The Annular Solar Eclipse on May 21, 2012 Seen from Japan

27. May 2012, 18:36

On May 21, 2012, I observed the annular solar eclipse from Akashi, Japan. That was not the location I had wanted to go and was chosen as the result of some hasty re-planning due to unforeseen events, but it turned out to be a better choice than my original plan. 2012年、5月21日には、私は明石市から金環食を観測しました。元々、別の予定がありましたが、結局、明石市にして良かったと思います。


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It's a bird, it's a plane .... it's Stratolaunch

01. January 2012, 00:01

Since the start of the space age, technology development has been hampered by one major problem: The launch cost per unit of payload mass has always been prohibitively high. This very effectively dissuades users from developing large orbital applications. Because there are no large applications to be launched, there is no strong incentive for anyone to develop a large and significantly less costly launch vehicle. This leads to a deadlock.


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Pictures of the December 10 Total Lunar Eclipse

12. December 2011, 14:35

Germany wasn't the best location to view last saturday's total lunar eclipse. Seen from my hometown, Darmstadt, which is pretty far to the West, when the Moon finally rose over the horizon, it had already largely left the Earth's umbra cone. Still, I set up my 'scope and started taking pictures. Around 5 p.m., I hit pay dirt: an airliner had crossed the still partially eclipsed lunar disc just when I was taking a picture. I didn't even notice it right then; I was too busy pointing, focusing and clicking away. What are the odds of this happening? Right.  (More)

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The ATV Launch Seen from Above!

17. February 2011, 11:42

Normally, rocket launches are viewed from below - you see the rocket rising into the sky trailing a massive pall of smoke and disappearing in the distance. With yesterday's launch of the space freighter, the  European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle ATV-2, named after the German astronomer Johannes Kepler, things were different. One lucky person had a grandstand view: European astronaut Paolo Nespoli on the International Space Station took these great shots of the launch of the Ariane 5 rocket carrying the ATV-2 to orbit from above.

(Lesen Sie diesen Artikel hier auf Deutsch)


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Astro_Wheels: The Coolest Photo Blog this Side of Beta Pic

11. November 2010, 07:34

Is this cool, or is it? Douglas H Wheelock, aka "Astro_Wheels", astronaut and current ISS commander, also blogs and twitters from orbit. And he certainly has amazing talent. Sure, one could argue that he also has amazing motives. But that isn't all. What camera makers never tell you is that a photograph isn't created on a photographic emulsion or an electronic chip. A photograph, first and foremost, is created in the photographer's head. You need that innate feel for image composition, colours and lighting. That's the photographer's "right stuff". You can't learn it. You just have to have it, and Astro_Wheels has got it.   (More)

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The LOLA Quiz: Solutions and Winners

01. November 2010, 15:30

I am happy to announce that there have been lots of participants in the LOLA-Quiz. Here are the solutions to the problems, the names of those who got it right and also the name of the lucky winner.   (More)

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Now in 2-D: The LOLA Moon Quiz!

23. October 2010, 09:50

+++ OK, folks, that's it, the quiz is over and submissions will no longer be accepted +++    I am going to try something new in my blog: a quiz. Of course one with a scientific background. It is not going to be all that easy, but on the other hand, there will be a prize for the winner:  either a t-shirt or a baseball cap, emblazoned with the logo of an ESA mission. 


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October's Comet: Hartley 2

10. October 2010, 15:00

The Orbit of Comet 103P/Hartley 2 During the 2010 Perihelion, 
source: Michael KhanOctober offers opportunities to observe comet 103P/Hartley 2 bieten. Hartley 2, a small Jupiter family comet, will pass its perihelion on October 28. That will be 8 days after closest approach to the Earth at a distance of just over 18 million kilometres on October 20.


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First Human to Walk on the Moon Turns 80

05. August 2010, 15:15

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's most poignant sonnet "Mezzo Cammin" starts:

Half of my life is gone, and I have let
The years slip from me and have not fulfilled
The aspiration of my youth, [...]


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Aurora Alert Tonight, August 4/5

04. August 2010, 14:25

Pow! After a long stretch of uncanny calm the Sun erupted in a violent flurry of activity with a massive coronal mass ejection (CME) on August 1. This belched a stream of solar wind our way, vastly increasing the number of charged particles trapped in the Earth's magnetosphere.


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Nigeria: Emerging Nation Status Soon?

16. July 2010, 17:18

Ask people what their first thought is when they hear the word "Nigeria" and what will they answer? More likely than not, the first association they make is ye olde "419 Scam", a rip-off that typically starts with an e-mail that should have been deleted unread. For sure not only Nigerian internet criminals use this ploy, but the "Nigeria connection" did originally invent it. Sadly, this is not just the first, but also the only thing many people can think of. But I think Nigeria is worth taking a closer look at and here's why ...

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Tomorrow: Japanese Asteroid Probe Hayabusa Limps Home

12. June 2010, 22:50

+++ Update: The entry capsule has landed and shall be retrieved in the course of Monday. The Hayabusa craft dis-integrated in the atmosphere. More here, with pix +++

Talk about a chaotic mission. What could go wrong did go wrong, except for that final crippling damage that would have terminated the mission for good. But I bet nobody would have thought Hayabusa would make it. (More)

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Asteroid Bonanza

01. April 2010, 07:30

Rhyolite, Nevada, April 1, 2010: Earlier this year a team of astronomers under John Sutter from the American Western Center for Minor body Observations of Nevada (AWCMON) in Rhyolite, Nevada found yet another Earth orbit crossing asteroid.  Nobody took much notice; neither the asteroid's orbit or its size were remarkable. It was given the identification code 2010AU79 and that was that. Back to more important work - or so one thought.


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Appeal Against LHC Nixed by Constitutional Court

15. March 2010, 22:24

The German constitutional court, the highest court in the Federal Republic of Germany, on March 9, 2010 refused to accept an appeal filed by a German woman living in Zürich, Switzerland, for an injunction forcing the German government to take action to limit operation of CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC).


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Simple Math: How Fast Can an Asteroid Rotate?

09. March 2010, 12:18

There are many really great things about astronomy. One is that one can get quite far just with elementary physics and basic math.


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