LOST IN SPACE

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Image Credit & Copyright: Erez Marom.

What do you see when you leave the lights of the city behind? What is possible to observe and capture when you take the time and initiative to get away and find yourself in clear, cool skies? Well, it’s going to vary but if you ever get the opportunity to see the sky like this image here from Erez Marom make sure you take pause in the realization of what you’re looking at. Imagine finding yourself in a sky so dark that it’s difficult to identify the constellations that you’re used to observing. That’s exactly the case when you leave the lights behind.  

In this image from Kirkjufell, Iceland we see the incredible night sky, Milky Way galaxy and a hint of aurora borealis over the beautiful Pyramid Mountain. The water so calm, stars reflect off of its surface nearly giving the appearance of the mountain being suspended in space. If you track back to the objects in this image you have Pyramid Mountain just meters away, the stars of the Milky Way hundreds of light years away, the plane of the galaxy tens of thousands of light years away and at upper left is the faint glow of the 2.5 million light year distant Andromeda Galaxy.

I really hope that you enjoy this image and please check out more of Erez’s works in the links below.

Erez Marom Photography: http://www.erezmarom.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/erezmarom

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+ErezMarom

500px: https://500px.com/erezmarom

Instagram: http://instagram.com/erezmarom

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/erezmarom/

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EDGE OF INFINITY

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Image Credit & Copyright: Chris Georgia.

It can be argued that the coastline of New England is some of the most beautiful that the 50 states has to offer. As far as night sky viewing, not so much. There are however, still places high along the coastline of Maine where mankind hasn’t set the sky alight with cities or even large towns.

One of those locations is shown here beautifully by Chris Georgia; the Cutler Preserve which resides along the 125 mile long Bold Coast. The official Bold Coast Scenic Byway runs from Milbridge to Eastport which is the eastern most point in the United States. Eastport also boasts some of the strongest tides in the world as well as the largest whirlpool in the western hemisphere known as “Old Sow.” The only obvious point of light is in fact a point of light. Machias Seal Island Lighthouse sits about 12 miles offshore alerting seafarers to its location in the dark.

If you ever get a chance to explore this area please do as it’s an amazing view day or night. Congrats to Chris on yet another amazing shot and check out more of his work below.

Christopher M. Georgia Photography: http://www.cmgfoto.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CMGFoto

Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/cmgfoto

Instagram: http://instagram.com/cmgfotodotcom#

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

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmgfoto/

500px: http://500px.com/CMGFoto

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JAXA READIES SECOND MISSION TO LAND ON AN ASTEROID AND RETURN SAMPLES

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Image Credit & Copyright: JAXA of H-IIA F21 (image P100006742).  See below for launch, mission and rocket information to include many links.

Saturday, November 29 at 23:24 EST (04:24 UTC on the 30th) the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), will be launching the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA (H-2A) rocket; Launch Vehicle No. 26 (F26) flying in its 202 configuration (H-IIA 202). It will be carrying the Hayabusa 2 asteroid sample return mission, from Launch Area-Y1 (Also known as Area-Y1 or LA-Y1) at the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC), Japan.

There are 2 active launch pads at Tanegashima; Launch Pad-1 (LP-1) and Launch Pad-2 (LP-2). They are in an area known as the Yoshinobu Launch Complex and designated as Launch Area-Y, Area-Y or LA-Y. They differentiate between pads by placing a (1) or a (2) after the designation, for example if you see basic launch data above you will see the ALOS-2 will be launching from Pad-1. H-IIA rockets launch from Pad-1 while H-IIB rockets launch from Pad-2.

Hayabusa 2 is the successor to the original Hayabusa mission; an Ion powered spacecraft that on November 19 & 25, 2005 landed on asteroid Itokawa, collected trace samples and returned them to Earth on June 13, 2010.

The Hayabusa 2 spacecraft; basically an upgraded Hayabusa 1 spacecraft will reach asteroid (162173) 1999 JU3 in mid-2018, stay for about a year and a half, then depart in late 2019 and return samples back to Earth by the end of 2020. It gets more interesting than that and it involves explosives, beacons, hiding on the opposite side of the asteroid, landing in the exploded crater, collecting samples and returning home. It’s a very ambitious and technical mission and as we progress I will detail the mission much more.

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EXPEDITION 42/43 CREW READY FOR LAUNCH

Expedition 36 Soyuz TMA-09M Rollout

Photo Credit & Copyright: NASA/Bill Ingalls rollout of TMA-09M.  See below for more links than you will need to include where to stream the launch live.

Sunday, November 23rd, at 21:01 UTC (16:01 EST) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan a Soyuz-FG rocket; TMA-15M (Soyuz 41) will be lifting off from Launch Pad 31/Launcher 6 (LC 31/6). TMA-15M will carry three crew members of Expedition 42/43 to the International Space Station (ISS) on a four orbit, 6 hour “fast-track” launch to docking flight which began manned operations on TMA-08M on March 28, 2013.

The crew will dock with the Russian Mini Research module-1 (MRM-1) Rassvet “Dawn” Module on Monday morning (Sunday night in the U.S.) and that capsule will remain there for approximately 6 months as a crew escape vehicle and ultimately a return vehicle.

Docking coverage begins at 21:15 EST with docking scheduled for 21:53 EST.

Hatch opening coverage begins at 23:00 EST with hatch opening scheduled for 23:30.

