SpaceX Accomplishes American ‘Science Triumph’ with ‘Mind Blowing’ Historic 2nd Launch and Landing of Used Rocket The ‘used’ SpaceX Falcon 9 launches the SES-10 telecomsat to orbit from historic Launch Complex 39A as it zooms past US Flag by the countdown clock at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 6:27 p.m. EDT on March 30, 2017. Credit: Ken Kremer/Kenkremer.com KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – SpaceX accomplished an American ‘Science Triumph’ with today’s “Mind Blowing” and history making second launch and landing of a previously flown Falcon 9 booster that successfully delivered a massive and powerful Hi Def TV satellite to orbit for telecom giantRead More →

Solar Probe Plus Will ‘Touch’ The Sun Coronal Mass Ejections (aka. solar flares) are a seriously hazardous thing. Whenever the Sun emits a burst of these charged particles, it can play havoc with electrical systems, aircraft and satellites here on Earth. Worse yet is the harm it can inflict on astronauts stationed aboard the ISS, who do not have the protection of Earth’s magnetic field. As such, it is obvious why scientists want to be able to predict these events better. For this reason, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory – a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based non-profit engineering organization – are working toRead More →

The Ever-Working Mars Orbiter Passes 50,000 Orbits Most of us never do one thing 50,000 times in our life. So for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), completing 50,000 orbits around the red planet is a big deal. And, it only took 10 years to do so. The MRO could be called one of NASA’s flagship missions. It’s presence in orbit around Mars has helped open up our understanding of that planet immensely. And it’s done so while providing us a steady stream of eye candy. This recent image from MRO’s HiRise camera shows dune structure inside an impact crater. Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona MRO wasRead More →

SpaceX Attempting Launch of 1st Orbit Class Recycled Rocket March 30 – Watch Live SpaceX Falcon 9 recycled rocket carrying SES-10 telecomsat raised erect atop Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center as seen from inside the pad ahead of liftoff slated for 6:27 p.m on 30 Mar 2017 on world’s first reflight of an orbit class rocket. Credit: Ken Kremer/Kenkremer.com KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – The moment of truth is rapidly approaching as SpaceX attempts the world’s first reflight of an orbital class rocket later today, Thursday, March 30, with the firms Falcon 9 standing proudly at historic launch complex 39A at NASA’sRead More →

How Long is a Year on Uranus? Uranus is a most unusual planet. Aside from being the seventh planet of our Solar System and the third gas giant, it is also classified sometimes as an “ice giant” (along with Neptune). This is because of its peculiar chemical composition, where water and other volatiles (i.e. ammonia, methane, and other hydrocarbons) in its atmosphere are compressed to the point where they become solid. In addition to that, it also has a very long orbital period. Basically, it takes Uranus a little over 84 Earth years to complete a single orbit of the Sun. What this means isRead More →

SES ComSat Boss Proclaims High ‘Confidence’ in Bold SpaceX 1st Flight-Proven Rocket Launch- March 30 The SES-10 satellite was manufactured by Airbus Defence & Space in and is based on the Eurostar E3000 platform. It will operate in geostationary orbit.Credit: SES/Airbus CAPE CANAVERAL/KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – As the hours tick down to the history making liftoff of the world’s first recycled rocket, the commercial customer SES is proclaiming high “confidence” in the flight worthiness of the “Flight-Proven” SpaceX Falcon 9 booster that will blastoff with a massive Hi-Def TV satellite for telecom giant SES this Thursday, Chief Technology Officer Martin Halliwell told Universe TodayRead More →

Finite Light — Why We Always Look Back In Time Beads of rainwater on a poplar leaf act like lenses, focusing light and enlarging the leaf’s network of veins. Moving at 186,000 miles per second, light from the leaf arrives at your eye 0.5 nanosecond later. A blink of an eye takes 600,000 times as much time! Credit: Bob King My attention was focused on beaded water on a poplar leaf. How gemmy and bursting with the morning’s sunlight. I moved closer, removed my glasses and noticed that each drop magnified a little patch of veins that thread and support the leaf. Focusing the camera lens, I wondered howRead More →

Watch Rotating Horns of Venus at Dawn Venus just 10.5 hours before inferior conjunction on March 25th. Image credit and copyright: Shahrin Ahmad (@Shahgazer) Have you seen it yet? An old friend greeted us on an early morning run yesterday as we could easily spy brilliant Venus in the dawn, just three days after inferior conjunction this past Saturday on March 25th. This was an especially wide pass, as the planet crossed just over eight degrees (that’s 16 Full Moon diameters!) north of the Sun. We once managed to see Venus with the unaided eye on the very day of inferior conjunction back in 1998 fromRead More →

