Giordano Bruno Crater

Here is a wonderful picture of the crater Giaordano Bruno taken by the LROC camera aboard the Lunar Reconnainse Orbiter.

The crater is about 22 x 22 km / 13 x 13 miles and is named for the Italian philospher born in 1548.

I also want to introduce you to a bit of software I have on every computer I own. The program is called the Virtual Moon Atlas. I have used this for YEARS and love it. Oh yes, the cost for this program is ZERO. Yes, free.

I like to pick out a crater on the moon (eyes to binocular to telescope size) and locate it on the Atlas and the wealth of information, well you have to try it. Or do the reverse pick out an crater on the Atlas and locate it.

Download it here at SourceForge and enjoy!

The Helmet Nebula

Here is the Helmet Nebula also known as NGC 2359 is 15,000 light-years away in the constellation of Canis Major.

ESO – This VLT image of the Thor’s Helmet Nebula was taken on the occasion of ESO’s 50th Anniversary, 5 October 2012, with the help of Brigitte Bailleul — winner of the Tweet Your Way to the VLT! competition. The observations were broadcast live over the internet from the Paranal Observatory in Chile. This object, also known as NGC 2359, lies in the constellation of Canis Major (The Great Dog). The helmet-shaped nebula is around 15 000 light-years away from Earth and is over 30 light-years across. The helmet is a cosmic bubble, blown as the wind from the bright, massive star near the bubble’s centre sweeps through the surrounding molecular cloud.

Credit: ESO/B. Bailleul

The On Again Off Again Launch

The sounding rocket launch from the Wallops Flight Facility is ON again for tonight at 21:05 EDT / Tomorrow morning at 01:05 UTC. The launch has been postponed many times for weather. Tonight the weather looks pretty good, low chance of rain and south winds about 18 mph / 15.5 knots.

You can see the launch at the NASA Ustream site

2017 Half Over

The title of this video is “What’s Happened So Far – Mid-Year @NASA – June 16, 2017”. I ask what happened TO the first half of the year? Half over already, my goodness!

Rocket Launch Tomorrow (Tonight) ?

UPDATE:  The launch was again postponed.  The delay was for weather and not terribly unusual for the US Atlantic coast.  Patience is the key, one doesn’t like the weather just wait a few minutes (I know everybody says that, but it’s true).

Launch date: 18 June EDT / 19 June UTC
Launch time: 21:05 EDT / 01:05 UTC


There could be a rocket launch tomorrow,  or tonight depending on where you are. Launch time would be between 01:05 and 01:20 UTC 16 June /  21:05 and 21:20 EDT.

The launch is a sounding rocket from the NASA Wallops Facility.  I had left the live feed up from the other day as this launch has been “active then scrubbed” many times (I think it’s five times already) due to weather.

BUT if you are on the US east coast you could be treated to some artificial blue clouds.  I am hoping for clear skies as I am in the area for this!!

NASA – NASA has two ground stations—at Wallops and Duck, N.C.—to view blue-green and red artificial clouds that will be produced as part of the test. Clear skies are required at one of the two ground stations for this test. Clouds obscured both viewing sites for the June 13 launch attempt.

The June 13 attempt was the seventh for this mission. Previous scrubs have been due to a variety of issues, such as high winds, clouds, and boats in the hazard area.

The multi-canister ampoule ejection system flying on this mission will allow scientists to gather information over a much larger area than previously able during a sounding rocket mission.

Canisters will deploy during the rocket’s ascent and they will release blue-green and red vapor to form artificial clouds between 4 and 5.5 minutes after launch. These clouds, or vapor tracers, allow scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space. The clouds may be visible along the mid-Atlantic coastline from New York to North Carolina.

The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will open at 8 p.m. on launch day for viewing the flight.


Summer on Titan

It’s a cold summer,  temperature should be about – 179 C / -290 F.

NASA — NASA’s Cassini spacecraft sees bright methane clouds drifting in the summer skies of Saturn’s moon Titan, along with dark hydrocarbon lakes and seas clustered around the north pole.

Compared to earlier in Cassini’s mission, most of the surface in the moon’s northern high latitudes is now illuminated by the sun. (See PIA08363 for a view of the northern hemisphere from 2007.) Summer solstice in the Saturn system occurred on May 24, 2017.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 9, 2017, using a spectral filter that preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 938 nanometers. Cassini obtained the view at a distance of about 315,000 miles (507,000 kilometers) from Titan.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

ESA Contribution to Orion

Wow,  pretty exciting to see all that effort get to this point.  Good Luck!!

ESA – Set to be shipped to the USA around the New Year, ESA’s contribution to NASA’s Orion spacecraft is taking shape at Airbus in Bremen, Germany. This is no test article: the service module pictured here will fly into space by 2020, past the Moon and farther than any other human-rated spacecraft has ever flown before.

The service module will supply electricity, water, oxygen and nitrogen, propulsion and temperature control.

The blue circular frame is the support structure that holds the module as technicians work to get it ready. Yellow ties keep the 11 km of wiring in place as the thousands of components are installed and connected – the ties will be removed before flight. Behind the red support covers are the eight 490 N R-4D-11 thrusters, built by Aerojet.

Technicians are working in three shifts a day to assemble the components that are being shipped from all over Europe to complete this service module in just a few months’ time. In December it will be taken by road to Bremen airport and flown to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to meet its crew capsule.

Read more about the Orion mission and Europe’s involvement on the minisite.

Credit: ESA

Ready, Set, Go Progress 67

Progress 67 is set to launch at 09:20 UTC / 05:20 EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

First comes the fuel:

Then the launch. But first a note about the following feed NASA-TV via UStream: If you happen here after the posted launch time or shortly thereafter, you may not find the launch but instead regular NASA-TV programming. I will remove the link later in the day and replace it with a launch replay.