Dec. 16, 2014
The exterior of the planetarium is coming along quite nicely. These images reveal the new look of the front, back (includes new bathroom on right side) and side facing the Russell Hall. Compare them with the drawing above. Shouldn't be too long now....
Dec. 5, 2014
Orion Spacecraft Launch
Congratulations to NASA! They successfully launched and landed their new Orion spacecraft today. Orion may someday shuttle astronauts between Earth and Mars, and up to asteroids. The spacecraft splashed down perfectly on target in the Pacific this morning and is awaiting the recovery team. This is the beginning of a new era for NASA.
A link to Orion activities for kids (cut and paste into your browser):
Here's an image of Orion shortly after splashdown.
On the Surface of the Comet
Nov. 13, 2014
First image from the surface of the comet. Image courtesy of the ESA.
Nov. 12, 2014
Update 4 11: a.m.
is now out of touch with Rosetta as it circles around to the other side
of the comet. Latest word is that Philae touched down once, bounced and
turned about before touching down again. The harpoons may not have
fired and it may not be anchored to the surface. But Philae did land in the center of the projected landing zone.
Photos of the surface
and more information will be forthcoming when the Rosetta again emerges
from behind the comet and re-establishes the radio link with Philae
several hours from now.
Photo taking during Philae's approach to the landing site.
Update 2 8:10 a.m.Touchdown!!!! Philae has landed!!! Congratulations, ESA!
Update 1 7:55 a.m.
The Philae landing craft was successfully
released this morning and is on its way to the comet. The Rosetta
spacecraft captured this image of Philae after its release.
Nov. 12, 2014
It's finally here.
History in the making as a spacecraft is scheduled to make a soft landing on a comet.. The lander was released at 6 a.m. and will take several hours to descend and land on the surface of the comet. The ESA reported that it was receiving signal from the lander, named Philae.
There are several options to monitor the landing.
The European Space Agency has a Webcast live from mission control:
Also, NASA will cover the event:
Television and the agency’s website will provide live coverage from
9-11:30 a.m. EST (6-8:30 a.m. PST).
live commentary will include excerpts of the ESA coverage and air from
9-10 a.m. NASA will continue carrying ESA's commentary from 10-11:30
a.m. ESA’s Philae (fee-LAY) lander is scheduled to touch down on comet
67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at 10:35 a.m. A signal confirming landing is
expected at approximately 11:02 a.m.
The Science Channel will provide coverage of the days events at 6 p.m and repeating the broadcast at 9 p.m. on Nov. 12.
October 30, 2014
SCC Astronomy professor, Morrie Barembaum captured this photo with a handheld iPhone, 8" Dobsonian, and 17 mm eyepiece with a neutral density solar filter.
Yesterday, we viewed the awesome solar eclipse using
solar eclipse filters. Even without magnification, students and staff
members around the campus were able to spot a giant sunspot on the surface of the Sun. The sunspot
was, in actuality, about the size of Jupiter. Astronomy Picture of the
Day posted an excellent photo of the sunspot today:
October 22, 2014
Watch a live streaming of this Thursday's (Oct. 23) partial solar eclipse, between 2 p.m. and 4;45 p.m. Live streaming provided by the Griffith Observatory.
For those of you on campus tomorrow afternoon, astronomy instructor Timo Budarz posted this email about the eclipse:
Tomorrow afternoon (Thursday),
there will be a partial solar eclipse. Just under 50% of the sun’s disk
will be blocked by the moon in the sky. It will not be visible to the
naked eye. All you might notice is that the sky might be clear and yet it
will be dim like at dusk or dawn. To actually see the sun being blocked
out (reminiscent of a crescent moon in shape), you have options:
1. Come by my lab (R-328) and I will have a modified
pinhole camera set up.
2. You can go use a welding mask to view it. Only the
darkest of welding lenses are safe. I spoke with George Moreno of our
welding department, and he will be happy to allow people to use a mask to view
3. Look under almost any tree on campus during the event and
you will see very many crescent images of the sun projected onto the pavement.
At any other time when there is no eclipse going on, we simply see circles
which are images of the sun’s full disk. These are related to pinhole
optics and are generally called sun balls.
4. Use a telescope with a special solar filter. Do not
attempt this without the filter! I don’t have one of these right now.
The eclipse begins at 2:08pm,
and ends at 4:39pm. The peak (maximal coverage) will be at 3:28pm.
Feel free to stop by the physics lab (R-328) or go see George in K-101.
Keep in mind that there won’t be much going on just after 2:08 or just before
4:39. Maybe shoot for 3-4pm.
4View from above of the new column structure,
plus the roof improvement and bathroom construction continues. Second photo
is a view of the front of the building. Serious progress has been made.
The planetarium construction site is awash with activity....bathroom walls are almost up, roof reconstruction is well under way and colonnade structure beams are sprouting up around the building.
August 7, 2014
The pace of construction has picked up. Termite damage is being repaired, pipes have been laid, concrete has been poured for the base of columns for the new promenade (see illustration above), the a/c is getting an overhaul, and the bathroom is taking shape (see below).