Posts tagged dragon

Posted 2 years ago

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Launches to the Space Station
Image Credit: NASA

Explanation: This fire-breathing Dragon can fly. Pictured above yesterday, SpaceX Corporation’s Falcon 9 rocket capped with a Dragon spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. The successful launch was significant not only because it demonstrated that a private company has the ability to re-supply the International Space Station (ISS), but also that spaceflight has taken a significant step away from being an endeavor that only big governments can do with public money. If all continues as planned, the robotic Dragon will dock with the ISS this weekend. Over the next two weeks, the ISS Expedition 31 crew will then unload Dragon and refill it with used scientific equipment. In about three weeks, the ISS’s robotic arm will then undock Dragon and move it to where it can fire its rockets. Soon thereafter the Dragon capsule is expected to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere, deploy its parachutes, splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, and be recovered.

Posted 2 years ago
Moon and Planets Over Catalonia
Image Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN)

Explanation: Venus and Jupiter will appear unusually close in the sky over the next month. The planetary conjunction will be easily visible to the unaided eye because Venus will appear brighter than any background star, and Jupiter will be nearly as bright. To see the near-alignment, simply look to the west after sunset. At their closest, on March 15, the two planets will appear only about three degrees apart. The planets will not be significantly closer in space - Venus will just be passing nearly in front of Jupiter as seen from the Earth. In the above image composite taken late last week from Catalonia, Spain, a bright crescent moon appears to the right of Venus, while Jupiter appears near the top of the image. The distant sun-illuminated spheres were photographed behind a sculpture depicting the legendary battle between a warrior and a dragon. A gallery of conjunction images is visible on the Asterisk — APOD’s discussion board. Please feel free to contribute. The next Jupiter-Venus conjunction will occur in May 2013.

Posted 3 years ago
Draconid Meteors Over Spain
Image Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN)

Explanation: What are those streaks in the sky? They’re meteors from the Draconids meteor shower that peaked earlier this month. The above composite image captured numerous meteor streaks over 90 minutes above the Celtic ruins of Capote in Badajoz province, Spain. The particles that caused these meteors were typically the size of a pebble and were expelled long ago from the nucleus of comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. Most of the above meteors can be traced back to a single radiant emanating from the constellation of the Dragon (Draco). Reports from this year’s meteor shower indicate that the Draconids were unusually good this year with activity was concentrated around 8 pm UT on October 8. The most intense Draconid meteor showers in recent history occurred in 1933 and 1946 when thousands of meteors per hour were recorded as the Earth plowed through particularly dense streams of comet debris. Although the Draconids occur every October, it is usually difficult to know just how active each year’s meteor shower will be.