Posts Tagged ‘Mars’

Nasa is about to take a trip of a lifetime on a Comet!

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

For all the Geeks and Nerds out there this is something that will be incredibly exciting to watch and follow. On November 12th Nasa will be attempting to place a probe on a Comet that is currently buzzing through Space at speeds roughly around a staggering 40,500Mph! The Comet is called 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and is classed as short period Comet meaning that its Orbit is small and lasts around 6 years or so to complete its full orbit around the Sun.

This is an incredibly exciting moment for anyone who is interested in Science and Technology as this is a first – it really shows how the Space race has come an incredibly long way from where it all began in the 1950s, and of course the momentous moment when the images of man stepping on the Moon were witnessed for the very first time – this has to be up there in the enormity of this project.

It is a very important project as it is widely believed that Comets quite possibly have an influence as to why there is life on Earth, this is because they hold many properties that are some of the many important ingredients for life, if this is a real possibilty then tentatively it may propel the Science forward to getting ever closer to truly understanding the building blocks of life in the Universe as well as Earth. As the Comet is currently making its way towards the Sun and the lander is successful we may be able to watch live what it is like to be on a speeding Comet that is about to come alive – this is because the materials turn from a Solid state into a Gas from the Suns intense heat creating a large Atmosphere and sometimes the famous Comet tail- also the Comet will be racing through the Asteroid belt which will help Nasa take a look at this neighbourhood that is situated between Mars and Jupiter – exciting times indeed!

This picture show the Comet 67P+(Churyumov-Gerasimenko) from close range and the Jets are beginning to spew into Space.

Fun Facts about Comets – They well and truly stink, due to the fabric of what they are made up of, many of the chemical elements that make up the Comet are Ammonia and Sulfur, down here on Earth we know how smelly they are so it is already now known from this mission that Comets stink like Rotten eggs and urine – gross! Also looking at pictures of Comets it looks like these so called ‘Dirty Snowballs’ are as bright as snow, well that is a trick of the eye due to the intense brightness of the Sun, the colour of Comets (and in fact the Moon) are actually pretty dark more likely the colour of Coal and Asphalt that we use to make Roads.

Vancouver has its own Space Museum called the H.R Macmillan Space Centre – this is not too far away from us, just on the South side of False Creek, you can see it from our 05 rooms, it looks like a giant Wine decanter! Check this place out, no doubt they will be closely following the event as it unfolds and will be able to provide you with some great information.
Website: http://www.spacecentre.ca/

For further information please click on the following links:
European Space Agency – Rosetta Mission http://www.livecometdata.com/comets/67p-churyumov-gerasimenko/

Celestial News and happenings in April 2014

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Full Lunar Eclipse
On April 15th the majority of North America will be treated to a spectacular full Lunar eclipse, this occurs when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun.

The viewing time for this celestial treat will occur at a reasonable hour for once – so for us Vancouverites here in Sunny Canada will be able to watch the show from from the start time at 9.55pm when the Earth’s shadow begins to darken the moon. Totality occurs 12.08am – this is by far the most breathtaking moment to witness – the Moon will darken a-lot but will glow with a deep dark red colour as the Earth still reflects the Suns Rays – seeing the Earth eclipse the Sun from the Moons vantage point you would be treated to a darkened globe of the earth with a red fiery Halo circling the earth – which really is an infinite image of the Sun rise and Sun set- quite an awesome trick of the light.

Totality ends at 12.46am as the deep red glow moves over so you just have a more darkened disc of the moon as the larger earth shadow still prevents the full light from the sun penetrating the Lunar landscape. The whole spectacle will all be over by 3.36am. This event is quite a long one as we are luckily enough to be in the direct path of the full eclipse.

This event is also a little rare as it is the first of Four Full Eclipses that will happen between now and September 2015. This series is known as a Tetrad of eclipses. The next full eclipse in our part of the world will happen again on October 8th 2014.

For further information on future events: http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/canada/vancouver

Other Celestial events this month to watch for.
Planet Mars at opposition.
Carrying on with the Red colour – the month of April also marks the best time to witness the Red planet Mars which sits at opposition where our planet Earth sits directly between the Red Planet and the Sun – this gives us the best viewing of Mars in a couple of years, it will rise at Sunset and set when the Sun rises and should be easily visible in the night sky the whole night!

For further details on the oppsotion of Mars click here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/28mar_opposition/

April 22, 23 – Lyrids Meteor Shower.

These may not be the strongest of Meteor showers, but with patience you may get to see some pretty bright streaks across the sky, especially if you are in a location that is away from the bright street lights.
These showers happen every April as the Earth swings around the Sun on its orbit and during this part of the year it passes through the dust trail once left by the long-period Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher.

The actual event lasts around a week – but the dates of April 22 and 23rd will be the peak times to watch the show.

For further information on the Lyrids:
http://www.astronomynow.com/news/n1204/19lyrids/

Airing on right now is a great TV show called COSMOS which is a reworking of the original TV series from 1980 that was concieved by Carl Sagan – the new updated version is now airing every Sunday and presented by Neil Tyson Degrasse

Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey Link: http://www.cosmosontv.com/

If Science and Space is your cup of tea then you really should be heading to Telus World of Science aka Scienceworld and the H.R. Macmillan Space museum.

Telus World of Science http://www.scienceworld.ca/

H.R. Macmillan Space museum. http://www.spacecentre.ca/