Category Archives: Astronomy Tech

Astronaut Scott Kelly is Watching You From Space

International Space Station Commander Scott Kelly is spending a #YearInSpace and he’s keeping an eye on all of us down here on Planet Earth.

He just took this awesome photo of San Francisco and the Bay:



Commander Scott Kelly will be floating aboard the ISS until the spring of 2016 when he is scheduled to land in Kazakhstan. Keep the pictures coming Astronaut Kelly!

ISS Progress 59, a resupply ship is planned to  launch of  from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in a few hours bringing with it over three tons of supplies to the International Space Station.

Photographer captures the ISS transiting Solar Eclipse

The March 20th Solar Eclipse wasn’t visible from Silicon Cali but through the power of the internets we get to see some amazing images taken of the event.

Well known French Astrophotographer Thierry Legault captured this awesome video of the International Space Station (ISS) transiting the Solar Eclipse:

Thierry Legault shot these images in Spain using a CCD camera equipped telescope with solar filters. You can’t capture this kind of imagery with your iPhone 6. Check out his website here:

A Blood Red Moon Hovers over Silicon Valley

Did you see the Blood Red Moon high over Silicon Valley early this morning? No, not Moon Bloodgood, a real lunar eclipse. Locations closer to the coast and parts of the peninsula were clouded over and could only see the moon through the clouds. The Chabot Space & Science Center in the Oakland hills had good views and had so many people show up that they had to turn some away.


If you didn’t get a chance to see the lunar eclipse this time, the next one visible in our area is October 8th, 2014.

And no you don’t have to think about the omen of a red blood moon. It’s just the light from the sun passing through the earth’s atmosphere before illuminating the moon. Just astrophysics in action, despite what the doomsayers like to preach.

SuperMoon hovers over SiliconCali

The supermoon is currently hovering over SiliconCali, brightening the skies and making people crazier. Have you seen it?

Science students in Bishop, CA put a cow up to the edge of space

Launched on April 22nd 2013 to get a view of our planet on World Earth Day, EVA the cow braved the edge of space (without a helmet!) and parachuted back down to the surface. EVA is from Tauranga, New Zealand but made the trip to the California Edge of Space Port to ride a weather balloon to the altitude of 120,000 feet above the planet.

After parachuting into the harsh desert environment of Death Valley, EVA used the opportunity to begin training for her next mission:  Jumping over the Moon!

Props to the Earth to Sky Science club for another successful Edge of Space mission.

The students of Earth to Sky Calculus continue to tap the “ESCape” button on Earth’s gravity with high altitude balloon launches and hope to launch a satellite in the future.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 makes its closest approach to Earth today

February 15, 2013 will go down in history as the day of a very active sky show. A large earth-buzzing asteroid, a meteorite air burst in Russia and the Bay Area fireball all made for an exciting astronomical day. The Discovery owned Science Channel will air a “A Russian Meteor Explosion Special” on Saturday at 8pm. Does Allstate cover Russian Meteor Mayhem?
If you have cut-rate insurance, you could be on the hook for thousands of rubles.


Asteroid 2012 DA14 will be speeding past the planet Earth today, just inside the orbit of our band of geosynchronous satellites. But don’t worry. The flying space rock will pass 1000 miles from the closest satellite. No need to worry about losing your television or internet signals. You can follow the asteroid 2012 DA14 through live coverage from observatories around the world at NASA JPL’s Ustream channel and on Twitter or use #asteroid or #2012da14. Google had a cool animated Google Doodle commemorating the close flyby of Asteroid DA14 but pulled it after injuries were reported in the Russian meteor airburst explosion. Google_Doodle_AsteroidDA14

Check out this NASA animation:

And I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Russian meteor explosion that took place on the same day as the asteroid flyby. Here’s a few of the videos that local residents shot of the Russian meteor event in the town of Chelyabinsk:

And a video from a cab, must have looked like an ICBM coming in or something:

And RT has a video of the meteorite crater smashed into the frozen Lake Chebarkul:

Famed astrophysicist and one time Big Bang Theory guest Neil deGrasse Tyson went on the Today show to explain why the Russian Ural Mountains meteorite wasn’t picked up on radar.

