danspace77 February 7, 1984: STS-41-B Challenger. Bruce McCandless makes the 1st untethered spacewalk with the MMU pack. Just amazing. 4d

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danspace77 LIFE AND DEATH IS THE UNIVERSE (Zoom 2-2)

Image Credit & Copyright: Don Goldman.
Now let’s zoom in and have a look at that smaller bubble-like formation near the bottom of the previous image. This object is cataloged as NGC 6164 and although it looks like a planetary nebula, it’s an emission nebula.
This four light year diameter nebula is created by a massive O-type star more than 40 times the mass of our Sun. This star is only about 4 million years old and because of its size and fuel consumption, it’s probably half way through its life as we see it. At this size when it goes, it will go out with a bang. A Type II aka, core collapse supernova which will deliver more energy in an instant than our Sun radiates in its 10 billion year lifetime.
When this event takes place, a few more heavy elements will have been created to someday accrete into a planet for someone to dig up and generate industry with.

NAME: NGC 6188, NGC 6193, NGC 6164.

WHAT IS IT?: Emission nebula being illuminated by young open star cluster.

HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: Roughly 4,200 light years.

HOW BIG IS IT?: Approximately 70 light years and 2 Full Moon widths on the night sky.

APPARENT MAGNITUDE: A naked eye 5.5.

WHERE IS IT? (General): Southern constellation Ara (Altar) at the center of what’s known as the Ara OB1 association.

WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000): RA 16h 41m 20s / DEC −48° 45′ 48″.

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danspace77 LIFE AND DEATH IS THE UNIVERSE (Zoom 1-2)
Image Credit & Copyright: Kfir Simon.

A few million years ago, a dense cloud of molecular hydrogen collapsed under its own mass and gravity in select areas to birth stars. As these stars came into being; the intense stellar wind (radiation) associated with them immediately began to push back and blow away the cocoon of material that created it. What remained, we today catalog as open star cluster NGC 6193 in the southern constellation Ara, “Altar” and you can see this open star cluster with no optical aid from the southern hemisphere.

The molecular cloud, which still blocks our view of the open cluster is now cataloged as emission nebula NGC6188 and stretches about 70 light years in diameter or about 2 Full Moon widths on our night sky. If you could collect photons with your eyes enough to be able to see it that is.

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danspace77 RIP Edgar Mitchell Feb 4, 2016. We lost another Moon Walker. Today, in 1971, he and Al Shepard touched down in the Moon. #Apollo14 #EdgarMitchell 5d

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Image Credit & Copyright: United Launch Alliance @ulalaunch @45thspacewing.

LAUNCH ALERT: Friday, February 5, 2016 at 13:38 UTC (08:38 EST & 05:38 PST) the United Launch Alliance (ULA), utilizing an Atlas V-401 rocket designated (AV-057) will deliver the GPS IIF-12 Global Positioning Satellite into orbit for the U.S. Air Force and users worldwide from Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida.

Hit the blog DanSpace77.com for live streaming links and information.

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danspace77 Image Credit & Copyright: Matt Milone @nightmutephoto.

Here’s a great image of the night sky over the Shawnee Peak ski resort in Bridgton Maine. I believe this image was captured from across Moose Pond, obviously looking south in order to capture as much of the core of the Milky Way as possible.

Great capture by Matt and as a relatively new widefield (non-telescope) night sky photographer myself, I love to see what other locals from the New England area are producing although it seems the opportunities I have to escape for a night are few and far between. Make sure you check out more of Matt’s work and keep tagging me in your own night sky images as I love seeing them.

