danspace77 Have a fun and safe #MemorialDay everyone. Eternal appreciation to those who gave everything. 4h

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danspace77 May 27, 2011: incredible image of STS-134 Endeavour's last ever trip to Station. 3d

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Image credit & copyright: @mikekillianphotography of @Americaspace.

LAUNCH ALERT: Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 17:40 EDT (21:40 UTC), a SpaceX Falcon 9 Full Thrust (FT) rocket will be launching from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) Florida, with the Thaicom 8 communications satellite.

This will be Space-X’s 25th Falcon 9 flight (F9-25), 5th flight for the Falcon FT and hopefully the third successful touchdown on SpaceX’s East Coast Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS), Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY).

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danspace77 NIGHT LIFE

Image credit & copyright: @mmamtani.
As if you needed another reason to visit Utah, here’s an amazing image from Manish Mamtani of a friend, Sanket Kolhe reflecting on the Milky Way galaxy which itself is reflecting on the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats. Well, legendary if you’re a race fan because for decades during the summer when the water has dried, this has been one of the major proving grounds for people from all around the world to test their nerves and equipment to reach the highest speeds on land.

Aside from the mass of stars and the disk of our home star city, what else can we see here in this image? Yea, that’s right, that beautiful and awe inspiring trio of Mars, Saturn and Antares just right of the galactic core. You may not have a view quite like this but if you have a clear south/southeast horizon the trio is still putting on quite a show.

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danspace77 NASA image of ET-122 used on STS-134 Endeavour.
Heads up #LA, Space Shuttle external tank #ET94 will travel through town to the California Science Center today, Saturday, May 21. The trip will start around midnight and reach the CA Science Center between 7:30 and 9 pm PDT. Just hit my Twitter or FB (DanSpace77) and I'll post the LA Times infographic with route and times. #ETComesHome #California #LosAngeles

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Image credit & copyright: Me.

When the Full Moon rises tomorrow, Saturday, May 21, 2016 we will see the last seasonal blue moon until May of 2019. There are a few different definitions of Blue Moon and I’ve detailed them below but I have to be up front with you, I’m not too happy about this one because the big bright full moon will be pretty close to Mars which will be at opposition this weekend as well. It may be a pretty cool sight to see but for us observers who plan to check out Mars at its best and brightest, good ole Luna could be problematic.

Type 1: Two (2) Full Moons that occur in a single calendar month are called “CALENDAR” Blue Moons. They tend to occur on average every 2.7 years-ish and this is today’s “modern” definition of the event. The last one was last year, (July 31, 2015) and the next few of this type will take place on:

January 31, 2018

March 31, 2018

October 31, 2020

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danspace77 NOW IS THE TIME TO OBSERVE MARS (re-post)

Image credit & copyright: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope taken on May 12, 2016.

Some of you I know have already been enjoying the view every morning as the Mars, Saturn and Antares trio have been rising before the Sun in close formation recently and what a sight it is. If you haven’t seen this yet I would urge you to do so because it’s a fantastic view that’s peaking right now. In fact, Mars is nearing opposition which will take place on this Sunday, May 22, 2016.

Opposition, in planetary terms is when a superior (outer) planet reaches a point almost exactly opposite the Sun from Earth’s vantage point so we see its full disk so you can call it a “Full Mars.” Another way to say it is Earth will be directly between the Sun and Mars. That, for as technical as we need to be, places Mars at its closest point that it can get to the Earth in its orbit (perigee). Opposition and actual perigee points differ slightly but close enough for what we’re doing.

Mars reaches opposition every 26 months and this opposition will bring Mars to a mere 0.5 AU (AU being 1 Earth/Sun distance or about 93 million mi.) from Earth, the last Mars opposition which took place on April 8, 2014 was at a distance of 0.62 AU and the next opposition on July 27, 2018 will be at an even closer 0.38 AU! That’s the closest it will get until 2035 (great time to send humans) so take advantage of these next few oppositions. The closest Mars opposition in recent history was on August 27, 2003 where it was 0.37 AU from Earth. It hadn’t been that close for 60,000 years and won’t be that close again until August 28, 2287 so start eating healthy and working out.

