Tag Archive: Solar System

Oh, The Places We’ve Been: 21 Spacecraft Trajectories Plotted In One



One image from an infographic showing trajectories of 21 different unmanned spacecraft. Click for full image. Credit:  Kevin Gill.




” Want to know the orbital paths where different spacecraft have traveled and where they are now? A great new infographic put together by Kevin Gill is a visualization of where 21 different unmanned spacecraft have traveled through the Solar System. “The spacecraft data and planet orbital data is derived from NASA/JPL Horizons ephemeris,” said Gill on G+. “The image was rendered using a modified version of my Orbit Viewer WebGL application and put into infographic form using Photoshop. Body and spacecraft positions are as of December 15, 2013.”

  By the way, Kevin’s orbit viewer is really fun to play with! “









Giant Alien Planet Discovered In Most Distant Orbit Ever Seen



” An enormous alien planet — one that is 11 times more massive than Jupiter — was discovered in the most distant orbit yet found around a single parent star.

  The newfound exoplanet, dubbed HD 106906 b, dwarfs any planetary body in the solar system, and circles its star at a distance that is 650 times the average distance between the Earth and the sun. The existence of such a massive and distantly orbiting planet raises new questions about how these bizarre worlds are formed, the researchers said.

” This system is especially fascinating because no model of either planet or star formation fully explains what we see,” study lead researcher Vanessa Bailey, a fifth-year graduate student in the University of Arizona’s department of astronomy, said in a statement.”

Comet ISON’s Close Encounter With The Sun



Published on Nov 29, 2013

” A pristine comet called ISON, which left its home at least a million years ago, will be making its closest approach to the sun on Thanksgiving day. Gautam Naik reports.”

Click here to subscribe to our channel:








Tiny, Invisible Extraterrestrial Invaders Appear At South Pole



” Scientists at the South Pole have detected a collection of warp speed neutrinos from deep space that could help explain the origins of the universe.

A team from the mighty IceCube telescope laboratory in Antarctica will reveal their findings in tomorrow’s Science journal.

The experts’ 28 intergalactic subatomic particles were detected by the Cherenkov radiation emitted when they (unusually – most neutrinos go right through the Earth without stopping) hit something within a cubic kilometre of intrumented-up polar ice at the South Pole. They are thought to have originated from outside the Solar System, and likely from outside our galaxy, the Milky Way.

Having identified the particles, the boffins believe that they can gain new insight into the workings of black holes, pulsars and other wonders of space that emit the subatomic particles.”


     Not being scientists by any stretch of the imagination , we have little to add to the discussion of “warp speed neutrinos” but found the topic interesting to say the least . The significance of the find escapes us but we are fascinated nevertheless .






From io9 via The Jet Propulsion Lab


” Voyager 1 has left the solar system, and this time – this time – NASA says it’s official. To be honest, after so many months of ambiguity, we found ourselves a little underwhelmed. But that was before we heard Voyager’s recordings of interstellar space. Seriously, these will give you chills.”

Read More








Voyager 1 Has Become The First Human-Made Object To Reach Interstellar Space


” When the Voyager mission launched more than 35 years ago, scientists couldn’t have predicted that the twin spacecraft would end up traveling billions of miles to the edge of the heliopause—the edge of the bubble of charged particles surrounding our solar system called the heliosphere, where plasma from the Sun pushes against the cold, dark abyss of interstellar space. At the time, scientists weren’t certain where that boundary was, or what conditions would be like there. 

“There was a time people thought it was just beyond Jupiter,” Donald Gurnett, a physicist at the University of Iowa, told PopMech. “It’s been the holy grail of heliospheric research to reach this boundary.” 

Gurnett is the lead author on a study published this week in the journal Science, which confirms Voyager 1 crossed that boundary a year ago, at a distance of 11 million miles from Earth. The spacecraft has become the first manmade object to enter interstellar space. “








ISON COVER UP/May Not Be A Comet. Part 1.

Published on Aug 18, 2013

” We are not being shown the correct images. Until Now.http://hla.stsci.edu/cgi-bin/display?…
Comet with Planets, Hercolobus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJJ0N-…
http://www.hercolubus.tv/ “






Study: Self-replicating alien space probes in our solar system?

” A group of researchers from Edinburgh University have said that based solely on the age of the universe and feasible interstellar flight technology, “self replicating” probes from alien civilizations could already have arrived in our solar system.

   According to mathematicians Arwen Nicholson and Duncan Forgan, in a paper entitled “Slingshot Dynamics for Self Replicating Probes and the Effect on Exploration Timescales,” published on July 5, 2013, in the journal Astrobiology, alien space probes propelled to the vicinity of our Sun using the gravitational field of stars rather than of planets, as humans have accomplished with the Voyager space probes, could already be in our solar system, but it could be that we are unable to detect them.”


Who Has the Right To Mine An Asteroid?














