission duration of 8d 3h 18m 35s.

One thing that I never understood about the splashdown rescue; We all know Project Apollo was born and driven by the threat of war.  That being said, John F. Kennedy was the driving force and motivation behind it all.  The USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) was commissioned on September 7, 1968 so why in the world didn’t they have CV-67, USS John F. Kennedy pick the crew up?  How fitting would that have been vs. the USS Hornet?!

The Command Service Module:  Designated CSM-107 and named “Columbia” is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum at the National Mall in Washington DC.  Individually they were Command Module (CM-107) and Service Module (SM-107).

 The Lunar Module:  Designated LM-5 and named “Eagle” (While in flight) was the craft that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended, landed and lifted off of the lunar surface in.  The descent stage remains on the lunar surface and the ascent stage was left in lunar orbit and eventually crashed back to the lunar surface though it is unknown where.  The Lunar Module was originally named the Lunar Excursion Module or “LEM” which is what you hear time and time again in historical videos and interviews.

 

NEAT NOTES:

Aside from the landing, 1st steps, 1st words, planting of the flag, samples taken and phone call to then President Richard Nixon as well as some scientific instruments still in use today there are some pretty cool, little known facts to Apollo 11 you may like as well.

The Apollo 11 Crew Patch insignia was designed by Michael Collins whose desire was to create a sign of a peaceful lunar landing by the United States.  The initial insignia had the eagle holding the olive branch in its beak and NASA officials stated that the eagle’s talons looked too war-like so the olive branch was placed in its talons instead of the beak.

The insignia graced the back of the Eisenhower Silver Dollar and again later when it was on the Susan B. Anthony Silver Dollar.

A small question arose when the 3 patches seen on their hazmat suits that they were picked up in were gone by the time they touched down on the USS Hornet.  That question was quickly answered when Aldrin stated that they had given them to the helicopter pilots.

Left on the ladder of the lander is a plaque with a depiction of both sides of the Earth as well as the words – “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon July 1969, AD.  We came in peace for all mankind.”  It also has the autographs of the three men as well as President Nixon.

Other items left on the Moon were; An Apollo 1 mission patch as well as a diamond studded astronaut pin given to Deke Slayton by the widows of Apollo 1.  It was intended to fly on Apollo 1 but after the fire, the widows gave it to Slayton and him then, to Neil Armstrong.  Armstrong also brought a piece of wood from the left propeller of the Wright Brothers 1903 airplane as well as a piece of fabric from one of its wings.  A bag was left containing a golden replica of the eagle’s olive branch as well as a silicon message disk.  The disk carries statements by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon and messages from leaders of 73 countries around the world. The disc also carries a listing of the leadership of the US Congress, a listing of members of the four committees of the House and Senate responsible for the NASA legislation, and the names of NASA’s past and present top management.  In his 1989 book; Men from Earth, Aldrin says that the items included Soviet medals commemorating Cosmonauts Vladimir Komarov (Killed onboard Soyuz-1) and Yuri Gagarin, the 1st human in space.

Also here’s President Nixon’s speech to the world had Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins faced disaster and faced death in space or on the Moon.

 

IN THE EVENT OF MOON DISASTER:

“Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.”

PRIOR TO THE PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT: The president should telephone each of the widows-to-be.

AFTER THE PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT, at the point when NASA ends communications with the men: A clergyman should adopt the same procedure as a burial at sea, commending their souls to “the deepest of the deep,” concluding with the Lord’s Prayer.

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TECHNICOLOUR ALASKA

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Image & Video Credit/Copyright: Alexis Coram.  CLICK image for larger view and look below for information and Alexis’s links!

 

You know, I had followed Alexis on Instagram for some time now and her images have always been incredible (night & daylight images) and I’m happy to create a post for her and her incredible work.  I was going to write a short post on the location and describe what we’re looking at here but as I read her description I decided that I couldn’t say it any better.  I hope you enjoy this post and look below for a host of links.

