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Unstrange Phenomena
Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts

03 May 2012

Astronomy: Tonite Trio Saturn, Moon and Star Spica Triple Threat

CREDIT: Starry Night Software
From Denny:  Does this month get any better?  We have a Super Moon on Saturday too.  Tonight, 3 May 2012, is a special treat for skywatchers about an hour after the sun sets.  Look up in the sky and you will get the special eye candy treat to behold a rare beautiful sight: a triple conjunction of the planet Saturn, the bright star Spica and our moon.

02 May 2012

Astronomy: Sky Watch Biggest 2012 Super Moon Saturday

Washington Moonrise
Photo by Tim McCord in Entiat, Washington on 19 March 2011

From Denny:  Look up in the night sky this weekend for the most awesome extra-large and extra-bright moon viewing for the entire year of 2012.  The spectacular Super Moon will be showing off its size and brightness on 5 May 2012 at 11:35PM EDT.  It will swing in closer at 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) from Earth.

Why will the moon appear to be so large and bright?  Turns out this month's full moon also coincides with the time when the moon is closest in its approach to Earth, called the moon's perigee.

Another factor for this Super Moon show is because the perigee in this month will be the closest to Earth of any for this year, varying only by three percent.  How is that so?  According to meteorologist Joe Rao, Space.com's skywatching columnist, "it happens because the moon's orbit is not perfectly circular."

How much brighter will the Super Moon be this month?  Try an extra 16 percent brighter than average.  Now that makes for great skywatching, even with the naked peepers (eyes).

08 February 2012

Awesome Space Station Videos of Glowing Earth Aurora

Göran Strand of Östersund, Sweden, took a panoramic photo of 25 Jan 2012 sights and wrapped it into a 360-degree composition titled "Planet Aurora."

From Denny:  Check out the glowing rim of the Earth as seen from the Space Station.  The sun was highly active exploding out a huge dose of electrically charged particles that spectacularly lit up our Earth's upper atmosphere.

These photos were assembled into a video from NASA's Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth and were taken during the period of 25 - 30 January 2012.  Usually, the photos are taken at the speed of one frame per three seconds instead of one frame per second as done here.  The result is a more leisurely video because it is a bit slower than the true speed of the space station.  It gives you that dreamy "you are here" feeling as you watch it.

01 February 2012

Space: Strange Different Neighborhood Just Outside Our Solar System

IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) satellite
Image via Wikipedia
From Denny:  Just when you think "the grass is greener on the other side," as the proverb goes, well, in our celestial neighborhood, it just might be true.  This week scientists are reporting Life is a lot different and downright strange just next door beyond our solar system.

What they find odd is the amount of oxygen present.  Oxygen is actually dancing around like an all night party at a hip bar inside that solar system.  In fact, there is more oxygen there than in the immediate interstellar space (that vast region between stars).

Scientists have yet to determine the reason for so much oxygen.  The speculation for now is that perhaps oxygen is hidden in dust or ice.

From David McComas, Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio, Texas:  "We discovered this big puzzle, that the matter just outside of our solar system doesn't look like the material inside."

12 December 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse Put On Intense Red Display, Photos: 10 Dec 2011

lunar eclipse

LUNAR ECLIPSE: Five moons, a composite image of a lunar eclipse, showing the path of the moon into and then out of earth's shadow. (Telescope Image).   Source: Supplied

From Denny:  The 10 December 2011 total lunar eclipse was the last total lunar eclipse to be seen until April 2014.  At least we can view a partial lunar eclipse on 4 June 2012.  It was reported to be an intense red, putting on quite a show in the sky.  In fact, the type of red color was considered a rare treat.

Of course, when I went out to view it here in south Louisiana all I got was a completely cloudy sky.  It's time for me to move up to higher ground, like the mountains.  The Gulf Coast just doesn't cut it for proper skygazing. :)

From atmospheric scientist and eclipse expert Richard Keen of the University of Colorado: "During the lunar eclipse, most of the light illuminating the moon passes through the stratosphere, where it is reddened by scattering.  If the stratosphere is loaded with dust from volcanic eruptions, the eclipse will be dark. A clear stratosphere, on the other hand, produces a brighter eclipse."

22 September 2010

Rare: Super Harvest Moon Occurs On Fall Solstice

Check out rare summer-autumn twilight glow that only happens about every 20 years.

