29 June 2012

China’s Shenzhou-9 and Crew Return to Earth

China’s Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and its three-member crew has returned to Earth with a jarring, rolling ground landing in Inner Mongolia at 10:05 local time (02:05 GMT). While in space, the crew successfully carried out their 13-day mission, accomplishing a manual docking with the Tiangong-1 laboratory module and performing a series of experiments. The crew included the first Chinese woman in space, 33-year-old female fighter pilot Liu Yang, along with commander Jing Haipeng, and Liu Wang.

Read more: Article by Nancy Atkinson on Universe Today

28 June 2012

Virtual Star Parties every Sunday on Google +!

You want to see the night sky and chat about it on the computer. Every Sunday on Google + Frasier Cain and many More host a hang out where you can listen and participate.

Some people have there "web cam" hanging out of there telescope to show a specific object in the night sky and have a topic. The hang out place is for people to interact, participate and listen to topics related to space and to be able to see it through a telescope (or many telescopes).

Have a look at this "mini" documentary on the hang out phenomena on Google + and join the fun!

You can have more information on the hang outs and the schedules here on Google + HERE

25 June 2012

Mars! You poke my Curiosity.

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL, or Curiosity) is a Mars rover launched by Nasa on November 26, 2011. Currently en route to the planet, it is scheduled to land in Gale Crater at about 05:31 UTC on August 6, 2012. The rover's objectives include searching for past or present life, studying the Martian climate, studying Martian geology, and collecting data for a future manned mission to Mars.

The project is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of California Institute of Technology. When MSL launched, the program's director was Doug McCuistion of NASA's Planetary Science Division.

Here is a great video from Nasa on the landing of the rover. This last leg of this epic journey into interplanetary exploration within our solar system shows how the project is simply over futuristic.

There are 42 days left before the Mars rover landing. On August 6th the small car size rover willl be expected to land in Gale Crater on the surface of Mars to look for evidence of life.

Here are the goals and objectives of the Mars Science Laboratory project.
The MSL (Mars Science Laboratory) mission has four scientific goals:
  1. Determine whether Mars could ever have supported life
  2. Study the climate of Mars
  3. Study the geology of Mars
  4. Plan for a human mission to Mars
To contribute to these goals, MSL has six main scientific objectives:
  1. Determine the mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and near-surface geological materials.
  2. Attempt to detect chemical building blocks of life (biosignatures).
  3. Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils.
  4. Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) Martian atmospheric evolution processes.
  5. Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide.
  6. Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic radiation, cosmic radiation, solar proton events and secondary neutrons.
As part of its exploration, it is measuring the radiation exposure in the interior of the spacecraft as it travels to Mars, important data for a future manned mission.

READ more on Wikipedia: Mars Science Laboratory

20 June 2012

Shenzhou 9 Launches and Docks with Chinese Spacelab

A Chinese Long March 2F rocket blasted off carrying the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft and three Taikonauts including 33-year-old female fighter pilot Liu Yang, China’s first woman sent to orbit.
Read more:

The crew of the Chinese Shenzhou-9 spacecraft docked today with the Tiangong-1 mini-spacelab and the three taikonauts entered the small spacelab for the first time.
Read more:

12 June 2012

Transit of Venus 2012: The Conclusion

Transit of Venus 2012
Credit: Janne Leppäkoski
12.06.2012 Kustavi Finland                                                           

The Transit of Venus 2012 comes to an end for our Astronomy Club Toutatis. We took lots of pictures of many stages of the event including phases and whereabouts of the Planet. Starting with Venus slowly going towards the Sun and achieving its phases to the Transit of our Sun's disk. we took the time to follow Venus for almost half a year until this June, we hope to follow it again as it starts it's phases on the other side of the Sun. As a morning star I guess.

Here at the bottom you can see our latest short videos of the view from our telescope. On the first video, you can see the Sunspots in the middle of the Sun just before they sink into the clouds. The second video is also the Transit of Venus from our telescope 8" reflector.
This shot is with a canon 550D prime focus through a X2 Barlow to the scope. The last video is Us setting the camp with the telescope and the tent. :) 

Hope you have enjoyed the experience of Venus and it's transit as much as we did. We want to thank everybody involved in this fabulous journey through Space. Thank you!

