Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Time for a revamp!

Hello there,
And thanks for stopping by to take a look at my blog.  I’ve spent a bit of time revamping the blog to make it a bit easier to read and follow.  All my previous posts have been put into one section on a different page.  From now on, all my posts should appear in some sort of ‘newest first’ order.  Thought it would make a bit more sense than having to scroll through a full page just to see the latest entry. 
So, the rest is the same, and what it says across the top of this page still stands!  Not claiming to be genius, a know all, or not even knowledgeable on the subject.  I’m just interested, that’s all.

And so to matters of more interest.  There’s plenty of interest going on in the astronomy world this week.  Over the recent clear nights, we may have seen the start of the annual Perseid meteor showers.  Although the peak of the shower doesn’t arrive until the late night/early hours (UK time) of the 12th/13th August, there have been reports of an increase in meteor activity during the beginning of this month.  This year, the moon will be quite full, so if we have a good clear night on the 13th, many of the meteors might be washed out by bright moonlight.  That doesn’t mean we won’t see any though.  And the good thing about meteor spotting – it’s easy, and generally speaking, most people have the equipment needed to spot them.
You will need:
<![if !supportLists]>1.       <![endif]> Visibility of the clear sky – the darker the better.
<![if !supportLists]>2.       <![endif]>A reclining chair, sun lounger, camp bed or similar.
<![if !supportLists]>3.       <![endif]>A glass/bottle/suitable quantity of your favourite wine/beer/spirit.  Delete as appropriate, if appropriate.
Then, sprawl out, look up, get slowly sloshed and watch the universe go by, hopefully catching a few meteors along the way!

This week has also seen the return of the ISS to our night time skies.  In fact, there have been multiple passes on many nights.  There are many apps out there which will give the times of the ISS passes over the UK skies.  But, perhaps one of the best sources of information I have come across is by following @VirtualAstro on Twitter.  No matter how many times I see the passing of the ISS, it’s still an awesome sight to behold.  I’ve had a couple of observing sessions in the last week and have been happily distracted by some really bright passes.

Perhaps some of the biggest, and what I think is the coolest news this week is that of the Rosetta spacecraft from the ESA entering its orbit around Comet 67P.  (Or Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko to give it its full name.)  I believe it’s orbiting at approximately 100km above the surface of the comet and is currently busy taking photos of the surface.  Some of the images that have been coming back to the ESA have been truly stunning.  Follow @ESA_Rosetta nd @esa for links to the latest photos.  The photos being taken by the craft will help find a landing site on the comets surface.  The Rosetta mission intends on landing a probe on the surface which will detach from the main space craft and make its way to the comet surface.  That is of course providing the comet lasts that long…

And there you have it, a brief re-introduction come re-launch of the blog layout.  Please feel free to leave comments.  They are all moderated before being posted so won’t show automatically, so please don’t be offended if they don’t appear straight away.
Cheers,
MMM

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