Welcome to MacAstrofix ....... Astronomy Diary for November ........ Weather Data to Download ........ NASA Dawn ad Ceres Missions end ..... BepiColumbo Launch to Mercury ....... Skull Asteroid to Pass Earth....... Did Ancient Mars have conditions for underground life? ..... Tiny Hopping Japanese Robots Land on Asteroid...... Virgin to Test Air-launched Rocket...... Hubble Images of Saturn's Aurora ....... NASA's Commercial Space Programme .......



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Sandwick Junior High to Build

Community Observatory

Image: M Breimann

Sandwick Junior High School owns a 12” Dall Kirkham

telescope built by Lerwick amateur astronomer Billy Kay

in the 1960’s. A funding bid to the Jewsons Building

Better Communities fund has been launched, to enable

school and community to build a permanent dedicated

community observatory.

Click here for the Sandwick site.

Click here  to go to Jewsons Building Better

Communities site.

Astronomy Diary for November

Some astronomy highlights for viewing during

October can be seen here...

What`s in the Shetland Sky in 2018 ?

Weather Today Mossbank Shetland

Live Video Stream and Weather Data

Astro Imaging without a Telescope


Some Suggestions for Binoculars


Free Online Courses

Free courses in Astronomy, Physics, Astrobiology and more


The Voice of Jupiter 2014

Our first attempt to record Jupiter`s radio emissions

on 20.1Mhz ( June 2014 ) Listen to the files here .


Meteor Shower Camelopardalids 2014

Did you know you can also listen to meteor showers ?

Plots and Audio samples from the Camelopardalids !


Preliminary Report

Hurlers Stone Circles Project - Cornwall

Original Hurlers Story Here !


News from Around the Web

NASA's Dawn and Kepler Missions End


NASA’s Dawn spacecraft ends its 11 year

mission to the asteroid Vesta and dwarf

planet Ceres, after running out of fuel.

The Kepler spacecraft has also run out

of fuel after a nine and a half year

mission to search for exoplanets.


Launch of BepiColumbo

Mission to Mercury

Artist's impression of BepiColombo fairing release.

Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

Europe's first mission to Mercury launched

successfully in the early hours of 20 October.

The ESA - JAXA mission is set to arrive at

Mercury in late 2025. The 1 to 2 year mission

involves two spacecraft: the Mercury Planetary

Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric

Orbiter (MMO). More information is available

from ESA's dedicated mission site, linked here.


Soyuz Spacecraft Flight Aborted after


Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Flight of Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft is aborted during

its climb to orbit, due to an anomaly. The two man

crew is recovered safely. Image shows Cosmonaut

Alexey Ovchinin and astronaut Nick Hague with

their families after landing at Krayniy Airport


November: Skull asteroid to pass Earth

rtist's impression of asteroid 2015 TB145 Credit: J.A. Peñas/SINC

This November, the asteroid that passed Earth

on Halloween 2015 will return to 'haunt' us.

But don't worry, it won't throw eggs at your

windows or come begging for sweeties...

we hope...

Image generated using radar data from Arecibo

Observatory (Puerto Rico) Credit: NAIC-Arecibo/NSF


Did Ancient Mars have conditions for

underground life?

image: NASA / JPL

New research suggests it likely that ancient

Mars  had the chemical energy to support

similar underground microbial colonies that

exist on Earth.


Hopping Robots Land on Asteroid

JAXA photo from rover during hop on Ryagu (surface on the left)

Japanese space agency, JAXA, successfully

lands two autonomous rovers on the Ryugu

asteroid 300 million km from Earth. The rovers

were despatched from the Hayabusa-2

mothership. Hayabusa-2 will leave Ryugu in

December 2019 to return to Earth with

samples gathered by German-French

lander, Mascot.

The Jaxa newsfeed can be viewed here

Also: more info about the first Hayabusa

mission, which successfully returned a sample

from asteroid Itokawa to Earth in 2010


Virgin Orbit to Test Air-launched Rocket

LauncherOne under Virgin Orbit’s “Cosmic Girl”. Credit: Virgin Orbit

Virgin attaches a small sat launcher under

the wing of a  modified passenger jet in

preparation for tests with a full-scale model

of their LauncherOne rocket and ultimately

their first orbital launch attempt.


NASA's Commercial Space Programme

NASA commercial test flight crew Credit: NASA

Find out the latest news on NASA collaboration

with Boeing and SpaceX to develop spacecraft

and rockets to  transport astronauts to the ISS.

Water Molecules Above Jupiter's Red Spot

Hydrogen and oxygen are found emitting from

Jupiter's great storm, suggesting water-rich

clouds deep in its atmosphere


New Hubble Images of Saturn's Aurora

Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, A. Simon (GSFC) and the OPAL Team,

J. DePasquale (STScI), L. Lamy (Observatoire de Paris)

New images are released showing Saturn's

auroras observed by Hubble in 2017

A composite video of the Aurora's evolution

can also be seen here


News from Shetland Space Centre

SSC and B2Space to work on feasibilty study

of using Unst as a launch location for the new

'Rockoon' satellite system

New Horizons Spacecraft Awakes

The New Horizons spacecraft is out of hibernation

to prepare for its January 2019 flyby of  MU69 in

the Kuiper Belt, nicknamed “Ultima Thule”.

It will be the furthest ever flyby from Earth and

follows its flyby of Pluto in 2015.

Observations from Earth show MU69 is red, 

30km in diameter and could either be two large,

connected sections  or a binary system.

Interestingly, from a local point of view,

interpretations of the ancient 'Ultima Thule'

place name include Orkney and Shetland.

Horizons Mission to ISS Begins

The mission which began on 8th June will see

German astronaut Alexander Gerst take over

as commander of the ISS, only the second

European to do so. Alexander will also be working

with robots to develop techniques required for

further human and robotic exploration of the

Solar System. Plans to build an international

gateway between the Moon and Earth are

to be discussed this month. Europe will supply

key parts such as a habitation module and a

service module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

NASA Launches TESS Satellite to Aid

Search for Exoplanets

image: NASA

In a bid to discover exoplanets in our 'solar

neighbourhood' the Transiting Exoplanet Survey

Satellite (TESS) will monitor more than 200,000

stars for temporary drops in brightness caused

by planetary transits. More information is available

on NASA's dedicate TESS site. There's also a

paper model to download.


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