Transit of Venus with Sunspots 1493 and 1496

Transit of Venus in clouds

Setting up the camp

11 June 2012

Transit of venus 2012: The return home

Amazing double rainbow on the way back home
Click to enlarge Credit: S. Lamoureux
Middle of Finland, Finland

On the way back home, we saw an amazing double rainbow. At first it stood out only as a red ray of light, as we called it a redbow. Then the colors slowly came about.

This picture was taken with a fisheye lens 8mm.

The return home took 18 hours. Many great hours in a cramp car and radio music. Thanks to Sam, Uolevi and Nina to be part of this unbelievable journey.

Click HERE to read the 15th post of our journey through astronomy in Enontekiö, Lappland

You can see our Astrophotos of the Transit of Venus HERE 

07 June 2012

Transit of Venus 2012: New Astrophotos!

Transit of venus 06.06.2012  Enontekiö, Finland
Credit: KTY Toutatis ry.

Enontekiö, Finnish Lapppland
Transit of Venus 2012

Here is the last picture of the 3 pictures I manage to capture of the transit. Really starting to glow out of the clouds, the Sun shone direcly to the lens with no Sun filter. This was an amazing moment, just above the cloud blanket. Venus was brillant, I mean pitch black!

HERE are more Astrophotos of our Astronomy Club.

Click HERE to read the 14th post of our journey through astronomy in Enontekiö, Lappland

06 June 2012

Transit of venus 2012: Astrophotos of the Transit in Enontekiö, Finland

Transit of venus seen from Enontekiö, Finland
06.06.2012 00h21UT / Credit: KTY Toutatis
Here is an other picture of the Transit. Real sharp. Good shot!

This picture was taken at 00h21 UT. You can clearly see the black dot and the Sun.

Picture specs:
Canon EOS 550D
Exposure: 1.3 sec.
ISO 100

Click HERE to read the 13th post of our journey through astronomy in Enontekiö, Lappland


Transit of venus 2012: First Astrophotos from Transit of Venus Enontekiö, Finland

Transit of Venus 2012 / Enontekiö, Finland
Enontekiö, Lappland, Finland
Transit of Venus 2012

First contact!
Here is our first picture of the transit of Venus. This picture was taken with SkyWatcher 200mm/HEQ5/x2 Barlow/Canon 550D prime focus

We really had to chase the Sun around in the telescope. The picture is taken with guiding system (Synscan).

Enjoy the picture and hop outside for an early stroll down the river and feast yourself on this fabulous sight.

Click HERE to read the 12th post of our journey through astronomy in Enontekiö, Lappland

05 June 2012

TRANSIT of VENUS 2012! 1 day 19 min 10 sec to GO!

View the Transit of venus 2012 simulation from your location.
Watch how the Transit unfold itself on the disk of the Sun.
Show SUNAEON simlations to your friends, family, neighbours and enjoy the transit of venus 2012.

Click HERE to read the 11th post of our journey through astronomy in Enontekiö, Lappland

Please install latest Flash Player to run SunAeon Venus Transit 2012

04 June 2012

TRANSIT of VENUS 2012! We arrived at Enontekiö

The happy bunch
04.06.2012 Enontekiö, Finland

We arrived in Lappland in the village of Hetta in the early hours of the morning. The Sun had only set for an hour before it rose again and started our day at 03h40 in the morning. It was the shortest night I have ever experience.

We slept into the next day and woke up to a fabulous landscape. The "Midnight" Sun was shining and the village was buzzling with people.

After a good breakfast, we headed to our observation place and looked for the best possible place for the seeing of the Transit and a good place to set camp and fishing grounds.

So here we are now sipping tea and wondering about tomorrow...
The Transit of Venus 2012 has begun!

Click HERE to read the 10th post of our journey through astronomy in Enontekiö, Lappland

Enontekiö, Finland