Some pictures of the Tiede Observatory as seen from Puerto De la Cruz (about an hour’s drive away). Mars was obscured by the Moon for about an hour (approx between 4 am and 5 am) on Thursday, 8th December. Mostly cloudy but here are some pictures. Click for a larger version. All taken using a Canon DSLR.
Astrophotography with a remote telescope
The best location for an astronomical telescope is on the top of a mountain. Remote, cold and a pain to get to. But with an internet connection – you can “work from home”.
During the summer, I signed up for a free Open University course called Astronomy with an online Telescope. With it you get access to a telescope on mount Tiede on the Island of Tenerife for 6 months.
This professional grade telescope COAST (COmpletely Autonomous Survey Telescope) consists of a 17 inch f/6.8 Corrected Dall-Kirkham Astrograph telescope (a PlaneWave CDK17), is equipped with an FLI ProLine KAF-0900 CCD camera, broadband and narrow-band filters, also mounted on a GM4000. You pick which objects you want to image and select filters. A few days later, you receive an email that the image is ready for download.
The OU course is free and explains how to use the telescope as well as the many aspects of basic astronomy. The course is online, free and available right now. Some of my images are below. Click for a larger version.
Quick Update from IAC2022 Paris
Some of the highlights include
Bill Nelson – NASA
Expects Boing’s Starliner to start taking NASA astronauts to the ISS next year
Regarding relations with Russia’s space program. Nelson recalled Tom Stafford shaking hands with Alexi Leonov during the Apollo-Soyuz program in 1975. Stafford adopted two boys at Leonov’s request. They have now completed college in the USA. When Leonov passed away in 2019, Stafford went to Moscow to read his eulogy.
He is open to meeting with Roscosmos Director General when circumstances allow.
Commended ESA’s decision to select a para astronaut.
USA committed to ISS until 2030.
Developing a “magic potion” is underway at NASA. To mix with lunar regolith and build in situ lunar structures.
Josef Aschbacher – ESA Director General of ESA
ESA has been involved in over 540 international collaborative programs during its lifetime.
Received over 2300 applications for the next round of astronaut selection
On February 16 2022 a meeting was held in Toulouse with European Ministers responsible for Space and the European Commission, and a European Space Agency (ESA) Ministerial Council.
Europe should stick together to develop a common space infrastructure
Space is key to maintaining the standard of living.
That three ESA astronauts will go to the Moon has already been agreed.
ESA will support the ISS until 2030 and then support a commercial replacement.
Walther Pelzer – DLR
Most of Germany’s space budget will go towards collaborative ESA projects
The message to Putin in Moscow is that the EU will stick together (the only time that Putin got a mention) This unity is Germany’s top priority.
For the first time, the USA is relying on mission-critical parts that do not originate in the USA (referring to the European Service Module – part of the Artemis program).
S Somanath – ISRO
Plans for ISRO to handover the building of spacecraft and launching of rockets to industry
Human Spaceflight program, Gaganyaan, crew module testing coming along but slow.
Looking to a future where the government will an “anchor” customer.
Pawan Goenka, chairman of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe) is present at IAC222. IN-SPACe making progress in helping the Indian private sector to make use of ISRO facilities and services.
When asked if India’s human spaceflight program will fly foreign astronauts, he replied “we need to ensure it is safe for Indian astronauts first”. Whether foreign astronauts will fly has yet to be decided and announced.
When asked what the colour of the flag that land on the Moon should be Somanath said “White because it includes all the colours”.
ISRO under lockdown
Free online webinar from the British Interplanetary Society. 18:00 BST Friday 18th June 2021
How has the Indian Space Program fared through the Covid-19 lockdown? In this hour long webinar including Q&A, I will offer a personal and tentative view of how India’s space activity has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the webinar I will look at how ISRO:
- has supported the Covid-19 national medical emergency
- space missions have impacted operationally
- strategic plans have been delayed by the pandemic
- especially the impact on the ambitious human spaceflight program – Gaganyaan
The webinar is free but you need to register here https://www.crowdcast.io/e/isro-under-lock-down- . It will be recorded and links to the recording will be available to all who register.
I recorded an interview with two senior ISRO representatives during IAC2019 in Washington. It is a fairly good indicator of ISRO’s plans for some of its key missions then (October 2019) prior to the the Covid-19 outbreak 6 months later.