Hubble Sees NGC 2985

The area around Ursa Major at first glance to be rather unpopulated compared to other parts of the sky.

Just put a telescope to your eye and look around, even binoculars and dark skies can reveal quite a bit. Binoculars? Sure, take a look at each of the stars of Ursa Major, bet you find a binary system and possibly you can find it with no help at all — hint. I can’t from here owing to a bit more light pollution, with binoculars it’s no problem.

Anyway if you have a telescope have a look and enjoy!

ESA: Galaxies come in many shapes and sizes. One of the key galaxy types we see in the Universe is the spiral galaxy, as demonstrated in an especially beautiful way by the subject of this Hubble Picture of the Week, NGC 2985. NGC 2985 lies roughly over 70 million light years from the Solar System in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear).

The intricate, near-perfect symmetry on display here reveals the incredible complexity of NGC 2985. Multiple tightly-wound spiral arms widen as they whorl outward from the galaxy’s bright core, slowly fading and dissipating until these majestic structures disappear into the emptiness of intergalactic space, bringing a beautiful end to their starry splendour. 

Over aeons, spiral galaxies tend to run into other galaxies, often resulting in mergers. These coalescing events scramble the winding structures of the original galaxies, smoothing and rounding their shape. These objects possess a beauty all their own, distinct from the spiral galaxies from whence they came.

Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Ho; CC BY 4.0

Launch of MS-13 to ISS

Launch time: 16:28 UT / 12:28 ET

Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome

NASA’s Andrew Morgan, Roscosmos’ Alexander Skvortsov and European Space Agency’s Luca Parmitano will launch at 12:28 p.m. EDT aboard the Soyuz MS-13 rocket for a six journey journey to the International Space Station.

Apollo 11 Day 1 Audio

Audio highlights from Apollo 11 Day 1.

You can stream this to a Bluetooth device; so working while listening would be a good idea. Not saying you should mind, but, if you can safely and/or do so without getting in trouble go for it. I will be.

Copernicus Sees Apollo Launch Pad

It’s fun to see Copernicus take part in the Apollo 11 Anniversary with this image of the Apollo 11 launch pad as the area is now.

ESA has a larger version of this image, the file size is about 8.5 MB so if you have a slower connection it might take some time. Here’s the link. I do highly recommend looking at it though because it is excellent.

The image contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Here’s ESA’s caption:

Celebrating 50 years since Apollo 11 blasted off with the first humans that would walk on the Moon, Copernicus Sentinel-2 captures the historic launch site at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, US.

On 16 July 1969, the Saturn V rocket carrying Apollo 11 began its momentous voyage to the Moon. It lifted off from launch pad 39A – which can be seen in this Copernicus Sentinel-2 image from 29 January 2019. Launch pad 39A is the second pad down from the top (the launch pad at the far top is 39B).

The crew – Neil Armstrong, mission commander, Michael Collins, command module pilot and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, lunar module pilot – were embarking on a milestone in human history.

Just four days later, the lunar module, the Eagle, touched down. Watched on television by millions around the world, Neil Armstrong was the first to set foot on the Moon, famously saying, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

A few minutes later he was joined by Buzz Aldrin. They took photographs, planted the US flag, spoke to President Richard Nixon via radio transmission and spent a couple of hours walking and collecting dust and rocks. The two men returned to lunar module, slept that night on the surface of the moon, and then the Eagle began its ascent back to re-join the command module, which had been orbiting the Moon with Michael Collins. Apollo splashed back down safely in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July.

The Moon has again captured the attention of space agencies. ESA and international partners are now looking forward to the next era of human exploration, and to better understand the resources available on the Moon to support human missions longer-term. While Apollo 11 touched down for the first time on the near side of the Moon 50 years ago, it is time to explore the far side, examine different types of lunar rocks there to probe deeper into the Moon’s geological history and to find resources like water-ice that are thought to be locked up in permanently shadowed craters near the Moon’s south pole.

Apollo 11 Launch with Walter

Walter is Walter Cronkite with CBS News at the time in America. Classic broadcaster, someone whose standards should be emulated today in the American press, but sadly are not.

Ah well.