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Image Credit & Copyright: @k.d.s.photography.
Every now and then we’re reminded of how fragile life is and 36 years ago on this date in 1980, Mount St. Helens, captured here in this great image by Kevin Shearer, grabbed the world’s attention and devastated a vast portion of the northwest and sent ash clouds around the Earth. In this image the cold darkness of space is broken by the light of a hundred billion suns. Below is the legendary mountain as seen from the Elk Rock Viewpoint, just 96 miles south of Seattle and 50 miles northeast of Portland Oregon sits as a testament to the fragile grounds on which we reside.

A couple things about this image that jump out at me; one is the viewpoint. This image is shot fairly tight which is actually great because you get some scale as the Milky Way looks wide and vast as it should against the Cascade Mountains. Normally you see open Milky Way shots which are incredible and beautiful as well of course, but sometimes these tighter images of sections of the galaxy against a background just give you a different feel. Photography really is artistic in nature, it’s great.

The second aspect that I want to point out to you is, well, the name of this image; the Milky Way’s “Dark Horse” which is just slightly right of center in this image. It’s called that because this thing looks more like an actual horse than any of the constellations actually look like their namesakes. It doesn’t take too much imagination to see the horse’s body, head and legs, one of its front legs are actually up in a walking position, pretty awesome.

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danspace77 May 16, 2011: STS-134 the final launch of OV-105 Endeavour. Amazing ESA image. 2w

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danspace77 Happy #AstronomyDay everyone! Here's a quick IG edit of one of my shooting adventures this past weekend. Yea this is only edited with IG. Haven't had time to properly edit anything yet.
#NewHampshire #RyeBeachNH #NH #RyeBeach
  •   kevindjordanphoto @danspace77 Nice shot man! I had no idea there was that dark of a view up in Rye! 2w
  •   frog_nipple Is that Saturn near the top right? 2w
  •   danspace77 @kevindjordanphoto Yea it was ok, not great but I didn't have time to run out for the night. I haven't really learned processing yet but this is helped a lot by the "structure" tool right here on IG. 1w
  •   danspace77 @frog_nipple Nah, Mars. Below Mars is Antares and just to the left of them is Saturn. They're all pretty close. 1w

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Image credit & copyright: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope & Matej Novak.

No, this isn’t some space snowball but instead a planetary nebula located 4,000 light years away in the constellation Scorpius. Hubble delivers to us incredible detail as we can see the vast network of filaments in the expanding debris of this now dead star.

This object hosts three times more neon, argon, oxygen, carbon and chorine than our solar system as well as five times more nitrogen than the Sun. It’s currently believed that this star was formed from a cloud dense in these materials vs. the thought that it created them through its evolution.

As for the objects themselves they are very low density and comprised of mostly gaseous materials. They range in size depending on the mass of the dying star, composition, speed of material ejection and the amount of time the event has been taking place as well as under what processes it was undergoing while it was being formed. Density in PN’s are so low (Approximately a million atoms per cubic centimeter) that no vacuum on Earth can recreate these conditions. Though planetary nebulae were known about for over 200 years, nobody knew what they were or what their origins were besides the fact that they could look and see them.

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danspace77 Little Mercury 36 million miles from the Sun and 48 million miles from Earth it still a tiny spec compared to the Sun or even the Sun's features.
Lucked out here as it was clouded most of the event but I fought a few breaks and got to view and image a little bit. The whole image has a nasty flat spot which I didn't have time to diagnose and fix but here's a quick crop.

