Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Sky at night – in 3D

The Sky at Night Magazine (which tweets here) has come out with a new special edition. This one features one hundred 3D images of space and includes 3D glasses for easy viewing. It is out now and can be got from WH Smiths or direct from the BBC.


On Ice at Mars

The institution in charge of the recent mapping of subsurface ice on Mars, the University of Arizona, has put their lead man in front of the cameras to chat a bit about the discovery. Go here to see the quick interview.

Soyuz launch tomorrow

The rocket and capsule launch that will lead to the changeover from the Expedition 20 to the Expedition 21 crew aboard the International Space Station will happen tomorrow at 3:14am EDT, 8:14am BST. The event will be broadcast on NASA TV.

Tweetup with Astro_Mike

@Astro_Mike was the twitter account of astronaut Mike Massimino as he participated in mission STS-125, the Hubble Servicing Mission Four. He is also a professor at the Rice University and will be giving a lecture there tomorrow to which he has issued an open call for his twitter followers to come to. The lecture will be at 4pm EDT (9pm BST) and will be broadcast live over the web at this address, as well as being archived there for later viewing.

Telescopes from the stars to the stars

A couple of Galileoscopes, the low cost relatively high quality telescopes created for the International Year of Astronomy, 2009, have been signed by some celebrities and are available to bid for on eBay.

One has been signed by Battlestar Galactica star Felicia Day and the other signed by part of the Ghost Hunters International cast. For every fifteen dollars of the winning bid, a Galileoscope will be donated to a schoolchild. The telescopes offer views at 25 and 50x magnification of the sort of things Galileo would’ve seen (though with much better optical quality).

Both auctions will run until the 1st of October.

IYA2009 and Venice

UNESCO has created a new portal for International Year of Astronomy, 2009 events in and around Venice. Dip your toe in here.

SMART-1 eyes LCROSS strike site

via Astronomy Now.

An image from the ESA lunar probe SMART-1 has been released showing the crater that marks the final destination for the LCROSS mission. LCROSS will strike the crater Cabeus A at 11:30am UT on October 9th. The hope is that the impact of the upper stage of the Centaur rocket that launched it and LRO will vapourise ice held in the semi-permanent shaded areas of the crater floor and that LCROSS itself will be able to directly sample that ice when flying through the cloud. The low altitude LCROSS requires to do this means that it too will smash into the surface, generating a dust cloud. Time has been booked on ground and space based professional and amateur telescopes at the time of the impact.

The recent detection of water by Chandrayaan-1 and maps of hydrogen concentrations on the surface by LRO point towards a high likelihood of success in the mission.

UPDATE: NASA have announced that they’ve changed the target crater from Cabeus A to the larger nearby Cabeus. NASA have stated that their LRO probe and JAXA’s Kaguya probe indicate there’s a better chance of ice in the larger crater. The discovery of a valley creating a break in the high perimeter crater wall means the ejecta will still be illuminated enough to be seen from Earth (there will be higher contrast, but the cloud must get higher for this to happen). Is it something ESA said?