Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Aurigids Meteor Shower

This Saturday morning at 5:00am MDT. the rare Aurigids meteor shower will begin.

There are predictions of up to 200 meteors per hour, but the most intense part of the shower will last only 20-30 mins starting around 5:30am MDT. as Earth passes through the narrow dust stream left behind by comet Kiess around 83 BC, Roman Empire times.

The picture above shows where the meteor shower will be visible from, because comet Kiess only left a narrow dust stream only Western North America and Hawaii will be able to view this rare event. The radiant point (the point where the meteors seem to start from) is in the constellation Auriga. Auriga will be high in the NE part of the sky at that time. There are only 3 people alive today that have viewed the Aurigids and no one has taken any pictures. The next scheduled Aurigid meteor shower won't be for another 50 years. I will be out trying to get some pics with my trusty digital camera snapping away like Anna did to get her great shots of the Perseids, unfortunately Anna will on the sideline for this one since she lives too far east, I've been running her ragged lately asking her to take pictures of all these events, she'll be relieved to know she can sleep in on this one. I have found you a great multimedia presentation on comets, it's great, a bunch of little vignettes not more then a few minutes long for each one, it's great if you're like me and have the attention span of a newt, there's nothing more scary then clicking on someones multimedia thingy and find out its 49 hours long and you don't want to be rude and just leave, I get up do my laundry make supper check back every once in a while and then eventually leave. Another cool thing, I got this great 14 second YouTube video of the Perseid meteor shower, that's right only 14 seconds, it leaves you wanting more, so I kept on clicking on the play button until I'd had enough.

Both Mars rovers are back and hard at work again since the Martian dust storms have started to die down. Opportunity will be going down into Victoria crater,(pic below) which has exposed bedrock, a geologists dream. Spirit will be overtaking the Viking 2 lander for the title of the 2nd longest lasting spacecraft on the surface of Mars: 1290 sols (martian days). Viking 1 holds the record with 6 years 3 months and 22 days!, don't think that's gonna be beat anytime soon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Total Lunar Eclipse

Well another total Lunar Eclipse has come and gone and guess what, I was able to view it, oh happy day! The images I took above are from the top to bottom; totality, almost totality, start of totality and start of the eclipse.

When I woke up Monday morning I noticed the Moon was smack dab in the middle of the neighbor's trees, I had to formulate a plan of attack if I was to view and take pictures of the eclipse. My options were, the school ground or the park just down and across the street from me. Then as I was pulling into work, it hit me, the mall where I work would be perfect, wide open view of the south west sky and my own personal security guard, score! The next hurdle I would have to overcome is how I was going to get my Big A_ _ scope, that's right my big Arm scope, because that's what I break every time I move it; to the mall, an employee friend of mine
volunteered the use of his truck, problem solved.

Now there was the small problem of the forecast, the weather channel was saying rain , but the Clear sky clock, which is very accurate for a 24 hour time period, said the weather would be clear for Saskatoon between 1 and 5 am, I told my wife this and she laughed, probably thinking poor crazy Bob. At 9:30pm, T-5.5 hours and counting, it was raining, I was thinking, stupid rain, stupid clouds, stupid hobby and stupid clear sky clock. and went to sleep. I woke up at 1:30am to head over to the mall and put the time in just in case hell froze over, and to my surprise I had clear skies! Yes Clear Sky Clock rules!

So I get to the mall set up the scope, get my own security guy and we wait. Well of course while we're waiting I proceed to tell the guard all about eclipses, how the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon and casts a shadow on to the lunar landscape and it's orange and brown because Earth's atmosphere scatters and absorbs the blues and allows the reds of the Sun's light through to the Lunar surface, we then got into Quantum Mechanics and Superstring Theory, well I did anyways but I could tell he was just soaking it all in. I don't know what happened to him, I went in to the office to get another eyepiece and when I came out he was gone, must have been called away to an emergency. Below is a pic of the scope and guard.

