Days when the national news like CNN and Fox News actually cover something for more than a 3 minutes sound bite seems to be the huge exception to the rule today. That is, unless, there is actually something going on live they can’t manipulate into a proper commercial break spot. Lately I have come to loathe the repetition of information on the news and documentary-reality shows. This morning was one of those non-stop coverage points for the historic landing of the Space Shuttle Discovery, and an end to a space program, really the only one I have ever known in my lifetime.
Since this is really the only space program I have ever known in my life, it has been sad to me to see it being dismantled over the last 12 months, but I’m sure they know what they are doing and it’s time to move on. Being an average objective observer of the program over the last 30 plus years I certainly can’t offer any inside knowledge for anything NASA, I will just miss watching something I have known since I could was old enough to know what a rocket was. Discovery had a beautiful landing this morning on the back of that giant NASA Boeing 747SP-21 (see some pics here). Ben Cooper over on Airliners.net captured a great sunrise shot of the departing N905NA / 376 (cn 20107/86) captioned saying: “Farewell, Discovery! Shuttle Discovery departs Florida for the final time in history at sunrise, atop NASA’s 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, bound for the Smithsonian in Washington DC.” Well said.
As I mentioned in my blog post last night we were going to try to get some shots of the Milky Way Galaxy, and these above are what I ended up with last night. There are so many different aspects of creation but this one always blows my mind. I love how Paul puts it in Romans 8:20-25
…ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
The lights at night out where we live are always interesting. Some nights it’s so dark you really can’t see your hand in front of your face, but most of the time we have a good bit of “glow” from Auburn-Opelika on one side and several other cities on the other side, but they are farther away. The shots of the Milky Way above (the first three) were taken when it was very low in the night sky facing south east. Turn around and you see the difference between the glow facing south and the glow facing Auburn. That last image still shows a good bit of stars, but nothing like the shots from the other side of the sky, and that shot was an entire f-stop longer (in other words the shot in the direction of Auburn let in twice as much light as the shots facing the Milky Way and showed less stars). Still, either way, the number of stars visible is always just amazing to me. Thanks goes to my nephew Jake who stood in and modeled for the first shot and explained to me what I was looking at in the night sky.
Yesterday the world finally got to see STS-133 launch after months of delays. It’s the 39th mission of Discovery and the 133rd flight of the Space Shuttle program, and was originally slated to launch on September 16, 2010. I went down to the cape with my Nephew in November hoping to see the launch then, but came about 4 hours shy is getting to see it live.
This time around however I watched it on the iPad NASA App HD. The app is also available for the iPhone but if you have an iPad you basically have an HD TV to watch the launch live. Not even DirectTV right now is offering NASA TV in HD (which is ridiculous). Besides being able to watch NASA TV live in HD you have a host of other information, photos, schedules, and everything you might want NASA-wise.
I wish other companies like Fox News, CNN, ESPN, and the like would look at this app and see how easy NASA made it to watch their broadcast. I understand with the others is a money thing, but the technology is there and the other broadcast companies are only going to gain viewers by offering a mobile platform for their customers. Kudos to the NASA tech guys for making this one of the best free apps for the iPad.
Another beautiful day down here in the south. This is such a great time of year in this part of the country, but we all know it will be short lived. Hot scorching days are just ahead. Today was one of those days I didn’t have to go anywhere at all and was able to get some work done here in my office.
Welcome Video and Some Time Lapse
First thing I did this morning was finish up my welcome video for my blog pages. I had been putting this off for some time and finally got it done. Instead of me rambling on, after watching this from another blogger it game me the idea to use it in my video. I put this video together yesterday and finished it up today. The refresh rate on the parts where I am talking are not as good as I would have liked, but I think it worked out ok, let me know what you think in the comments below. This is the only time I am going to actually put this video in a blog post, but since this blog post is my “daily post”, this is part of what I did today.
That was pretty much my first try at time lapse but once I saw found out how to do it I was a little enamored by the whole thing. You can really find out a little more about yourself by watching some of these videos. First thing Deborah said was she didn’t realize that I was actually so left hand dominant, me neither.
I did manage to get in my 4 miles of walking today and a long day of general work. No wildlife today other than or normal neighborhood of squirrels. Something neat I found today blogging wise was this new application that will allow you to use video comments, called seesmic. You can see their latest post here, Thwirl with Friendfeed released, you can also sign up for their alpha test at seesmic.com. I am going to try their wordpress plugin and see how it goes.
Update: I ended up removing my time lapse from YouTube and haven’t been able to get it replaced yet, but I replaced it with the video above.
No, I did not actually take these images this time, but I found them to be so spectacular that I had to go ahead and post them as the image of the day. I was forwarded the information on these photos taken by those on the ISS and the Space Shuttle on their last mission. The detail on the full size images (see link below) is just incredible, so if you would like to see them in their full version just click on the link below. [For the images in one PDF click the NASA Endeavor PDF or for full size photos just click on the images]
If I can find any more data about when the images were taken and with what equipment I will post it here. I know that NASA uses a wide variety of Nikon and Canon digital SLR equipment and lenses from the images they take when they first arrive in orbit, but I don’t know body type, lens focal length etc. on these. 73, KI4WLR
These are just a sample of the images shown that were sent over to me, and I think the last picture is Hurricane Dean.
Tonight the International Space Station (ISS) will be visible with the naked eye, and due to its brightness, should be easier to spot and show more detail than it often does. The Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-118, un-docked from the ISS for an early arrival due to hurricane Dean, so the observation will be only the ISS, not the scheduled ISS and Space Shuttle together. When viewed with a good pair of field binoculars you should be able to see some detail or shape of the ISS with its solar panels extended out.
The data listed below is only good when viewed from our location (Auburn, AL) or within a few hundred miles of our location, but there are many programs and look-ups to find your local time data (see below).
The graphical 3-d image of the horizon to the right (click image for larger view) shows how to locate the ISS in your part of the sky (image credit: (RSIS)/NASA) by degrees in elevation and the approach and departure pattern for the given data for the viewing. Again, the pass details shown below were taken from a calculation for our location (32.6042°N, 85.4583°W) and date from heavens-above.com and the actual viewing data listed below can be seen directly from their site here. The forecast from NOAA for our area (here) for tonight also looks good with clear skies.
The sky chart shown below is like a star chart you use to use as a kid. the chart’s east and west are not backwards, when you hold it up to the sky, over your head, to the north, it aligns up properly for viewing. To print out the chart below just click on the link, then click on it again to bring it to a blank page and then print the chart.
Amateur radio operators often use a satellite acquisition software to determine when and where a satellite will be to make contact through one of these satellites using amateur radio equipment. One of the popular satellite location sites for ham radio operators is AMSAT, which will also give you tracking data by just entering your latitude and longitude. Other sites for satellite viewing are: