Travelers In The Night

Travelers In The Night

Space, Asteroid Hunting, and Astronomy, an insider view. The music is "Eternity" by John Lyell. Astronomy Asteroids Space NASA Comets Earth Impact

Episodes

June 18, 2021 2 min
As a result of human caused increases in green house gases the troposphere is expanding and the stratosphere is shrinking. Between 1980 and 2018 the stratosphere has become a quarter of a mile thinner and is projected to contract in total by nearly a mile by 2080 if the present human increases in green house gases continues. Find out why buckle up for safety has more than one meaning in the era of climate change we are moving in...
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Recently my Catalina Sky Survey teammate, Rose Matheny discovered a tiny asteroid that passed 115,000 miles from Earth and 104,000 miles from our Moon. Rose's discovery demonstrates the fact that the asteroid hunting community is beginning to have the ability to discover small space rocks before they make their closest approach to Earth.
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June 11, 2021 2 min
A team of astronomers find that as many as 14 comets which came to less than 4 times the Moon's distance from us as long as 4,000 years ago are detectable as meteor showers in the present era. These results make us aware of potentially hazardous comets from the past which could come into our space again in the future.
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June 8, 2021 2 min
Recently I was observing with the NASA funded Catalina Sky Survey 60 inch telescope on Mt. Lemmon when the computer identified a faint fast moving object in the night sky. Not being sure it was real I scheduled followup observations. About an hour later the second set of observations showed that it is a real object. On the next two nights this small space rock was observed by telescopes near Westfield, Illinois and on Kitt Peak in ...
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June 4, 2021 2 min
New Rocket engines will revolutionize space travel to the Moon and Mars.
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June 1, 2021 2 min
Recently my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Rik Hill discovered an asteroid about the size of a luxury sedan which cruises about the inner solar system.
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May 28, 2021 2 min
An impacting object hit the asteroid Vesta making a 10 mile diameter crater and in the process blasted loose fragments which have been orbiting the Sun for 22 million years or so. In June of 2018 my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Richard Kowalski discovered one of them streaking towards Earth with our 60 inch telescope on Mt. Lemmon , AZ. This small space rock crashed into Earth raining fragments upon the Central Kalahari Game Reserv...
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May 25, 2021 2 min
Recently people from all over the world met in Italy to discuss ways that humans can prepare for the unlikely, but not impossible, situation that an object is on an impact trajectory with planet Earth. They were were presented with a hypothetical asteroid threat. A month after its discovery the hypothetical asteroid comes about 18 million miles from us . It continues to be observed for another month with every new observation m...
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May 21, 2021 2 min
In March and April every year amateur astronomers, around the world, in Messier Marathons, attempt to view all of 110 objects in the Messier catalogue in a single night. In a more leisurely approach you can visit a dark sky location like the Cosmic Campground International Dark Sky and view spectacular Messier Objects with your naked eye, binoculars, or a small telescope.
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May 18, 2021 2 min
The first human use of the wind to power boats most likely occurred in about 3,000 BC. This was a major improvement in travel over walking and animal drawn carts. Three or four hundred years from now humans may send a robotic space probe to a nearby star using a light sail as big as the state of Texas. Ideally it would deploy its giant solar sail near the Sun perhaps as close to it as the planet Mercury. This would give it maxim...
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May 14, 2021 2 min
Asteroid hunters have discovered a curious object. It appears likely to be either a rock ejected from the Moon or a piece of space junk from a human designed mission to the Moon. Observations which reveal how this tiny object is effected by Sun light could tells us if it is a natural or man made object.
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May 11, 2021 2 min
The vast majority of asteroids orbiting the Sun do so on a path that is pretty much
in the same plane as the planets. There is a lot of empty space in the solar system,
however, we see asteroids with craters on them so we know collisions have occurred.
It seems likely that an asteroid whose path is highly inclined to the plane of the
solar system was involved in a collision with another object causing a radical change
in its orbit.
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May 7, 2021 2 min
During a recent 60 day period asteroid hunters discovered 29 space rocks as they passed closer to us than the Moon. These small asteroids averaged 30 feet in diameter and ranged in size from one that could fit under a basketball hoop to one the would fill the whole basketball court. Several times every year a small space rock bursts into fragments some of which strike human structures.
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May 4, 2021 2 min
A trip to our Moon is one of the great human adventures of all time. However,
such a voyage is but a small step of about 30 Earth diameters into the vastness of space.
NASA is proposing the next step on the path to Mars to be a mission to an asteroid or a
boulder taken from the surface of an asteroid.
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April 30, 2021 2 min
How ET could know there is life on Earth.
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April 27, 2021 2 min
Recently an inter-planetary visitor made a close approach to planet Earth. It is about the same size as the object which entered our atmosphere in February of 2013 injuring nearly 1500 people in Chelyabinsk, Russia. It can come to within 20,000 miles of us which is closer than our communications satellites.
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April 23, 2021 2 min
After sunset in the spring and before sunrise in the fall, at a natural night sky location like the Cosmic Campground International Dark Sky Sanctuary in New Mexico, you will see a triangle of faint glow of light that extends from its broad base on the horizon to a point almost overhead. New scientific evidence suggests that this phenomenon is caused by sunlight reflecting from a Mars produced dust cloud between Earth and Jupiter.
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April 20, 2021 2 min
Looking at the Universe from the Earth's surface is a bit like a scuba diver viewing our world from the bottom of a swimming pool. Don't get me wrong. I love our atmosphere. It gives us air to breath, keeps our body's fluids liquid, protects us from cosmic rays as well as space rocks, and performs many other functions which make life on our planet possible. That being said the blanket of air which surrounds us makes i...
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April 16, 2021 2 min
On Kitt Peak in Arizona, the Steward Observatory's Bok telescope's 90 inch light collecting mirror enables the discovery, study, and tracking of space rocks 3 or 4 times fainter then possible with any of our other telescopes. Over all our team, the Catalina Sky Survey, has used the 90 inch Bok telescope to discover 36 Earth approaching asteroids.
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April 16, 2021 2 min
Ganymede was discovered by Galileo Galilei using his new telescope in 1610. He observed it to be a faint point of light orbiting the planet Jupiter. This discovery along with 3 of Jupiter's moons was the first instance of objects being observed to be orbiting another planet. Now that we know that Ganymede has a substantial salty ocean one has to wonder if some type of microbes might be living there.
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