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danspace77 Tough day today with not having much of any time to myself but late or not I must pay respects to STS-107 Columbia and her crew. I can't believe how long ago 2003 was already. With the darkest week in spaceflight behind us, let's look forward to an incredible future. #STS107 #Columbia 1w
  •   davejfb Always in our hearts 1w
  •   jonnathanem Una gran pena, aún en pleno siglo 21 y cometiendo errores de siglo 19. Que descansen en paz. "Por ellos ahora hay que continuar" 1w
  •   dreamsindaydream @rumayse solda bunlar sağda alikuşçudaki çocuklar ^_^ 1w
  •   3rdeyemuse 1w
  •   astro_mom Amazing it seems like yesterday 1w
  •   natasticx I was 10 years old. I remember that Sunday like it was yesterday! 1w
  •   xenoclaw An inspiration forever 1w

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danspace77 Well hello there #Curiosity! Here's the newest Curiosity selfie taken at Namib Dune, Mars on January 19, 2016 (Sol 1228). The image is a stitched together group of 57 images with the ones that show the MAHLI cam arm edited out. Love these rover selfies. 2w

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Image Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky @yuribeletsky.
Where do we even begin here? When you’re one of the most prolific night sky imagers out there, it’s hard to meet the bar you have raised for yourself time and time again but this image really goes the distance in my humble opinion. Imaged by Yuri Beletsky, we see the incredible night sky far away and long ago, high above the extinct volcano, Rano Kau on the legendary Easter Island. That same sky, reflected in the waters of the crater lake.


As awe inspiring as this image is, who knows what we’re looking at here? I’m not talking about the Milky Way, but instead that tall pillar of light, seemingly rising from the volcano as if its spirit has been awakened to communicate with the universe. Twice a year the orientation of the Earth places us at a prime vantage point to view a little known, hard to see, and in my opinion underappreciated phenomenon. Known to the ancient Persian as well as Arabic astronomers as “False Dawn” (in the fall months) or “Tall Twilight”, Zodiacal light is a vast towering pyramid of light whose point follows the zodiac constellations (thus the name) and Ecliptic into the night sky, reaching out for the Milky Way, kind of beautiful and spooky right?

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danspace77 REMEMBERING CHALLENGER "The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.” Thank you." – Ronald Regan in his address to the nation.

The STS-51-L primary mission payload was the second of NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay, (TDRS) satellites. Working in concert with the first Tracking and Data Relay satellite the two were expected to provide 85 percent real time coverage of each orbit to spacecraft. Challenger Pilot Michael Smith said, “It will give us almost global coverage for Shuttle missions of the future. That’s going to be a big improvement not only for the shuttle, but also for the space station when it gets up later on.” The satellite was scheduled to be deployed on the first day of the flight.

The mission was also to include upwards of 40 hours of Halley’s Comet observations. Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics had produced a low-cost spacecraft that could measure the ultraviolet spectrum of comet Halley when it was too close to the sun for other observatories to do so. The project, named Spartan-Halley, would help scientists determine how fast water is broken down by sunlight. The data was to be saved on what was then a very robust 500 megabytes of storage.

Launching from Launch Pad 39-B this was the first launch of a Space Shuttle from that launch pad as it had not been used since the Apollo-Soyuz missions.
  •   jaimej2k2 @danspace77 And today I learned about Roger Boisjoly. 2w
  •   littlesaplingtoys_shop I was home sick that day from kindergarten, I remember watching it on TV and crying because I was so upset. 2w
  •   brentnh @danspace77 I remember that day clearly. 2w
  •   danmch Fantastic post thank you! 2w
  •   jrtrules I had a 2 year old and a 4 year old watching the launch. It was so hard explaining what had happened. 2w
  •   billscheetz Thats my kennedy moment...i remember exactly where i was 2w
  •   rashty9 @sabanai was it the gentleman on the far right you told me about that he was a Bahai? 2w
  •   sabanai @rashty9 I believe so yeah 2w

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danspace77 January 27, 1967: RIP to the crew of #Apollo1; Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee.
Per Aspera Ad Astra...........

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danspace77 Just over 1hr until the 1st #Ariane5 launch of 2016! Follow along at Arianespace.com @arianespace #VA228 2w

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Image Credit & Copyright: Mike Ver Sprill @milky_way_mike. Here’s a great image of the Milky Way galaxy passing across the South Dakota night near Badlands National Park. You may notice that, in this image that although the galactic nucleus is fairly bright, it’s still shrouded by a thick band of material that stretches the length of its plane.

