Apollo One Remembered “Ad Astra Per Aspera”

Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee at LC-34 on January 17, 1967

Images & video credit & copyright: NASA. Many images and videos below.

Ad Astra Per Aspera, or as it’s more commonly spoken, Per Aspera Ad Astra; “Through Hardship to the Stars.”

“If we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.” – Virgil I. “GUS” Grissom after the Gemini 3 mission in 1965.

Most enter the final week of January as any other. Days begin to grow longer as the chill of winter brings its worst, while thoughts of spring begin to thaw our minds so long as we can dodge a few more winter storms. There are many of us however, that view this 6 day period in an entirely different light. This is a week that we remember NASA’s darkest week and the terrible loss suffered through the years. It’s a week that, over the course of a couple generations witnessed 17 Astronauts meet their ends. I will, in the next few days do my best to help us all remember them, how much they meant to the industry, and how much they meant to those of us who remember them every day even though we had never met them.

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Total Lunar Eclipse Tomorrow Night!

Images and illustrations credit & copyright: Eclipse images are mine and illustrations are via Sky & Telescope.

Head’s up! Sunday, January 20, (tomorrow night) and into the morning of Monday, January 21, 2019, the Earth will pass directly between the Sun and Moon, creating a total lunar eclipse with a totality of 63 minutes. This total lunar eclipse will be visible throughout the America’s (North and South) as well as Iceland, Greenland, Western Europe and Western Africa.

What is a lunar eclipse?

Typically there are two lunar and two solar eclipses every year to varying degrees. Sometimes it’s a partial and sometimes it’s a total with the Sun having a couple more possibilities like the annular and hybrid eclipses in there as well. When one happens, the other will take place two weeks later. Unlike a solar eclipse where the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, casting the Moon’s shadow upon us, a lunar eclipse is where the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon, casting the Earth’s shadow upon the Moon.

The shadow of the Earth has a couple different conical regions that extend from the earth outward and are set up in a target-like fashion. It has the outer shadow cone; the penumbra and the inner shadow cone; the umbra. When the Moon wanders into the Penumbra (outer region) somewhere on the Earth will witness a partial lunar eclipse. If all the Moon does is enter and exit through the penumbra, the entire event will just be a partial lunar eclipse. However if the Moon’s path takes it through the center of Earth’s shadow it will encounter the umbra and thus somewhere on Earth will witness a total lunar eclipse. A total lunar eclipse always starts and ends with a partial eclipse.

Not anywhere near as dramatic as a total solar eclipse, the total lunar eclipse has some benefits of its own. Where a total solar eclipse can only be seen along a relatively narrow path called the “Path of Totality,” a total lunar eclipse is usually witnessed by half the planet. Also a total solar eclipse’s totality lasts only a few minutes while a lunar eclipse’s totality can potentially last more than two hours.

Why does a total lunar eclipse appear red/orange?

When the Earth gets between the Sun and the Moon, all direct light from the Sun is blocked from reaching the Moon. The only light that reaches the lunar surface is sunlight that’s been refracted through Earth’s atmosphere. This process scatters blue light away (Rayleigh scattering) leaving only red wavelengths available to make their way to the Moon.

What will I need to see this event?

Not much. The only requirements are clear skies and to be in an area where the eclipse is visible from. Even if it’s cloudy, if you can catch a break during totality you can still see it because it’s a fairly long lasting event. If you have a telescope and or binoculars, great have at it but you don’t need it. You also don’t need dark skies because you’re looking at the brightest object on the night sky, the full moon. So grab a blanket, some friends and go witness a beautiful celestial event.

My 2019 eclipse page: https://danspace77.com/2019-eclipse-schedule/

Time and Date (use the bar about half way down on the right to find your specific times): https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2019-january-21

Sky & Telescope page for this event: https://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/solar-and-lunar-eclipses-in-2019/

Dominic Ford’s “In The Sky” page for this event: https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20190121_09_100

Fred Espenak’s “EclipseWise” page for this event: http://eclipsewise.com/lunar/LEprime/2001-2100/LE2019Jan21Tprime.html

Apogee & Perigee Calculator: https://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html

The Danjon Scale of Lunar Eclipse Color: https://perfectastronomy.com/danjon-scale/

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Milky Way at Crater Lake

Image credit & copyright: Rick Parchen.

I hope that everyone’s having a great weekend and let’s keep it rolling with this image of the Milky Way over Oregon’s Crater Lake as seen by Rick Parchen.

A quick bit of information on Crater Lake http://www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm; (formerly Mount Mazama) erupted about 7700 years ago creating the beautiful vista seen today. Its crater is 2148 ft. deep (though filled to a maximum of 1943 ft. with water), and about six miles long at its widest point. An interesting fact is that there are no rivers in or out of the caldera lake and its estimated that its water contained within comes only from snow melt and precipitation and the rate of evaporation would about 250 years to fully evaporate all the water out of the lake should all intake cease.

While evaporation takes place, new water is being rained, snowed and melted in to create a fresh supply. Two small islands stand out of the water’s surface, “Wizard Island” (the prominent cinder cone island) as well as “Phantom Ship.” Another interesting feature is the “Old Man of the Lake;” a tree stump (Formerly a full sized tree) that’s been bobbing up and down in place for over a century. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, the second deepest lake in North America (after Great Slave Lake in Canada) and 7th deepest lake in the world.

Rick Parchen Photography: http://www.parchenphotography.com/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/parchenphotography

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

500px: https://500px.com/ParchenPhotography

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/54876374@N00/

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SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Goes Vertical at LC-39A

Images credit & copyright: SpaceX.