Take a Peek Inside Blue Origin’s New Shepard Crew Capsule Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos provided a sneak peek today into the interior of the New Shepard crew capsule, the suborbital vehicle for space tourism. He released a few images which illustrate what the flight experience might be like on board. “Our New Shepard flight test program is focused on demonstrating the performance and robustness of the system,” Bezos said via an email release. “In parallel, we’ve been designing the capsule interior with an eye toward precision engineering, safety, and comfort.” Take a look: A view of the interior of the New Shepard crew capsuleRead More →

How Long is a Year on Pluto? Discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, Pluto was once thought to be the ninth and outermost planet of the Solar System. However, due to the formal definition adopted in 2006 at the 26th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), Pluto ceased being the ninth planet of the Solar System and has become alternately known as a “Dwarf Planet”, “Plutiod”, Trans-Neptunian Object (TNO) and Kuiper Belt Object (KBO). Despite this change of designation, Pluto remains one of the most fascinating celestial bodies known to astronomers. In addition to having a very distant orbit around the Sun (andRead More →

What is the Color of Pluto? When Pluto was first discovered by Clybe Tombaugh in 1930, astronomers believed that they had found the ninth and outermost planet of the Solar System. In the decades that followed, what little we were able to learn about this distant world was the product of surveys conducted using Earth-based telescopes. Throughout this period, astronomers believed that Pluto was a dirty brown color. In recent years, thanks to improved observations and the New Horizons mission, we have finally managed to obtain a clear picture of what Pluto looks like. In addition to information about its surface features, composition and tenuousRead More →

What is an Astronomical Unit? When it comes to dealing with the cosmos, we humans like to couch things in familiar terms. When examining exoplanets, we classify them based on their similarities to the planets in our own Solar System – i.e. terrestrial, gas giant, Earth-size, Jupiter-sized, Neptune-sized, etc. And when measuring astronomical distances, we do much the same. For instance, one of the most commonly used means of measuring distances across space is known as an Astronomical Unit (AU). Based on the distance between the Earth and the Sun, this unit allows astronomers to characterize the vast distances between the Solar planets and theRead More →

Successful HotFire Test Sets SpaceX on Course for Historic Relaunch of 1st ‘Flight-Proven’ Rocket SpaceX conducts successful static hot fire test of 1st previously flown Falcon 9 booster atop Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on 27 Mar. 2017 as seen from Space View Park, Titusville, FL. History making launch of first recycled rocket is slated for 30 March 2017 with SES-10 telecommunications comsat. Credit: Ken Kremer/Kenkremer.com SPACE VIEW PARK/KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – This afternoons (Mar. 27) successful hotfire test of a recycled Falcon 9 booster at the Kennedy Space Center sets SpaceX on course for a rendezvous with history involving theRead More →

Messier 38 – The Starfish Cluster Welcome back to Messier Monday! In our ongoing tribute to the great Tammy Plotner, we take a look at the Starfish Cluster, otherwise known as Messier 38. Enjoy! During the 18th century, famed French astronomer Charles Messier noted the presence of several “nebulous objects” in the night sky. Having originally mistaken them for comets, he began compiling a list of them so that others would not make the same mistake he did. In time, this list (known as the Messier Catalog) would come to include 100 of the most fabulous objects in the night sky. One of these objectsRead More →

Carnival of Space #502 This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Allen Versfeld at his Urban Astronomer blog. Click here to read Carnival of Space #502. And if you’re interested in looking back, here’s an archive to the past Carnivals of Space. If you’ve got a space-related blog, you should really join the carnival. Just email an entry to carnivalofspace@gmail.com, and the next host will link to it. It will help get awareness out there about your writing, help you meet others in the space community – and community is what blogging is all about. And if you really want to help out, signRead More →

Stars Born in Winds from Supermassive Black Holes Observations using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have revealed stars forming within powerful outflows of material blasted out from supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies. These are the first confirmed observations of stars forming in this kind of extreme environment. The discovery has many consequences for understanding galaxy properties and evolution. The results are published in the journal Nature. ESO News Feed Go to Source Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

NASA Test Fires New Engine Controlling ‘Brain’ for First SLS MegaRocket Mission NASA engineers conduct a test of the first RS-25 engine controller that will be used on an actual Space Launch System flight on the A-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center on March 23, 2017. The RS-25 engine, with the flight controller, was test fired for a full-duration 500 seconds. Credits: NASA/SSC Engineers carried out a critical hot fire engine test firing with the first new engine controlling ‘brain’ that will command the shuttle-era liquid fueled engines powering the inaugural mission of NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket. The first integrated SLSRead More →

See Mercury At Dusk, New Comet Lovejoy At Dawn Mercury requests the company of your gaze now through the beginning of April, when it shines near Mars low in the west after sunset. Created with Stellarium March has been a busy month for planet and comet watchers. Lots of action. Venus, the planet that’s captured our attention at dusk in the west for months, is in inferior conjunction with the Sun today. Watch for it to rise before the Sun in the eastern sky at dawn in about a week. Mercury like Venus and the Moon shows phases when viewed through a telescope. Right now, theRead More →