Milky Way Rising Over the Watchman

Image credit & copyright: Jeremy Johnson.

I hope everyone’s having a great week. Let’s keep it rolling with this incredible image by Jeremy Johnson of the Milky Way rising over the Watchman and Virgin River in the beautiful Zion National Park.  This is another place that I’d love to visit because one after another, the vistas that I’ve seen come out of Zion have been some of the best in the west.

When I image, typically the foreground is more of a silhouette and the night sky seems to jump out of the darkness and although it looks great, it’s more to do with what I have for shooting opportunities, time and foreground options. This image caught here by Jeremy is what we night sky shooters live for because not only do you see the incredible night sky that we all admire, but we also have a calm, yet colorful and busy foreground.  A foreground that you could just imagine standing in awe of day or night and this image brings them both together.

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

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JAXA H-IIA to Launch Michibiki 3 Communication Satellite

Image credit & copyright: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Launch Alert (UPDATE!): Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 01:00 EDT (05:00 UTC), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), will be launching the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA (H-2A) rocket; Launch Vehicle No. 35 (F35) flying in its 204 configuration (H-IIA 202). It will be carrying the Michibiki 3 navigation satellite from Launch Area-Y1 (Also known as Area-Y1 or LA-Y1) at the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC), Japan.

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Passing Time

Image credit & copyright: Tracy Lee.

The Milky Way galaxy; our home star city. If we were to personify this mass of a couple hundred billion stars, it must seem to it that human lives pass in an instant.  When the first animals ventured out of the oceans and onto land some 500 million years ago; it was there.  When the dinosaurs met their end roughly 65 million years ago; it was there.  When our ancestors first looked up into the night, our window to the universe; it was there, seemingly looking back. And it’s likely that the Milky Way will endure long after we and our star system have been extinguished.

You are the universe; scattered and asleep for 13.8 billion years, you’ve been given temporary consciousness with which you have the ability to experience yourself. Look up; see future civilizations in still burning stars.  Look down; feel your past through the Earth beneath your feet.  Know that you have an unknown, yet finite amount of time left to realize what you are before the universe returns you to sleep once again.

Its images like this one captured by Tracy that detail the passage of time beautifully. Did someone live here in this now abandoned location?  If so, did they take an occasional moment to look up into the night and view the same Milky Way that we do today?  That same Milky Way that’s been here through it all.

I hope you all love this image and be sure to check more of Tracy’s incredible work in the links below.






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The Land Down Under; A Perspective Anew

Image credit & copyright: Sean Parker.

Let’s kick our weekend off with a new image from Sean Parker that he captured during a recent trip to Australia. Let me paint you a picture here, not that you need me to for such an amazing location.  Australia is roughly the size of the United States with even more coastline and a population not of 300 million plus, but of just 24 million.  What’s that mean?  Well that equates to a massive land area, beautiful and relatively untouched to travel and explore.  If you haven’t been (this includes myself) then it must go on your destinations list.

In this image, is there anything that you find unusual? Well, you won’t think that it’s unusual if you live in the Southern Hemisphere but yes, the Milky Way is “upside down” relative to how we see it here in the Northern Hemisphere and sometimes, a new perspective is just what the universe ordered.  Have a great weekend and check out more of Sean’s work in the links below.





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Perseids Meteor Shower; Just the Facts!

Image Credit & Copyright: Jakob Knutsson from Falun, Sweden on August 21, 2016. See his links below.

Synopsis: Saturday night, August 12, until pre-dawn twilight on Sunday, August 13 the annual Perseids meteor shower will be at its peak.  As with all meteor showers there’s an estimated viewing window or, “active dates” which in this case run from mid-July to late-August.  Peak viewing however is usually narrowed down to a few days or even a single night through the following morning.

This year’s peak hourly rates will be around 50-75 per hour and you will want to be looking in the general direction of Perseus in the north.  This is a primarily Northern Hemisphere show but the big floodlight in the night sky (the Moon) will be in its waning gibbous phase so it will rise around midnight and that will likely diminish the show somewhat for the best part of the night.

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Spontaneous Drive

Image credit & copyright: Daniel LaShomb.

Summer is busy season at work which means I’m there way too much. It also means that its Milky Way season, so when I had a look outside at 23:00 Tuesday night to see that after three days of clouds and rain it was finally clear, I had to go for a drive. Leaving that late meant that scouting a location pre-dark so I could see was out of the question and it also meant that I couldn’t go too far.  In the end I chose a couple locations about an hour away that I knew had easy to get to shooting spots.  No climbing, no swimming, no bears (hopefully) and no chance of getting lost.  The downfall to that was being so close, there was still quite a bit of light pollution in the area.

The first two images were taken alongside Kezar Lake in Sutton, New Hampshire. One was roughly Southwest facing to get the Milky Way while the other is facing Northwest and as to be expected, there’s no Milky Way in the image.  For whatever reason, I just liked how the image came out.

The third image was about 15 minutes away in New London, New Hampshire where Kidder Brook runs into Little Sunapee Lake. The location was great but as I left late, the Milky Way was already out of position for the shot I was hoping to get.  I’ll have to return here soon.

The fourth and final shot was actually the first stop of the night and it was at Gile Pond in Sutton, New Hampshire. The location and angle was great but the light pollution at the horizon right where the Milky Way meets Earth was pretty bad.

I hope you all enjoy these images, as always feel free to use with credit and I hope you all get out and see our home star city for yourself.


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Next Station Crew is Go for Launch!

Image credit & copyright: RSC Energia.

Launch Alert! Friday, July 28, 2017 at 11:41 EDT (15:41 UTC) a Soyuz-FG rocket; MS-05 (ISS 51S or Soyuz 53) will be lifting off from Launch Pad 1/Launcher 5 (LC 1/5) at the legendary Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Its Soyuz spacecraft (callsign Borei or Boreas) will carry three crew members of Expedition 52/53 to the International Space Station (ISS) on a six-hour, four-orbit “fast-track” launch to docking.   This will be the 5th flight of the upgraded Soyuz which replaced the TMA series.

The crew will dock with the Russian Mini Research module-1 (MRM-1) Rassvet “Dawn” Module later that evening and that capsule will remain there for approximately 6 months as a crew escape vehicle should they need it and ultimately a return vehicle.

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