From Denny: Check out tonight's Super Harvest Moon! It happens to occur on the Fall Solstice with the setting sun that bringing this summer season to a close. Someone tell that to our Louisiana weather guy still predicting 90-degree heat through the week, well above average temperature for this area.

What's so special about this Super Harvest Moon that has people all gaga-faced is that it will produce a wonderful glow. The glowing light is from the rising moon and setting sun that create this 360-degree summer-autumn twilight glow which only happens rarely.

Make sure to observe the moon during its rise as you will find it appears to be inflated. Astronomers and physicists have yet to figure out why this happens. The low-hanging moon appears to be much wider than it actually is, creating an illusion. We all have heard the old songs about moon magic. Hmmmm... maybe there is something there after all. :)

Keep looking up as the view only gets better. The precise time of the autumnal equinox is 11:09 PM EDT, where summer changes over to fall. The Harvest Moon will be high overhead by this time along with its very visible partner, the planet Jupiter. They will be easy to find as they will be the two brightest in the sky.

Where did the name of Harvest Moon originate? As you can guess it had to do with farmers and agriculture. Before the days of electricity farmers used the full moon to extend their working days beyond the sunset. In fact, this Harvest Moon shone so bright it helped them finish up harvesting so they could get their crops to the market in time.

Usually, the Harvest Moon falls a few days or weeks before or after the fall equinox. It's called the Super Harvest Moon because it falls exactly on the fall equinox. The last time it happened was back in 23 Sept 1991. It won't come this way again until the year 2029. So enjoy it while it lasts!

And check out Jupiter:

*** For more Moon Magic check out these great photos:

Dennys Photo Gallery: Our Mysterious Moon - The moon continues to fascinate humanity - and creative photographers.

Check out how they celebrate the Autumn Festival across Asia for the Harvest Moon:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

*** THANKS for visiting, feel welcome to drop a comment or opinion, enjoy bookmarking this post on your favorite social site, a big shout out to awesome current subscribers – and if you are new to this blog, please subscribe in a reader or by email updates!

*** Come by for a visit and check out my other blogs:

The Social Poets - news, politics
The Soul Calendar - science, astronomy, psychology
Visual Insights - photos, art, music
Beautiful Illustrated Quotations - spiritual quotes, philosophy
Poems From A Spiritual Heart - poetry
The Healing Waters - health news
Dennys People Watching - people in the news
Dennys Food and Recipes
Dennys Funny Quotes - humor

20 August 2010

Check Out NASA Images of Devastating Pakistan Floods

*** These aerial view flood images of the entire country of Pakistan are mind-boggling in their scope of how the monsoon flooding is affecting the lives of millions.

From Denny: The monsoon rains this summer have caused so much flooding that 20 percent of Pakistan's population is adversely affected. The figures are that up to 13 million are affected and about six million are so devastated they are homeless.

Over a billion dollars in aid has been rushed to Pakistan from the world community. America has already given $90 million in aid and has soldiers on the ground delivering aid from the air along with the Pakistani military. An additional amount, up to $150 million in aid, has been increased by President Obama this week.

Tens of thousands of villages in Pakistan are affected by this late July flooding of the monsoon season. It has resulted in thousands of deaths because of unsafe drinking water and the diseases that follow large natural disasters.

Pakistan's floods were brought about by 16 inches of rain that caused the Indus and Kabul rivers to overflow. The overflow has been rushing downstream for weeks, displacing millions of people.

This image is from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft. It was taken over the city of Sukkur, Pakistan, this week along the Indus River. The Indus River is Pakistan's longest river. It snakes vertically from north to south. This river also provides the world's largest canal-based irrigation system.

*** Photo by NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

Enter an unusually large monsoon season into the north. Those floods would move downstream along the Indus and Kabul rivers, rushing toward the only outlet at the Arabian Sea.

The first image here was taken more than a year ago on 31 July 2009, depicting the normal state of the Indus River. The second image is from the Landsat-5 satellite and shows the huge flood waters from this past week.

*** Photo by NASA images courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.

This aerial view is from a U.S. Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter. It depicts extensive flooding in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province this week. This squadron of helicopters in involved in humanitarian flood relief efforts: Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15.

