Astronomy Blog

My New Rosetta Talk

by on Nov.23, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

I have just put in the finishing touches to my new Rosetta talk.

Rosetta & Philae: From Concept to Reality.


My new talk outlines the how the probe got to where it did, the missions accomplishments to date and relives the excitement on the day of the Philae landing.

Of course, the mission is nowhere near finished, and will go on until the end of 2015, so more info will be added as it released by The European Space Agency.

Get your local astronomical society to book me now.


Leave a Comment more...

Talk to Coventry and Warwicks Astro Soc.

by on Nov.15, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

I talked to Coventry and Warwicks Astro Society last night, enthralling them with my attempts to process colour images from the red and blue sensitive plates from the Palomar and Southern Sky Survey’s.


They looked after me well and there was a lot of questions and looking at the plates after my talk.

I had a very enjoyable evening.
It’s evenings like this that remind me why I do these talks.

Many thanks to everyone at the society for making me welcome.



Leave a Comment more...

Philae has landed on the Comet

by on Nov.12, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

Congratulations to all the ESA scientists involved in the Rosetta and Philae mission.

Confirmation has been received that Philae has landed on the Comet successfully.
What a fantastic achievement.

Here are a couple of pictures of Philae taken by Rosetta and Rosetta taken by Philae.
Images from the surface to follow a bit later.








Leave a Comment more...

Philae – Successful Separation from Rosetta.

by on Nov.12, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

The Philae lander has successfully separated from Rosetta.

It will take 7 hours to touch down on the surface of the comet.

See timings and webcast details here: Rosetta Webcast.

Landing confirmation should come just past 16:00h GMT.


Leave a Comment more...

Rosetta – Philae Landing Webcast.

by on Nov.11, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

The excitement is building for The European Space Agency’s (ESA) comet lander Philae.

The Rosetta lander Philae is due to land on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday the 12th of November.

Philae has been powered up and the landing program data has been uploaded to it.

All is now set for this exciting landing on the comet’s surface.

It will be released from Rosetta and will take 7 hours to reach the comet’s surface.

Confirmation of a successful landing should come with a signal which should be received just after 16:00h GMT on the 12th.

The ESA have organised a Philae Landing Webcast which will be available here:.
www.esa.int/rosetta or http://new.livestream.com/ESA/cometlanding

So take your ringside seat and watch as this unique event unfolds.

The key moments on Wednesday will be:

06:00 – Rosetta delivery manoeuvre.
07:35 – Final Go/No go.
09:03 – Philae separates from Rosetta.
09:43 – Loss of Rosetta signal during post-delivery manoeuvre.
10:53 – Regain signal from Rosetta.
11:59 – First descent data.
16:02 – Predicted landing time.
17:35 – Expected receipt of first 360 deg panorama.

All times are UTC (GMT), Earth received time.
(Events at the spacecraft happen 28 minutes earlier).


Below are details of the event as released by ESA.

Please find below details of the live Philae Landing webcast from ESA mission control, when Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft dispatches the Philae lander to make the first-ever touchdown on a comet. Official hashtag: #CometLanding.
7 November 2014 Rosetta / Philae Live coverage November 10 -15 (sat / web)
ESA TV proposes extensive coverage of Rosetta / Philae landing on Comet Churyumov/Gerasimenko-67P

10 November

14:00 GMT/ 15:00 CET Media Update Live from ESOC Press Centre

11 November

10:00 GMT / 11:00 CET Media Update Live from ESOC Press Centre

19:00 GMT / 20:00 CET Go-No Go #1 TV Programme starts Live from ESOC Mission Control Room / Cologne Lander Control Centre / Toulouse Science Operations and Navigation Centre

ESA will then stay live all the way until 19:00 GMT / 20:00 CET on 12 November with a permanent view of ESOC Mission Control Room in between the listed sequences.

