Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Moon Perigee and Apogee

Patience pays off. Six months ago I took a picture of the moon at Perigee, the closest point in its orbit to Earth. It was a full moon. Today (28-Nov-2012) it is a full moon again, but the moon is furthest away from Earth in its orbit - Apogee. The moon is indeed smaller, and in the exact ratio of the distances - about 15%. It is an experiment that I have wanted to do for a very long time and I am happy that I've completed it successfully.
The Apogee moon photo is from the moonrise which gives the orange tint to the picture. The reason for the orange moon is detailed in the following article.

Here is a photo of the two moons. It is not a matter of resizing. The same camera, same setting, same zoom were done to both photos. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Moon comparison at Perigee and Apogee
Moon comparison at Perigee and Apogee

Monday, November 26, 2012

Carnival of space #277

Hi and welcome again to the Venus Transit for another carnival of space. The Transit is history at least for the next hundreds years, but there is plenty of other stuff going around so take a small break and dive into this issue.
Carnival of Space
Carnival of Space

Ray Sanders from "Dear Astronomer" has a new episode of "The Cosmic Ray Show" airing on November 27th at 7:00PM Pacific. Join Ray along with his co-host, astronomer Jerry Hilburn, and special guest, astronomer Dave Reneke as they discuss the recent solar eclipse, and take a virtual tour of the astronomical sights of the southern hemisphere. Featured musical guest is Google+ sensation, Ryan Van Sickle.

Is there a role for airships in the space age? This post from tranquility base introduces two novel ways that airships can contribute to space exploration. 

Centauri Dreams looks at Rod Hyde's ideas on laser fusion, as developed in a starship paper he wrote in the 1970s along with collaborators at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Two articles from Next Big Future:
In an interview with NPR, John Grotzinger, the principal investigator for the Mars Curiosity rover mission, indicated that the data [that they are getting from Mars Science Laboratory Sample Analysis at Mars Instruments] is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good. The announcement will be in a few weeks after more tests and confirmations are run. Curiosity can not directly detect the presence of Mars life. Curiosity can detect organics, which would be the presence of the building blocks of life on the surface of Mars. 

Information acquired by L2 this week revealed plans for a “game-changing” announcement as early as December that a new commercial space company intends to send commercial astronauts to the moon by 2020. According to the information, the effort is led by a group of high profile individuals from the aerospace industry and backed by some big money and foreign investors. The company intends to use “existing or soon to be existing launch vehicles, spacecraft, upper stages, and technologies” to start their commercial manned lunar campaign. New Space Watch identifies the company Golden Spike as the company that will have the commercial manned mission to the moon. It is registered in Colorado to Alan Stern, a former administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, and now working on the New Horizons Pluto mission at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Universe Today also relates to the new findings on Mars. The Mars Science Laboratory team has hinted that they might have some big news to share soon. But like good scientists, they are waiting until they verify their results before saying anything definitive.
Once again people are worrying that astronomical alignments will cause Eathquakes, Astroblogger analyses why the latest batch is nothing to worry about. If alignments and earthquakes aren't enough, now the largest solar flare recorded (the Carrington Event) is being attributed to a planetary alignment. But it just aint so.

Lucky Astroblogger is an Aussie so he had a great chance to view the last solar eclipse. Lucky for us, he shares his photos with us!

Pamela Hoffman from Everyday Spacer sends two articles: Attend an airshow and Watch a partial Lunar eclipse

And as a last treat watch the latest video from Amy Shira Teitel  author of VintageSpace. I already subscribed to her YouTube channel and eager to see new episodes.

That's all for this issue. Hope you all have long days and clear nights.