” As PopMech has relentlessly covered, the race is on to tap the mineral wealth tucked away in the asteroids. But are these big space rocks free for the taking, or will asteroid miners find themselves bogged down in outer space red tape? Instapundit blogger and resident contrarian Glenn Harlan Reynolds investigates.

Suddenly, the idea of asteroid mining is everywhere. As a recent feature here in Popular Mechanics noted, asteroid mining has gone from a “someday” idea to a business plan for more than one company. As a professor who’s been writing, teaching, and practicing space law since the 1980s, I say, why not? Asteroids are valuable, they’re out there, and they are free for the taking.

Or are they?

Asteroids are certainly available, and they’re valuable. More than 750,000 asteroids measure at least 1 kilometer across, and millions of smaller objects are scattered throughout the solar system, mostly in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Even a comparatively small asteroid is potentially quite valuable, both on Earth and in space.

A 79-foot-wide M-type (metallic) asteroid could hold 33,000 tons of extractable metals, including $50 million in platinum alone. A 23-foot-diameter C-type (carbonaceous) asteroid can hold 24,000 gallons of water, useful for generating fuel and oxygen. Even 1 gallon of water, at 8.33 pounds per, can cost tens of thousands of dollars to launch into Earth orbit. Prices will probably come down now that SpaceX and other private launch companies are in the game. But the numbers would need to improve a lot for water launched from Earth to compete with water that’s already floating in space. “




Top 10 NASA Pics From January



” NASA has released some stunning images this month, and here are the top 10 most incredible visuals published online in January, ranging from pics of snow-covered deserts to a galaxy found in the Milky way.

NASA has long been known for being a digital pioneer, often making photos and videos available as soon as possible. Online, their pics are readily available with complete descriptions and fall under the public domain copyright (NASA is a government agency).”
This new view of the historical supernova remnant Cassiopeia A  located 11 000 light-years away  was...

“This new view of the historical supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, located 11,000 light-years away, was taken by NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR. Blue indicates the highest energy X-ray light, where NuSTAR has made the first resolved image ever of this source”

How To Photograph The Leonid Meteor Shower



Should be and interesting sight for the night-owls and early-birds among us .




 ” Today marks the peak of the Leonid Meteor Shower, a once a year event that is always capable of producing stunning pictures. Yes, while meteor watching is a favorite past time for many, other people desire more, namely, photographing the meteors.

So how does one go about this? Here are some tips!

1. Use a SLR. a SLR camera (whether digital or film) is a must for astrophotography because of its ability to both produce low-noise image (a function of their large pixel size/film usage) and ability to take long exposures (until the battery runs out if you desire). Point and shoot cameras, while they can be good in the day, are severely limited for night-time shooting. ”





More helpful items:


5. Caffeine. Hey, since your camera is going to be sitting outside all night, why not stay up, too? The Leonds are a once a year sight, so why miss them?

Now for weather. As for clouds, that’s a regional thing, so be sure to keep an eye on your local weather forecast. Want a precise forecast? Then find a Clear Sky Clock near you for hour-by-hour cloud predictions. The good news: the Mon will be out of the way this year. ”



   If you can deal with the late hour and are lucky enough to have clear skies in your forecast it would be a lovely way to cap off your night. 

HT/Michael Yon

The Leonid meteor shower this weekend will be less dramatic than some years, but it will still put on a good show.


 ”  Will this year’s Leonid meteor shower roar like the lion constellation it’s named for or meow like a kitty cat as it sometimes does? Stargazers who stay up late Saturday night or get up early Sunday morning can judge for themselves.

The annual meteor storm is known for sometimes producing as many as a thousand fireballs per minute, as it did in 1966, but astronomers say this year sky-watchers are likely to see maybe 20 per hour.

The peak will begin building late Friday night into Saturday morning and continue through early Sunday morning, says Ben Burress, an astronomer at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland.”



 ” The expected 10 to 20 meteors per hour isn’t bad, Burress says: “That gives you a good chance of seeing one every five or so minutes.”

By comparison, the big Perseid meteor shower in August typically rains about 50 meteors an hour down on the Earth.

This year should be good viewing, because the moon will set around 10:30 p.m. Saturday in each U.S. time zone.

“So Sunday morning anywhere from midnight to 3 or 4 a.m. is the prime window,” Burress says. “




Keep Your Eye To The Sky 


Geminid Meteor Shower




 ” This weekend brings us the return of the famous Leonid meteor shower, a meteor display that has brought great anticipation and excitement to night sky watchers around the world.

This will be a favorable year to look for the Leonid meteor shower because the moon will be only crescent and will have set in the west long before the constellation Leo begins to rise into the night sky. The Leonids appear to radiate out of Leo (hence their name), and with the moon out of the sky completely, viewing conditions could be perfect for stargazers with clear weather and dark skies.

The Leonid meteors are debris shed into space by the comet Tempel-Tuttle, which swings through the inner solar system at intervals of 33 years. With each visit the comet leaves behind a trail of dust in its wake. Much of the comet’s old dusty trails litter the mid-November part of Earth’s orbit and the Earth glides through this debris zone every year. “