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Posts Tagged ‘international space station’

Sunspot-space station conjunction

The Space Station was caught on film in orbit over sunspot 1057! 

Yesterday in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, astrophotographer John Stetson and his son Peter observed a very rare event–a sunspot-space station conjunction. 

“We knew when to look thanks to a prediction from CalSky,” says Stetson. “The International Space Station transited the solar disk in only 0.62 seconds. We managed to catch the station’s silhouette just as it was passing sunspot 1057.” Stetson has been photographing solar transits for years; he ranks this one as “the best yet.”  As far as we know, this is the first time the ISS has been observed in conjunction with a big sunspot. via http://spaceweather.com/.

If you are so inclined to track the ISS yourself you will have to go to http://spaceflight1.nasa.gov/realdata/tracking/index.html.-  NASA no longer tracks it.

Heaven’s Above http://www.heavens-above.com/ does not appear to be so private.  It is hosted by Space Operations and Astronaut Training
DLR Space Operations, the central institution for spaceflight operations in Germany. http://www.dlr.de/rb/en/

The Expedition 23 crew members aboard the International Space Station were busy Thursday with an emergency Soyuz descent training drill and preparations for the arrival of space shuttle Discovery and the STS-131 crew…. Discovery and the STS-131 crew are targeted to launch to the station on April 5, bringing a multi-purpose logistics module filled with science racks for the station’s laboratories.  http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html 

The really cool thing would have been if the ISS snapped a picture up close of the solar spot. Even better, zoomed in on the coordinates and location of the photographers on earth and taken their picture, taking their picture!

Can they do that?  Terra Server http://www.terraserver.com/ and Google Earth http://earth.google.com/ are pretty good at it and so are governments.

The code named Kennan “Keyhole-class” (KH) reconnaissance satellites have been orbiting the Earth for more than 30 years. They are typically used to take overhead photos for military missions. The big question for a lot of people is: “What can they see?”

A KH-12 is a $1 billion satellite that resembles the Hubble Space Telescope, except it is looking at our planet. For security reasons, there are no published orbit schedules for the imagery spacecraft. They are supplemented by the 15-ton Lacrosse-class radar-imaging satellites…They have an imaging resolution of 5-6 inches, which means they can see something 5 inches or larger on the ground. These satellites probably can’t read your house number, but they can tell whether there is a bike parked in your driveway. http://science.howstuffworks.com/question529.htm

 

Sunspot 1057 is big but quiet. It does not have the type of twisted magnetic field that harbors energy for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Current Sunspot Cycle Activity and Space Weather: http://prop.hfradio.org/

Sun Spots: 25 as of 03/25/2010 :: Flux: 88
X-ray Solar Flares:
6h hi [B3.0][0214Z 03/26] 24h hi [B7.3][0351Z 03/25] 

Planetary A-index (Ap): 5 | Planetary K-index (Kp): 2 (12 nT)
Solar Wind: 377 km/s at 5.0 protons/cm3, Bz is 3.0 nT
(Mar 26, 2010 at 1604 UT)

Translation- all is calm for now as no space weather storms are expected for the next 24 hours.

March 19, 2010 was a different story, at least for Earth.

This photo is a still taken from a NASA Allsky camera video taken of a meteor fireball over western Alabama on March 19, 2010. The meteor was about the size of a soccer ball and completely incinerated before reaching the ground, scientists say.

A bright fireball that lit up the sky above parts of Alabama last week  was caught by NASA cameras as it streaked over the southeastern United States. 

The fireball was caused by the death plunge of a meteor about the size of a soccer ball as it burned up in Earth’s atmosphere on Friday, March 19, at 11:19 p.m. local time while flying over western Alabama. Two NASA cameras, one based at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., recorded a the meteor’s fiery demise as it happened. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/25/nasa-camera-catches-fireball-alabama/

Pretty good photo, eh?  A good explanation too, but what are all those other bright white lights on the right side of the earth?  UFO’s, asteroids, meteors, other satellites…?

The next meteor shower is the Lyrids on April 21. The Moon is just past first quarter, so it sets around 3 or 4 a.m., providing several hours of meteor watching before dawn. http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors/

Keep looking up.

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Always keeping an eye to the sky, ran across this:

The International Space Station may be viewed at various times this week beginning Monday, January 4, 2010, in the early evenings across North America. For exact times and dates at your location visit SpaceWeather Satellite Flybys and enter your zip code. Dress warmly if your skies are clear even if the flyby is but a little more than 2-minutes. Encourage several friends to take interest in the ISS in 2010 – the final year of space shuttle flights to the ISS. via http://spaceports.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2010-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-05%3A00&updated-max=2011-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-05%3A00&max-results=4

And the text reads-

US and Canadian readers, enter your zip code below, hit Go!, and you will find out what is going to fly over your area in the nights ahead. There are hundreds of satellites in Earth orbit; we cut through the confusion by narrowing the list to a half-dozen or so of the most interesting. At the moment we are monitoring a number of spy satellites, space shuttle Atlantis, the International Space Station, and the Hubble Space Telescope. Feedback is welcomed.  
 

You will probably have to click on the link http://www.spaceweather.com/flybys/index.php?PHPSESSID=4le8abpoqcaldu3ejijn1anjk2 for access but definitely interesting.

NASA also offers viewing locations at http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/index.html

NASA is offering a 2010 calendar that describes the work being done on the International Space Station and gives information about the crews that have lived there. The calendar contains photographs taken from the space station and highlights historic NASA milestones and fun facts about the international construction project of unprecedented complexity that began in 1998 via http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Keep looking up!

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