Check out Anna's site, she was going to be out this morning as well trying to get some pics of the eclipse, hope everything went well for her too. Actually my guard did come back, he finally started talking, he's a history buff, we got talking about the American civil war actually, something I am very interested in, great eclipse, great weather, and great conversation.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Practicing For The Lunar Eclipse

Just came in from the cold, doing a dress rehearsal for the Total Lunar Eclipse this coming Tuesday August 28th. 3:52 am EDT. The above image is my latest, took it a couple hours ago, 65X magnification with a #21 wratten (light orange) filter to dim the bright light of the almost full moon, and to bring out more detail of some of the major craters. I held my Olympus camera up to my telescope eyepiece, focused the scope and snapped the pic, as long as the clouds participate this coming Tuesday, I should get some lunar eclipse pictures.

Tycho Crater named after Tycho Brahe is the major crater near the top of the moon and off to the left, the crater with all the bright lines coming from its center. It's a very steep crater, about 14,500 ft high and 52 miles in diameter. The next major crater is Copernicus Crater named after Nicolaus Copernicus , the guy who brought forward the idea that the Earth and all the planets revolve around the Sun, not the other way round. Copernicus is the bright crater just to the right of centre in the middle of the moon. The third major crater I would like to point out is Plato Crater, named after Plato the Greek philosopher. Plato is near the bottom, right of center, it is the darkest crater on the moon. All three of these craters are known hot spots for Transient Lunar Phenomenon.

(note: Telescope optics invert objects, ie. Tycho crater is actually on the bottom of the moon when viewed without a telescope)

The picture below was taken tonight as well, without the filter and at 50X magnification. I will probably end up taking some pics in each magnification. Well it's T-73.5 hours and counting and and the weather station's calling for variable clouds, with any luck at all and my fingers crossed, I should be taking my first eclipse pics since 2004.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quantum Field Theory In A Nutshell?

On one of my book shelves I have tons of astrostuff magazines, they're all pushed tightly up against one end of the book shelf by an anchor book called, Quantum Field Theory In A Nutshell, well , true story, when trying to pull out one of my mags from the tightly packed group of 40,000 plus mags, a few slid out and when trying to catch them I knocked the heaviest anchor book in the world off the shelf and onto my foot, along with the rest of the 40,000 plus magazines. I said to myself there's got to be a post in this somewhere.

Whats the first thing you think of when you see "in a nutshell" in the title of a book? I think clear to the point information, much like Stephen Hawking's book The Universe In A Nutshell. In Hawking's book it breaks down complex theories into understandable concepts for the casual reader, and it has lots of funny pictures, makes me happy. So I thought to myself, yes I love to learn more about quantum mechanics and since I have yet to find a "for dummies book"on this topic I thought "in a nutshell book" should do in a pinch and bought it off Amazon. The title of the book, "Quantum Field Theory In A Nutshell" is very misleading, unless it's referring to a giant nutshell from the planet "quantum", in the star system "smarty pants." because it has a very steep learning curve, I took a pic of pages 10,11, below, notice all the formulas, I mean I like formulas just as much as the next guy, but on pages 10 and 11? maybe later on after they've put in lots of funny pictures, makes me happy just thinking about it.

There is the theory of General Relativity which Albert Einstein came up with which explains things like gravity, space, time, the cosmos, just about everything we see around us can be explained by this major theory, Quantum mechanics on the other hand deals with how subatomic particles behave. In quantum mechanics the saying is," you don't understand quantum mechanics, you just get used to it".

Some of the weird and interesting stuff of quantum mechanics are for example, a subatomic particle, lets say an electron, can be in numerous different places at the same time, until you look at it, then it is at the place your looking at, and no other place. In the quantum world you can know too much about something, therefore you have to find negative information to cancel out the fact you know too much. Another thing, lets say you look at some type of subatomic particle, by looking at it you destroy its "quantum nature", so it behaves one way if your watching it, but another way if your looking away, its as if your looking at it forced it to behave the way you expected it to, all mind boggling stuff.

