Ponder Saharan Night Skies


Take a moment to ponder timelapse perfection by Lucie Debelkova – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClDKSZTXcuOz4lC_Zv183Ng Lucie travelled along ancient trade routes from the Atlas mountains, across the Sahara to Marrakech during darkest Moon phases to capture night skies without light pollution. Dark skies reveal the Milky Way of our ancestors – mesmerizing, irrefutable and bristling with thought provoking imagination.

 

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Full, Total, Super And Bloodless


Invitation to the first full moon of 2019 arrives with the promise of cosmic splendor. January 20 marks the first full moon, first total lunar eclipse and first of three consecutive full supermoons ( lunar orbit coinciding with perigee, the closest point of orbit to Earth ). Full, total and super define the show, blood is an inaccurate rumour. Participants sold Blood Moon tickets needn’t despair, absence of Biblical prophecy won’t detract from the spectacle. Missing the show means waiting until May 26, 2021 for another.

See the source image

There was a time when total lunar eclipse viewable from North and South America, Greenland, Iceland, Europe, northern and western Africa and the Arctic was enough to attract participants. Today media dumbs us down with banners of blood moon click bait. In 2013 fundamentalist Christian pastor John Hagee published his book “Four Blood Moons: Something Is About To Change”. Four blood moons refers to a tetrad – four consecutive total lunar eclipses with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each separated from the other by six full moons. The last astronomical tetrad occurred during 2014/2015.  End-timers dusted off the Book of Joel, equating “the sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes” with ominous end times prophecy. Never mind that a sun turning to darkness refers to solar eclipse, or science of atmospheric conditions make an early rising moon appear red. Hagee’s book spent weeks on NY Times best seller list, sold millions of copies and solidified full moons as blood. Blood Moons are fundamentalist poppycock, total supermoon lunar eclipses are cosmic gems. Shame on Christian fundamentalists for trying to steal cosmic wonder. Leave the moon alone.

Visit https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/ to determine optimal viewing at your location. Watch live at https://www.virtualtelescope.eu/2019/01/15/21-jan-2019-supermoon-total-eclipse-live-events-online/ or throw caution to the wind by going outside. 

 

 

Ultima Thule, New Horizons, New Year And Brian May


 

In a few minutes space history will induct New Years Day 2019 into the cosmic hall of  fame. At 12:33 am EST on January 1, 2019 NASA’s New Horizons probe is tasked with making the farthest close approach fly-by of a space object in human history. Ultima Thule, a tiny Kuiper Belt object no more than 30 kilometers wide is about to be buzzed by the little mission that could. Linked below, a look no more definitive guide to NASA news conferences, live fly-by viewing and mission status.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Where-to-Watch.php

Moments ago astrophysicist, New Horizons science collaborator and Queen guitarist Brian May premiered his first solo song in twenty years – New Horizons (Ultima Thule Mix), a tribute to twelve years of New Horizons and her brush with Ultima Thule.

Happy New Year.

Ultima Thule


A billion miles beyond Pluto, deep within mysteries of the Kuiper Belt resides object 2014 MU69 -otherwise known as Ultima Thule. On New Years Day, January 1, 2019, NASA will make space history when New Horizons buzzes past Ultima Thule, solidifying the farthest planetary flyby in human history.

On January 1st, 2019, shortly after the switch into the new year, New Horizons will make its close pass of Ultima Thule. Here’s what we’re poised to learn.NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

Ultima Thule is the bright yellow spot in the middle. Image courtesy John Hopkins.

Passing at 2,200 miles, science hopes New Horizons can explain anomalous light reflected from Ultima Thule. Is Ultima Thule two orbiting objects, one elongated object, a miniscule planet orbited by many tiny light reflecting moons?

We’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, say Ultima Thule out loud – science fiction couldn’t script a better name for a mysterious cosmic object.

https://earthsky.org/space/new-horizons-approaching-ultima-thule-dec-2018

Apollo 8, A Story of Christmas Around the Moon


December 21, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of NASA’s momentous Apollo 8 mission. Three days after launch, on Christmas Eve 1968, astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders became the first humans to orbit the Moon, the first to see an Earthrise above the lunar surface. Ponder NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine as he looks back on Apollo 8.

https://history.nasa.gov/SP-4029/Apollo_08a_Summary.htm