 

“There are some things in this world that everyone deserves to experience with their own eyes. I headed to Alaska in February with the hope of catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights with mine. That glimpse turned into an extravaganza…a party in the sky, and I was an onlooker, a face in the crowd…awestruck, mesmerized, feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. Night after night I was captivated by bright and colorful lights dancing wistfully above me; a graceful representation of the light in my soul. These were enchanted nights like I’ve never experienced. And while my camera captured a play-by-play of the spectacle, I could be found dog sledding through snow-covered forests, relaxing by the fire in a toasty cabin, or simply laying down in the snow and drifting into the dance. This was the most amazing trip of my life so far…and here it is, summarized in under 3 minutes. This is my first time timelapse film, so it means a lot that you’re here, reading this, stepping into a very special piece of my past. Thank you. X”

 

Alexis Coram Photography: http://alexiscoram.smugmug.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alexiscoram1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexisCoram

Instagram: http://instagram.com/alexiscoram

500px: http://500px.com/alexiscoram

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/98166882@N02/

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+AlexisCoram/posts

Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/alexiscoram

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AlexisCoram

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NASA’S NEXT GIANT LEAP w’ MORGAN FREEMAN

This was a live event held and streamed on July 18, 2014 with star of television and movies, Morgan Freeman called “NASA’s Next Giant Leap.”  The event was held at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, about his personal vision for space. The event also included NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and Expedition 40 Commander Steve Swanson participating from the International Space Station.

 

NASA’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/NASAtelevision

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RED CANYON SKIES

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Image Credit & Copyright: Michael Ince.  CLICK image for larger view and look below for information and related links.

This great image comes to us from Michael Ince and it’s of the Milky Way Galaxy standing tall and vertical in the night sky over the forest known to locals as “Dixie”; almost making you wish you were higher so you could peer down over the southern horizon and view it in its entirety.  This image was captured at Red Canyon Utah and its located just 13 miles from Bryce Canyon which is just spectacular.  Red Canyon itself is an amazing place and very similar to Bryce canyon in its sights, composition and formation origins or wind and water erosion.

If you haven’t been to Red Canyon or the incredible sights of the southwest in general please place it on your bucket list as you will be extremely glad that you did.  A typical place to stay is at Mt. Carmel Junction and from there you have Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Grand Staircase, Sand Dunes, Dixie Forest, Cedar Breaks, Coyote Butte, Northern Rim and Toroweap all within 90 miles of you.  And of course, the entire time, dark skies overhead so even at night you can be utterly wowed as you will see the sky unlike you ever have before.

I really hope you enjoy this image and if you do go visit more of Mike’s links and enjoy what you see.  Thanks all!

 

Mike Ince Photography: http://mikeince.com/

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+MikeInce/posts

500px: http://500px.com/MikeInce/photos

Instagram: http://instagram.com/mike_ince

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Red Canyon page: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/dixie/recreation/climbing/recarea/?recid=24942&actid=120

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NASA’S NEW HORIZONS MISSION SET TO BEGIN

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Illustration Credit & Copyright: NASA/JHUAPL. CLICK illustration for larger view and look below for information and related links including where you can find New Horizons current location and will be able to locate mission images.

 

New Horizons Nears Its July 14, 2015 Close Flyby To Pluto:

Launched on January 19, 2006 on the nose of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V-551 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41), Florida; New Horizons spacecraft has on July 7, 2014 reached a distance of 29.8 Astronomical Units (AU) which crossed Pluto’s point of perihelion (Pluto’s closest point to the Sun) and is now in “Pluto Space.” An AU is the average distance from Earth to the Sun (149.6 million km or about 93 million mi) and is a common method for gaging distances around the solar system.

Just as a side note; Pluto which resides in the solar system’s “Third Zone” or Kuiper Belt, takes 248 Earth years to complete one orbit around the Sun. It last reached perihelion on September 5, 1989 (bummer for us observers) and its orbit is so elliptic that between February 7, 1989 and February 11, 1999 it was actually closer to the Sun than Neptune. Its aphelion or most distant point from the Sun will be around February 20, 2114 and it will be a whopping 49 AU’s from the Sun.

Pluto is a land unexplored; in fact we don’t even have detailed images of it. Attempts to resolve this tiny 2300 km or 1400 mi in diameter frozen binary planet have resulted in a sphere with different shades of color and no real detail to speak of. In short, it may be the largest “Third Zone” body (with its binary partner Charon being the 6th largest) but it’s just too small and too far away to resolve clearly from Earth orbiting satellites. We had to go to it!

Here’s my write up on the dark names of Pluto and its moons.  I find it very fascinating and I hope you do too: http://danspace77.com/2013/07/13/as-plutos-newly-discovered-moons-receive-names-heres-a-history-lesson-on-their-dark-past/

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