Jocuri 10

Astronomy For The Young At Heart

Latest Posts

The First Time I Saw A Planet


The only thing I remember liking when I look up above my head in the night were the stars that flicker through the pitch-dark night. I remember looking for the moon & wondering how it would leave me in awe until I forget to take out my phone to keep proof of it. Then I met my husband – a person who I though was weird enough to have an interest of owning a telescope. I always wondered what it was for; to peek into someone else’s house, to spy on the neighbors, what on earth was a telescope for? Oh yes, from the sounds of it, I am a little straight about these things.

So, one night he brings it out & he says that it’s such a beautiful night to have a peak at the planets, because he had spotted one. I was thinking okay here we go, weirdo. What on earth would you be able to see because as we all know the stars and the moon and the planets are so very far away from us. After much arguing about me getting up & going out to the porch or not, I finally caved & I’ve got to say – it was the most romantic thing we’ve ever done! I also heard that star gazing can help with nervousness as in

He had found a planet, which typical me, I don’t remember the name of and had set the telescope to show straight at it. When I saw the planet, I was very truly mesmerized by the sight of it. Maybe it was really my lucky night, but I was able to see the planet with the ring around it. Yeah, forgot the name again. But it was beyond cool because you could actually see it, from thousands or millions of miles away! It was I was in space & I could see everything, up close & personal. The detailed physical planet, which I got to learn so much about, was right there in front of my bare eyes.

I regretted turning my husband down many times before when he asked me to look into the telescope, and now I will never forget that moment spent together – looking at something so beautiful.

How To Take The Perfect Shot Of The Night Sky

Astrophotography can be defined as the special type of photography for recording images of astronomical objects and large areas of the night sky. In other words, this is basically the art of capturing the beauty of the night sky since it reveals surprising astronomical and atmospheric phenomena that may seem impossible to record through a telescopes narrow field of view. Many people find astrophotography as a hobby while others take it as a profession but as much as you want to do this there are specific instructions you must follow to capture that perfect shot that will blow people’s minds away. For this, you need several equipment, that is, a full-frame camera, a fisheye lens that enables you to get a wide view of the sky and a tripod stand for stability while taking 15 second photos. You can also take the photos only with a cropped sensor camera without the tripod stand and the fish eye lens but this will prove a little harder and the results won’t be so breathtaking.

Now if you are looking to capture or to shoot the night sky in the best way possible, first you have to be at the right place and at the right time. The right time to shoot a night sky is obviously at night but make sure it is a moonless night, unless you are planning on shooting the moon. You should also make sure you know the direction of the Milky Way, through the help of some apps like sky map. Also be away from any bright lights, For example, you can never shoot the night sky in a city like environment because the lights will kind of ruin your photo so you ought to be somewhere darker. Your backyard can be a good place but for that perfect shot, be somewhere there are no lights almost at all. You can even do some trick shots in the dark using techniques found at trick photography and special effects reviews here.

You are now in a perfect position to take your pictures and the next step is to adjust your camera settings so as to nail that shot. F/2.8, ISO 1600 and a 25 second exposure are the best settings for that great photo. Alternatively a 30 second exposure will do if your lens opens up to F/4. Now, the 25 second exposure is the most important detail here since the exposure should be 25 seconds for a clear shot but one longer than 25 seconds starts to show star trails. More light is needed since you are limited to a shutter speed of about 15-25 seconds. The f/2.8 fisheye lens provides a large aperture but still the photo may look darker and less stunning. This is where the ISO comes in handy and with an ISO of about 1600, you are assured of less noise.

After all the settings are in place, you will need to edit the photo in the light room. This is where you edit the photo to clearly display the beauty of the night sky. Here, you will reduce any unwanted noise and the exposure is boosted even more. The light room settings you use totally depend on if you want to focus more on the stars against the dark sky. For example you can push the clarity to about +55 or bumping the whites up to +45 and the blacks down to -50. These among other advanced settings will enable you capture that breath-taking shot of the night sky.

