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… and you can watch the ISS! June 27, 2009

Posted by Sarah in astro 2.0.
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twisst

Don’t freak out that the ISS is watching you – just wave back! A new service called Twisst has just been launched on Twitter to send users alerts of ISS passes at their location, based on the location information they have listed on their profile*. ISS twitter feeds already existed of course, from the OverTwitter project, which has twitter feeds for satellite passes over many world cities. An aside to OverTwitter is OverRSS, which allows users to sign up to an RSS feed of satellite passes for any location of your choice. Twisst combines the two by converting the location registered to the Twitter profile to co-ordinates, and automatically sends the alert at the right time for the right place. All you need to do is follow @twisst. (more…)

The ISS is watching you June 27, 2009

Posted by Sarah in pics, science.
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iss_sarychev

This week the Big Picture ran a series of pictures taken from the ISS looking down at Earth. It’s a great reminder that the Earth is in fact a very beautiful place and we should be honoured to be able to live here and experience it. Seeing the variety of colours and landscapes from the sky is a solitary consolation prize for spending so much time in airplanes. Being a total volcano nut, of course the pictures of the recent eruption of the Sarychev Peak volcano in the Russian Kuril Islands are my favourites. (more…)

Welcome back Atlantis, good luck Frank! May 26, 2009

Posted by Sarah in belgium, science, space.
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Welcome back Atlantis

After a fascinating 13-day mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, Space Shuttle Atlantis and its crew touched down safely at Edwards Air Force Base on Sunday 24 May. Welcome home Atlantis! The mission to repair and upgrade Hubble was closely followed by space and astronomy enthusiasts around the world (yup that includes me), thanks to the great coverage on NASA TV.

A welcoming ceremony is taking place today at 4 pm Central Time, watch it live here.

I’m delighted the astronauts got the job done and Hubble is ready for its final stint. Unfortunately I had to miss the landing as I was on a little jaunt around Britain to attend some meetings and catch up with friends and family.

Great also to have Mike Massimino back on live twitter, telling us all about the weirdness of being back on Earth.

Good luck Frank!

Frank-De-WinneThree astronauts will take off from the Baikonur cosmodrome tomorrow for the International Space Station. Representing the European Space Agency is Belgian Frank De Winne, who will also become the first European commander of the ISS during his 6-month stay. Good luck Frank!

Read more about the mission here. Watch a Q&A session with him on ESA’s YouTube channel here.

Image: G. Blevins/LA Daily News

The threat of space debris March 15, 2009

Posted by Sarah in science.
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Space debris, the rubbish from old, defunct, or shattered satellites circling the Earth in an expanding sphere, has been a hot topic these last few weeks. Back in 2007 China came under fire for demonstrating its military muscle by shooting one of its satellites to pieces from the ground. In February two satellites collided in orbit at high velocity, spraying debris throughout space and causing fears of some of the rubble crashing down to Earth. While our growing extraterrestrial rubbish tip may seem like a pretty trivial thing to concern ourselves with, the threat it poses to our scientific and technological endeavours in outer space has become worryingly clear.

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Awesome ISS pictures November 26, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
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i15_190951

Some really amazing pictures celebrating 10 years of the International Space Station over on The Big Picture. Enjoy!

Image credit: NASA

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