In short, subatomic particles don't behave the way they should when we apply the general relativity theory, space and time as we know them don't work, subatomic particles have their own theory called quantum mechanics. The worlds greatest scientists and theorists are working busily on developing the Theory of Everything which would bridge the gap between and make sense of both quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. As it stands right now Superstring theory is what most theorists think is the missing piece to this puzzle. The superstring theory's basic premise is that everything is made of vibrating strings instead of teeny tiny particles, this brings in all kinds of wacky things like 10,11 or even 26 extra dimensions called branes.

If your a student and your university is sold out of this book, or an alien from the planet Quantum and you want some light reading before bedtime, the first 10 bucks plus shipping and handling gets it. I found myself another anchor book Physics-Astronomy Frontier ,
that's right another big hardcover book with no pictures.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Shuttle's Safely Back Home!

I've never been soooo happy to be so wrong, the space shuttle Endeavour , all 4 million pounds of her, and her crew landed safely at Kennedy Space Center at 12:32 EDT, here's hoping and praying it was good science and not good luck that brought them home.

The picture above was taken from shuttle Endeavour as she was pulling away from the International Space Station. I saw this live as the shuttle was leaving the space station Sunday on NASA TV, it was simply stunning! You can see the boot shaped Italy in the background, like a map come to life.

The shuttle and space station orbit around 250 Nautical miles (about 287 regular miles) above the Earth, when you think about it, it's not that far away, just think about a city or town that far away from you and that's how far the space station is traveling above you when it's overhead. One thing that really stood out when I was watching the shuttle orbit Earth, is our planet looked so peaceful, fragile and finite, oh and by the way I didn't notice any lines separating the countries, no names either, man has done that. By looking at the mostly blue and white globe you'd never guess there was so much conflict going on below. I don't usually get so philosophical, but whenever I think of the vastness of space or the smallness of our planet I'm overwhelmed. God has given us an oasis in the middle of what seems like nowhere, in the harshest environment known to man, what do we do?, we cut it up, pollute it to the max and then perform all kinds of genocide, not cool.

On a lighter note, we are just one week away from the total Lunar eclipse Tuesday August 28th. 3:54 am EDT. And guess what folks, my forecast is looking just great! Unfortunately my calculations for that time in the morning put the Moon right behind the neighbors trees. This means I will be toting my scope and camera to the park across the street, so if I'm not arrested or worse yet mugged I should have some nicest pics.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Astrostuff You Need To View Astrostuff

I was going through an astrostuff type of magazine and picked out a few things I really, really, really, need. My wife is always telling me that I exaggerate way too much, I don't see it, can't remember the last time I did, but instead of me saying I really,really,really need this astrostuff, I will say I need this astrostuff.

The nicest telescope. There is a rule of thumb with telescopes, if it's bigger than you, it's nicest.

This scope is so nicest that when you look through the eyepiece, the nebula/galaxy/ even star clusters will be in color, just like the Hubble! It is a RC optical systems 20"truss system. Base price is nicest too, around $54,300.

Below is what I have, sure it's nice, not nicest nice, but nice.

All I'd have to do is call up NASA tell them the type of scope I have, the nicest scope, and they could hire me out to do work for them when they send probes to the Moon/Mars, like they did with Parkes observatory and Apollo 11. Lets say they pay me $1,000 an hour, for even just 54.3 hours, the scope would be paid up for in just a couple of days. Just to keep my wife happy I'll cut what they pay me to $500.00 an hour, don't want to be accused of exaggerating, the scope would be paid up in just 4 days.

Next, because of the size of the nicest scope, you have to have a nicest observatory to keep it in.

Sirius Observatories sell the nicest university model for, well it doesn't even say, but it's their nicest and again , work for NASA , the observatory would pay for itself in just a few days.

Below is what I have, it's more in the category of cute, which is fine for puppy dogs, but when your dealing with astrostuff you need at least nice, preferably nicest.

Now, because you will be spending a lot of time in your nicest observatory working for NASA, you'll need a Sony LCD TV. Full 1080p HD, and only $3,600, that's only 7 hours of working for NASA. Below is what I have. Oh wait , I don't have one yet, all the more reason to get one. There are more nicest astrostuff I need such as nicest eyepieces, camera, fridge, sofa, stove, but it will have to wait till I get the basic nicest stuff first.