Sarah Brightman: Inspirational Figure

Sarah Brightman has had five world tours. It would be hard to pick out countries where she has not performed. But now, she is taking it to the whole new level.

The British singer now has a new location in her bucket list: space.

Sarah has been extensively working it out at 16 hours every day in Space City, Russia to prepare herself for a 10-day space trip. Rumors have been floating around that it would cost her up to $65 million.

Brightman is a woman who believes in extraordinary stuff. She was lucky enough to catch the first man walk the moon in her early age, and that right there inspired her to focus on working hard. She feels it is quite possible since many other people have done it before and is confident enough to take the next step.

The slightest movements in the space can compel you to do absurd things, so she is planning to keep it as simple as it gets. Her ex-partner Andrew Loyd has been working on songs she would sing for once she makes it up there. If you wish to be like Sarah someday, you ought to start practising your singing skills. Checkout superior singing method free bonuses here.

Sarah claims she is tough enough to be a right-seater. In the middle would be the commander and on the left would be the first flight engineer who would be taking it off with her. She is trying to understand the machine totally so that she feels much more confident than she already feels. There are tad too many acronyms and other things to learn before actually entering the vehicle.

She also says that there are many such moments in life that you would just want to commit, and that through hardships you find yourself in it. Currently, the plans are that she is going up there in the month of September, and would do anything it takes to make it up there.

Interstellar Jive

I originally wanted to name this post, “If we make it to the stars.” Many people wonder about the other notion, “Will we make it to the stars”, but lately I have been thinking more on the lines of “if”. Because I never really doubted that one day human beings may find a way to travel to another star system, it may take 500 more years to do it, but yes, one day, I think we will in fact do it. So more important to me is, “if we make it to the stars”.


So, if we make it to the stars, if it does happen what would we do once we got there? If in the future interstellar travel was not a big deal, and if we managed to somehow warp our way over to Alpha Centauri, and landed on one of its rocky planets, would we mine for gold? What would cause us to make the tremendous effort to travel to a neighboring star system? It certainly would not be to collect any kind of rocks, gold or otherwise. We saw how that went with the Apollo missions, moon rocks soon become quite boring, and the moon is right on top of us, so to speak. I think that there would be just a few scenarios that would jumpstart us towards interstellar travel.

First of all there would have to be some giant leap, or breakthrough in technology enabling us to get there much more efficiently. Right now the options for interstellar space travel are fairly slim.

On standard rocket fuel it would take us a mind boggling 75,000 years to reach the nearest star.

This of course really brings into perspective the vast gulfs of space that separate star systems. Obviously rocket power is much too slow. There have been some other designs on the table for a while now though. Ever since the 1950’s there have been calls to build a nuclear pulse propulsion system. Sure why not? By the late 1950’s we had enough nuclear power to blow up the earth, so why not use it in a more productive means to propel us through interstellar space? There are those today that say a reworking of the design could bring speed as fast as 80% of the speed of light. That means that to get to Alpha Centauri, which is 8 light years away could be achieved around ten years.

(Checkout my previous post on Mars)

So just imagine, this were being contemplated right now, and a project to launch a manned crew to our nearest neighbor was under way for the next decade. What would cause us to undertake such a journey, and if we did what would we do? One option would be to colonize. But we tend to get complacent. So what could galvanize us to reach for the nearest star? One scenario I would like to call the Earth 2 (TV show from 1995) scenario may be what it would take.

In the Earth 2 scenario, some major crisis has occurred, environmental or otherwise that has caused us to give up on trying to fix our own planet and instead drives us to find another one. So we decide to move, and completely take over our neighbor. In this instance hopefully the neighbor in question is unoccupied, so we don’t have an interstellar Christopher Columbus day. But for this scenario let us imagine no intelligent civilization exists, it is just an empty piece of real estate. The first trip would be a kind of a scouting mission of course, but since it is just a ten year journey; plans are made to evacuate most of earth to the new colony within 100 years. So in that case, if we went, we would colonize.

