Cosmos

Category archives for Cosmos

Comet ISON caught on video!

Comet ISON appears to be a new comet. This bundle of icy dirty icy stuff was tugged by subtle gravitational forces out of the Ort Cloud, which is really really far away, and is now falling towards the sun. It will pass within view of us Earthlings later this year on its way towards the…

In February, Asteroid 2012 DA 14 will come so close to earth that it will be nearer to our planet than many satellites are. This asteroid, which really should get a new name, is about half the size of a football field. Its orbit is similar to that of the Earth itself, in size and…

The Challenge of Space Flight

Suddenly and for the first time I saw Amanda as a little child wide eyed with both awe and fear, among other children some sitting on the floor, some in chairs, some standing behind desks, eyes trained on a TV monitor and their teacher as the sudden realization dawned on all of them that the…

I only barely remember the disaster. It was on this day, but in 1967. In recent years, I’ve wondered why my memory of the death of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee in the Apollo 1 space craft is so vague. I have memories of earlier space activities, but most of those memories are…

Never mind Fresh Water Diatoms hitching a ride on meteors. We’ve got a possible Gamma Ray Burst in about 774 or 775 CE to talk about. Phil Plait has described the phenomenon which is reported here. The tl;dr: Extra 14C Beryllium in tree rings laid down at that time had to come from somewhere, and…

Planet Saturn As It Is Not Usually Seen

From NASA: On Oct. 17, 2012, during its 174th orbit around the gas giant, Cassini was deliberately positioned within Saturn’s shadow, a perfect location from which to look in the direction of the sun and take a backlit view of the rings and the dark side of the planet. Looking back towards the sun is…

Amy Shira Teitel’s video:

Ebb And Flow Crash Into Sally Ride!

Ebb and Flow were the twin space craft that mapped in the Moon’s gravitational field by flying near each other, and then as the gravity of the Moon tugged on them they could suss out how much gravity that was, exactly. The gravity map of the moon, actually two of them, at two different scales,…

Fifty years ago to day a space ship passed by the planet Venus. The Earthlings had named the space craft “Mariner 2″ and sent it to Venus for purely scientific purposes. Interplanetary domination was never the intention of this or any other Earth mission. And that began the story of planetary exploration as we know…

Ebb and Flow, the Twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) Space Ships, which have been employed to provide detailed gravitational mapping of the Moon’s geology, have apparently served their purpose and will be reprogrammed in a few hours from now to crash into the moon on Monday. PASADENA, Calif. — Twin lunar-orbiting NASA spacecraft…