Also, look near the horizon just above the hilltops and to the right of the Milky Way. There you see a red star standing out from the rest. That’s Antares, the “Heart of the Scorpion” about 600 light years away and the details of this star are just astounding. The Sun, for example, has a diameter of about 865,000 miles which is enormous, don’t get me wrong. Antares however, has a diameter of about 372 million miles which makes our Sun look microscopic in comparison. Let’s look at this from another angle. If you replaced the Sun with Antares, with a diameter of more than 6 AU (AU = Average distance between Sun & Earth) it would completely swallow up the orbit of Mars! As odd as that sounds, the more we look around at other star systems Jupiter would seem to look more at home much closer to the Sun than where it is anyway.

I hope you all enjoy this great image and check out more of Mike’s work!

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Image Credit & Copyright: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

When the light from the galaxy in this image left and headed our way, the dinosaurs were still happily grazing on trees….and each other (depending on who you were). In fact they had roughly 35 million years of blissful feeding ahead of them before they observed an asteroid too closely about 65 million years ago. In fact, the 100 million years that it takes light to travel from this galaxy to Earth spans more than half of the 165 million years that the dinosaurs existed. So much has changed here in that time and one can only fantasize of the changes that have taken place on that island in that time as well.

This galaxy is cataloged as New General Catalog 3021 (NGC 3021) and it resides in the constellation Leo Minor and as I stated above, it’s roughly 100 million light years away. The two bright stars in this image aren’t stars in that galaxy but stars in our own Milky Way that we have to look beyond as if we’re observing something outside through a screen door.

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Image Credit & Copyright:SpaceX @spacex.
LAUNCH ALERT: Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 18:42 UTC 10:42 PST & 13:42 EST, a SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket will be launching from SpaceX’s, Space Launch Complex 4-East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California. The mission will launch the Jason 3 ocean altimetry satellite which will measure ocean surface topography for NOAA, EUMSAT, CNES & NASA.

This will be the Falcon 9’s 21st flight “F9-21” and the Falcon 9 v1.1, 15th and final flight (If successful it will be the 14th success of the v1.1). It’s appropriate I suppose; that the final v1.1 launch will fly from Vandenberg as it was the site of the 1st v1.1 launch back on September 29, 2013. This will be SpaceX’s 2nd launch from Vandenberg.

Due to pending approvals, the Landing Zone at Vandenberg is not ready so this will not be a Return to Launch Site (RTLS) mission. Instead, the 1st stage booster will attempt to land on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) stationed in the Pacific. SpaceX has stated that this will still be necessary for high velocity launches where returning to land isn’t possible.

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Image Credit & Copyright: European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT). This beautiful structure is a planetary nebula and it’s the result of when a star roughly eight solar masses or less, ends its life. These stars (like our Sun) don’t go out with a bang but instead die relatively quietly and release their stellar material out into the surrounding cosmos. As the sphere of material expands outward, the structure will remain visible for upwards of 100,000 years though this one is relatively young, likely 8,000 years old or so.

This particular object is located 3,500 light years away in the constellation Hydra and goes by the name of the Southern Owl Nebula because of its resemblance to M97 the Owl Nebula in Ursa Major. It’s about 2 light years in diameter which is about 2,000 times the diameter of Neptune’s orbit or about half way to Alpha Centauri from the Sun. If you could travel 7 times around the Earth per-second, it would still take you 2 years to cross from one side to the other.

One has to wonder, that, as we see the end of a stars life that was similar to that of our Sun; was there life there? Are we witnessing the extinction of not only a star but of life as well? If so, I wonder if they were the only planet with life that they knew of and one day will a life form view our planetary nebula and wonder the same?