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And of course the Bay Area and Silicon Valley got a show today with a bright meteor #fireball captured on a dash camera and seen all over the area. The debris from the burning meteor was even picked up on NBC Bay Area’s weather radar when tweaked to show all objects.

The video below was shot on I-280 heading south at 7:44PM tonight.

The Moon and Jupiter will be in conjunction again January 21st 2013

The moon and the planet Jupiter will be in a very close conjunction on Monday night and should be visible from anywhere in the Bay Area. The sky is expected to be clear. Just look to the south and you’ll see the waxing gibbous moon and bright Jupiter very close together high in the sky. The Moon and Jupiter won’t appear this close again until 2026.

If you can’t make it outside, will be showing the view live online through their telescopes.

Here’s the view from a slightly foggy night here in Silicon Cali:
The Moon and Jupiter Conjunction as seen from Silicon Valley, California on January 21, 2013. This was a slightly foggy night in Silicon Valley. The fog left a faint halo around the moon, but not so much as to obscure the craters peaking out into the daylight from the dark side of the moon. Shot using a Nikon D5100 with a 300mm lens (450mm 35mm equiv) at f/5.6 for 1/200 sec. ISO-100 at 21:09 Pacific Time.

Harvest Moon Rising Saturday Night

Don’t miss the bright light from the Harvest Moon this Saturday night. You should be able to see it rising in the east as darkness falls in the valley. Just tear your eyes away from the glow of your smartphone for a bit and witness the natural glow of the full moon. In the age before electric lights and glowing digital devices this was the only way to get work done at night. The harvest moon will be full at 8:19 PM Saturday night.

Pics coming soon! from Saturday night, just after 8 PM Cali time:
The full harvest moon on Saturday night September 29, 2012 as it rises above Silicon Valley (image credit:

NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavour set to fly over Silicon Valley and the Bay Area September 21st

Don’t miss your last chance to see a NASA Spaceshuttle flyover! On Friday morning, September 21st, the modified 747 carrying the Space Shuttle Endeavour will make several low altitude passes over the Bay Area and Silicon Valley before heading south to LA.

NASA’s Spaace Shuttle Endeavour lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida
(image credit: NASA)

The shuttle, a veteran of 25 missions to space, will be flown on top of the custom Boeing 747 aircraft to its final location at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California.

Space Shuttle Endeavour mounted on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) A modified Boeing 747 jet.
(image credit: NASA)

NASA hopes people share their sightings with the  hashtags #spottheshuttle and #OV105 on social media sites.

From NASA’s press release:

“On the morning of Sept. 20 21, the SCA and Endeavour will take off from Dryden and perform a low-level flyover of northern California, passing near NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., and various landmarks in multiple cities, including San Francisco and Sacramento. The aircraft also will conduct a flyover of many Los Angeles sites before landing about 11 a.m. PDT at LAX. ”

The Space Shuttle Endeavour Boeing 747 combo is planned to fly over Moffett Field at only 1,500 altitude so ear plugs are recommended.

NASA media advisory on the Shuttle Ferry Flight here.

Link to the event at EventbriteShuttle Flyover NASA Ames Research Center


And here she is!



And Hangar One before and after photos:

Hangar One when it opened in 1933 (image credit: Wikipedia)
Hangar One on Moffett Field California completely stripped of its skin on September 21, 2012 (image credit:



Bay Area Fire Ball Streaks Across Early Morning Sky

Did you see it? At about 6:09 AM this morning a bright fireball streaked across the sky looking south from the peninsula. It was bright enough to be seen in the pre dawn light. Did anyone else see it? Any ground impacts? We’ll see if any reports come in.

This meteor may have been enough to cause some sonic booms as it entered the atmosphere but I was driving south on 101 at the time so road noise drowned out any possible sound fro the falling space rock.