Saturday, 26 May 2012

ISS - Space X, Dragon makes historic space station dock

by Staff Writers Washington (AFP) May 25, 2012

SpaceX on Friday became the first commercial outfit to send its own cargo capsule to the International Space Station, heralding the start of a new era for private spaceflight.
The berthing marked the climax of the California-based company's demonstration mission to become the first to restore US access to the space outpost after NASA retired the three-decade shuttle program last year.
With no humans on board, the Dragon capsule is delivering about a half ton of supplies and science experiments for the ISS, and aims to return a slightly larger load of gear to Earth on May 31.


SA to host majority of SKA project

Source: News 24

World's Largest Radio Telescope to Be Shared by South Africa, Australia

Johannesburg - Two thirds of Square Kilometre Array (SKA) antennae technologies will be built in Africa, said Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor at a press conference on Friday.

Two thirds of antennae technologies will be built in Africa and a third in Australia and New Zealand, she said.

Pandor said the decision to share was unexpected but SA accepts it in the name of progress.

"This may seem like a compromise, but SA is getting the majority of the project," said  Professor Justin Jonas, SKA Africa's associate director for science and engineering.

"We should be proud!"


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Transit of Venus - 5/6 June 2012

Click to enlarge image
  What is a transit of Venus?

When Venus passes directly between earth and the sun, we see the distant planet as a small dot gliding slowly across the face of the sun.  Historically, this rare alignment is how we measured the size of our solar system.
When is it?

The next transit of Venus occurs June 5 or 6, 2012, depending on your location.  Observers in North America see it the evening of June 5. This will be the last transit of Venus to occur in your lifetime.
What should I do?

Mark your calendar.  Plan your observing location and eye safety.  Tell friends.  Download and support the ToV phone app. Enjoy the rare sight!    

Venus Transformed

VENUS TRANSFORMED: Something special is happening to Venus in the evening sky. The second planet is diving toward the sun for a much-anticipated transit on June 5-6. As Venus turns its night side toward Earth, the planet is transforming into a beautifully slender and colorful crescent:

John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio, took the picture on May 14th using a 10-inch telescope. "I was blown away by the sight of Venus," he says. "The planet was 14% illuminated, 47 arcseconds in diameter, and blazing at -4.43 magnitude."

The crescent shape of Venus is easy to see in good binoculars or small telescopes. No special observing experience is required. Just find Venus in the western sky after sunset (you can't miss it), point and look. A good tripod to hold the optics steady is recommended.

As the evening wears on and Venus sinks toward the horizon, the refractive effect of Earth's atmosphere splits the crescent into the colors of the rainbow. Kevin R. Witman of Cochranville, Pennsylvania, observed the phenomenon on May 11th: "Earth's atmospheric refraction of Venus's ample light made a beautiful image through my 10-inch telescope."

More images: from Mark Marquette of Boones Creek, Tennessee; from Philippe Vanden Doorn of Rixensart, Belgium; from Luis Argerich of Buenos Aires, Argentina; from Tomasz Gołombek of Tczew, Poland; from Francesc Pruneda of Palamós, Catalonia (Spain); from Sadegh Ghomizadeh of Tehran, Iran;

Sourc: Spaceweather