Things are heating up at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) as on the morning of Thursday, January 3, SpaceX rolled out their beautiful, long awaited Crew Dragon (Dragon 2) to Launch Complex 39A on Falcon 9 booster B1051.1. That afternoon, Dragon D2-1 (C202) and rocket went vertical, creating a beautiful, thought provoking display. Demonstration Mission 1 (DM-1) is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, January 17 with updates to come as we close in. This first flight will be an uncrewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS) with DM-2 possibly being crewed if all goes well with DM-1 and the in-flight abort test.

SpaceX DM-1 Campaign Thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/a65clm/dm1_launch_campaign_thread/

SpaceX:

SpaceX: http://www.spacex.com/

Elon Musk Twitter: https://twitter.com/elonmusk

Elon Musk Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elonmusk

SpaceX Twitter: https://twitter.com/SpaceX

SpaceX Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/spacex

SpaceX YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/spacexchannel

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

SpaceX Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spacexphotos

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Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 6217

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

This incredible image of barred spiral galaxy NGC 6217 was the first image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope after the completion of STS-125 Atlantis’s Hubble Servicing Mission 4 (HSM4). This galaxy at 44,000 light years in diameter is less than half the diameter of the Milky Way and resides 60 million years into the past in the constellation Ursa Minor.

This city is very much alive with star formation as can be seen in the pink regions, where newborn stars are coming to life all throughout the two major arms. Those arms are also alive with young bright blue stars creating an amazing color contrast. At the nucleus the telltale sign of yellow ancient stars glows, showing traces of gas and dust lanes.

Name: NGC 6217.

What is it?: Barred Spiral Galaxy.

How big is it?: 44,000 light years in diameter.

How far away is it?: 60 million light years.

Apparent magnitude: 11.2.

Where is it (general)?: Constellation Ursa Minor and the asterism of the Little Dipper.

Where is it (exact RA/Dec J2000): RA 16h 32m 39s.2 / DEC +78° 11′ 53″.

NASA Hubblesite News Center page for this image: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2009/25/image/bc/

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SpaceX Iridium 8 from CA

Images credit & copyright: SpaceX and NASA. Press kit usually comes out a day before launch.

LAUNCH ALERT! Friday, January 11, 2019 at 07:31 PST (10:31 EST & 15:31 UTC) a SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 (core B1049.2) will be launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E or “Slick” 4E) to deliver ten Iridium satellites (NEXT 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 175, 176, 180) into a polar orbit for the Iridium Corporation.

Stats: This will be SpaceX’s 1st launch of 2019 and the 73rd SpaceX flight overall (5 Falcon 1, 67 Falcon 9, 1 Falcon Heavy). Mission parameters will allow for a landing on SpaceX’s West Coast Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ships (ASDS) “Just Read The Instructions (JRTI)” which will bring to total successful landings to 33; 21 on drone ships and 12 on land.

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January’s Total Lunar Eclipse

Images and illustrations credit & copyright: Eclipse images are mine and illustrations are via Sky & Telescope.

Head’s up! On Sunday, January 20, and into the morning of Monday, January 21, 2019, the Earth will pass directly between the Sun and Moon, creating a total lunar eclipse with a totality of 63 minutes. This total lunar eclipse will be visible throughout the America’s (North and South) as well as Iceland, Greenland, Western Europe and Western Africa.

Sky & Telescope

Sky & Telescope

What is a lunar eclipse?

Typically there are two lunar and two solar eclipses every year to varying degrees. Sometimes it’s a partial and sometimes it’s a total with the Sun having a couple more possibilities like the annular and hybrid eclipses in there as well. When one happens, the other will take place two weeks later. Unlike a solar eclipse where the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, casting the Moon’s shadow upon us, a lunar eclipse is where the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon, casting the Earth’s shadow upon the Moon.

The shadow of the Earth has a couple different conical regions that extend from the earth outward and are set up in a target-like fashion. It has the outer shadow cone; the penumbra and the inner shadow cone; the umbra. When the Moon wanders into the Penumbra (outer region) somewhere on the Earth will witness a partial lunar eclipse. If all the Moon does is enter and exit through the penumbra, the entire event will just be a partial lunar eclipse. However if the Moon’s path takes it through the center of Earth’s shadow it will encounter the umbra and thus somewhere on Earth will witness a total lunar eclipse. A total lunar eclipse always starts and ends with a partial eclipse.

Not anywhere near as dramatic as a total solar eclipse, the total lunar eclipse has some benefits of its own. Where a total solar eclipse can only be seen along a relatively narrow path called the “Path of Totality,” a total lunar eclipse is usually witnessed by half the planet. Also a total solar eclipse’s totality lasts only a few minutes while a lunar eclipse’s totality can potentially last more than two hours.

Sky & Telescope

What will I need to see this event?

Not much. The only requirements are clear skies and to be in an area where the eclipse is visible from. Even if it’s cloudy, if you can catch a break during totality you can still see it because it’s a fairly long lasting event. If you have a telescope and or binoculars, great have at it but you don’t need it. You also don’t need dark skies because you’re looking at the brightest object on the night sky, the full moon. So grab a blanket, some friends and go witness a beautiful celestial event.

My 2019 eclipse page: https://danspace77.com/2019-eclipse-schedule/

Time and Date (use the bar about half way down on the right to find your specific times): https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2019-january-21

Sky & Telescope page for this event: https://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/solar-and-lunar-eclipses-in-2019/

Dominic Ford’s “In The Sky” page for this event: https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20190121_09_100

Fred Espenak’s “EclipseWise” page for this event: http://eclipsewise.com/lunar/LEprime/2001-2100/LE2019Jan21Tprime.html

Apogee & Perigee Calculator: https://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html

The Danjon Scale of Lunar Eclipse Color: https://perfectastronomy.com/danjon-scale/

 

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