Space & Astronomy (1 Viewer)

JuveJay

Very Stable Genius
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Mar 6, 2007
64,343
#1
I couldn't find a thread for general celestial events or astronomical news, so here it is.

Always been interested in this kind of stuff. Never owned a telescope or anything like that, not really sure why, but I'll probably get around to it at some point.

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The "Great Conjunction" of Jupiter and Saturn - 21st December 2020

That's today, in case you're wondering. Jupiter and Saturn come within 0.1° of each other when viewed from Earth, an event that hasn't happened for 397 years.

The planets may appear as a single, elongated star to the naked eye. This is also known as the "Christmas Star".

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Some photos from last night:

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Here you can see Jupiter, Saturn and the moons Callisto, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Titan.
Credit: Peter Lewis

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From Johannesburg
Credit: Grant Peterson

I'd noticed earlier in the month that they were close to each other when I saw them just above a full moon, which made a cool photo, but I didn't think they would get any closer until I read up on this.

Nerds going crazy right now. Should be interesting to look at. Local forecast tonight - yep, cloud :lol:
 

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L'autista
Administrator
Sep 23, 2003
76,970
#2
Normally I cringe that the marketers have taken over NASA. So we see the proliferation of “flavored” supermoons and hype over dumb trivia and ephemera (“the closest Mars will be to earth in 29 years!”, etc.)

This hit all the check marks. But looking at it, it is pretty cool.
 
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JuveJay

JuveJay

Very Stable Genius
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Mar 6, 2007
64,343
#4
Sky is too bright in the city that was my reasoning anyway. Few years back Mars was visible with the bare eye just as the ISS flew by and also was visible. That was cooool
It's also often too cloudy in this country but I've noticed a lot of very clear skies this month, which makes me wish I had one. My bedroom window faces east so I get a great view of Orion and the Winter Triangle, much clearer this year than I remember it before. Also Sirius was flashing it's multiple colours more vividly than I've seen during the past week.
 
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JuveJay

JuveJay

Very Stable Genius
Moderator
Mar 6, 2007
64,343
#5
Normally I cringe that the marketers have taken over NASA. So we see the proliferation of “flavored” supermoons and hype over dumb trivia and ephemera (“the closest Mars will be to earth in 29 years!”, etc.)

This hit all the check marks. But looking at it, it is pretty cool.
Until the next space race with the Chinese kick-starts they are kind of forced to go cap-in-hand. It is sad to see.
 
Jun 16, 2020
2,246
#17
Right thread for SpaceX, NASA, Mars and going back to the Moon? After decades of nothing really exciting, Elon Musk certainly got the hype going again. Basically every few months there’s something happening with satellites, rovers and rockets being constructed for missions in the (near) future.

Very impressed by SpaceX and everything they’ve achieved in the last year. Commercial flights was everything this industry needed.

Here’s a list of some of the missions for 2021: https://www.space.com/space-missions-to-watch-in-2021

So much is happening and developments are going very fast, this really deserves more attention.
 
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JuveJay

JuveJay

Very Stable Genius
Moderator
Mar 6, 2007
64,343
#18
I've been waiting for the JWST for what seems like years, will be great to see what it picks up.

There is so much going on. The world needed more rivals to NASA and their partners at JAXA and ESA to create another space race of sorts, whether it was countries like China, Russia or India, or private ventures with billionaires facing off like Musk and Bezos. Since the end of the shuttle missions we've been restricted to mostly the ISS and Mars rover missions for excitement.
 
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JuveJay

JuveJay

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Moderator
Mar 6, 2007
64,343
#20
Quite expensive journeys that only bring achievements to the table while costing billions. Never really understood the reasons behind it.
Human nature is to explore and learn. Without it we would never have sailed miles over open ocean in little more than rafts to populate almost every corner of the Earth. Europeans wouldn't have sailed across the Atlantic to discover a rumoured land to the west. We sent people to the Moon simply because we thought it could be done, just as it will be for Mars.

And for scientific discovery. These are the two largest factors. Space exploration is about scientific learning. Nationalism and pride adds support to these causes and accelerates the time frame, but without them there is still the desire to learn and understand at least our galaxy and our place in it. It's quite difficult for the average person to think in these terms when they are going about their lives in their own bubble, but there will always be people out there looking to push boundaries to see what we can achieve and learn in a technological and scientific sense.

A by-product in space exploration is the invention or improvement in technologies that are used on Earth - high power battery tools, scratch-resistant lenses, artificial limbs, solar cells, water filtration, insulin pumps, CAT scans, camera phones, air purifiers, 3D printing, computer mice, tyre technology, the list goes on for longer than I care to type.

And besides, where do you think the money goes that is invested in space technology, for example the budget given to NASA? It doesn't simply vanish into space on the end of a rocket, or stuck on a lander on Mars. Much of it goes to hundreds of different prime or subcontractors, then to their directors and employees, and back into other areas of the economy via their own spending. https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-report-details-how-agency-significantly-benefits-us-economy
 

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