More Than a Selfie

A Rosetta Mission selfie. Copyright ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

A Rosetta Mission selfie. Copyright ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

It’s more than a ‘selfie’  this Rosetta image gives us a wonderful perspective of the Rosetta mission and the comet from 50 km.  Well done!

Enjoy the view because a thruster burn should get Rosetta into a 30 km orbit.

From ESA’s Space In Images:

Using the CIVA camera on Rosetta’s Philae lander, the spacecraft have snapped a ‘selfie’ at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The image was taken on 7 September from a distance of about 50 km from the comet, and captures the side of the Rosetta spacecraft and one of Rosetta’s 14 m-long solar wings, with 67P/C-G in the background. Two images with different exposure times were combined to bring out the faint details in this very high contrast situation.

Rosetta Blog

Coming Home

The ISS crew in the light blue: Steve Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev (front to back) are returning home. Image Credit: NASA TV

The ISS crew in the light blue: Steve Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev (front to back) are returning home. Image Credit: NASA TV

Three ISS crew members are getting ready to come home later today. The trio, NASA astronaut Steve Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev are part of the Expedition 39/40 crew. Yesterday Steve Swanson turned command of the ISS over to Max Suraev (Dark shirt in front).

They will undock the Soyuz spacecraft they will use for the return trip at 18:01 ET / 22:01 UT and will land 3.5 hours later in Kazakhastan.

You can see landing coverage beginning at 21:15 ET / 01:15 UT about 15 minutes before the deorbit burn occurs for a 22:23 ET / 02:23 UT landing. Hopefully there will be good video of the landing, sometimes there is and other times not so much.

Hopefully I coverted the times correctly.

I also got a few images of the perigee-moon this morning, then the batteries in the camera went dead. I have new ones charging, been charging all day and still not ready. Hopefully I got one worth sharing.

Comet Surface Detail

Surface close-up of Comet 67P/G-C.  Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Surface close-up of Comet 67P/G-C. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

WOW! Look at that detail, one pixel equals 1.1 meters. Not exactly a ball of fuzz. This image is from the Rosetta blog’s “A PRELIMINARY MAP OF ROSETTA’S COMET” post. Rosetta Blog is getting busy — be sure to have a look.

The caption included on the Rosetta blog:

Jagged cliffs and prominent boulders are visible in this image taken by OSIRIS, Rosetta’s scientific imaging system, on 5 September 2014 from a distance of 62 kilometres from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The left part of the image shows a side view of the comet’s ‘body’, while the right is the back of its ‘head’. One pixel corresponds to 1.1 metres.

Supermoon 3

Watching the moon from St Michael’s Tower on Glastonbury Tor.  Click for larger Image Ben Birchall/PA via deskarati.com

Watching the moon from St Michael’s Tower on Glastonbury Tor. Click for larger Image Ben Birchall/PA via deskarati.com

If you have noticed the moon looks a little larger than usual you are not alone. This morning it was looking pretty big here. This is the third perigee-moon or supermoon in a row. The moon will be full on 09 Sept 2014 at 01:38 UT (21:38 ET 08 Sept on the US East Coast).

I think I will have clear skies for a change! Yes, I am pleased.

I am also fairly well positioned for the partial lunar eclipse coming on 23 Oct 2014. Europe will miss out on this one. Here’s a (PDF) map from the US Naval Observatory.

Mount Tavurvur

A nice video of Mount Tavurvur erupting in Papua New Guinea, I believe this is on the island of New Britain. Don’t be too tempted to close the ad banner that pops up, I missed the very start of the eruption doing that.

Check out the blast wave above the volcano too.

When I was looking at the different versions of this on YouTube there was already the doom predictions, because after all there is this volcano and the one in Iceland at the same time, it just has to mean something bad right?. Just so you know, volcanic eruptions aren’t really that uncommon and I wouldn’t assign any particular global doom to the fact these two just happen to be active at the same time.

Video

Back to trying to get my iPod to see my Wifi.

2014 RC Pays a Visit

A depiction of the flyby of 2014 RC. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A depiction of the flyby of 2014 RC. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On 07 September 2014, asteroid 2014 RC will flyby by the Earth.  It will be a very close flyby too, only 40,000 km / 25,000 miles from Earth. The orbit will pose no danger to us.  Even so according to NASA (see below), 2014 RC could even be visible as it will be around a magnitude 11 making it visible in small telescopes provided you have dark skies when it passes by at 18:18 UT when it will be over New Zealand when it makes this close approach.

