The Sun Now
WELCOME TO ICEINSPACE
THE LARGEST ONLINE ASTRONOMY COMMUNITY IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE
IceInSpace is a community website dedicated to promoting amateur astronomy in the southern hemisphere - including Australia, New Zealand, South America, Southern Africa and parts of Asia. We aim to help stargazers from around the world discover, discuss and enjoy the beauty of our night sky.
We hope you enjoy your stay at IceInSpace.
Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2
This beautiful image of Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 was captured on the 29th Dec 2014, using a Tak Epsilon 160 530mm f3.3 and a CDS-5D Mark III, with a sequence of five exposures of 2 mins each at ISO2500. Processed using Adobe Lightroom, After Effects and PixInsight. Comet Lovejoy has been getting brighter over the past month and is now naked eye visibility under dark skies, though the Full Moon makes observing harder for a few more days. Look towards Orion and Taurus for a faint green fuzzy ball!
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IISAC2015 Bookings and Registration Open!
Welcome to 2015! IISAC2015 is now less than 2 months away. Make sure you get those annual leave dates booked in and start earning those brownie points now! I've brought the party forward to March, ahead of Easter and the school holidays.
IIASC2015 is being held on the 19th-21st March 2015, again in the beautiful Hunter Valley region of NSW, at Lostock.
Find out more about IISAC2015 by clicking on the image below, or jump straight to registration at the IceInSpace Shop.
If you've never been to a star party before, if you've never seen the Milky Way under a dark sky, you just have to come along. It's a great event for the whole family - you don't need to own a telescope, and you don't need to be an IceInSpace member. Everyone is welcome, and I hope to see you there.
Click on the picture above to find out more information about the star party. To book your spot, register online here.
Successful First Steps Back the Moon
Successful Orion Rocket Launch
NASA marked a major milestone Friday as the Orion spacecraft completed its first voyage to space, travelling farther than any spacecraft designed for astronauts has been in more than 40 years. “Today’s flight test of Orion is a huge step for NASA and a really critical part of our work to pioneer deep space on our Journey to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
See video footage of the splashdown here.
The next launch is scheduled for 2018, unmanned again, it will circle the Moon. And if all goes well, the first manned mission is planned for 2021.
Sky & Telescope have done a comprehensive article with great pics including one that Orion cameras took of Earth from Space. Read it here.
The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, with NASA’s Orion spacecraft mounted atop, lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 37 at at 7:05 a.m. EST, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Florida. The Orion spacecraft will orbit Earth twice, reaching an altitude of approximately 3,600 miles above Earth before landing in the Pacific Ocean. No one is aboard Orion for this flight test, but the spacecraft is designed to allow us to journey to destinations never before visited by humans, including an asteroid and Mars.
Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
New Horizons Wakes Up on Pluto's Doorstep
After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles —the farthest any space mission has ever traveled to reach its primary target – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation on Dec. 6th for its long-awaited 2015 encounter with the Pluto system.
Operators at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., confirmed at 9:53 p.m. (EST) that New Horizons, operating on pre-programmed computer commands, had switched from hibernation to “active” mode. Moving at light speed, the radio signal from New Horizons – currently more than 2.9 billion miles from Earth, and just over 162 million miles from Pluto – needed four hours and 26 minutes to reach NASA’s Deep Space Network station in Canberra, Australia.
“This is a watershed event that signals the end of New Horizons crossing of a vast ocean of space to the very frontier of our solar system, and the beginning of the mission’s primary objective: the exploration of Pluto and its many moons in 2015,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.
Read more on Science@NASA by Dr Tony Phillips
SOARING - Northern Lights from Norway
This incredible 5 minute video has to be one of the best Aurora videos we've seen to-date. It was shot in Norway by photographer Ole C Salmonsen, using a Sony A7s camera. He says "All sequences are realtime video, no timelapse used. This film shows the auroras how they really are in real world, not like in most timelapses where they flicker in ridicilous speeds over the screen."
Drop what you're doing, and watch it now on Vimeo.
Thanks for reading! Keep looking up!
A Bad Week for Space Flight
A bad week for Spaceflight
It's been a pretty bad week for Spaceflight.
First, an Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket exploded just seconds after take-off, erupting into a huge fireball. The good news: No-one was harmed. It was an uncrewed vehicle; no people were on board and there were no injuries at the launch site. It was loaded with supplies and experiments for the International Space Station, and was Orbital's third such resupply mission.
At a cost of $200 million, it's certainly a set-back but hopefully investigations can uncover the cause quickly, fixes made and launches can get underway again. The crew on the ISS were in no danger; they have plenty of supplies onboard, and a Russian Progress vehicle was launched and took supplies to the ISS successfully just days later.
For more information and plenty of videos, check out Phil Plait's article: Antares Rocket Explodes on Take-off.
Secondly, just a few days later, the Virgin Galactic private suborbital rocket plane SpaceShipTwo suffered a major malfunction and crashed in the Mojave Desert. The co-pilot was killed and the pilot was seriously injured.
Investigations are still ongoing, but again Phil Plait has a nice piece on Slate which is a great read. Space flight is hard, but we must continue the journey!
Up to 30% off the IceInSpace Astronomy Calendar, in time for xmas!
Get 30% off your IceInSpace Calendars by ordering 2 or more calendars and using the coupon code 10PCTNEWS on the cart or checkout page!
What a great gift idea - affordable, easy to order, delivered to your door and suitable for the whole family.
Order online at the IceInSpace Astronomy Calendar 2015 page. Paypal or direct deposit accepted, and flat-rate delivery anywhere in the world.
Incredible view of Earth from the the far side of the Moon
China’s Chang’e 5 spacecraft rounded the lunar far side earlier this week, on the return leg of its journey to the moon and took this spectacular picture of the Earth over the far side of the Moon.
Captured on October 28, 2014, from Earth the phase of the moon was a waxing crescent. From the moon that day, the Earth was in a waning gibbous phase.
The Chinese Chang’e 5 spacecraft, which is testing lunar sample return technology, has rounded the lunar far side and is now on the return leg of its journey to the moon. It is landed back on Earth on Friday, October 31, 2014. See a bigger picture and read more on EarthSky.