ISS Pass Segments

The International Space Station passed over my part of the world recently. I like to watch it when the conditions are right. Sometimes, I set up the iPad for a time exposure. This time I recorded the event with a different camera setup. My Canon was on a tripod pointed at the west-northwest sky. Six exposures were made. Each was 15 sec in duration. Each was started 40 sec after the start of the previous one. The first two images were combined with software into this one image. It was a little after 8:08 pm local time. Other objects of interest in the image are Taurus in upper left, Pleiades a little below right from Taurus, Perseus in top center, and Cassiopeia right center.

Looking west-northwest

During the intervening seconds before the third image, I turned the camera on the tripod to face northwest above Cassiopeia. I moved the camera and missed the fourth image.

Looking northwest

Images five and six were with the camera pointing north-northeast toward the Big Dipper. The dipper points to Polaris. The Little Dipper is barely visible.

Looking north-northeast

This was the first time I captured images from nearly horizon-to-horizon by moving the camera during the sequence. If you are viewing by phone or a tablet device, the details in the images might not show. A full-screen desktop view works best.

GOES-T Launch | 1 March 2022

There are 4 satellites in the GOES-R series. Initially named R, S, T, and U, their names are changed once checked out and in position 22,300 miles above the equator. The first in the series GOES-R was re-named GOES-16. It maintains a position above the equator at 75.2˚ west longitude and keeps watch on the Atlantic Ocean basin. The second in the series GOES-S was re-named GOES-17. It maintains a position above the equator at 137.2˚ west longitude and keeps watch on the Pacific Ocean basin. GOES-T is scheduled to replace GOES-S which has a malfunctioning system limiting its performance.

Our son-in-law works for a company that provides important support for the GOES satellites. He extended an invitation to us to attend the March 2018 launch of GOES-S at the Cape in Florida. We posted about that day in this blog entry. We were invited to attend the launch of GOES-T but COVID restrictions cancelled those plans for everyone. Online coverage let us watch the successful launch.

Launches are normally viewed from ground locations. Camera placements can provide dramatic views up close, through telephoto lenses miles away, and with on-board cameras. Our SIL sent a link to us from two camera views in space. The views were from GOES-16 and GOES-17. The images were captured by the two GOES spacecraft at 30 sec intervals. The video lasts 14 seconds and repeats the launch once.

JWST Mirrors

The 18 mirror segments of the James Webb Space Telescope are currently being slowly moved from their safely stowed positions at launch to their fully deployed positions. They move about a millimeter per day. You can watch the progress here.

If you are interested in delving into the history and development of these mirrors, NASA has a lengthy and very complete web site explaining with text, diagrams, and short videos. I found it well-worth reading. Follow this link.

Photo: NASA/Chris Gunn

James Webb Telescope Deployment

The James Webb Space Telescope was successfully launched on Christmas morning from Kourou, French Guiana. It is coasting toward the location called LaGrange Point L2 where it is to be stationed for its scientific mission. Details of the mission and the telescope are described in this post by fellow blogger Steve Hurley in Explaining Science.

Where us JWST located at this time? NASA has a convenient website to answer that question.

The next month will be busy for the scientists and engineers as they carry out the multiple steps needed to deploy all the necessary parts of the JWST to make it fully functional. A timeline is available giving step by step descriptions of the deployments. Visit that deployment timeline here. Notice on that site that event times and descriptions are given. Short video links are available showing the deployments.

Another video is available showing the entire process that is planned over the month following launch. It last less than 2 minutes and is included here. If you are interesting in greater detail, explore the timeline. This is the nominal timeline. It will be altered if difficulties arise that need to be addressed.

Hubble | 31 yrs in space

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into space 24 April 1990. Astronomers recently aimed Hubble at one of the brightest known stars, AG Carinae, in the constellation Carina. This luminous blue variable lies about 20,000 lt-yr from Earth. It exploded about 10,000 yrs ago. The nebula surrounding the star contains the equivalent of about 15 times the mass of our Sun. The star has about 55 times the mass of our Sun. Scientists from NASA, ESA, and STScI made this color image by combining four color-filtered greyscale images listed at the left.


The following video was released by NASA Goddard to celebrate this occasion. It lasts about 5 minutes.