Category Archives: Space

Total Solar Eclipse – March 8, 2016

detailed total eclipse

Those lucky enough to be in parts of Southeast Asia will be able to see a total solar eclipse on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 between the hours of 2300 and 2600 GMT (6 and 9 p.m. EST) with the period of totality between 2538 and 2542 GMT (8:38 and 8:42 p.m EST). The area of totality will be a nearly 100-mile wide path shown above.

Everyone else can view the event on Slooh.com. Twitter viewers can ask questions using the hashtag #SloohEclipse.

Videos courtesy of NASA.gov.

Supermoon

If you have been fortunate enough to have a clear sky in last couple of days, you may have noticed that the moon is especially bright and large. This is no coincidence, since this month’s lunar perigee (221,796 miles) occurs at around the same time as the official moment of the moon’s full phase.

We have had three supermoons in a row this summer, but this weekend’s is the biggest and brightest.

supermoon

supermoon from NASA

A Taste of Earth - Cover

Is someone else out there?  A Taste of Earth (available free on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others).

Send me Your Bood Moon Selfie

Asteroid 2000 EM26 – Live Broadcast

It’s February already and time for another Near Earth Asteroid flyby. We had asteroid 2012 DA14 fly by last year between the earth and the moon’s orbit. In an odd coincidence, fragments from another, unrelated meter hit the Earth on the same day, and its air-burst shockwave caused property damage in Chelyabinsk, Russia. See a previous post for more details: Meteor Explodes over the Ural Mountains in Russia.

This year’s February Flyby, designated 2000 EM26, is six times longer than last year’s, but it will give us more breathing room. It will only get as close as 8.8 times the distance from the earth to the moon.

Space.com will cover Asteroid 2000 EM26 will fly live at 9pm EST. The link is here.

space-com

Slooh will also have a webcast starting at 9 p.m. EST (0200 Feb. 18 GMT): Slooh website.

This Year Last Year
Designation: 2000 EM26 2012 DA14
When: closest to Earth on Feb. 17, 2014 (starting at 6 pm PST / 9 pm EST / 02:00 UTC 2/18) closest to Earth on Feb. 15, 2013
Size: about three football fields (885 feet or 270 meters) long about half a football field (98 feet or 30 meters) long
Speed: traveling at approximately 27,000 mph (12.37 km/s) traveling at approximately 32,000 mph (14.48 km/s) a speed equal to twice the width of a full moon every minute
Where:  8.8 lunar distances
  • 17,200 miles above our planet’s surface
  • through low earth orbit
  • closer than man-made satellites that power GPS
  • where the International Space Station and many earth observation satellites are located

 

A Taste of Earth - Cover

What would happen if 2012DA14 were not an asteroid, but a probe from another solar system? Of course, it isn’t, but this possibility is explored in my science fiction short story, A Taste of Earth (available free on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others).

dr_who

rock_vs_paper

Meteor Explodes over the Ural Mountains in Russia

At about 9:20am local time (5:20am GMT), a meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere and exploded above the Ural Mountains in Russia, injuring more than 900 people. The injuries were mostly due to ear drum damage, broken glass, and other debris caused by a shock-wave.

“Fragments of the meteor fell in a thinly populated area of the Chelyabinsk region, the Russian Emergency Ministry said in a statement. Authorities in Chelyabinsk said the blast had been heard at an altitude of 10,000 metres (32,800ft), suggesting it occurred when the meteor or meteors entered the earth’s atmosphere” (Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/feb/15/meteorite-explodes-over-russian-urals-live-updates).

When the asteroid hit the earth’s atmosphere, it was going so fast that it was as if it hit a brick wall. The subsequent explosion caused at least one shockwave (there may have been more than one explosion from fragments) and that’s what caused the damage. The damage included more than smashed windows. It buckled shop fronts, set off car alarms, disrupted mobile phone signals, and a wall was damaged at the Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant as seen in the video.

Connected to  Asteroid 2012 DA14?

(What is Asteroid 2012 DA14? See previous posts Asteroid 2012DA14 to Shoot through Near Earth Orbit and Asteroid 2012DA14 – Update.)

This meteor does not seem to be connected to Asteroid 2012 DA14. The Earth travels 66,611 miles in its orbit every hour, so the Earth was 932,554 miles away from tonight’s encounter with asteroid 2012 DA14 – almost four times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. It is unlikely that this meteor wA Taste of Earth - Coveras a fragment of 2012 DA14.