The space shuttle Endeavour unlocked from the International Space Station at 7:56 am EDT. Sunday morning, one day earlier than planned to allow the shuttle to land Tuesday before Houston has to prepare for Hurricane Dean. Below is a picture of Hurricane Dean taken from the space shuttle. To keep up with the shuttle news NASA TV has all the latest happenings.

Friday, August 17, 2007

No Shuttle Repairs

Yes, in your face you stupid clouds. According to the Weather Network 14 day forecast for Saskatoon it's going to be sunny for the Total Lunar Eclipse August 28th., happy happy joy joy!

On a more sombre note, more bad news for the Endeavour and her crew. A micrometeorite dinged the shuttle's windshield, man these guys can't catch a break, my wife suggested they park the shuttle by the side of the road and wait for the next ride down. On Wednesday mission control cut short the planned 3rd. spacewalk because Rick Mastracchio noticed a hole in his space glove, the hole only penetrated 2 of the 5 layers of the glove and Houston stressed Rick was in no danger but hurried him back inside just to be safe, maybe they should do the repairs to the space shuttle just to be safe as well.

It is official now, NASA has decided that no repairs will be done to the shuttle's tile system. The chairman of the mission management team John Shannon said Johnson Space Center's engineering group in Houston wanted to proceed with the repairs , but every one else including safety officials voted to skip them. Douglas Osheroff a Nobel Prize - winning physicist who worked on the Columbia investigation four years ago, questioned NASA's decision not to proceed stating since they "can only increase their chances of making it down." he also stated "I don't see why NASA is going to invent a fix and not use it, this attitude of it looks okay, let's not do anything about it, seems like the Columbia NASA." And I thought Anna and I were the only ones having major concerns about this, I'm glad we're not alone on this one. Here is a good CNN video on the tile repair situation that I found for your viewing pleasure.

Martian skies are starting to clear for the rovers, Spirit is actually doing science again while the little opportunity rover guy is still having power problems.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Houston, We've Had A Problem Here"

As space shuttle Endeavour was approaching the International Space Station they performed a shuttle back flip. This allowed the ISS Astronauts to take Hi-Res pictures to be analyzed by NASA to see if any damaged had occurred to the shuttle's protective tile system during take off. The picture above shows the damage they did find. A 4"x4" piece of foam about 1.8" thick, weighing only a third of an ounce fell from a fuel tank bracket, creating a 3.5"x2" gash in the protective tile system, exposing the inner felt strip next to the shuttle's aluminum frame.

There are 3 options for repair available to the shuttle crew.
1. Paint the section with heat resistant paint.
2. Screw in a protective plate.
3. Fill the hole with a protective goo.

Now, if I were an Astronaut on board the Endeavour I'd be voting to do all 3 and then look around for some Duct tape as well, better safe than sorry, right? What's confusing to me is that NASA is still thinking about not doing any repairs at all, or as John Shannon, chairman of Endeavour's mission management team stated, "We're cautiously optimistic that we can fly as is". One of the reasons they are thinking of NOT doing any repairs is they only expect temperatures of 325 degrees on the exposed felt, and the upper limit for heating on the Endeavours hull at the damaged area is 350 degrees, am I the only one doing the math? that's only 25 degrees to the good. Even though the repair itself would be relatively simple, the fact that the Astronauts would be wearing a 300 -pound spacesuit carrying 150 pounds of tools, there is the danger that their tools could bang into the shuttle and cause even more damage, I say you send 2 patch kits with the repair guys/girls instead of one, and when you think of it, just how klutzy are these people anyway? These guys/girls are trained Astronauts. Anything could happen yet, I'm sure NASA will do the right thing whatever that may be.