12 November

Live From ESOC Mission Control Room: Go / No Go #2/3

00:00 GMT/ 01:00 CET: Flight Dynamics Command for separation ready on ground
01:30 GMT/ 02:30 CET: Confirmation of Lander Readiness for Separation
Live from ESOC MCR, Cologne LCC , Toulouse SONC:

06:00-07:00 GMT / 07:00-08:00 CET: Final preparation manoeuvre and Go/No-Go #4 for lander separation

08:30-09:15 GMT / 09:30-10:15 CET: Lander separation scheduled at 09:03 GMT/10:03 CET

11:00-12:15 GMT / 12:00-13:15 CET: Science update and first pictures (NavCam) expected around 12:00 GMT / 13:00 CET

14:00-15:30 GMT/ 15:00-16:30 CET: Rosetta science / Last preparations and then await landing

15:45-16:15 GMT /16:45-17:15 CET: Landing expected at 16:00 GMT / 17:00 CET (+/- 15 mn)

17:00 GMT /18:00 CET earliest: Presentation of first panoramic (CIVA) image from comet

All points (ESOC MCR cams + prog / LCC/SONC) will be made available for broadcasters as isolated clean feed sources via a multiplexer at ESOC.

ESA TV will edit highlights after each step and put them in a dedicated folder and we will also post actual images files on ESA TV FTP news site:

ftp://tvdownload.esa.int/ Login: esa / Pasword: ftp4esa

An index of background footage/stockshot covering the overall Mission operations from launch until now is available on Server: tvdownloads.esa.int Directory : ROSETTA Stockshots Index Nov 2014

SATELLITE Parameters: Eutelsat 7B@7degE Txp F6 Slot A 9MHz

Downlink freq: 12676.83MHz Polarisation: Y/vertical

SR: 7200 FEC: 5/6 Mod: DVBS2/8PSK

Signal: 1080i/50 MPEG4 4:2:0 H264 Audio 1: prog mono / Audio 2: ambience

Web: www.esa.int/rosetta or http://new.livestream.com/ESA/cometlanding

Some timings are subject to change. We will post updates on satellite and web.

Leave a Comment more...

A few Astronomy images taken from The Seychelle’s

by on Nov.05, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

We went on a trip to The Seychelle’s staying on Bird and Cerf Islands.
No lights on Bird at all, as it disturbs the birds, so the Milky Way looked fantastic.
Being 5 degrees south of the Equator I was able to view a big portion of the southern sky I didn’t know.
I got up early one morning so that I could view the two Magellanic Clouds low in the South. Marvellous!
So I just had to do some Astronomy images taken from The Seychelle’s.
It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to do it…

The Magellanic Clouds. The bright star to the left of the clouds is Canopus.The Magellanic Clouds

The Milky Way from Sagittarius to Cygnus.
From Sagittarius to Cepheus.

The Milky Way from Aquila to Cassiopeia.From Sagittarius to Cepheus.

A very thin crescent Moon just after sunset on the 25th of October.
Seychelle's Moon


Leave a Comment more...

Sky Diary for November 2014

by on Nov.01, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

My Sky Diary for October in two pdf formats  (Short & Long version) is now available for free download from my Web site. http://www.eagleseye.me.uk/SkyDiary.html





Leave a Comment more...

Supernova in the spiral galaxy Messier 61

by on Oct.31, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

A possible supernova in the spiral galaxy Messier 61 has been discovered. (2014dt).

It rises early morning, so will only  be visible in the early hours, so it will require an early morning rise to view or image it.

Click here for more details.

It’s too early to tell what type of supernova it is, that will come when a spectra has been taken and analysed.
The image below compares an image before and after the supernova.

Leave a Comment more...

Another great evening with Sawtry Astronomical Society.

by on Oct.29, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

I did my talk “Charles Piazzi Smyth’s High Altitude Observatory”  as well as a quick update on progress of the Rosetta comet mission to Sawtry Astronomical Society last night.


As per usual they all made me feel very welcome and it looked like they really enjoyed the talk.

Hope to see them all again soon.


Leave a Comment more...

Stanion Stargazers – Another great evening.

by on Oct.04, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

I went to talk to Stanion Stargazers last night to do my talk “A Whistle-stop Tour of the Universe. – Hitch-hiking on a Ray of Light”.


It was a very warm welcome back from the members.
The talk seemed to go down extremely well and after the talk we were treated to some  clearish skies and took in the Moon and a few other objects. Hopefully it won’t be long before they ask me back.


Leave a Comment more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!