BepiColombo is due to launch on Saturday on an Ariane 5 rocket. The mission will get to Mercury in 2025 helping us learn a lot more about the planet that is the closest to the Sun.
This Saturday night is International Observe the Moon Night so hopefully the weather will be great and we can all catch a glimpse of the Moon.
Aside from the Big Bang, Gamma Ray Bursts are the most powerful releases of energy in the universe, sometimes releasing over 100 times the entire energy of the Sun over it’s 10 billion year lifespan.
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory has developed a glitch and gone into safe mode. The 19 year old spacecraft is well past it’s design life but continues to produce incredible science so hopefully it’ll be back to full serviceability very soon.
The aborted launch of the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft with Expedition 57 to the International Space Station reminded the world that space flight can still be dangerous. Fortunately both Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin return safely to the surface of the Earth.
The amount of interstellar particles being detected by Voyager 2 may indicate that the spacecraft is about to pass through the heliopause into interstellar space.
The Hubble Space Telescope is currently in safe mode while technicians at NASA figure out what has gone wrong with a gyroscope that was found to be not performing properly. Hopefully it’s an easy fix and Hubble will be back to full operations soon.
Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe and are amazingly powerful. They are caused by Super Massive Black Holes.
Last week was Mars Week at Oxford Area School in the South Island. It was a great week running Mars Missions and learning all about Mars.
The night sky is full of stars and some of the very brightest we see have some very interesting characteristics. Next time you’re looking at Sirius or Canopus you’ll be able to appreciate just how big they are compared to our very own star – the Sun.
It’s the Winter of the Planets and in the early evening this week you can see Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Then there is the Lunar Eclipse on Saturday morning as well.
Next year is the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s voyage to the Pacific Ocean. One the things he did was contribute to a more accurate calculation of the distance between the Earth and the Sun by observing the transit of Venus.
The night sky this week is still all about the planets but if you’re quick, you can still spot some deep sky objects before the Moon gets too bright.
A great week for deep sky observing, why not try and see if you can Barnard’s Galaxy or the Saturn Nebula.
Some interesting news about space in the last week.
Vesta reached opposition on the 20 June but is still quite easy to see and well worth a look if you get the chance.
When observing the planets in astronomy it can be quite surprising to see the different sizes that appear in the eyepiece and how this can change over time.
The game changer for access to space will be humanity moving away from the use of chemical rockets to get into orbit. The disrupters to the space industry will be the ones that perfect the alternative technologies.
The Winter of planets continues with Jupiter, Saturn and Mars all at fantastic high positions over the week. Venus is also getting a bit higher out of the distorted atmosphere near the horizon.
A really quick round up of the week in space including a black hole swallowing a star, the Mars dust storm and Hayabusa’s journey to Ryugu.
We had a great time showing heaps of students Jupiter and Saturn during a talk about Matariki at Government House.