The shuttle has been docked at the space station since Friday August 10th. They are scheduled to leave for home August 20th, landing August 22nd at 12:48 pm EDT. at the Kennedy Space Center. I was going to link to a NASA video which explained the STS118 mission, but I literally dozed off during the viewing, and it was only 8 minutes long, so many acronyms, why can't they make this stuff interesting? I mean I woke up and I just wanted it to be over.
Oh and by the way while all this other stuff is going on, two Russian Cosmonauts are trying to repair one of the Russian ISS computer systems that has been down since June due to condensation from an air conditioning unit. I will leave you with a Youtube video of the damaged area.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Aurigid Meteor Shower and Lunar Eclipse

The above picture of a meteor was taken by Anna during the Perseids meteor shower. Excellent job, as you wander through her site you'll find great other treasures like Moon shots, and frogs, that's right frogs.

Just when you are coming down from a meteor shower high, another one comes along. Two thousand years ago in Roman times comet Kiess left a trail of dust behind, which on September 1st. between 3:45 and 5:15 am PDT. we will be able to view as meteors. Only 3 people alive today are known to have seen them. This is an extremely rare event and after this shower there wont be another Aurigid Meteor Shower for another 50 years.

The meteors radiate from the constellation Auriga which at that time in the morning will be directly above you and a little to the east. Because comet Keiss only generated a narrow trail of debris this meteor shower will only be viewable from western North America, the good news is there will be up to 200 bright meteors per hour and since they only last an hour and a half, it will be a wild ride.

Two weeks from today, 4:20 am August 28th. is the total Lunar Eclipse, snooze you loose cause the next one won't be until February 21st. 2008. That's 14 days until August 28th., that's a significant number to me, that's when the weather network takes over my life. The weather network has a 14 day forecast, which is really quite funny since the idiot weather guys can't forecast what the weather's going to be like tomorrow let alone 2 weeks ahead, right, well that's logical Bob speaking. Crazy Bob (normal state) is thinking "yes! it's going to be sunny and clear", poor crazy Bob, because the little weather icons for a certain day in the future change from cloudy to sunny or sunny to cloudy sometimes 2 -3 times a day. Well this time I'm not going to let crazy Bob take over my life, so from this day forward I'm only going to look at the forecast 10 days in advance and then only every other day, satisfies both crazy and logical Bob, problem solved. I just took a quick look, life sucks it's going to be raining on the 28th.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The UFO Hunter's Handbook

Last year for Christmas my wife, Cathy, bought me The UFO Hunter's Handbook as a stocking stuffer. What an excellent find, everything you'd want to know about searching for a UFO in one handbook, and it's small enough to carry discretely in your pocket because you just never know when you might need it.

Our family is made up of two camps, there is my daughter Lindsay and I who believe in aliens, then there is my oldest daughter Amanda and Cathy who think we are alien, I mean aliens. My youngest daughter and I both have the paranormal gene, we both believe in UFO's and ghosts and like watching the same kind of horror and UFO shows, I remember one particular show we were watching, it was about aliens building the pyramids, at one point during the show we turned to each other and we knew, we knew it was true, aliens did build the pyramids, but more importantly, we needed more popcorn.

Anyways back to the book. There is some wild and wacky stuff in this book but there is also some useful pointers as well, for example, I took a picture of one of the chapters called "What To Do If You See a UFO", it states, " take careful enough notes," as you can see they lost something in the translation from the original Arabic scrolls, but they get the point across take lots of notes, for example, did it zoom or did it hover. They say that after going through your notes you may figure out that what you saw was actually a weather balloon or shooting star which would make it an "IFO "or "Identified Flying Object", which is what your not looking for. One of the crazy sections Is called "Up Close And Personal", where it has drawings of green aliens, I mean really, I think I know what an alien looks like, and they're not all green. Another crazy chapter is "Are You-Or Is Someone You Know-An Alien?", I think I would know if I was an alien, but it did bring up one point that made me think, One of the signs that you may be an alien is "Do you sometimes feel as though no one really understands you?" Oh well at least I don't have scaly skin, which was another sign. The book then gets into how you should defend yourself, basically, if your in front of an alien , just say NO, be forceful and stern, if that doesn't work, get a cat, apparently aliens are afraid of cats. The last chapter deals with reporting the incident, they make a point of telling you not to go to the tabloids, and gives the reader the "National UFO Reporting Center" phone number as well as the "Mutual UFO Network" number. The back cover of the handbook doubles as your official UFO hunter's ID card. Over all a good read and something any self respecting UFO hunter should have.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Endeavor and Phoenix Launch