This flight, like the last will create a bit of history as Samamntha Christoforetti will become the first Italian woman to fly into space and climb onboard station. ESA is marking the event with a special patch and mission name; “FUTURA.”

Want to see the ISS overhead? Here’s everything you need! http://danspace77.com/iss-tracking/

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WITH AWE INSPIRING GREATNESS, COMES ATTENTION

Milky Way over ALMA

Image Credit & Copyright: European Southern Observatory (ESO)/Yuri Beletsky.  I hope you like my quote there around mid-post.  It’s usually something I awkwardly mutter to myself only.

Stand tall, be yourself, be an inspiration, act with a purpose, and respect will be paid to you.  A photographic lesson from the universe to all of us down here scurrying around on spaceship Earth.  To our human senses, standing here we would hear nothing of the high powered conversation going on between these receivers and the Milky Way itself.  The radio ears of humanity eagerly poised to the sky listening, learning as much as we can with what we have.

“May some long traveled light from the universe fall dark and rest in your eyes tonight………..”

This masterful image comes from ESO photographer Yuri Beletsky and it’s of The European Southern Observatory (ESO) Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) which is the world’s most highly advanced radio telescope. It’s comprised of 66 separate antennas which are spaced to a total diameter of 15 kilometers (9.3 mi.) and perched 5,000 meters (16,400 ft.) high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

ESO page for this image: http://www.eso.org/public/images/uhd_beletsky_alma_15/

ESO ALMA homepage: http://www.almaobservatory.org/

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ENCELADUS (ZOOM3-3)

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Image Credit & Copyright: NASA/JPL Cassini Mission.

Well here it is…..this is where our journey to the surface of Saturn’s sixth largest moon Enceladus ends.

This 7.5 mile diameter image of a section of the Baghdad sulcus was taken by the Cassini spacecraft on NOV 21, 2009 from an altitude of about 998 miles.  Just as a note; there have been quite a few passes much closer than this.  One pass brought Cassini to within 14 miles (23 km) of Enceladus’s equator.  A very close pass of Enceladus’s South Polar Region is still to come as I believe it’s scheduled for Oct 28, 2015 at a distance of 30 miles (49 km).

Baghdad sulcus, if you look at the previous image is the second “Tiger Stripe” from the left and it’s also the longest one.  It’s about 80-100 miles (129-161 km) long in total, the ridges rise about 150 meters (492 ft.) high and the fissure itself sinks to a depth of about 250 meters (820 ft.).

The surface detail in these images is just incredible and should never be understated.  You can almost imagine yourself walking around the surface, navigating the terrain and just standing in utter amazement that you’re on another planetary body.  Oh; and you WILL want to look up as if you remember the 1st of these three images, you will have the best view of Saturn you could ever imagine!

CICLOPS Cassini images: http://www.ciclops.org/ir_index_main.php

Cassini Enceladus page: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/moons/enceladus/

Cassini Enceladus image collection: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/?subCategory=22

NASA JPL Photojournal: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/

NASA JPL Space Images Cassini search: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/search_grid.php?sort=views&target=Enceladus

NASA JPL Cassini Enceladus flybys: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/moons/enceladus/index.cfm?pageListID=1

NASA Cassini Enceladus info: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/whycassini/cassini20120326.html

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ENCELAUS (ZOOM 2-3)

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Image Credit & Copyright: NASA/JPL Cassini.

Everyone really seemed to enjoy that image of ice moon Enceladus and Saturn so I think I’m going to turn this series into an impromptu ZOOM series. Sooooo let’s take a closer look at Saturn’s sixth largest moon with this incredible Cassini image taken on July 14, 2005.

Starting at start, Enceladus (a giant in Greek mythology) was discovered on August 28, 1789 by none other than Sir William Herschel while using his 47 inch telescope. It’s a relatively small and reflective moon as its only 310 miles (500 km) in diameter (about 1/7 the diameter of Earth’s Moon) and reflects almost all of the sunlight that strikes it. It orbits Saturn at a distance of about 111,847 mi (180,000 km) within the E-ring and its rotational/orbital characteristics are similar to that of our Moon as it only ever shows one face to Saturn. As I stated in the previous post, it’s believed that the geysers are a major contributor to the very creation of Saturn’s E-ring and it’s also the E-ring that gives Enceladus its bright surface. As this tiny, angry ball of ice orbits through that E-ring, it gets itself covered with snowy ice that it fired off into space through the geysers long ago.

This little moon also has many different terrains, ranging from Ice plains to cratered landscapes to the youngest surface features on the entire surface; the famous Southern hemisphere Tiger Stripes.

The “Tiger Stripes” as they’re unofficially named are four, roughly 80 mile (128.7 km) long fractures in Enceladus’s South Polar Region. These fractures are named (from left to right) Damascus sulcus, Baghdad sulcus, Cairo sulcus and Alexandria sulcus (sulcus is Latin for fissure) and they’re the source of the most infamous of the some 100 geysers discovered on this icy world. The discovery of these geysers have led planetary scientists to believe that deep under the South Pole of Enceladus lies a vast liquid ocean heated by the gravitational tidal forces of Saturn itself.

Want to go in and take an even closer look? Let’s go!

CICLOPS Cassini images: http://www.ciclops.org/ir_index_main.php

Cassini Enceladus page: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/moons/enceladus/

Cassini Enceladus image collection: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/?subCategory=22

NASA JPL Photojournal: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/

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