*** Photo by U.S. Marine Corps photo by Capt. Paul Duncan

This photo is what is called a false color image and comes from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument aboard NASA's Terra spacecraft. The areas of farmland and vegetation affected by the flooding are shown in red.

The top image was taken over a year ago, on 8 August 2009. Here the Indus River is flowing through the Sindh Province of Pakistan. Normally, when not a flood season, this river is only about one kilometer wide. The second image was taken on 11 August 2010 and depicts how the river has swollen to an astonishing 23 kilometers wise, even more in some spots.

*** Photo by NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team

The top image is from Landsat-5 satellite, taken over a year ago on 9 August 2009. The second image, taken in mid-August 2010, we can clearly see how the flood waters from northern Pakistan traveled downstream to flood out thousands of acres, down to the city of Khewali in southern Pakistan.

*** Photo by Robert Simmon, based on Landsat 5 data from the USGS Global Visualization Viewer.

With all the news footage we see every day on our TV news, it's hard to remember that the rain began falling in Pakistan on 28 July 2010. That's when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Aqua spacecraft flew over Pakistan for this image. Those thunderstorm clouds ended up dropping more than 16 inches of rain over the region on July 28 and 29. Two days of rain triggered the massive flooding of the Indus and Kabul rivers.

So what's that blue vertical line across this photo? It represents the path of CloudSat at the time the MODIS image was recorded. It was CloudSat that captured the 3D vertical structure of a large thunderstorm cell in the northern section of the country to reveal the heavy precipitation. CloudSat also measured the height of the clouds to be about 15 kilometers.

What's the faint red line represent on the photo? It represents the topography of the area being photographed. The ground echo and CloudSat's signal were severely affected and diminished by the heavy rains and thick clouds. On this image the red line practically disappears until the satellite moves out of the thickest part of the storm and heaviest rains.

*** Photo by NASA/JPL/The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Colorado State University

*** THANKS for visiting, feel welcome to drop a comment or opinion, enjoy bookmarking this post on your favorite social site, a big shout out to awesome current subscribers – and if you are new to this blog, please subscribe in a reader or by email updates!

*** Come by for a visit and check out my other blogs:

The Social Poets - news, politics
The Soul Calendar - science, astronomy, psychology
Visual Insights - photos, art, music
Beautiful Illustrated Quotations - spiritual quotes, philosophy
Poems From A Spiritual Heart - poetry
The Healing Waters - health news
Dennys People Watching - people in the news
Dennys Food and Recipes
Dennys Funny Quotes - humor

27 July 2009

Video: Who Lives in the 11th Dimension? Parallel Universes

From Denny: OK, this was a cool little video of scientists discussing what kind of life we might find in the 11th dimension. Parallel universes are back in fashion again to dream about and wonder. Listen in on their speculations...

"Scientists discuss what sort of life could be found in the eleventh dimension. With talk of world of lightning bolts, electricity, unstable atoms and more, this video from BBC show 'Parallel Universe' is full of mind-bending theories to set your imagination racing."

BBC space Parallel Universe Science Physics Awesome Free Education Video Weird Wow Astronomy Einstein Formulas

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24 July 2009

40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

Men of the Moon Photo by RALPH MORSE / Time Life Pictures / Getty

From Denny: Time magazine has pulled out all the stops to remind us of the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. It's like Kennedy's assassination, people remember where they were that day when they saw the footage. For me, I wasn't in America but in Taiwan, impatient to hear the audio in English translation instead of in Chinese. It still was a thrill for a schoolgirl and watched with other kids whose parents were on government assignment abroad.

Logo Apollo 13 {{he|הלוגו של אפולו 13}} {{pl|L...Apollo 13 Insignia Image via Wikipedia

Time: "Profiles of the Apollo crews, photos, video and an interactive graphic which shows the successful missions that have landed on moon's surface." For all their goodies, especially the interesting profiles, go here.

These are all their featured videos, enjoy!

Video: How Apollo 11 Got to the Moon - When the Apollo 11 mission reached the moon, it was the successful culmination of several missions over nine years

Video: Why America Hasn't Gone Back to the Moon - To accomplish the feat of putting human footprints on the moon, it took lots of money, people, political will -- and a cold war. Can we do it again?

