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Image credit & copyright: Tyler Sichelski.

I hope everyone is having a great week and if you plan on viewing Monday’s solar eclipse I wish you clear skies! Let’s end the week with this great image by Tyler Sichelski of the Milky Way standing tall over this lonesome stretch of road near Arizona’s Estrella Mountains.

By the position of the Milky Way in this image, I’d venture to guess this image was captured mid-summer as that’s when the Milky Way stands tallest and reveals to us its nucleus or core of the galaxy. Along its length, the light from a hundred million stars is dimmed by the thick band of molecular gas and dust known as the Great Rift. I love the great open horizons of the Southwest United States and if you ever have the opportunity to visit the area, I would recommend it highly.

I hope you all enjoy this image and please visit more of Tyler’s work!

Website: http://www.tyskiphoto.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tyskiphoto

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tyskiphoto/

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

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SpaceX Falcon 9: Formosat 5 Delivery & Booster Landing

Images credit & copyright: SpaceX. Live streaming links and mission information at the bottom. Check back for updates.

LAUNCH ALERT! Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 11:50 PDT/14:50 EDT/18:50 UTC, a SpaceX Falcon 9 (core 1038.1) will rise from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E), carrying the Formosat 5 Earth observation satellite for the Taiwan National Space Organization (NSPO).

This will be SpaceX’s 12th launch of 2017, 40th Falcon 9 flight overall. The parameters of this mission will allow for a first stage booster landing on SpaceX’s West Coast Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) Just Read The Instructions (JRTI).  If successful this will be SpaceX’s 15th landing overall; 9 on drone ships and 6 on land.

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ULA Atlas V to Launch TDRS-M for NASA

Images credit & copyright: United Launch Alliance (ULA).

LAUNCH ALERT: Friday, August 18, 2017 at 08:03 EDT (12:03 UTC) a United Launch Alliance (ULA), Atlas V-401 rocket designated (AV-074) will lift off from Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida carrying the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M) for NASA.

This will be the ULA’s 120th launch, the 72nd launch of the Atlas V, the 38th launch of the Atlas V in the 401 configuration. Launch window for this attempt will be open for 40 minutes.

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he Great American Eclipse is Here!

Illustration credit & copyright: Stephen Mudge.

This is pretty much a repost of the May write up but I want to make sure the information is out there if you haven’t been inundated by it already.  Look all the way to the bottom of this post for all the links you’ll need but if it’s maps you’re looking for, here ya go! https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/best-places-to-view/

So where’s everyone going to be for the Monday, August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse?  We’re less than a week away now so if you don’t have eye protection, filters for your cameras and telescopes or just plans in general, you’re about as close as you can be to missing out on this one so get Googling.  In the end, if you have nothing to view with you can also look online for local eclipse viewing events near you because I’m sure there will be some and they will have a variety of observation options for you. Actually these group events can be pretty awesome as you can usually find eclipse glasses, white light and hydrogen alpha (H-alpha) telescopes, projection viewing in various forms such as telescope projections, reversed binoculars or equipment like the “Sunspotter” and pinhole projectors in various forms.  You can try to make your own pinhole projectors too: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/box-pinhole-projector.html or https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/make-pinhole-projector.html. Have a look around during the eclipse as well, during partial phase, shadows turn into partial eclipses.  From shadows through tree and bush leaves, to interlocked fingers or food strainers/colanders; it’s pretty amazing phenomenon to witness.  Also; I have no idea if this is damaging to your cell phone or not but during every eclipse I see thousands of images that people take with their cell phones during the partial eclipse and although the Sun is still a bright ball of white, the little green/blue lens flare sun still shows up in the image which I guess is pretty cool if you’re willing to risk it.

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Proton Rocket to Deliver Blagovest No. 11L Communication Satellite

Image credit & copyright: Roscosmos/ESA.

Launch Alert! Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 22:00 UTC (18:00 EDT) a Khrunichev (Russian Government) Proton-M rocket will be launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan to deliver the Blagovest No. 11L communication satellite into orbit.

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The Great Dark Horse

Image credit & copyright: Paul Gicewicz.

Let’s start our weekend with this image of the Milky Way over Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington by Paul Gicewicz. This 370 square mile park offers some of the most beautiful sights in the Northwest day and night.  That of course, includes the awe of the universe as every night our window to it opens for but a few hours to offer us a glimpse to where we came from.

I really love this image because as it’s still a wide field capture, it’s not as wide field as most night sky images you see. That slightly zoomed in look offers up the chance to show off some size perspective.  Instead of long tendril of light, we see just a section of the Milky Way looming large, light years beyond the forest in the foreground.  Here you also see an area of the Milky Way known as the Great Dark Horse (Galactic Dark Horse or Dark Horse Nebula)and it doesn’t take too much imagination to locate and the funny thing is, once you do it’s the first thing that jumps out at you thereafter. The largest single section of the horse is its hind legs which are sometimes known as the Pipe Nebula; especially when observing that region specifically. There are actually quite a few cataloged individual nebulae in the horse; more than 20 actually.

I hope you all enjoy this image and as always be sure to check out more of Paul’s work!

Website: https://astropaul.smugmug.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/astro_paul/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/astropaul2016/

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

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SpaceX CRS-12 ISS Resupply & Booster Landing

Images credit & copyright: SpaceX. Live streaming links and mission information at the bottom. Check back for updates.

LAUNCH ALERT! Monday, August 14, 2017 at 12:31 EDT (16:31 UTC), a SpaceX Falcon 9 (core 1039.1) will rise from NASA’s legendary Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) as part of Commercial Resupply Service 12 (CRS-12 or SPX-12) to resupply the International Space Station (ISS). Dragon will be captured and berthed to the nadir (Earth facing) side of Station’s Harmony module (Node-2) where it will remain for approximately one month before returning to Earth.

This will be SpaceX’s 11th launch of 2017, 39th Falcon 9 flight overall and the parameters of this mission will allow for a Return To Landing Site (RTLS) where the first stage of the Falcon 9 will return to, and land back at Cape Canaveral at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) (former LC-13) allowing them to forego landing on their East Coast Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS), Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY).  If successful this will be SpaceX’s 14th landing overall; 8 on drone ships and 6 on land.

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