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Image Credit & Copyright: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and N.S. van der Bliek (NOAO/AURA/NSF)

Located roughly 2,700 light years away in the constellation Monoceros the Unicorn is this beautiful region known as Monoceros R2 (Mon R2) with the “R” representing “reflection” as in reflection nebula. At its heart and shrouded in the molecular cloud is the star forming region NGC 2170. This is one of the closer star forming regions to the Sun and for the northern hemisphere is in your night time skies all winter.

Though not visible in a short human lifetime, this region is being re-shaped dramatically by the intense stellar winds radiating from the newborn stars. To locate this region you will want to travel about 8 degrees east of Orion and it covers about 2 full degrees of night sky. That’s 4 Full Moon diameters. You won’t see it like you do in this image of course but in small telescopes some of the stars should be visible.
  •   wishingstarboutique @larryjcancel Si pudieramos ver esto en un telescopio! 1mon
  •   auststan Hey @danspace77 I recently got an Orion 130st eq space probe. Binos wer cool but this is better I hope. Given your telescope experience can you give me any tips? 4w
  •   sahar_naghshineh Super duper beautiful !!!!!! 4w
  •   danspace77 @auststan My bad on the ridiculous response delay. My biggest tip would be to recalibrate what you think you can see. Moon, planets, star clusters and double stars will look amazing. The single biggest problem I see day to day with people getting scopes is that they think nebulae will look like they do in images. Most nebulae and galaxies are border line invisible or colorless at least but M42 Orion Nebula, M57 Ring Nebula and even a galaxy like M31 Andromeda can be pretty amazing to see with your own eyes. As far as the telescope itself, just work with it and start slow. I used to pull my hair out trying to figure it all out. 2w
  •   danspace77 @cordoyne1 Sorry for the delay. I pretty much taught myself the same way and I'm still not great at stacking and processing aside from star trails. From capturing the images to processing it's all very time consuming and I'm taking it all in very slow myself. 2w
  •   auststan @danspace77 no worries. I can see what you mean. I don't expect to see what iv obviously seen in other images but trial and error seems to be my best bet. Educating myself on the hobby has become something to look forward too and making it work better for what I want to try and see is the whole point! I hope one day I can keep up in a thread hah. Thanks for the input. 2w

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danspace77 Here's a brief post in time......January 8, 1942: Happy Birthday Stephen Hawking. 1mon

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Image Credit & Copyright: Brook Wassall @brookwassall.
We made it past hump day and we’re well on our way downhill to another weekend which I hope all of you take full advantage of. Hopefully, this image by Brook Wassall will serve to make the rest of your week just a bit easier. This was shot back in August, 2015 just above Lower Foxdale on the Isle of Man.

The Isle of Man is an independent territory (not part of the UK) located in the Irish Sea and positioned between England, Scotland and Ireland at almost equal distances to each.

Many of you race fans out there definitely know about the Isle of Man for their amazing 2 week TT motorcycle racing event held from late May to early June along a 37 mile course. Something personally on my bucket list of races to attend across the world. I also just realized 2 of 3 of my last posts involve racing and I’m ok with that.

Beautiful location, beautiful sights, amazing events and lots of history all across this island so if you ever get the chance to go, do so! Again, great job Brook on an awesome image and be sure to check out more of his work!

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danspace77 WE BEGIN AGAIN

Image Credit & Copyright: Justin Dodson @the_power_of_failing.
Happy New Year again everyone! I sincerely hope that you all had a safe and slightly irresponsible New Year’s Eve because it’s back to work on yet another 584 million mile jaunt around the sun.

Let’s kick the year off right with this spectacular image from Justin Dodson of the Milky Way galaxy high overhead, far away, and long ago, as it reflects over a calm body of water in northern Arizona. In this image you can see the nucleus of the galaxy and in it, lies a region known as the “Dark Horse.” Can you spot it? Though I haven’t been in a long time; Arizona, like many locations across the southwest are a favorite of mine for their truly amazing landscapes and open horizons.

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