Also, quick shoutout to all the astronomy clubs out there today making the outreach push on sidewalks etc. I recommended many of my friends to them today.
#Mercury #TransitOfMercury
  •   aliyevflying Nice work @danspace77. I'm looking forward to have some spare time to get into photos like these. Next year is the solar eclipse, gotta move ) 3w
  •   danspace77 @aliyevflying That will be here so fast. I'm hoping to get down to TN for the total eclipse but we'll see. I'll probably have to drive to get all my gear there. 3w
  •   aliyevflying @danspace77 That's a nice road trip is there anything special in terms of equipment that you'll take with you for that day ? 3w
  •   astro_mom Wonderful capture. I really enjoyed watching it. 2w

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Illustration credit & copyright: @NASA @nasajpl.
Launched on August 5, 2011 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), SLC-41 on an Atlas V 551 Juno, the second of NASA’s New Frontier spacecraft (the first being New Horizons) has been making her way out into the solar system en route to Jupiter. On January 13, 2016 Juno reached the milestone of becoming the most distant solar powered spacecraft at a distance of 493 million miles (793 km) beating out ESA’s famous Rosetta spacecraft still in orbit around Comet 67P.

With 1.74 billion miles (2.8 billion km) down and 19 million miles (31 million km) to go at 60,000 mph, Juno’s trip is almost over as the spacecraft is slated to reach Jupiter and become only the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter (after the Galileo probe) on July 4, 2016 where it will then begin to study the evolution of the gas giant. Arrival (Earth Received Time) will occur around 20:35 PDT (JPL Time), 23:35 EDT and 03:35 UTC on the 5th. Speed of light travel time will be about 40 minutes from Earth to Jupiter so as the milestones come in to JPL they will be 40 minutes behind the true action time; AKA a 40 minute delay from when the event actually happens to when we get signal.

Though an amazing achievement, don’t expect another Saturn’s Cassini because JUpiter Near-polar Orbiter (Juno) will make only about 37 polar orbits over 20 months and is scheduled to plummet into Jupiter in February 2018 ending the mission.

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Image credit & copyright: @astrotanja of @photographingspace.
This image comes to us by Tanja Schmitz from the Drakensberg Amphitheatre, high in the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa. At 10 times the size of Yosemite’s El Capitan cliff face, this location is clearly one of the greatest cliff faces on Earth. The cliff stretches over 3 mi. (5k) with its highest point reaching more than 10,000 ft. (3,050 meters) above sea level; just a fantastic image and location.

I want to highlight that Tanja and husband Cory have started a great new site called Photographing Space and their “Every New Moon” project which is great because it’s loaded with tutorials and of course, amazing images like this. Have Snapchat? Add their new feed (PhotographSpace) to catch the action real-time so make sure you check em out and show your support.
  •   pipoguirao Pero q foto! @emi_bustos @sebabustos94 3w
  •   nolimitsatallever Fabulous I was in Manati, in Puerto Rico, at a Lions Club wedding, we were on very high ground overlooking a farm and cattle down below. When I stood outside I looked up at the night sky, there were so many stars. I thought I could literally reach up and scoop up a bunch. 3w
  •   db_tmm_ want for a night at least 3w
  •   s_captures How the f @jg 3w

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danspace77 @spacex image!
Congrats to #SpaceX on another successful launch and 1st stage landing. That makes three now, 1 on land and 2 on the Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) Drone Ship!
Also, I think @elonmusk should keep not only the 1st successful 1st stage which landed back at KSC (which he plans on) but I think in time he will wish he kept that 1st barge landing stage as well. Just re-fly this one!
Someday events like rocket landings will be commonplace. We live in a great time to feel the excitement of discovery and breakthrough.

#Falcon9 #JCSAT14

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Image Credit & Copyright: @SpaceX of the SES-9 launch. All links on the blog post DanSpace77.com.
LAUNCH ALERT: Friday, May 6, 2016 at 01:21 EDT (05:21 UTC), a SpaceX Falcon 9 Full Thrust (FT) rocket will be launching from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) Florida, with the JCSAT 14 communications satellite.

