Bad Astronomy 9 Jun 2009, 18:00 UTC As mentioned last week, on Wednesday the Japanese lunar spacecraft Kaguya will impact the Moon. I don’t know if the impact will be visible using small (meaning maybe 40cm) telescopes, but if you have something like that with a CCD or video camera, you should give it a try! The Planetary Society has some details if you wish to participate in observing this event. Remember, the impact is is supposed to happen around 18:26 GMT Wednesday night. I’m expecting to be socked in with clouds tomorrow night, but I don’t have the right equipment anyway. But we’ll see… I bet come Thursday morning the web will be buzzing with images! If you are able to get something interesting, post them at the Bad Astronomy Universe Today forum, and link to them in the comments here. Or, of course, if you have Celestron equipment, submit them to the astrophotography contest!
IYA2009 Updates 9 Jun 2009, 17:07 UTC AAS PRESS CONFERENCE, TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 2009, 10:30 a.m. PDT: INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF ASTRONOMY 2009 US UPDATE Information on how off-site reporters can participate in the briefing via Internet. Internet Slidecast: Point your Web browser to http://aas214.showmaestro.com/press/
Bad Astronomy 9 Jun 2009, 14:30 UTC Yesterday, The Boston Globe’s feature The Big Picture features shots from the Mercury MESSENGER probe. Regular readers know I love this little spacecraft, and have written about it many times. TBP has some great images, including this one: That’s Kuiper crater on Mercury, and if you showed it to me with no advance notice I’d swear it was Tycho on our own Moon. Mercury and the Moon are very similar in many ways, in fact, but Mercury is still holding back a lot of secrets from us.
collectSPACE.com: Space History News 9 Jun 2009, 13:00 UTC Ever since Neil Armstrong took his "one giant leap" onto the Moon's surface forty years ago this July, the world has never gotten a good look at him during that event. Now, in a new book, a new image of the Apollo astronaut brings readers face-to-face with Neil Armstrong on the Moon.
Lunar Networks 9 Jun 2009, 08:31 UTC From Chuck Wood (LOPD)"If you live in Asia and Australia you have a rare opportunity for an observing adventure tomorrow. On June 10th at 18:30 UT the Japanese lunar orbiter Kaguya (originally called Selene) will end its two years of science with a final impact experiment."Read all about HERE.
Space Fellowship 9 Jun 2009, 08:23 UTC (NASA) - After an off-duty weekend, the International Space Station’s Expedition 20 crew was back in action Monday with tasks highlighted by Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Michael Barratt preparing for their upcoming “internal” spacewalk. Padalka and Barratt replaced batteries in their Russian Orlan spacesuits and checked out internal airlock systems in advance of [...]
Space Fellowship 9 Jun 2009, 08:21 UTC (NASA) - Gamma-ray bursts are the universe’s biggest explosions, capable of producing so much light that ground-based telescopes easily detect it billions of light-years away. Yet, for more than a decade, astronomers have puzzled over the nature of so-called dark bursts, which produce gamma rays and X-rays but little or no visible light. They make [...]
Cosmic Diary 9 Jun 2009, 07:48 UTC A lot of good stuff came out of the week I spent with Cedric. We’re on track to release a colossal amount of V.S.O.P. data to the public before the end of the year. What is V.S.O.P?? It stands for “Variable Stars One-shot Project” and it’s a project I started with friends and colleagues back in Chile some years ago. The idea is to use all the little time intervals where the telescopes of ESO or Gemini are not doing anything else - be it because clouds are passing by, the seeing got bad, or they’re waiting to time the next observation just right - to take quick spectra of unstudied variable stars. These spectra are then getting analyzed by our automatic software and the results posted on the project wiki along with the original data. The first data release took place in 2007 and we’re now getting ready for the second release (called DR2). What good all this data can do will be the subject of a future post.