The Mars phoenix lander had it's successful launch Saturday August 4th. The Mars phoenix lander is just that, it is a lander and won't be roving around like the rovers do. It will land in the Mars polar ice region to look for, you guessed it, water. The lander has a built in sturdy arm which will dig through the soil, and then, this is the cool thing, it will do experiments and chemical analysis with it's built in lab and then send it's results back to us here on Earth. They hope to have an actual Mar's sample return mission by 2020. The lander would do tests and then gather and store a sample of the Martian surface, a sample return vehicle would launch off the lander and rendezvous with an orbiting ship and then head for home.

Wednesday August 8th. at 6:36 pm EDT, Space Shuttle Endeavor had it's successful launch, I never get tired of watching launches, especially space shuttle ones, they have some crazy cool camera placements that show some neat stuff. STS (space transportation system) 118 will carry parts to be installed on the International Space Station. NASA is continuing it's "Teachers in Space" program 21 years after the Challenger disaster, taking the lives of 7 crew members including Christa McAuliffe the first and last school teacher to be launched into space. Barbara Morgan will be the school teacher on STS 118. Interestingly enough, Barbara was Christa's backup on the Challenger mission back in 1986.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I'm An Awesome Guy Blogger

Rose included me as one of her 5 nominations for awesome guy/rockin' girl awards, thanks Rose! It's now my turn to nominate 5 other blogs I feel are worthy of this coveted award. There are just too many to choose from, but off the top of my head.

Anna's; photography is simply stunning, there is one picture she took of a bird that you could see her reflection in the bird's eyeball. Her pictures of the moon are excellent, she is a rockin' girl blogger.

Vienne; has an excellent blog based on eavesdropping on unsuspecting people, you have to give it a try, very unique concept, another worthy rockin' girl blogger.

Aura; Has a spooky interesting blog about the unexplained, but the best reason is her picture, scares me just thinking about it, in a cool sort of way. rockin' girl blogger all the way.

Barbara; Is getting the word out about Jericho, what a great show it is, and that the Nielsen Ratings suck, well the suck is my word. Good choice for all her hard work.

Ross; Has a cool blog with cute animal pics, Quotes and other neat things, but mostly because he plays bass, good choice for awesome guy blogger.

Just to prove I am worthy, I posted a pic of my blue guitar (custom painted by a friend of mine) which matches the blue guitar in the award, it was meant to be, the cat is Spot, named in honor of Data's cat from Star Trek the Next Generation. Spot wasn't going to be in the picture but she kept butting in and ruined a lot of pics, so I finally told her to stay still and look into the camera, and she agreed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Dark Energy

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 1 scene 5.

Back in 1998 Saul Perlmutter and Brian P.Schmidt discovered through the observations of type 1a Supernovae that the universe was expanding faster then it should be . This was a mind boggling discovery. What was the dark repulsive force that was able to increase the expansion rate of the universe? Michael Turner called it Dark Energy and scientists were able to determine that it accounts for around 73% of the total mass of the universe, 23% consists of something else we have no idea of called Dark matter, in fact everything we see , stars , planets, galaxies and people only account for 4% of the total mass of the universe, thats mind boggling. We don't know a whole lot about the make up of either dark energy or dark matter, we know that it isn't made up of the Baryonic matter, we and everything else we see is, and is only detected through the observations and effects it has on the Baryonic matter around it. If you think about it, your probably being bombarded right now with all kinds of non-baryonic matter
as your walking to the store, driving to work, non-baryonic matter is all around you.

As it stands right now there are 3 possibilities of a dark energy universe. as my above diagram shows.

1."The big crunch", the universe implodes or colapses.

2."Indefinite expansion"

3. "Big rip", dark energy becomes unstabilized and rips everything apart and we all become unglued.

