Posts Tagged ‘science’

Curiosity Landed!

Dennis and I had Popeye’s chicken and watched the countdown and landing of the Curiosity just moments ago. It was exciting to see the people in the control room, clap for each step, cry, hug. I felt my eyes mist with tears when I heard the calls come back that the parachute opened  and then to see the first photographs come back. I thought seeing the one of the horizon with the shadow of the rover was pretty exciting.

I wasn’t alive during the moon missions so I want to be part of the excitement for this one. After all, we are exploring another planet! Due to the complexity of designing interplanetary missions, exploration of Mars has had a huge failure rate, but this one landed only 227 meters off the landing site.

I am interested to see what the Mars Science Laboratory discovers.  The Mission goals include determining whether Mars could ever support life, study the climate and geology and plan for a human mission. The idea that I could see astronauts doing a Mars walk in a decade or so is simply mind boggling.

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May 26th Star Party

So my regular star watching buddy went to her folk’s house this weekend and it was such a nice clear night, I decided to head out to Seattle Astronomer Society’s Star Party at Greenlake. They have a monthly public free event.

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but everyone was really welcoming.  I had just started approaching when this guy named Peter said, “Want to look at the Moon?” And let me look through his telescope.

There were three telescopes set up and I saw the craters of the moon with much more detail than I can get with my celestial binoculars. I saw Mars which really wasn’t much to look at which surprised me because it is so close to Earth. In my binoculars it looks like a orange fuzzy dot, and in the telescope, it just looks like a fuzzy orangish ball.

The highlight of the night was Saturn. I could see the rings plus two of his moons: We figured one was Phoebe, weren’t sure about the other one, but hey Saturn has over 50 moons (and counting) and we are a bunch of amateurs.

We were in Seattle so due to light pollution and haze distance objects were not as bright as I have gotten used to looking at them up in North Bend. Aphids and mosquitos were everywhere, but what was awesome about all the bugs were the bats flying overhead.  Dang, those little guys can fly.

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