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Travelers In The Night
2 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
133E-145-Near Earth and Moon
Recently my Catalina Sky Survey teammate, Rose Matheny discovered a tiny asteroid that passed 115,000 miles from Earth and 104,000 miles from our Moon. Rose's discovery demonstrates the fact that the asteroid hunting community is beginning to have the ability to discover small space rocks before they make their closest approach to Earth.
2 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
A team of astronomers find that as many as 14 comets which came to less than 4 times the Moon's distance from us as long as 4,000 years ago are detectable as meteor showers in the present era. These results make us aware of potentially hazardous comets from the past which could come into our space again in the future.
2 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
132E-144-One Of A Million
Recently I was observing with the NASA funded Catalina Sky Survey 60 inch telescope on Mt. Lemmon when the computer identified a faint fast moving object in the night sky. Not being sure it was real I scheduled followup observations. About an hour later the second set of observations showed that it is a real object. On the next two nights this small space rock was observed by telescopes near Westfield, Illinois and on Kitt Peak in Arizona. These observations allowed the Minor Planet Center to determine an orbit and a tentative size. It was given the name 2015 GB.
2 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
New Rocket engines will revolutionize space travel to the Moon and Mars.
2 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
131E-143-Busy Little One
Recently my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Rik Hill discovered an asteroid about the size of a luxury sedan which cruises about the inner solar system.
2 minutes | May 28, 2021
An impacting object hit the asteroid Vesta making a 10 mile diameter crater and in the process blasted loose fragments which have been orbiting the Sun for 22 million years or so. In June of 2018 my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Richard Kowalski discovered one of them streaking towards Earth with our 60 inch telescope on Mt. Lemmon , AZ. This small space rock crashed into Earth raining fragments upon the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana.
2 minutes | May 25, 2021
Recently people from all over the world met in Italy to discuss ways that humans can prepare for the unlikely, but not impossible, situation that an object is on an impact trajectory with planet Earth. They were were presented with a hypothetical asteroid threat. A month after its discovery the hypothetical asteroid comes about 18 million miles from us . It continues to be observed for another month with every new observation making it appear to have a greater chance of colliding with mother Earth about 7 years hence. This is where the participants are left. At this point they don't know its exact size, chemical composition, if it will collide with us or not, and if it does the spot of impact on Earth. They are then charged with the task of obtaining needed observations and to develop a strategy to deal with the potential impact.
2 minutes | May 21, 2021
In March and April every year amateur astronomers, around the world, in Messier Marathons, attempt to view all of 110 objects in the Messier catalogue in a single night. In a more leisurely approach you can visit a dark sky location like the Cosmic Campground International Dark Sky and view spectacular Messier Objects with your naked eye, binoculars, or a small telescope.
2 minutes | May 18, 2021
129E-141-Sailing The Cosmos
The first human use of the wind to power boats most likely occurred in about 3,000 BC. This was a major improvement in travel over walking and animal drawn carts. Three or four hundred years from now humans may send a robotic space probe to a nearby star using a light sail as big as the state of Texas. Ideally it would deploy its giant solar sail near the Sun perhaps as close to it as the planet Mercury. This would give it maximum initial thrust. After it gets far from the Sun it could be pushed along by a powerful pinpoint laser beam. Theoretically it is possible to achieve a fraction of the speed of light through this means.
2 minutes | May 14, 2021
640-Rocks or Rockets
Asteroid hunters have discovered a curious object. It appears likely to be either a rock ejected from the Moon or a piece of space junk from a human designed mission to the Moon. Observations which reveal how this tiny object is effected by Sun light could tells us if it is a natural or man made object.
2 minutes | May 11, 2021
128E-140-A Weird Orbit
The vast majority of asteroids orbiting the Sun do so on a path that is pretty much in the same plane as the planets. There is a lot of empty space in the solar system, however, we see asteroids with craters on them so we know collisions have occurred. It seems likely that an asteroid whose path is highly inclined to the plane of thesolar system was involved in a collision with another object causing a radical changein its orbit.
2 minutes | May 7, 2021
During a recent 60 day period asteroid hunters discovered 29 space rocks as they passed closer to us than the Moon. These small asteroids averaged 30 feet in diameter and ranged in size from one that could fit under a basketball hoop to one the would fill the whole basketball court. Several times every year a small space rock bursts into fragments some of which strike human structures.
2 minutes | May 4, 2021
127E-139-Next Step to Mars
A trip to our Moon is one of the great human adventures of all time. However, such a voyage is but a small step of about 30 Earth diameters into the vastness of space.NASA is proposing the next step on the path to Mars to be a mission to an asteroid or a boulder taken from the surface of an asteroid.
2 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
How ET could know there is life on Earth.
2 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
126E-138-An Inter-Planetary Visitor
Recently an inter-planetary visitor made a close approach to planet Earth. It is about the same size as the object which entered our atmosphere in February of 2013 injuring nearly 1500 people in Chelyabinsk, Russia. It can come to within 20,000 miles of us which is closer than our communications satellites.
2 minutes | Apr 23, 2021
After sunset in the spring and before sunrise in the fall, at a natural night sky location like the Cosmic Campground International Dark Sky Sanctuary in New Mexico, you will see a triangle of faint glow of light that extends from its broad base on the horizon to a point almost overhead. New scientific evidence suggests that this phenomenon is caused by sunlight reflecting from a Mars produced dust cloud between Earth and Jupiter.
2 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
Looking at the Universe from the Earth's surface is a bit like a scuba diver viewing our world from the bottom of a swimming pool. Don't get me wrong. I love our atmosphere. It gives us air to breath, keeps our body's fluids liquid, protects us from cosmic rays as well as space rocks, and performs many other functions which make life on our planet possible. That being said the blanket of air which surrounds us makes it difficult to view objects in the Universe.
2 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
On Kitt Peak in Arizona, the Steward Observatory's Bok telescope's 90 inch light collecting mirror enables the discovery, study, and tracking of space rocks 3 or 4 times fainter then possible with any of our other telescopes. Over all our team, the Catalina Sky Survey, has used the 90 inch Bok telescope to discover 36 Earth approaching asteroids.
2 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
124E-136-The Oceans of Ganymede
Ganymede was discovered by Galileo Galilei using his new telescope in 1610. He observed it to be a faint point of light orbiting the planet Jupiter. This discovery along with 3 of Jupiter's moons was the first instance of objects being observed to be orbiting another planet. Now that we know that Ganymede has a substantial salty ocean one has to wonder if some type of microbes might be living there.
2 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
We are lucky to be alive in an age when anyone with an internet connection can participate in the exploration of Mars. Your unique brain-eye combination may very well enable you to notice a previously unknown meteorite on the surface of Mars. Give it a try.
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