Video: Apollo 11: Final Approach - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin avoid near catastrophe on their final approach to Tranquility Base

Video: Apollo 8: First Broadcast From the Moon - The Apollo 8 mission was a bright spot at the end of an otherwise bleak 1968. America watched in awe as astronauts broadcast live pictures from the moon

Video: Apollo Astronaut Jim Lovell - Astronaut Jim Lovell famously said "Houston, we have a problem." He talks with TIME's Jeffrey Kluger, who co-authored his book about Apollo 13. He also piloted Apollo 8, flew on Gemini 7 and Gemini 12.

Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell, 40th anniversary of moon landing, Jeffrey Kluger, Apollo 13, Neil Armstrong, Apollo program, Apollo 11, Space

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10 July 2009

Astronomy Video: Sipping Coffee from Unusual Mug in Weightless Space

From Denny: Did you see this video yet? An astronaut sips coffee from an unusually designed mug to accommodate weightlessness in space. He explains how the mug works to enable an astronaut to drink coffee without resorting to the old school way of sipping out of a plastic bag. They use this mug design for rocket fuel tanks too. Really interesting; take a listen!

NASA space weightless coffee mug fuel tanks rockets technology astronaut video

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04 July 2009

Astronomy Video 6 - Mysteries of Deep Space: Pulse of Alien Life

From Denny: These are actually 20 minute long episodes discussing what the Hubble Space Telescope has brought us in new information, exploring the revolution in astronomy. This one is the 6th of six videos, enjoy!

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03 July 2009

Astronomy Video 5 - Mysteries of Deep Space: Search for Alien Worlds

From Denny: These are actually 20 minute long episodes discussing what the Hubble Space Telescope has brought us in new information, exploring the revolution in astronomy. This one is the 5th of six videos, enjoy!

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02 July 2009

Astronomy Video 4 - Mysteries of Deep Space: Black Holes

From Denny: These are actually 20 minute long episodes discussing what the Hubble Space Telescope has brought us in new information, exploring the revolution in astronomy. This one is the 4th of six videos, enjoy!

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01 July 2009

Astronomy Video 3 - Mysteries of Deep Space: Exploding Stars

From Denny: These are actually 20 minute long episodes discussing what the Hubble Space Telescope has brought us in new information, exploring the revolution in astronomy. This one is the 3rd of six videos, enjoy!

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30 June 2009

Astronomy Video 2 - Mysteries of Deep Space: To The Edge of Space

From Denny: These are actually 20 minute long episodes discussing what the Hubble Space Telescope has brought us in new information, exploring the revolution in astronomy. This one is the 2nd of six videos, enjoy!

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29 June 2009

Astronomy Video 1 - Mysteries of Deep Space: To The Edge of Time

From Denny: These are actually 20 minute long episodes discussing what the Hubble Space Telescope has brought us in new information, exploring the revolution in astronomy. This one is the 1st of six videos, enjoy!

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13 June 2009

Astronomy: Endeavour Launch Scrubbed!

As the spent upper stage of NASA's Lunar Recon...Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Image via Wikipedia

From Denny: Endeavour's launch has been scrubbed! The STS-127 mission is now off. (After such a good write-up on Thursday, sigh...)

What happened to scrub the launch and mission? While the external tank was being filled with hydrogen, apparently a leak developed. From the mission managers, "the leak occurred at eerily the same time in the tanking process as it did with the STS-119 mission." Who said superstition and science still don't mix? :) Actually, they think it may be due to the cycling of the valves.

They still have a couple of chances to launch before the 17th. Otherwise they will have to stand down, as I mentioned in my Thursday post, in favor of an unmanned launch, LCROSS. LCROSS stands for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Well, I bet there are some seriously ticked off astronauts right now...! Better disappointed than badly injured or dead. The secondary launch windows are still open for Sunday or Monday, weather permitting. Let's hope for the best!

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11 June 2009

Astronomy: Countdown to Space Shuttle Launch

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. - All is quiet on L...Launch Pad 39a Image via Wikipedia

Space Shuttle STS-127 Endeavour's crew in June 2009

From Denny:

How favorable is the launch?