But what if, there was no need, or no real desire to colonize, even if there was an earth like planet? If then, what would we do? I’m sure even if the general public did not want to be involved, the drive for scientific research would continue. Just as we have teams of scientists in the frigid wastes of Antarctica, I am sure no matter what the local weather conditions. If the transportation of interstellar travel were solved, we would have a few way stations on some planets around Alpha Centari, We would have a few research bases with teams of scientists at least. Even if transportation had been reasonably solved these would be some very isolated research stations. Since it would still take any communication 8 years to travel, this would make the next idea of what we would do rather rough. That idea being, if we could, I’m sure if nothing else, we wouldn’t hesitate to create a reality TV series out of it. Just get ready Big Brother Alpha is waiting for its debut!


A trip to Mars has always held a special fascination for me and many others. Recently I saw a great documentary form YouTube on the subject. It highlighted the United States Space program’s various journey’s to Mars.

The first major mission was the Mariner series which mapped the surface, but the most interesting by far, even today, was the 1976 Viking mission that actually landed on the surface and did the first land reconnaissance of the planet. Very intriguing photo’s it produced of a red and dusty desert world. For all of you Star Wars fans out there I would even say it looked a bit like Tatooine. The Star Wars film hit movie theatres in 1977, just one year after the Viking Missions. I think that maybe this iconic photo’s of the red dusty planet gave George Lucas ideas for his own red, dusty desert world. If you are reading this Mr. Lucas I am sorry, but it appears I have found you out!

This piece really did have an interesting look at the Viking mission, according to the documentary 1976 was a year that NASA had a lot of expectations on. There really hasn’t been, in my opinion a mission to Mars that was that dramatic and iconic since then. Opportunity and Phoenix were just not that exciting. The only recent Mars mission that caught my attention was the recent mission launched by India to the red planet. This one is interesting because it is that nation’s first mission, and also because of the way that India structured its mission protocol. Everything apparently was made as cost effective as it could possibly be, it was all done on a so called, “shoe string budget” of just a few million dollars. This feat alone was very impressive. Just like the documentary, the Indian mission to Mars was an iconic moment in space exploration.

Why I Chose the Stars

Since I was very young I would often think about the stars. The space program was not even all that exciting during the days of my youth. It certainly wasn’t in the media’s focus like the days of the Apollo missions, at the time the trend of the media was to turn away from the Space Program. When I just started getting into space it was not too far after the 1987 Challenger disaster. One of the space programs most tragic and disheartening of moments. The media then, in the aftermath, tending to downplay and not talk about space exploration much at all, that was the general consensus of the time, that space was just too risky and the heyday of exploration was behind us. So in those days there was not as much emphasis but as Robert Smith might say, I still found my way to Fascination Street.


I remember first getting really excited about space when I was about five years old in kindergarten. The catalyst to get me to look skyward, towards the heavens, was a fieldtrip to the local planetarium. I remember before getting on that big yellow bus for our journey wondering just what a planetarium even was, the word itself was new to me, so I was struggling to figure it out. The only word I could think of that even seemed remotely close to this new one was; Aquarium. So mental association being what it is, on the way there I was convinced that this field trip had something to do with fish.

I quickly discovered however as they darkened the room and turned on those stars, that fish was not on the menu that night. What was on display however was magnificent and majestic to me. It was mind opening and earth shattering. I’m not sure how much my peers took it all in, but I seriously remember that night at five years old, as a night of having the universe revealed to me as indeed a great revelation. It was the first time that I came to realize that every star that was being shown in that fake planetarium sky, just like the real sky, was a sun. The illustrations of the planetarium made it easy to understand, they could take what seemed like a pinpoint of light, (A star) and then zoom in on it, and boom, there it is, suddenly that star close up is revealed to be a sun just like our own. Meaning that every single seemingly tiny point of light we see in our nighttime sky is in reality a sun just like our own. We are only viewing them from so far away that they seem tiny, but in reality they are suns just like ours no different. And furthermore each of these stars in the sky has planets around them like our own. This was absolute revelation to me that night, and I will never forget my first trip to the stars.