Monday, August 6, 2012

Uncle Martin?


Any life we discover on Mars won’t be as adorable as Uncle Martin, but we’ll take what we can get!


Hip Hip Hoorah for the flawless landing of Martian rover Curiosity. What a huge success for NASA.

Sleepy Space–Geeks worldwide, delirious with joy, can breath now… and get some rest.

Indulge your inner 12 year old astronaut with this familiar tune:


My Favorite Martian


My absolute favorite show from the sixties.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Seven Minutes of Terror


After an 8 ½ month journey, the Mars Curiosity Rover is about to complete its 356 million mile cruise and attempt to perform a nail-biting landing that will (hopefully!) plop it safely atop Martian rusty dust on Monday morning August 6, at 12:31 a.m. (CDT)

J.P.L is calling this dare-devil landing “The Seven Minutes of Terror”.

You can watch a cool NASA animation to see why.


What we would like to see.

We’ve known for a while that Mars has icecaps and clouds. Curiosity’s suite of scientific instruments hopes to confirm whether the planet ever harbored life. What an extraordinary discovery that would be! If you have interest in reading more, there is a good article HERE.

Face southwest about an hour after sunset. Low in the sky you’ll see one bright star, Spica, and two planets, Saturn and Mars, forming a triangle. Saturn will be the brightest, and of course, the pinkish-orange one will be Mars. Send up your best wishes and keep fingers crossed for a safe landing!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ultimate Connectivity

Especially for my very connected friends, the E’s.



Check out the countdown ;)

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Quads

Tonight look for a close conjunction of Jupiter and the waxing 9-day old moon. View Jove’s gorgeous moons Io, Ganymede and Europa lined up to his east, Callisto all by herself to his west.

Venus is spectacular in the west, you can't miss her.


The QUADRANTID meteor shower is star of the show this week.  Conditions here look perfect, cold but clear.

Shower maximum for the Quads (100 meteors per hour under ideal conditions) expected Wednesday morning between 1 and 2am CST. Good article HERE

DSC06941 DSC06940

More good news today from the moon. Grail-B is tucked into orbit with it's sister. Orbit refinements over the next couple months will lead to kick-off of the science mission in March.

DSC06947 DSC06943

Temps tonight are predicted to drop into the 20's, so where are the hand warmers left over from Antarctica? Still searching.

My sherpa has left for a few nights, so I'll have to be content with the baby telescope, already outside reaching thermal equilibrium. The Clyde gets to stay warm indoors.

I wish, wish, wish my city-bound buddies could share the night sky, and my hard working buddies could stay up all night too. Hurry retirement, HURRY!


Hammock, check. Electric blanket, check. Down comforter and pillow, check. Hot tea? No thermos.


Let’s keep fingers crossed for a glorious shower.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

GRAIL-A starts year off right.

My New Year’s resolutions:

Spend more time observing the night sky. Paint more pictures. Listen to more jazz. Keep in better touch with family and friends. Keep the new laptop organized. Master both the new DSLR and Lightroom.  I think I need to make a cup of tea, get in a comfy chair and fall asleep reading.

One thing I am determined to accomplish is a greater understanding of our lovely satellite.The first of the two GRAIL moon probes successfully entered lunar orbit yesterday afternoon. It's making a stretchy elliptical orbit that carries it from 56 to 5,197 miles above the moon’s surface over a period of 11.5 hours. Its twin is expected to do the same later this afternoon.

This should be an exciting year for Lunar scientists. The GRAIL project will unlock many mysteries. Knowing more about the Moon’s internal structure will help us understand much about the evolution of the earth, moon and other rocky planets.

Next time you’re outside at night, look up… and wonder.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wink of an Eye

Forty five years ago today the universe changed. It was the premiere night for "Star Trek" the original series, which ran for only three seasons, 1966-1969.

The title of this post was an episode from season three, and yes indeed, those 45 years have rocketed past in the wink of an eye. But we have not stopped looking up since.

The beautiful moon, shot through wildfire smoke with my Nikon D7K.




Thank you Gene Roddenberry.

Live long and prosper, but keep your phaser on stun.