I vote for number 2.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Apollo In Hi-Res

Oh happy day, A Press Release dated August 1st./2007, announces the complete Apollo photo set will soon be available in digital high resolution first generation scans. Right now you can view the complete Apollo photo set at "Johnson Space Center" , but these are copies of copies. I downloaded the picture above of the Apollo 16 Lunar Module and Rover from the Johnson Space Center, which is decent enough, but on the first generation high resolution scans you'll be able to see the photographic grain, wow! It says in the public press release "These photos have great scientific value, despite being taken decades ago". The project is expected to take 3 years, but you should be able to view the first Hi-Res scans in a few months.

A gentile reminder about the Perseid's Meteor Shower this coming Sunday at dusk, with Mars in the NE sky as well as a new moon, it's leading up to be a great show. Also don't forget about the August 28 total lunar eclipse, starting at 4:20am EDT, if you miss this one the next will be February 21/2008 visible to the Americas and parts of Europe.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Moon Passes Gas, Apollo 16 Witnesses

Boy slow day at the office, scientist must have decided to dig up some cold case astro files. I would have gone right by this puppy but Apollo 15's name was mentioned and me being the Apollo nut I am did a little digging, made a few calls, called in a few favors and found out some interesting stuff.

Lunar Transient Phenomenas or "LTP"for short, are short lived phenomena, usually of bright white or red lights coming from the moons surface, apparently they are rarely photographed, the picture above is from 1953. I belong to the "LTP Research Program" and have spent many hours looking at Aristarchus and Plato,(50% and 15% of the LTPS happen in these craters) just hoping for some kind of flash to happen, to date notta, nothing, but there is always hope.

Scientists have discovered a strong relationship between "LTP'S" or "TLP'S" and escaping gases from beneath the moon's surface. "Radon" is a non colored gas but when it is cooled below-96 degrees Fahrenheit it becomes a yellow gas, if the temperature dips below -180 C it actually turns a red color. the Moon's temperature varies between 111C nearside temps to -193C at the darkside.

Apollo 15, detected traces of Radon in the Aristarchus, Kepler and Grimaldi. craters. Below is a conversation between capcom (capsule communication on earth)
and Orion, Apollo 16 lunar module.

Capcom: You talked about something mysterious?

Orion: Ok, Gordy when we pitched around I'd like to tell you about something we saw around the LM (Lunar module). When we were coming about 30 or 40 feet out, there were a lot of objects-white things flying by. It looked as if they were being propelled or ejected, but I'm not convinced of that.

Capcom: We copy that Charlie.

Could the Orion have been witnessing a LTP? I am going to leave you with a cool YouTube video of the descent, ascent and the famous hammer, feather experiment of. "Apollo 15" , a mission summary of Apollo 16, notice the "UFO?" behind Charles Duke and a "."Apollo 16" strange flashes video.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Mars Hoax

It's that time of year again. "The Red Planet Is About To Be Spectacular" is the title of the email that roams the Internet usually in August. The email shows a picture with Mars and the Moon being the same size, top picture above , when in reality the bottom of the two pictures above is how they actually compare in size. For Mars to appear the same size as the Moon it would have to be 90 times closer then it is. It all started when back in August of 2003, Mars was actually the closest to Earth it had ever been, 35 million miles. Every 2.25 years the elliptical orbit of Mars is at its closest point to Earth, in December of this year Mars will come within 55 million miles of Earth, by the way Mars furthest point from Earth is 154 million miles.

Every year since 2004 I have been forwarded this email from someone I know asking if I will be taking pictures or at the very least looking at it with my telescope, and I always end up bursting their bubble by boring them with the truth, which always ends up with them sending out another email stating never mind about the first email it is a hoax. The first year it happened a friend of mine mentioned his sister had sent him an email about Mars being as big as the Moon. Rushing to his computer to view the email; well you know how your brain and experience tell you one thing but you still hang on to something ridiculous? that's how I felt the first time I viewed the "Mars Spectacular" email, I finally came back to reality and explained why it was just totally wrong, his sister sent out another email stating the first was a hoax and all was well. The only mention so far this year has been a friend's friend in Ontario has gotten the email, so beware its out there.