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Discovery’s last journey

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Early STS concepts: Image from Wikipedia
Early STS concepts: Image from Wikipedia

A historical decision (article in Dagens Nyheter) been taken in NASA for a while ago retiring all old space shuttless  (a.k.a. STS: Space Transportation Missions) starting with Discovery. I remember back in my early years reading my grandfather’s space magazines originating from the 70:ies regarding the plans for constructing these advanced ships, taking people out for space missions. Back then, it felt almost like science fiction. I recall the accidents with Challenger and Columbia as if there were yesterday and what devastating consequences they had upon the astronauts families, NASA’s budget and the common view on the risks astronauts are taking trying to conquer and master space. It never was an easy job considering all the risks and accidents that happened through all the years even if the shuttles gave a false safety thinking in comparison to the Apollo missions back in 60:ies. Regardless the STS program was made to be longlived and it has outlived many previous manned space programs in time length. I personally will miss these shuttles that wrote history (Hubble Space Telescope, International Space Station. MiR), but this retirement means also the opening of a new era taking humans further deeper into space in future missions, such as the planet Mars!

http://www.nasa.gov/

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html

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Partial solar eclipse in Sweden

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Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to see anything behind the thick layer of clouds and heavy mist passing by the entire morning yesterday. However, we had news channels, local radio stations and news papers droping by asking us about facts regarding this fenomena. Seems when it comes to Sweden that only Stockholm had good visibility.

I’m going to attach a few Youtube clips I saved as a memory from this event.



The interviews were made by Swedish national TV (short: SVT, Sveriges Television)

HE-0450-2958

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It has been some time since I wrote about anything on my blog, primarily because of a series of events in my life. Unfortunately south parts of Sweden have been covered completely by clouds during a long period of time. The weather became much better during Christmas holidays but unfortunately there was so little time left for observing after spending time with family and friends.

Regardless, there are some discoveries and news that came in focus for the astronomy world. Such as the sunspot activity which get increased for every week. Sunspot 1040, which was barely visible at the beggining, but now it seems to get increased both in size and activity.

A new debate started between a group of French and German astronomers regarding supermassive black holes. It came to the attention after lengty observations that there is a group of black holes responsible in the creation and formation of new stars within galaxies thank to their powerful jet streams of materia ejected by them out in the space.
The question though is, which one came first during the early stages of the universe? Was it a supermassive black hole or a galaxy? As known already to us, a supermassive black holes exist in the center of galaxies but there are some supermassive black holes that are “naked” or “without home”. Those black holes roam the universe alone, such as the quasar HE-0450-2958. There are some that oppose the idea by answering that galaxies were first to exist.
It is interesting to see what conclusion will be drawn by scientists in the future.

– In Swedish (Dagens Nyheter)
– In English (Article at Phyorg)
– HE-0450-2958 in English (Wikipedia)

Finally, I wish to you all a happy new year!

Weather is stopping Christer Fuglesang from launching

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Weather is effecting each one of us in different ways and for the space shuttle mission ST-128 received another canceled launching countdown based on bad weather circumstances this early morning, 0720 CET. Fortunately there will be more chances to go and another attempt is already taking place tomorrow 20 minutes prior to the initial launching schedule today. Let us hope the weather will be more forgiving and for more details please visit the links below:

As about myself, there are 3 days left before my astronomy meeting (Astronomidagarna i Hvén) together with other astronomy enthusiasts on the isle of Hvén outside Landskrona scheduled for Friday. So far we have more than 100 attendees registered. During the astronomy meeting between Friday 28th of August to Sunday 30th of August there will be lots of workshops together with experienced astrophotographers from Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but also workshops regarding techniques on telescopes and also for beginners. We will finally enjoy lectures in astronomy from people in Lund’s university and Denmark. For a few days ago I was worried about transferring my telescope but finally I came in contact with a board member from my association Tycho Brahe. It showed up that he is going to transfer all telescopes for the people living in nearby regions including mine one! He also offered a ride which is mostly appreciated.

Other than that, my daughters are excited because their favorite program is shown again in SVT which is called “Tillbaka till Vintergatan” (The return to Milky way). The program can be viewed by younglings in the SVT children area of the website and is on air every Friday and Saturday.

Play chess with Christer Fuglesang

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schackChrister Fuglesang  challenge in chess towards Dagens Nyheter has started. It is now possible to vote for the best chess move against Christer Fuglesang. The moves are analyzed by the Swedish chess master Richard Wessman and by publishing three possible counter moves for the news readers, you can vote on one of them. The winning move (with most votes) is then finally announced to Fuglesang.

The following link takes you to NASA’s live web TV. In a few days we will be able to follow the launch:

An exhausted Christer Fuglesang

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An exhausted Swedish astronaut answering questions to reporters representing different Swedish newspappers.

Godspeed Christer! Good luck with your mission! It truly means a lot for Sweden to have a representative out in space.

To follow STS-128 visit one of the NASA links bellow. NASA put some effort in reporting the progress for the 30th ISS mission and I would think they will air the launch live by streaming it through their website on the 24th of August. I will get back with more links.

Links:

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