Busy Days for the ISS

Above is a NASA TV live feed Here’s the replay of the Progress 66 launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Launch time is 00:58 EST / 05:58 UTC. I do not know if this is actually going to be broadcast or not but the feed will be up just in case. The Progress is a cargo ship loaded with supplies for the ISS and crews.

Yes, the Space X Dragon is also a cargo ship loaded with supplies just launched and will be grappled by astronauts Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Shane Kimbrough of NASA using the robotic arm on the ISS. Grapple time is 04:30 EST / 09:30 UTC and IS going to be carried live by NASA so I’ll leave the feed up.

BUT WAIT – what about the Dragon grapple? There was an anomaly, Dragon’s onboard computers triggered the abort after recognizing an incorrect value in navigational data about the location of Dragon relative to the space station. Flight controllers immediately began planning for a second rendezvous attempt on Thursday, Feb. 23. — NASA. All does seem well with the spacecraft and there should be no problems with tomorrow’s grapple. The grapple will occur tomorrow morning at about 11:00 UTC / 6:00 EST..

The Progress will arrive at the ISS on 24 February 2017 at 08:34 UTC / 03:34 EST.

Progress 66 to Launch

There will be a launch early tomorrow morning to the ISS.  The Progress 66 will launch from the  Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 05:58 UTC / 12:58 EST.

I do not know if the launch will be carried live by NASA, I am going to guess it is so there will be a live link up.  I’d put it up anyway for the arrival of the Space X Dragon also tomorrow morning.

BTW:  There will be some news coming out about a star apparently with SEVEN planets in the Goldilocks zone!!!  The details are embargoed until after tomorrow morning.



Cassini took this image of the crater Creusa on the Saturn moon Dione on 26 November 2016 with a nice angle to show the crater nicely.

I changed the image a little to bring out some of the details, the original version can be seen here.

NASA’s caption:
When viewed from a distance with the sun directly behind Cassini, the larger, brighter craters really stand out on moons like Dione.

Among these larger craters, some leave bright ray patterns across the moon, calling attention to their existence and to the violence of their creation.

The rayed crater seen here on Dione (698 miles, or 1,123 kilometers across) is named Creusa. The rays are brighter material blasted out by the impact that formed the crater. Scientists can use the patterns of ejecta (like these rays), to help determine the order of geological events on a moon’s surface by examining which features lie on top of other features.

This view looks toward the Saturn-facing side of Dione. North on Dione is up and rotated 31 degrees to the right. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 26, 2016 using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 727 nanometers.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 350,000 miles (560,000 kilometers) from Dione. Image scale is 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) per pixel.

Images: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

AG Carinae


Dazzling isn’t it? If the name AG Carinae rings a bell, it could be because of this famous star: Eta Carinae.

Thanks to: ESA/Hubble & NASA

ESA’s caption:

This luminous star, AG Carinae, is losing mass at a phenomenal rate. Its powerful winds reach up to seven million km/hour, and exert enormous pressure on the clouds of material already expelled by the star.

These incredible winds have already cleared a region immediately around the star, and sculpted the material further away into the pattern observed in this Hubble Space Telescope image.

AG Carinae is a rare breed of Luminous Blue Variable star that evolved from a star around 50 times the mass of our Sun. They show variable and unpredictable behaviour, experiencing periods of quiescence and outbursts alike. They are also some of the most luminous stars known: tens of thousands to several million times as luminous as the Sun.

It is worth noting that the bright glare at the centre of the image is not the star itself, which is tiny at this scale and hidden within the saturated region. The white cross is also not an astronomical phenomenon but rather an effect of the telescope.

AG Carinae lies 20 000 light-years away in the constellation of Carina. The image was taken with the Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, and was first released in September 2014.

Space X Replay

A NASA replay of the launch and mostly correct spelling today even with my dogs help.

I watched a post launch news conference and it seems all is well.

A bit of trivia: Recently I have been listening to an audio course concerning the “Physics of Time” and naturally the speed of light is a part of all that. Well during the launch I noticed that after just over a minute the Falcon 9’s Merlin engines propelled the Dragon to around one-millionth the speed of light (c). Orbital velocity is around c* 0.000025. Not exact? I know, do the math it’s fun!

CRS-10 Launch Coverage

BEAUTIFUL LAUNCH!  The landing of the first stage on solid ground was a success and fun to watch.  Ok pretty much everything was fun to watch.

I’ll leave the “live feed” up for replays they are sure to run and will post a YouTube version when it is available.

Speaking of YouTube, the live feed for YouTube and the Ustream versions differ slightly.  I watched the UStream version on the computer and the YouTube version on the television.  The UStream lagged about 20 seconds behind the YT version.  If you can get YT on your television watch the replays when available – wow.


Launch time correction!

Live coverage to begin at 13:30 UTC / 08:30 EST.

Launch is scheduled for 14:39 UTC / 09:30 EST.

SpaceX Launch Tomorrow

Image: March  2013 during Expedition 34 from NASA as the Dragon is grappled by the station’s robotic arm.

A Space X resupply mission, CRS-10 is scheduled for launch tomorrow.

Mission: CRS -10

 Description: science research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory in support of the Expedition 50 and 51 crew members

Rocket: Space X Falcon 9

Launch time:  14:39 UTC / 09:39 EST
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Pad 39A

Space X will attempt to land the Falcon 9’s first stage on land for the first time. I would think that would be much easier than a floating barge!



Join The Search

If you have not participated in Zooniverse before, give it a try. I do a couple of the projects and will be doing this one too.

Backyard Worlds: Planet 9

Here is a description from Zooniverse I got in an email:
In this project you’ll be searching through images from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, hunting for objects such as brown dwarfs and low-mass stars in our Solar System’s neighbourhood. You may find an object closer than Proxima Centauri (the closest star to the Sun) or even discover the Sun’s hypothesized ninth planet, which models suggest might appear in these images!

Daphnis Making Waves

Daphnis making waves in the rings of Saturn,  yes we saw this image a little while ago, NASA added more images to show more of the waves caused the gravity of the moon – a lot more.

Daphnis, one of Saturn’s ring-embedded moons, is featured in this view, kicking up waves as it orbits within the Keeler gap. The mosaic combines several images to show more waves in the gap edges than seen in a previously released image, PIA21056.

Daphnis is a small moon at 5 miles (8 kilometers) across, but its gravity is powerful enough to disrupt the tiny particles of the A ring that form the Keeler gap’s edge. As the moon moves through the Keeler gap, wave-like features are created in both the horizontal and vertical plane. For more about these vertical structures see PIA11654 and PIA11547.

Images like this provide scientists with a close-up view of the complicated interactions between a moon and the rings, as well as the interactions between the ring particles themselves, in the wake of the moon’s passage. Three wave crests of diminishing sizes trail Daphnis here. In each subsequent crest, the shape of the wave evolves, as the ring particles within the crests collide with one another.

Close examination of Daphnis’ immediate vicinity also reveals a faint, thin strand of ring material that almost appears to have been directly ripped out of the A ring by Daphnis.

The images in this mosaic were taken in visible light, using the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 17,000 miles (28,000 kilometers) from Daphnis and at a Sun-Daphnis-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 71 degrees. Image scale is 551 feet (168 meters) per pixel.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute