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Posts Tagged ‘Rosetta’

12/29/2016 – Ephemeris – Astronomical milestones of 2016

December 29, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, December 29th.  The Sun will rise at 8:19.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 5:10.  The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

Looking back at 2016 the biggest astronomical news was the detection of gravitational waves coming from two separate collisions of black holes far beyond our Milky Way galaxy.  The two detectors in Washington state and in Louisiana recorded these events in September and December 2015, but the first announcement was made in February this year after the signals were cleaned up and studied.  The year saw the end of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Mission to the comet we’ve come to call 67P after orbiting it for over two years.  The Opportunity and Curiosity rovers continued their exploration of Mars along with a fleet of satellites.  On a sad note, we lost pioneering Mercury astronaut John Glenn at the age of 95.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Gravitational Waves Detected

The chirp heard ’round the world and indeed the universe. Credit: LIGO/Abbot et al. 2016. Hat tip: Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer.

Rosetta, Final orbit

Rosetta, Final orbit. Credit & copyright European Space Agency (ESA)

 

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09/29/2016 – Ephemeris – The Rosetta spacecraft starts its fatal dive today

September 29, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, September 29th.  The Sun will rise at 7:38.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 7:26.  The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:09 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow morning at 6:40 a.m. give or take 20 minutes the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft will slowly crash into Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko after orbiting it for a bit over 2 years.  The comet is carrying Rosette out toward Jupiter’s orbit where the spacecraft cannot receive enough sunlight to power it.  Today the controllers will command the spacecraft to perform the collision maneuver to cancel Rosetta’s complete orbital velocity and let it fall straight down to hit the head of the rubber ducky shaped comet.  It’s antenna will be facing Earth and it will be taking pictures all the way down for immediate transmission because Rosetta will turn off its transmitter forever when it impacts the comet.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Rosetta

An artist’s illustration of the European Space Agency’s comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft. Credit: ESA – C. Carreau

Rosetta, Final orbit

Rosetta, Final orbit. Credit & copyright European Space Agency (ESA)

10/16/2015 – Ephemeris – The topic this Saturday will be comets (Updated)

October 16, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, October 16th.  The Sun will rise at 7:59.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 6:56.   The Moon, half way from new to first quarter, will set at 9:20 this evening.

Tomorrow I have a treat for youngsters of all ages.  From 10 a.m. to noon ( Update:  noon to 2 p.m.)  I’ll be talking about and helping to make comets at the Betsie Valley District Library in Thompsonville.  First we’ll explore comets as seen in our skies then travel along with the Rosetta space mission to get up close to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko to see what it’s made of and what happens when it comes close to the Sun.  Then we’ll make our own comet nucleus using many of the ingredients that are found in actual comets, though we’ll leave out all the poisonous ones, and we’ll see if it survives this close to the Sun.  If you want to help make a comet, bring your winter gloves.  I do have extras, but yours will probably work better.

Times for astronomical events are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

06/16/2015 – Ephemeris – Philae phones home

June 16, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, June 16th.  Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 9:30.  The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

Tomorrow the Sun will rise at 5:56.  |  As Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (Comet 67P for short, or the Rubber Duckie Comet) nears the orbit of Mars a couple of months from perihelion, its closest to the Sun, the Rosetta spacecraft, which has been orbiting it received  welcome news from its lander Philae which fell silent 5 months ago.  The lander woke up and has enough power to take measurements and transmit data to the Rosetta spacecraft.  This is something the folks at the European Space Agency had hoped for.  The comet has moved in its orbit around the Sun, so  the Sun’s light now can fall on Philae’s solar panels long enough during the comet’s daily rotation to recharge its batteries.  They are hoping that Philae can resume its surface mission.  This is just amazing!

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Comet 67P dust jets

Comet 67P and jets of dust, carried by sublimating ices. Credit: ESA/Rosetta

Comet 67P dust jets

Comet 67P and jets of dust, carried by sublimating ices from another angle. Credit: ESA/Rosetta

Still another angle on Comet 67P

Comet 67P and jets of dust, carried by sublimating ices from yet another angle. Credit: ESA/Rosetta

Philae's resting place.

An image of the Philae lander superimposed on its panorama photographs where it was wedged between ice and a hard place in the shadows last November. Credit: ESA/Rosetta.

03/06/2015 – Ephemeris – Learn about this year’s adventures in exploring the soiar system tonight

March 6, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, March 6th.  The Sun will rise at 7:12.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 24 minutes, setting at 6:36.   The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 7:47 this evening.

This evening yours truly will be giving a program at the monthly meeting of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society at 8 p.m. at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory.  It’s entitled Asteroids and Dwarf Planets and Comets, oh my!  It’s about the three solar system bodies being visited this year by spacecraft from NASA and the European Space Agency.  The asteroid is Ceres, which the Dawn spacecraft entered orbit of today.  The dwarf planet is Pluto which is the target of a summer flyby by the New Horizon spacecraft.  The comet is 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko orbited by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft.  There will be a star party at 9 p.m. following the meeting.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Oh My!

Apologies to MGM.

Vesta as Dawn headed off to Ceres.

Looking back at Vesta as Dawn headed off to Ceres. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCAL/MPS/DLR/IDA

Ceres 2/19/15

The bright spot is two. Picture taken February 19, 2015 from 29,000 miles (46,700 km). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA.

New Horizons

Artist conception of the New Horizons spacecraft at Pluto. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

July 14th animation

An animation of Comet 67p/Churyumov–Gerasimenko rotation on July 14, 2014. The 30 pixel wide image has been smoothed. The Rotation rate is 1 rotation every 12.4 hours. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

11/18/2014 – Ephemeris – Rosetta, Philae with Comet 67P and Maven’s discovery of the effects of it’s comet encounter

November 18, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, November 18th.  The sun will rise at 7:43.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 28 minutes, setting at 5:11.   The moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 4:31 tomorrow morning.

Last week the Philae lander bounced down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, its harpoons not able to fire to hold the lander down.  “Where is Captain Ahab when you need him?” I Twittered at the time.  We were lucky it didn’t bounce off the comet entirely.  It ended against a cliff and in a shadow, so it couldn’t recharge its batteries from sunlight. The ESA controllers had it perform all its possible experiments quickly before its batteries died.  Philae was still an amazing success.  News from last month’s encounter Mars encounter with Comet Siding Spring. The Maven satellite detected the aftermath of a great martian meteor shower when it peaked around the planet from where it was hiding.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Philae

If I’m understanding the spacecraft controllers at the European Space Agency (ESA) correctly Philae was launched toward the comet with a velocity of something like .7 meters per second (m/s).  It would have accelerated to 1 m/s by the time it hit the comet.  So it was pushed into the comet at more than the comet’s escape velocity.  One meter per second is only 2.2 miles per hour.  So to bounce and not escape the comet either the lander, the surface of the comet or both would have to have a lot of give to it.  On this comet one could jump faster than escape velocity and go floating off into space.

Philae bounce

The Rosetta spacecraft spotted Philae and its shadow shortly after the lander touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and bounced up again. The first image is taken on Nov. 12, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. EDT (3:30 p.m. UTC) and the second five minutes later. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM; pre-processed by Mikel Catania. Hat tip to and credit for the caption to Universe Today.

Maven

Maven detected the aftermath of a meteor storm in the upper martian atmosphere with the signatures of eight metals.  It looks like it was prudent to hide all the satellites when Mars came closest to the comet’s path.  Here’s a link to Bob King’s post about it in Universe Today blog from 11 days ago.

Philae will attempt to land on comet 67P C-G today (updated)

November 12, 2014 Comments off

Today’s the big event when the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft will release Philae the lander to land on the head of the rubber ducky shaped comet.

Go to the Rosetta landing mission site  for links to the live stream feed and other blog and Twitter links.

The times given are CET (Central European Time)  and GMT (Greenwich Mean Time or Universal time)  Subtract 5 hours for Eastern Standard Time.  I’ll convert them below.

Final Go/NoGo decision will be between 1:35 and 2:35 a.m. EST.  As of the time of this posting that’s an hour and a half from now.

The release of Philae will be at 4:03 a.m.  EST

Landing of Philae will occur around 11:02 a.m. EST.  The Philae lander will fall over 7 hours to the comet.

 

Updated 8:46 EST:  Philae has been released.  Live update expected at 9 a.m.

Below is a link to the live feed from the Rosetta operations center

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/362/events/3544091/player?width=560&height=315&autoPlay=true&mute=false

Also follow on Twitter #CometLanding

Update 11:05 a.m. EST:  The Philae has landed!  From the happy faces and celebration in he control center.  No announcement yet.

Update 11:08 a.m. EST:  The official announcement came from the flight director.  The harpoons were fired and cables reeled back to attach the lander to the surface.

Update 11:48 a.m. EST:  It is reported that Philae may not be anchored to the surface  Stay tuned.

Categories: ESA, Rosetta Tags: ,