This will be Space-X’s 24th Falcon 9 flight (F9-24), 4th flight for the Falcon FT and hopefully the second successful touchdown on SpaceX’s East Coast Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS), Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY).
  •   duh_monsta @danspace77 the experimental landing looked staged this time around, i don't think they really landed it, if you watch the video as its landing u see waves like your watching a live feed from the ocean. But if you pay attention as the screen flashes bright white from the rocket propulsion if you look the surrounding scenery is different. So disappointed if space x is trying to fool us now like nasa used to/still does ! 3w
  •   johnkrausphotos @duh_monsta please tell me you're kidding 2w
  •   duh_monsta @johnkrausphotos no I am not lol watch the whole entire live feed. They were hiding shit from the viewers the whole entire time. I support spacex but I do not believe that what they showed us this time around was all that meets the eye. 2w

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Image credit & copyright: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

To an astronomer, nothing is more annoying that light pollution or that neighbor that just won’t turn his floodlights off at night. Well here we have a different iteration of that same problem. This dwarf galaxy cataloged as PGC 39058 is roughly 14 million light years away and contains a few million stars. Now that’s pretty awesome and any amateur astronomer or imager would love to have a look at this object. I mean how cool is that, there’s even an almost edge on spiral galaxy even further behind still. That is of course, if there wasn’t a Milky Way star directly in the way blocking our view.

Yea, that’s right. That floodlight of a star is actually a star in our own Milky Way galaxy that just happens to be directly in our way. Obviously you don’t need me to tell you how powerful Hubble is but check this out. When you look up, depending on where you are you see a handful to a few thousand stars and the dimmest stars that you can see with the unaided eye, even in the darkest skies are an apparent magnitude of 6 or even down to 6.5. but you will need very dark skies. This particular star, at an apparent magnitude of 6.7 is beyond that threshold. If you were in the darkest skies and knew where to look you would still need binoculars to view it. Hubble makes it look like a supernova.

So annoying as it is, we just have to deal with it because this light isn’t moving out of the way for many years (hundreds to thousands) and it isn’t going out for billions more.

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Image Credit & Copyright: @miguel_claro.
What an amazing view captured by Miguel Claro of the Milky Way over the great lake Alqueva, Portugal. This region belongs to the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve and by the looks of this image it’s someplace I’d love to see for myself.

One of the amazing things about this image is the beautiful natural color of the stars reflected on the water. With the very limited experience that I have shooting the sky over calm water I’m always fascinated by the effect that water has to deliver star color. Also seen in this image is the beautiful color of some Milky Way objects entangled in the plane of material that laces our home star city.

Airglow makes a colorful appearance in this image as well. Let’s take a moment and discover what we’re talking about because this phenomenon is often confused with light pollution and sometimes noctilucent clouds and they’re actually very different.

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danspace77 Here's another of my images from Alton Bay, New Hampshire that's similar to the one I posted a few weeks ago with the red tree. Not sure which one I like better so feel free to lend your opinions.
You know, there's something to be said for getting out and experiencing the night. Sometimes just setting the camera up and letting it work allows you the ability to just sit back and exist. To at least for a while, just be. It's something we don't get to experience often. All you see is the sky, all you hear is the Earth.
The next couple weeks bring us into new moon week (not the Twilight New Moon, settle down). If you can, get away on a moonless night and make a connection......with you.
Also, anyone in the local NH, MA, ME, VT area wanting to get out for a night let me know. I'm hoping for 5-10 trips before the end of fall. Have a great weekend everyone.

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danspace77 GEM IN THE LMC
Image Credit & Copyright: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Back in March of 2006 Hubble aimed its eye at the southern hemisphere’s greatest night sky prize, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), specifically at this star forming association cataloged as LH-95. The LMC itself is a large satellite galaxy to our home galaxy and it resides about 160,000 light years away and LH-95 is just one of hundreds of star forming regions within it.

Long ago, this region was a vast cloud of interstellar material. As it condensed under its own gravity it also became very hot until eventually pressures and temperatures were so great that fusion was able to take place, sparking these stars into existence. Once born one by one over millions of years, these newborns and their stellar winds began the task of blowing away the left over material that created them so they could get their first look at the universe that they were created from.

One of the real treats in this image isn’t the star forming region itself, but what’s behind it. If you expand this image there are dozens of galaxies also in view, tens of millions of light years beyond.


WHAT IS IT?: Star forming region.

HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: 160,000 light years-ish.

HOW BIG IS IT?: 140 light years.

WHERE IS IT? (General): Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) in the constellation Dorado.

WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000): R.A. 05h 37m 4s.37 / Dec. -66° 22′ 1.”6.

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