The beauty of the night sky and all the billions of stars winking down at me?
Soothed me when I was a child.
I wasn’t the only one who wanted to capture that beauty forever.
Some are just better at it than others…
[via ca.news.yahoo.com] Photographer Tommy Eliassen captures meteor, Milky Way and Northern Lights in one shot
Amateur photographer Tommy Eliassen hit the photography jackpot with a single shot.
Taken in Ifjord, Finnmark, Norway, his gorgeous photo captured a meteor, the Milky Way and the Northern Lights simultaneously.
“I quickly went and took some pictures in a regular spot of mine, and thought to myself that I had got some good aurora shots and also some separate good milky way shots.
But just as the clouds started to come in over the mountains I noticed this faint aurora lining up perfectly beside the milky way. Normally the lights from the aurora is much, much stronger than the lights from the stars, so getting the right exposure on both is difficult.
But it was ideal conditions — almost once in a lifetime,” the 33-year-old photographer told Cater News.
Eliassen, who specializes in night, landscape and time-lapse photography, took the photo — he captured seven similarly stunning photos before the clouds rolled in — on September 25th, at the beginning of the new Aurora season.
“Ifjord is also a perfect location for this kind of photography because only 10 people live there and it is 130km (80 miles) from the nearest town, so light pollution isn’t a problem,” he said. [Read more]
There is more than the stars looking at us.
Thousands of satellites are orbiting around the Earth.
Are falling on my head like the falling stars.
Excuse me, but I am ducking into my bunker…
While yet another satellite is tumbling toward the Earth.
[via ca.news.yahoo.com.] Last Chance to See Doomed German Satellite in Night Sky
This week will likely provide you with your very last opportunities to get a glimpse of a big German satellite, first put into orbit back in June 1990 and which has been dormant since February 1999.
The decommissioned German X-ray space observatory, called the Roentgen Satellite or ROSAT, will likely re-enter Earth’s atmosphere sometime between Oct. 22 and 24.
ROSAT is currently moving around the Earth in a nearly circular orbit at an altitude of about 145 miles (236 kilometers) at an inclination of 53 degrees, which means that it is visible from virtually all inhabited regions on Earth.
Satellites become visible only when they are in sunlight and the observer is in deep twilight or darkness.
This usually means shortly after dusk or before dawn. On any clear evening within a couple of hours of local sunset and with no optical aid, you can usually spot several orbiting Earth satellites moving with a steady speed across the sky like moving stars.
How to spot ROSAT
ROSAT is a relatively small satellite, so unlike the International Space Station or China’s Tiangong space laboratory module, the defunct X-ray space observatory — while a naked-eye object — isn’t a particularly bright object.
Astronomers measure the brightness of sky objects using the magnitude scale, in which low numbers correspond to bright objects.
In terms of ranking, the International Space Station usually reaches a brightness of about -2 to -4 magnitude, equaling or even rivaling the planets Jupiter and Venus.
The brightest stars, such as Vega or Deneb have magnitudes of zero or one.
A fairly bright star like Polaris (also known as the North Star) is categorized as 2nd magnitude, while stars of medium brightness are 3rd magnitude and faint stars are considered to be 4th magnitude. Megrez, the star that joins the handle with the bowl of the Big Dipper, is a 3rd magnitude star.
ROSAT appears generally between third and fourth magnitude. So, unlike the space station, which can easily be seen from a brightly-lit city, you’ll need to have access to a reasonably dark sky to see ROSAT.
In addition, because it’s probably tumbling during its final days in space and because this 2.4-ton satellite is irregular in shape, ROSAT may appear to “blink” or “flicker” in brightness on its track across the sky.
It might even “flare” briefly in brightness as it catches a glint of reflected sunlight and directs it toward you.
When and where to look
Ted Molczan, the moderator of the SeeSat Internet mailing list, utilized 12 sets of orbital elements obtained from the U.S. Strategic Command to derive a possible window for re-entry.
His calculations suggest that ROSAT could re-enter anytime from Oct. 22 to 24.
So these are the final days to catch a glimpse of the German satellite before it makes its fiery plunge through Earth’s atmosphere.
This week, ROSAT should be visible at dusk as an evening object across most of North America, as well as Europe. So what is the viewing schedule for your particular hometown?
You can easily find out by visiting one of these two web sites:
See ya later…