"Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools."
--1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work.

"Correction: It is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum. The 'Times' regrets the error."
NY Times, July 1969.

— New York Times

Solar System

A Guide to Outer Space Surveillance!

Pedro sent us an iteresting link for

Saturn thru 8"

Took this image last night (6-3-11) thru 8" Celestron Cass. 345 x 0.20 exposures combined in MaxIm DL/CCD and processed in Photoshop CS4. It can be compared with the previous image using my 10" LX200 and AT111EDT. I also used a TeleVue 5x lens to magnify the planet which also makes it harder to focus. It was a very clear night, no clouds, no wind. The image was cropped.

Saturn thru 8"


Jupiter at 1:00 am this morning. Now that the southern equatorial belt is missing, the red spot really stands out.

Imaged through 5" refractor @ f-14 rgb filters.


Getting Out When Its Clear

If you haven't been out to see Venus and Mercury at their closest now is the time.  The night is clear, looking west from a clear western horizon, stretch out your arm and about 1 1/2 - 2 fist high you will see Venus.  Of course you can see it clearly since it is very bright.  Now if you know the distance of the two outer stars of Orions Belt, they are just over 2 and nearly 3 degrees apart.  Venus and Mercury are just over three degrees apart, with Mercury to the right of Venus at a 0.2 magnitude.  Venus is at -3.9 magnitude considerably brighter.  The next we

Voyager makes an interstellar discovery!

December 23, 2009: The solar system is passing through an interstellar cloud that physics says should not exist. In the Dec. 24th issue of Nature, a team of scientists reveal how NASA's Voyager spacecraft have solved the mystery.

Solar system's edge surprises astronomers

New observations reveal a dense ribbon structure that current models don't explain.


Jupiter this September evening shot through H-alpha narrowband filter.
Prime focus through C-11. Combination of 220 exposures of 0.3 seconds each.
In the seventy seconds or so of the exposure, the moons Ganimede, Europa (Jupiter) and Io moved enough to show visible trailing.


Solar Fireworks

Looks like there's a nice sunspot group on the Sun -- some nice solar fireworks for the 4th of July! Biggest group I've seen in quite sometime. It is right on the meridian.

4th of July Sunspots


This is when Saturn looks really beautiful and most appreciated.  Too many objections to the way it appears today, round object, a slim thin line crossing left to right or vise versa, unappreciated.  Can't wait for the ring & planet to tilt.  Juptier early in the morning looks much better.  This is a 10x .03 sec exposure.


Comet Lulin

Here is a finder chart for Comet Lulin which is gettign brighter now. It will soon be near the bright star Spica. This is for about 1:00 am. Later in the morning hours the comet will be higher in the sky.

Comet Lulin Chart