In case you missed the eclipse…

Or, like me, cloud cover obscured the solar eclipse of 20 March 2015.  Here’s probably the best view of this morning’s event, from ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 mini-satellite.  [Image credit: ESA/ROB] And via ESA on YouTube. As Europe enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on the morning of Friday 20 March 2015, ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 minisatellite had a ringside seat from space. Orbiting Earth once approximately every 100 minutes, Proba-2 caught two eclipses over the course of the morning. Proba-2 used its SWAP imager … Read more

Stargazing the 20 March 2015 Solar Eclipse

The BBC’s Stargazing Live returns tonight, 8pm BBC 2, with three consecutive nights of live programmes to coincide with the total solar eclipse on Friday 20 March 2015.  [It is an annual series! – Ed].  Stargazing Live is, yes.  Not necessarily total solar eclipses, though.  And this solar eclipse is the only one, total or otherwise, to be visible from Europe for the next few years.  ESA’s mini-satellites will have a better view.  But not as good a view as this…   The BBC … Read more

“There’s no place like home…”

I didn’t ‘Wave at Saturn’ on 19 July when the Cassini probe, orbiting the gas giant, was taking a high-definition image of the view back home.  I don’t think it encouraged a proper sense of perspective…  But the resultant image is stunning. [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute] It’s not the first time Cassini has looked home.  Nor is it the only stunning image the probe has provided.  But, as those involved pointed out “We can’t see individual continents or people in this … Read more

“the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink”

Private family man, engineer, US Navy fighter pilot, war veteran, civilian test pilot, astronaut, academic, businessman, reluctant hero, and the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong has died at the age of 82.  Reg Turnill, who was the BBC’s aerospace correspondent at the time of the first moon landing, gives his thoughts.  Nasa’s tribute is available here. And, via the Professor, Rand Simberg has a detailed biography that’s worth a read. For the 40th Anniversary of the launch of … Read more

Tour of the Moon

Via NasaExplorer here’s a nice short narrated tour of the Moon, using images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, focusing in on some particular sites of interest.  [Video credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center].   Pete Baker

Stargazing, and [exo]planet hunting…

The last three nights saw the return to BBC2 of popular astronomy show Stargazing Live – presented by Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain.  Hopefully it will become, at least, an annual fixture. [Image credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky] The three hour-long programmes are still available, for now, on the iPlayer.  The entertaining ‘after-show’ shows, Back to Earth, appears to be missing are also available. If you’ve been paying attention you’ll have recognised some of the material – for example, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s images … Read more

“We can retrace the astronauts’ steps with greater clarity”

As the BBC’s spaceman, Jonathon Amos, notes, Nasa have released the sharpest ever images ever taken from space of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 landing sites using a camera on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.   Here’s the Apollo 17 landing site with the last footprints made by man on the Moon. [All images credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/ASU]     Here’s that same image helpfully labelled.   They’re even sharper than the ones released in 2009.  You can do a side-by-side comparison at … Read more

“a special perspective of our role and place in the universe…”

Three weeks into its journey to our friend and lord, Jupiter, Nasa’s Juno spacecraft has taken a look back at its home planet [on the left] and its natural satellite, the Moon.  [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech] From the Nasa press release “This is a remarkable sight people get to see all too rarely,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “This view of our planet shows how Earth looks from the outside, illustrating a special … Read more

Totality begins…

…at 8.22pm [BST].  That’s tonight’s lunar eclipse and totality will last for 100 minutes – until 10.02pm [BST].  But it’s not, as the Irish Times claims Ireland’s “first lunar eclipse for five years.”  It is special however.  It’s a central total lunar eclipse – the center point of Earth’s shadow will fall on the moon – which explains the unusually long duration. It could be as spectacular as the 2007 total lunar eclipse, which Sammy Morse captured in the featured image above.  Or it … Read more

“The Moon is not a dead body”

The Moon is shrinking!  Or, at least, it has shrunk.  That’s the conclusion from images obtained by Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.  This video from the NASAexplorer channel explains. Pete Baker

“One small step for [a] man…”

Last year saw the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11.  Four days later, on 20th July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon.  And, as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter discovered, the evidence is still there. The BBC have some clips online, including this fascinating interview with Neil Armstrong from The Sky at Night in 1970. And, looking forward, the BBC’s Spaceman blog has a post on a potential compromise over President Obama’s proposed new policy for Nasa, the Nasa … Read more

LRO celebrates one year in orbit

Launched on 18 June 2009, Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter sent back its first images of the lunar surface shortly afterwards and has just completed its first full year in orbit.  To celebrate Nasa has put together a short video of ten cool things its found – some of which I may have noted at the time. Image credit: Nasa/Goddard/Arizona State University. Video credit: NASA/Goddard. Pete Baker