REPOST: What would happen if 2012DA14 were not an asteroid, but a probe from another solar system? Of course,it isn’t, but this possibility is explored in my science fiction short story, A Taste of Earth (available free on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others).

Asteroid 2012DA14 – Live Broadcast

space-com

Short post to inform those interested that Space.com will cover Asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly live. The link is here.

Previous posts on Asteroid 2012DA14:

Asteroid 2012DA14 to Shoot through Near Earth Orbit

Asteroid 2012DA14 – UpdateA Taste of Earth - Cover

REPOST: What would happen if 2012DA14 were not an asteroid, but a probe from another solar system? Of course,it isn’t, but this possibility is explored in my science fiction short story, A Taste of Earth (available free on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others).

Did You Miss It?

Since this post is my most popular to date (next to The Standard Model in Layman’s Terms), as a public service it should be updated.

Depending on when you read this, Space.com may not be showing it any more.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 has already made its closest pass of Earth, but live video will be streamed from other telescopes as the Earth turns and as the asteroid flies off on its orbit around the sun.

5 p.m. ET (10 p.m. GMT): The Virtual Telescope Project 2.0 will present live video of the asteroid flyby from a telescope in Italy, weather permitting. Video site: Watch Virtual Telescope Project’s webcast.

6 p.m. ET (11 p.m. GMT): Weather permitting, the Clay Center Observatory in Massachusetts will stream real-time, high-definition video from 6 p.m. ET until 4 a.m. ET Saturday. Watch Clay Center video on Ustream.

9 p.m. ET (2 a.m. GMT): Slooh Space Camera plans to present several live shows about the asteroid flyby, accompanied by expert commentary. Weather permitting, imagery will be beamed to Slooh HQ from telescopes on the Canary Islands and in Arizona. Watch the show on Slooh.com.

9 p.m. ET (2 a.m. GMT): A video feed of the flyby from a telescope at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will be streamed for three hours. During the live-streaming event, viewers can ask researchers questions about the flyby via Twitter or the Ustream chat window. Watch Marshall’s Ustream channel.

(source: NBC News)

Asteroid 2012DA14 – Update

UPDATE on Asteroid 2012DA14: New images and video from NASA

No commentary needed. The images are self-explanatory.

WO-AM190B_ASTER_G_20121228195408

Source: http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/WO-AM190B_ASTER_G_20121228195408.jpg

asteroid-2012da14-flyby-130206b-02

Source: SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

A Taste of Earth - Cover

REPOST: What would happen if 2012DA14 were not an asteroid, but a probe from another solar system? Of course,it isn’t, but this possibility is explored in my science fiction short story, A Taste of Earth (available free on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others).

Asteroid 2012DA14 to Shoot through Near Earth Orbit

NASA has projected that on February 15, 2013, an asteroid about half the size of a football field will skim by Earth within near earth orbit.

nasa_2012DA14_projected_path

What:

asteroid

Designation:

2012DA14

Composition:

probably made of stone as opposed to ice or metal

Size:

about 148 feet (45 meters) long, “medium size,” about half the size of a football field

Weight:

roughly 143,000 tons

Speed:

traveling at a speed equal to twice the width of a full moon every minute

Size:

about half the size of a football field

When:

closes to Earth on Feb. 15

Where:

·         17,200 miles above our planet’s surface

·         through low earth orbit

·         closer than man-made satellites that power GPS

·         where the International Space Station and many earth observation satellites are located


“This is a record-setting close approach,” Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program at JPL said in a video released by NASA this week.  “It will come interestingly close, closer than many man-made satellites. The odds of impact with a satellite are extremely remote.”

Don Yeomans is also the author of Near-Earth Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us. He compared the asteroid to the one that leveled hundreds of square miles of Siberian forest in the “Tunguska Event” in 1908. He noted that even if DA14 did strike the planet, the impact wouldn’t be cataclysmic, unless, of course, you happened to be near it. A similar sized object created a mile wide crater in Arizona. That one was made of iron, which made it an especially potent impactor and devastated the area 50 miles around the impact site.

“This is a record-setting close approach.” ~ Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program at JPL

What would happen if 2012DA14 were not an asteroid, but a probe from another solar system? Of course,it isn’t, but this possibility is explored in my science fiction short story, A Taste of Earth (available free on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others).

