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Tom's Astronomy Blog

Last Build Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2017 04:57:18 +0000


NGC 6753 From Hubble

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 04:57:18 +0000

Galaxy NGC 6753, imaged here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is a whirl of color — the bursts of blue throughout the spiral arms are regions filled with young stars glowing brightly in ultraviolet light, while redder areas are filled with older stars emitting in the cooler near-infrared. But there is more in this […]

NROL-42 Launch – Replay

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 10:10:32 +0000

Early this morning the US launched a satellite, NROL-42, from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard an Atlas V rocket. The satellite and what it does is classified so is not public. What was public was the launch time. I’m not one for looking at the comments in most videos, but from the ones I did […]

Arecibo Observatory Damage

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 11:30:59 +0000

The Arecibo Observatory was damaged, along with the rest of Puerto Rico, by Hurricane Maria. The National Geographic is reporting everyone is safe and that’s excellent! Initial reports indicated significant damage including: “Because of the storm, a 96-foot line feed antenna—which helps focus, receive, and transmit radio waves—broke in half and fell about 500 feet […]

September Equinox is Here!

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:02:12 +0000

Today is the September Equinox, that point where the the plane of Earths center of the Sun. Spring in the southern hemisphere and Autumn in the north. Equinox time is 20:02 UT / 16:02 ET. I’m not a big fan of the September Equinox. Shorter and colder days ahead.

Slingshot Day is Here

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 04:17:05 +0000

And so is the September Equinox! Today OSIRIS-REx will fly to around 11,000 miles / 17,702 km to the Earth at 16:50 UT / 12:50 ET and will get a gravity assist to slingshot it to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu.

Hubble Sees a Binary Asteroid

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 11:50:56 +0000

It’s an asteroid pair and also classified as a main belt comet. Very nice work! NASA — Hubble was used to image the asteroid, designated 300163 (2006 VW139), in September 2016 just before the asteroid made its closest approach to the Sun. Hubble’s crisp images revealed that it was actually not one, but two asteroids […]

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Hurricane Maria Hits Puerto Rico

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 20:57:34 +0000

Puerto Rico has been run-over by a very powerful hurricane. Hurricane Maria hit the island head on with winds at 134 knots. Reports are saying power is out everywhere and there is widespread damage.   This was a devastating hit.   Hopefully everyone on the island is safe. No word yet on how the Arecibo […]

Heat Shield Testing

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 04:29:56 +0000

I am trying to figure out how they keep the thermocouple wires to keep from burning off. NASA – NASA heat shield material that could one day be used on an inflatable aeroshell during atmospheric entry on Mars recently underwent testing at Boeing’s Large Core Arc Tunnel in St. Louis, Missouri. The inflatable aeroshell, using […]

Last Light for Cassini

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 11:21:06 +0000

NASA —  This monochrome view is the last image taken by the imaging cameras on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. It looks toward the planet’s night side, lit by reflected light from the rings, and shows the location at which the spacecraft would enter the planet’s atmosphere hours later. A natural color view, created using images taken […]

Vera Rubin Ridge

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 04:05:42 +0000

NASA – This view of “Vera Rubin Ridge” from the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows multiple sedimentary layers and fracture-filling deposits of minerals. Buried layers of what is now a ridge became fractured, and the fractures were filled with mineral deposits precipitated from underground fluids that moved through the […]