In case you are in a place you might be able to see the fly-by, you can get the ephemeris here from the IAU Minor Planet Center.

From NASA:

A small asteroid, designated 2014 RC, will safely pass very close to Earth on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. At the time of closest approach, based on current calculations to be about 2:18 p.m. EDT (11:18 a.m. PDT / 18:18 UTC), the asteroid will be roughly over New Zealand. From its reflected brightness, astronomers estimate that the asteroid is about 60 feet (20 meters) in size.

Continue reading

Iceland Eruption from Space

Annotated satellite image of the Iceland eruption. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/EO-1 Mission/GSFC/Ashley Davies

Annotated satellite image of the Iceland eruption. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/EO-1 Mission/GSFC/Ashley Davies

I’ve been following the Iceland volcanic eruption for a bit. Watching seismic activity is pretty interesting as is the ground based cameras looking at the volcano.

Now we get a space based view from the Earth Observing Satellite.

Volcano cams
Seismic activity
NASA’s Earth Observing Program

This from NASA:

On the night of Sept. 1, 2014, the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing 1 (EO-1) spacecraft observed the ongoing eruption at Holuhraun, Iceland, from an altitude of 438 miles (705 kilometers). Data were collected at a resolution of 98 feet (30 meters) per pixel at different infrared wavelengths and were then combined to create this false-color image that emphasizes the hottest areas of the vent and resulting lava flows. The image captured the 0.6-mile (1-kilometer)-long fissure from which lava is erupting, a channeled lava flow, and a broad expanse of lava flows extending 2.2 miles( 3.5 kilometers) from the fissure.

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Nap Time for New Horizons

Flight controllers Mike Conner and Josh Albers, in the New Horizons Mission Operations Center at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, await the signal confirming the spacecraft’s entry into hibernation on August 29; (inset) mission operations manager Alice Bowman keeps an eye on spacecraft telemetry and the communications link between New Horizons and NASA's Deep Space Network.  Image and caption: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/NASA/JPL

Flight controllers Mike Conner and Josh Albers, in the New Horizons Mission Operations Center at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, await the signal confirming the spacecraft’s entry into hibernation on August 29; (inset) mission operations manager Alice Bowman keeps an eye on spacecraft telemetry and the communications link between New Horizons and NASA’s Deep Space Network. Image and caption: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/NASA/JPL

Shortly after crossing the Neptune orbit New Horizons mission controllers at Johns Hopkins University put the New Horizons spacecraft down for a nap. This period of hibernation will be the last in the mission.

Mission managers verified a sucessful entry into hibernation at 13:21 UT 29 August. This part of the mission comes after a 10-week check of the spacecraft systems “The checkout went very well,” says Chris Hersman, New Horizons mission systems engineer from APL. “The spacecraft is healthy and in great shape to begin Pluto encounter activities in early 2015.”

The spacecraft was more than 4,425,696,000 km (4.426 billion) or 2,750,000,000 miles (2.75 billion) from Earth when the commands were sent. It takes over four hours for commands to reach the spacecraft, thankfully the Deep Space Network was up to the task.

One of the commands during the hibernation sequence is to point the New Horizons main antenna where Earth will be the next time the spacecraft wakes up so data about the condition of the spacecraft will be immediatly available.

The scheduled wake up date is 07 December 2014 and “Distant-encounter” operations at Pluto to begin 04 January 2015.

New Horizons mission site.

Comet Mosaic

Make a mosaic from Rosetta's comet pictures.   ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Make a mosaic from Rosetta’s comet pictures. ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

ESA’s Rosetta is now taking images from just 61 km from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. That is close enough so Rosetta is imaging the comet in about quarters.

The above four-image mosaic is featured at the Rosetta blog was taken on 31 August 2014. It’s really not quite a mosaic yet  If you look at the four-panels you will see some overlap. The images were made from 20 minute exposures and there is also some rotation from the mutual movement of Rosetta and comet.

We, the public are invited to create a mosaic from them. Rosetta Blog has the four individual frames on the page for downloading which I have done.  Just scroll down the page linked above to get the individual shots.

I have everything loaded into a imaging program and working on my mosiac. The rotation is creating quite a challange!

Give it a try. I’ll post my effort if I can get anywhere with it.