For more information on 2012DA14 including a video, see the next blog: Asteroid 2012DA14 – Update.

A Taste of Earth: Scene 10

This is the tenth and final scene from A Taste of Earth,
a science fiction short story.
I hope you have enjoyed it, and I would love to hear from you.

_________________________________

Lab 14, Edwards Air Force Base, California

“Will you comply?” Brigadier General Jensen shouted in a command voice that would make a drill sergeant flinch.

“Yes,” Hachiman answered.

As the general issued instructions to the now compliant alien, Dipesh fidgeted with anticipation. This is actually an extra-terrestrial, or at least the next best thing: an automaton driven by an artificial intelligence designed by an advanced alien race. He wanted nothing more than to talk with it. Where are you from? What are your people like? Did you have the same problems we do, or did you overcome them and have new problems?

Lost in his thoughts and focused on Hachiman, Dipesh didn’t realize the guards were herding the scientists towards the exit. Several scientists were protesting, and he quickly joined them. “We are part of the international observation group. We are required to be here.”

The guard who was guiding them, answered with growing agitation, “You will be taken to the remote viewing site. It is for your own protection.”

Someone behind Dipesh pushed him into the guardsman. The guardsman’s grimace turned to a scowl, and he pushed back harder with the assault rifle in his gloved hands. Behind the guard, Dipesh saw Hachiman, who was walking with a limp, lean forward and run for the emergency exit. The guards opened fire, wounding two scientists but downing Hachiman. It lay on the floor, unmoving. The guards and officers yelled at the scientists, “Stand back!” Aid was called for the screaming, wounded scientists. Their weapons still on Hachiman, two guards approached it.

It twitched.

They fired.

It shattered. From the fragments hundreds of beetles scurried out towards the exit. A few remaining beetles skittered between Dipesh’s legs and out of the building. Gunfire destroyed only a handful. Within seconds, no sign of Hachiman remained in the lab except the damaged beetles.

Dipesh ran with the others to the exit. Outside, he had to suppress a sneeze from the bright daylight. Several ambulances and other emergency vehicles surrounded the building. Paramedics assisted the wounded and a few spectators apparently overcome by shock. Almost everyone was looking up. Four small, dark clouds and three helicopters were the only things he saw in the pale blue sky. Then he noticed that the dark clouds were not natural, but moved quickly against the wind. They were swarms of beetles.

A roar of jet engines came from behind. Four combat craft flew low overhead toward the swarms, and Dipesh thought he heard their cannons release their ordnance at the clouds.

The clouds dispersed, and he watched as the fighters circled in vain in search of prey.

JPL – Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Pasadena, California, USA

The wall-mounted display flicked between news channels. John sat slumped in his chair, remote hanging limply from his hand, like a Cleveland Browns fan watching his team yet again snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. Each station reported a half-truth: the American administration claimed that “losing the specimen was beyond our control;” China claimed they contained and then reversed the climatic process without foreign aid – but were unable to tell how they did it. Flip channel. Spin. Flip channel. Speculation. Flip channel. Ah, a commercial.

Dipesh walked into the lab and looked down at John. “The climate is back to its normal human-repressed state. Why the long face?”

John chuckled, a dry, humorless expression. “Oh yeah. The good guys win.” He slapped the remote on his thigh. “We had it, Dipesh. Right here in our hands. An intelligent alien … that spoke English. Who knows what it could have told us.” He sank back in his chair, mindlessly absorbing the news.

“Do you want to watch their endless speculation all day,” Dipesh asked, “or get back to work?”

“Why? Our careers have hit their zenith. This was it, buddy. You might as well write your memoirs now. We are has-beens ‘cause nothing’s going to top tracking alien transformers.”

Dipesh withdrew a glass container from his pocket and held it out for John to see. Inside was one of the damaged alien beetles. “Oh, I think our careers are just beginning.”

The Sea of Tranquility

The Moon

It took Hachiman three months to reverse phase one, gather all its fragments, get to the moon, and alter its form into a configuration best suited for distance observation. It formed a solar radiation collecting-array in hopes of collecting enough energy over the next thousand years to journey back home. It would observe the indigenous life forms until then, to see if they were ready for its technology. It sat in the dust next to its solar array, watching earth and listening to its weak radio transmissions.

