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Tom's Astronomy Blog

Last Build Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 12:15:52 +0000


Build a TDRS Satellite

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 12:15:52 +0000

Here’s a good project for the younger set. The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) project is dedicated to providing science, technology, engineering, art and math curricula and activities to teachers and students worldwide. In this video, learn how to build your own paper TDRS.

New Zealand Quake of 2016

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 04:29:21 +0000

Our Earth observing satellites are constantly returning data of all types to us. The ARIA project, a wonderful collaboration shows us changes in surface displacements along two axis and it is quite amazing. Mother Earth is powerful! The press release was timely because I was “told” just the other day the solar wind was causing […]

VSS Unity Glide Flight 03

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 04:42:58 +0000

As you probably know Richard Branson offered Stephen Hawking a seat aboard a Virgin Galactic flight to space. Hawking told “Good Morning Britian” he immediately said yes. Hats off to Richard Branson. I think it would be excellent; there is no date set of course. The video above is from one of the latest tests […]

Moving a Boulder on a Comet

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 04:14:21 +0000

Take a look at these images of a boulder that moved on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as seen by the Rosetta spacecraft.  Fascinating stuff.  The boulder clearly moved.  But how? Here’s ESA’s caption (via NASA): A 100 foot-wide (30 meter), 28-million-pound (12.8-million-kilogram) boulder, was found to have moved 460 feet (140 meters) on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the […]

Saturn’s Fine ‘A’ Ring

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 05:05:27 +0000

It would be interesting to know how the different sized constituents of the ring are distributed. I would think they would grade out by size. From Cassini: NASA’s Cassini spacecraft zoomed in on Saturn’s A ring, revealing narrow, detailed structures that get even finer as the cameras’ resolution increases. Even at this level of detail, […]

Think Spring!

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 05:01:43 +0000

Spring is in the air and it just arrived in the Northern Hemisphere!  Yes, at 10:29 UTC / 06:29 EDT the Sun crossed the equator.  In reality the Sun’s rays fall directly on the equator in the journey north – see below (Thanks to Naturally this means the Southern Hemisphere is heading into autumn […]

The Dragon Departs

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 13:00:41 +0000

Here is a replay of the Space X Dragon cargo ship departing the International Space Station. The cargo ship was released at about 05:11 EDT / 09:11 UTC (if my time conversion is correct). The Dragon will NOT burn up in the atmosphere as some ships do. The returning 5,400 + Lb / 2,450 + […]

GRACE is 15

Sat, 18 Mar 2017 12:45:07 +0000

15 years of looking back at us. One of the news stories I remember from back in 2014 was about the water shortage in the US State of California: “NASA Analysis: 11 Trillion Gallons to Replenish California Drought Losses” – 11 Trillion gallons! That 11 trillion gallon deficient is abating thanks to a very wet […]

You’ve Probably Never Seen a Moon Like Pan

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 05:05:41 +0000

Just when you thought a moon was a more-or-less spherical body, we have the Saturn moon Pan.  What in the world universe would create this? From NASA: These two images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft show how the spacecraft’s perspective changed as it passed within 15,300 miles (24,600 kilometers) of Saturn’s moon Pan on March 7, […]

Star Orbiting a Black Hole

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 13:45:21 +0000

Not just orbiting, but very closely orbiting, only about 2.5 Earth-Moon distances or about 961,000 km / 598,000 miles according to astronomical research coming out of Michigan State University.   The MSU press release: Astronomers have found evidence for a star that whips around a black hole about twice an hour. This may be the […]