Boulder Beach


Image credit & copyright: Manish Mamtani.

Still haven’t been to the beautiful Acadia National Park? Well allow me, actually, Manish Mamtani to twist your arm a little harder with this incredible shot from Boulder Beach.  In this image we see our home star city standing tall from light years beyond Maine’s rugged coastline.

The color capture in the Milky Way compliments the color in the foreground rocks and evergreens perfectly in my opinion and the hues of the galaxy can also be seen in the relatively still waters as well. There’s something to be said for well-planned and executed night sky images and their relationship to the foreground in the image.  Sometimes silhouettes are just what the image calls for and sometimes a lit foreground is what sets the image apart from others.  If you’re into imaging the night sky yourself mix it up.  Try some silhouettes, try some light painting, try imaging the foreground with a little moonlight and when you’ve built up the skills to attempt a quality blend (foreground shot in daylight) by all means create that image.

Also, if you go, see if you can find this location as it’s probably not on any maps. Boulder beach is this location’s unofficial name so finding it can add a little excitement and adventure to your trip.

I hope you enjoy this image and as always, check out more of Manish’s work as it’s nothing short of inspiring. That goes for Acadia National Park and Far, uh, Bar Harbor as well.  There’s a reason that the region was chosen for a national park, come experience it for yourself.

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Yosemite by Night


Image credit & copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo.

Few locations on Earth generate a sense of awe like Yosemite National Park does. From the first time your eyes meet Half Dome or El Capitan until your final gaze upon Cathedral Peak or Vernal Falls, this place has it all.  Well, as we can see here by this beautiful image from renowned night sky imager Rogelio Bernal Andreo, the same can be said for this location at night.

In this image the Milky Way galaxy stands tall over the landscape as it casts its reflection onto the calm waters below while the Dark Horse of the galaxy seemingly on a tour of the horizon. An interesting note here is that when you see many night sky reflections in water you may notice that they seem a little more colorful than do the stars in the actual sky.  The primary reason for that is because the stars in the reflection are slightly out of focus, and when stars are slightly out of focus they’re not as pinpoint and their color shows up more instead of the near white point of light.  The next time you image Orion, Albireo or some other region, try a few shots with the focus off a bit and the color may surprise you.

I hope you enjoyed this image and be sure to check out more of Rogelio’s work.

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Chinese Crew to Depart for a Space Station Vacation


Image credit & copyright: Central China Television (CCTV).

Launch Alert!

On Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 23:30 UTC (19:30 EDT) China will launch the beautiful Long March 2F rocket with Shenzhou 11 spacecraft along with two taikonauts from the Jiquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert. Their mission will be to rendezvous, dock with and live onboard the new Tiangong 2 orbital laboratory (still has that new station smell!) for a scheduled 30 days and return to Earth on November 14.  This will be China’s sixth crewed spaceflight.

In usual Chinese fashion, the taikonauts (what we call astronauts and Russia calls cosmonauts) are yet to be named. Their identities will likely be released some time before launch but if history is our guide, then one of the two will have prior spaceflight experience.  The normal three-person crew has been reduced to two in order to accommodate the month long stay onboard Tiangong 2.  Even the exact time of launch is always in question but the above is the currently predicted time and date.

The 47 ft., 20 metric ton, Tiangong 2 “Heavenly Palace” mini space station is a working prototype for the next generation of Chinese space stations and orbits at an altitude of 393 km (244 mi.).

This will be the 13th flight of the Long March 2F (CZ-2F) launch vehicle and the 11th flight of the Shenzhou spacecraft.

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Orbital ATK to Return Antares to Flight


Image credit & copyright: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Launch Alert!: Sunday, October 16 at 20:03 EDT (00:03 UTC on the 17th) Orbital ATK will return their Antares rocket to flight with the launch of OA-5, International Space Station (ISS) resupply mission from Launch Pad-0A (LP-0A) at Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Virginia.


This will be the 6th launch of the Antares rocket and the first launch in its new Antares 230 configuration. This will also be the 6th of 10 contracted launches of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft and the 3rd “enhanced” version of Cygnus.

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El Matador Milky Way


Image credit & copyright: Jack Fusco.

Here’s a beautiful and creative image of the Milky Way from Jack Fusco in a place that you wouldn’t expect to readily see the Milky Way; Los Angeles. Just north of Los Angeles anyway, from one of the more beautiful beaches in the state; El Matador State Beach in Malibu California.  This location along the Robert H. Meyer Memorial Beach just off the Pacific Coast Highway provides a temporary getaway from the lights of the big city in the form of beach cliffs and sea caves to explore.

In this image, the core of the Milky Way is positioned perfectly in our window to the universe. The “Dark Horse” and the massive red supergiant, Antares ride the night sky along the California shores.  I hope you all enjoy this image and go check out more of Jack’s work.

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Ariane 5 VA231 Dual Payload Launch

Decollage Toucan

Image credit & copyright: Arianespace.

LAUNCH ALERT: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 20:30 UTC (16:30 EDT) Arianespace will launch the beautiful and massive heavy lift, Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA231. This mission will deliver a dual payload of Sky Muster 2 & GSAT 18 communication satellites into orbit.

Launch will take place from Launch Site, Ensemble de Lancement Ariane-3 (ELA-3) at the Arianespace Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. This will be the 88th launch of the Ariane 5 and its 5th launch in 2016.

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Hoag’s Object


Image credit & copyright: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Named after its discoverer Arthur Hoag, Hoag’s Object is as strange as it is beautiful. Located (sit down for this one) 600 million light years away, when Arthur Hoag discovered this galaxy in 1950 he wasn’t sure if the faint smudge he was seeing was a peculiar galaxy or a planetary nebula.  Turns out, he had discovered one of the most beautiful and unique galaxies we know of today.

In the main ring of this galaxy, we can see the blue hue of young stars indicating that this galaxy still has some star formation taking place. In the core we see the yellow sign of ancient stars that have made their way to the center.  The usual hypothesis of how these ring galaxies come to be include galactic collisions or now vanished bars, but truth is, we don’t fully understand them yet.

Interestingly enough, if you peer through the ring to about the one o’clock position there appears to be a second ring galaxy (cataloged as SDSS J151713.93+213516.8) tens of millions of light years beyond.

NAME: Hoag’s Object.

WHAT IS IT?: Ring galaxy with another ring galaxy (SDSS J151713.93+213516.8) within it, far beyond.

HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: 600 million years and receding at 7,916 mi. (12,740 k) per second.

HOW BIG IS IT?: Roughly 120,000 light years in diameter.


WHERE IS IT? (General): Constellation Serpens (The Serpent).

WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/Dec J2000): RA 15h 17m 14.4s / Dec +21° 35′ 08″.

Hubblesite News Center page for this image:

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