_________________________________

<< Beginning    < Scene 7     < Scene 8     < Scene 9

The entire text is currently discounted: Free.
If you would like the entire story as a PDF, click here: A Taste of Earth – Justin Tyme.
For ebook format Amazon, visit: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kubo, Smashwords, and others.
 
Copyright © 2011 Justin Tyme
 

A Taste of Earth: Scene 9

This is the ninth scene from A Taste of Earth,
a science fiction short story in ten scenes.
I will post the entire story one scene at a time each Friday.
I hope you enjoy A Taste of Earth, and I would love to hear from you.

_________________________________

Lab 14, Edwards Air Force Base, California

Dipesh felt a little relief drain out of him as soon as he realized that the beetles were not biting anyone, just interested in leaving. Why? His tension redoubled when he considered the further ecological damage Hachiman could wreak. Great. He knew cockroaches would take over the world one day, but he didn’t think they would be alien cockroaches.

He paused at the lab window. The two lab guards tried wrestling Hachiman to the ground. Hachiman’s claws grasped at the table surface, but the polished stainless steel finish offered no purchase. The claws grew longer, and the guards backed off.

Several guards wearing lightweight Hazmat suits flanked a door marked “Emergency Exit” next to the viewing window. One of them swiped an identification badge through a card reader and a light on it switched from red to green. The door opened, and they poured through. As soon as it closed behind them, a second door opened inside the lab and they rushed out of it, spreading through the lab, guns pointed at Hachiman.

But Hachiman hadn’t been waiting for them to take position. Its claws had elongated and grown white hot, almost too bright to look at. It lunged at the viewing window, slicing through it. The glass melted before them and Dipesh instantly felt heat on his face. He jumped back and stumbled to the ground.

When the shots rang out, the remaining glass crumbled and Hachiman tumbled through the window and fell at Dipesh’s feet. Its claws singed the linoleum, and its fingers twitched. Several oddly-shaped indentations covered its back. Several spectators that had been calmly walking to an exit forfeited all pretence of propriety and rushed the doors, trampling anyone in the way, but Dipesh, John and a handful of other scientists remained. The dents on Hachiman’s back filled in, and the finger trembling stopped. Dipesh felt his heart race and he scrambled to his feet.

The guards jumped through the window casing even as the last few chunks of glass fell to the floor. They surrounded Hachiman, assault rifles held to their shoulders and their eyes looking down the sights. One of the scientists was screaming in French. Dipesh’s two years of rusty high school French could only make out a few words, “No, he’s talking to us.”

General Jensen and two officers crowded around the fallen alien probe. The General held up his hand and the guards held their fire, but kept their barrels in line with the subject.

Hachiman moved its fingers, now cooled and with the claws retracted. It pulled itself up to a sitting position, slowly as if nursing internal damage.

“Let it speak,” the French man said in English.

Hachiman’s head – its eyes were the same copper marbled color as the rest of it – turned towards the general. An opening appeared where the mouth should be, and sounds came out, but it didn’t sound like it was produced by a flesh and blood larynx or an electro-mechanical speaker. It had the timbre of air rushing through dozens of small pipes, opening and shutting and even lengthening in order to mimic a human voice. “General Jensen, I must get out.” It spoke in a clear tone with a Midwest American accent.

The general’s eyes narrowed. “Haven’t you done enough damage?”

“Yes. That is my … my mistake,” Hachiman said. “I did not understand your species. I did not know you were,” Hachiman cocked its head to one side, “capable of moral decision.”

“Aware of what?” Dipesh asked.

The general ignored him. “Why did you do this to our planet?” he asked.

“It is the service to my people. But they need it no longer. They do not answer my call.”

No one said anything.

Hachiman spoke again. “I believe they are dead. Release me so that I might repair the damage.”

“I cannot do that,” the general replied. “You have proven yourself to be a clear threat to this nation and this world. You will be escorted to another lab where you will be examined. You may tell us then what you intend to do, and we will do it, if we deem it to be in our best interests. Is that clear?”

“That will not be quick enough.”

“Will you comply?”

Silence.

“Will you comply?”

_________________________________

<< Beginning     < Scene 6     < Scene 7     < Scene 8     Scene 10 (in next week’s blog)

The entire text is currently discounted: Free.
If you would like the entire story as a PDF, click here: A Taste of Earth – Justin Tyme.
For ebook format Amazon, visit: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kubo, Smashwords, and others.
 
Copyright © 2011 Justin Tyme
Photo by aroid on Flickr