Two days and counting! Good weather by 90% is predicted for the launch on Saturday in Cape Canaveral, Florida at the NASA Kennedy Space Center. Considering I also live on the Gulf of Mexico, I know that is a very favorable weather outlook. There is one concern, lightning, which could be triggered by the slight chance for clouds over the launch pad.
Even if they "happen to delay launch the weather still looks good," says the Shuttle's weather officer Kathy Winters. The shuttle's liftoff is planned for 7:17 AM EDT (1117 GMT) from the launch pad 39a. If they cannot launch Saturday it still looks 90% favorable for the next 24 hours into Sunday and 80% for Monday.

What is the mission of the 7 person Endeavour crew?

The 16-day mission is all about visiting the International Space Station to deliver a porch-like experiment platform to the Japanese Kibo lab as well as other gear.

The mission's schedule will be nocturnal so the crew is sleeping in today, according to the veteran astronaut Mark Polansky. They are scheduled to wake up tonight at 8:15 PM EDT (2415 GMT). The two Canada Space Agency mission specialists, Julie Payette and Chris Cassidy, will conduct practice flights in NASA's T-38 training jets.

In order to install the new piece to the Kibo lab there will be at least five difficult spacewalks and a series of challenging robotic arm operations. They will also install a set of spare equipment for the space station.

Once Endeavour's STS-127 crew is onboard it will be quite crowded quarters as the population will double to thirteen. Mike Moses, the Endeavour's mission management team remarked, "It's like having your family descend on you for the holidays and they're gonna stay for a very long time ... and they're going to bring all their stuff!" Moses expects things to go smoothly as the team was able to train together before launch. He even thinks there "will be unprecedented efficiencies."

If, for some reason, Endeavour is unable to launch it will have to stand down after Monday. Why? There is another launch scheduled nearby at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on June 17th. What is set to launch is an unmanned spacecraft headed toward the moon.

Another window for launch opportunity if this June date is missed for Endeavour is July 11th. So far "all systems are go" as the launch countdown for Saturday began on Wednesday for liftoff.

Written by Denny Lyon

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04 May 2009

Astronomy: New Signs of Hidden Sea on Saturn Moon

From Cosmic Log at MSNBC.com:

"New research suggests the ice volcanoes blasting off Saturn's moon Enceladus are rooted in an underground sea, a finding that raises the prospect for microbial life.

Scientists have been trying to figure out what is happening on Enceladus to generate the icy geysers that have been photographed, analyzed and sampled by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft.

"This debate has been going on for years — whether there has been liquid water, whether there could be an underground ocean," Cassini scientist team member Candice Hansen-Koharcheck told Discovery News.

Astronomers used ground-based telescopes to look for molecules of sodium, which should be present if rock had mingled with liquid water. They didn't find any, silencing proponents making a case for a subsurface sea on Enceladus.
That point is now moot. At a meeting of European geoscientists in Vienna last week, Frank Postberg with Germany's Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics and colleagues explained that the sodium is, in fact, there — it was simply bound in a form (sodium chloride) not detectable by Earth-bound telescopes.

"This is only possible if the plume source is liquid water that is or has been in contact with the rocky material of Enceladus' core," the scientists wrote in the EGU General Assembly's 2009 Geophysical Research Abstracts.

Added Carolyn Porco, head of the Cassini imaging team, "Suffice it to say the prospects of a subsurface sea on Enceladus are excellent."

For the rest of this very interesting article just click on the title link. (Jury duty starts today for me - apologies for not being able to re-write this into a condensed form for you!)

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08 April 2009

Astronomy: Another Astreroid Buzzed Earth Today

From Denny: Apologies to everyone who has been looking for recent brain and astronomy articles from me. Spent the past couple of weeks recovering from allergy season which usually never affects me. Must be the global warming or something equally geeky...

Anyway, I'm getting back to finding more than just videos for you. Though I have recently discovered a real treasure chest of well-produced videos from reputable sources. YouTube may have quantity but it suffers from quality and a plethora of inaccurate, misleading or downright bad information that in good conscience I just can't put up here for the public. I vett everything that goes up here on all my blogs, especially keeping in mind that parents and children are a big part of my audience. Thanks for supporting this blog! Now on to the latest news to almost affect our little planet called Earth.


Ha ha, you missed us!Image by anomalous4 via Flickr

Another so-called small asteroid buzzed us today of April 8th – welcome to the celestial Easter season – apparently, this size of asteroid whizzes past the Earth every few months. For a post by a Canadian astronomer, Nite Sky Girl, go here.

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