Space and Astronomy in general

That bright spot in the distance is Mercury.

Awesome.

Some of you might remember me occasionally mentioning the upcoming launch of the first GPS III satellite.

IT'S TOMORROW!

So far everything is still on track for launch at 9:11 am EST.

What I haven't been able to find out is how does the speed and gravity from the sun affect the interpretations of the sensors. It's close enough and fast enough that time should pass differently for the Parker Solar Probe, yes?
Anybody know?

Found this site recently, and thought it was super cool:

Subsolar and sublunar points

This shows, with big dots on a world map, the exact subsolar and sublunar points on the earth at the current time. I only linked to subsolar because, I think once you understand that concept, you get the sublunar point, too.

Essentially, this is where the sun is directly overhead, and sh*t starts looking like a video game without shadows:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/0SP2f9s.jpg)

As you can see on the map, the only place in the US that can experience this is Hawaii, and only close to the summer solstice (not counting Puerto Rico).

(If you can't see that, the two orange lines and blue line across the map are the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, with the equator in the middle. As the earth moves through the seasons, the subsolar point moves between those two. At the two equinoxes, the sun is directly on the equator.)

On New year's New Horizon will pass another planetoid in the Kepler belt as close as safe is. That little ship is really cooking with gas!

Hobear wrote:

On New year's New Horizon will pass another planetoid in the Kepler belt as close as safe is. That little ship is really cooking with gas!

I love when one of the astronauts on When We Left Earth described skimming the surface of the Moon super fast as "really hauling the mail."

Mixolyde wrote:
Hobear wrote:

On New year's New Horizon will pass another planetoid in the Kepler belt as close as safe is. That little ship is really cooking with gas!

I love when one of the astronauts on When We Left Earth described skimming the surface of the Moon super fast as "really hauling the mail."

Yeah as part of the exercise they needed to scan for moons and ring dust with New Horizons.

"Our team feels like we have been riding along with the spacecraft, as if we were mariners perched on the crow's nest of a ship, looking out for dangers ahead," hazards team leader Mark Showalter, of the SETI.

Ultima Thule flyby

ESA releases photo of Mars crater full of water ice

The crater's diameter is about 51 miles (82 km).

Click for full size
IMAGE(https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.12/article/5c1ceb87fc7e9310488b45bc.jpg)

They're already talking about the possibility of another flyby after Ultima.

...in other news, our GPS III launch was delayed again (by weather this time), and is currently schedule for 0855 EST Saturday (tomorrow). They handed out some nice mission patches at work yesterday.

Looks like SpaceX finally got their launch off. Everyone happy where you are Hrdina?

tanstaafl wrote:

Looks like SpaceX finally got their launch off. Everyone happy where you are Hrdina?

Indescribably happy and relieved, thanks!

We've still got a few minutes until the second stage burns again, then about an hour after that we'll see our satellite separate from the LV. I won't turn off the video until that happens.

The real fun starts in early January. After the satellite gets into its orbit, we will turn on the payload for the first time in orbit.

Looks like a successful deployment; congrats Hrdina!

Ted wrote:

Looks like a successful deployment; congrats Hrdina!

Thanks! LM (Lockheed Martin) posted to twitter that they had successfully acquired signal from the satellite, so it looks good so far. After a few days to circularize the orbit and test out the satellite bus, it will be time to turn on the navigation payload.

Between now and then, we'll have the January 1 Ultima Thule flyby to keep me excited.

Wrong thread.

The Ultima Thule flyby stream starts tonight and continues through the flyby on the 1st.

Gremlin wrote:

The Ultima Thule flyby stream starts tonight and continues through the flyby on the 1st.

Importantly, if the government shutdown impacts NASA, livestreaming will be done by JHU APL instead of NASA TV.

I didn't see anything starting tonight, though, so you have information I've missed?

Edit: I just looked at a refreshed version of that page and they took down the notice about the government shutdown.

IMAGE(https://i.stack.imgur.com/tIa5U.png)

So... the Ultima Thule probe sent us a dick pic?

IMAGE(https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/wjjoo3fzv58ehflbsqsd.jpg)

Hahaha. That is hilarious!

tanstaafl wrote:

So... the Ultima Thule probe sent us a dick pic?

IMAGE(https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/wjjoo3fzv58ehflbsqsd.jpg)

That looks like a.....Johnson, pay attention, sorry sir I see this space ship looks like a giant....wang, pay attention, etc etc etc

We also got an artist's impression of what appears to be an uncomfortable piercing:
IMAGE(https://i2.wp.com/thespacewriter.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/Jan1-2018_press-lease_Image1.png)

That looks infected. Call Dr. Pimple Popper!

That's just an incomplete snowman. Nothing new here.

BB-8!

I was thinking more this:
IMAGE(https://cdn-static.denofgeek.com/sites/denofgeek/files/styles/article_width/public/01-kodama.jpg?itok=SHzXAWeD)

Quintin_Stone wrote:

BB-8!

Now I can't see it as anything else.

My gourd, it's full of stars!