Categories
Status

Galileo EMU data restored

Data has started streaming again.

All related content is being updated.

Categories
Labs

Positions of the Solar System Terrestrial Planets

Precise (enough) positions for date given (object sizes not exactly to scale)

Last summer (2020) the telescope finally got plenty of action due to the excitement over Jupiter and Saturn being easily visible. Previously, I had tried around 10 years ago to view Mars when the telescope was first purchased but it was a disaster. A story for another time.

I got an itch to calculate planet positions and managed to scratch it in a most satisfying way. I dump the main code below as is (sorry, without the resources, comments, etc.) but is relatively straight forward.


from skyfield.api import load
from PIL import Image, ImageDraw

####################################################################

t = load.timescale( ).now( )

####################################################################

planets = load( "de421.bsp" )

planet_positions = [
	planets[ "mercury" ].at( t ).position.au ,
	planets[ "venus" ].at( t ).position.au ,
	planets[ "earth" ].at( t ).position.au ,
	planets[ "mars" ].at( t ).position.au ,
]

####################################################################

image_width = 900
image_height = 900

image = Image.new( "RGB" , ( image_width , image_height ) )
draw = ImageDraw.Draw( image )

image_cx = round( image_width / 2 )
image_cy = round( image_height / 2 )

####################################################################

image_sun = Image.open( "sun.png" ).resize( ( 120 , 120 ) , 0 ) 
image.paste( image_sun , ( image_cx , image_cy ) )

####################################################################

planet_images = [
	Image.open( "mercury.png" ).resize( ( 35 , 35 ) , 0 ) ,
	Image.open( "venus.png" ).resize( ( 55 , 55 ) , 0 ) ,
	Image.open( "earth.png" ).resize( ( 55 , 55 ) , 0 ) ,
	Image.open( "mars.png" ).resize( ( 35 , 35 ) , 0 ) ,
]

####################################################################

for i , planet_position in enumerate( planet_positions ) :
	px = round( image_cx + ( planet_position[ 0 ] * 300 ) )
	py = round( image_cy + ( planet_position[ 1 ] * 300 * -1 ) )
	image.paste( planet_images[ i ] , ( px,py ) )

####################################################################

msg = t.utc_strftime( )
msg_w , msg_h = draw.textsize( msg )
draw.text( ( ( image_width - msg_w ) / 2 , image_height - 50 ) , msg , fill = "white" )

####################################################################

image.save( "output.jpg" , quality = "web_high" )

Anyway, this is the first “Labs” post and I’ll keep it short. There should be more posts as I get more fancy ideas. I may publish the full project to GitHub in the near future. Any feedback most welcome especially if I’ve screwed up with the code – I’m no rocket scientist.

I thank Brandon Rhodes for the most elegant Python astronomy library Skyfield. Check it out here:

https://rhodesmill.org/skyfield/

Categories
MISC

Know more about NASA’s Mars Helicopter

NASA’s Perseverance rover lands hopefully on Mars around Wednesday February 18th 2021 and one thing that should definitely get you excited about is the helicopter that will also be deployed.

Each battery charge holds enough juice for only 90 seconds of flight time but that should be enough to send back some impressive videos for all of us back on Earth to watch.

I’m sure Teddy Tzanetos, MiMi Aung and our main man Bob Balaram (the small team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory responsible for the helicopter) are chewing their nails off. We love crazy ideas and will all be cheering with you when we see the helicopter do that first selfie with Perseverance down below!

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/6-things-to-know-about-nasas-mars-helicopter-on-its-way-to-mars/

Categories
MISC

Satellites launched in single launch world record

SpaceX has broken the record for the number of satellites launched in a single launch.

143 payloads went up yesterday (Sunday 24th January 2021) with “The Falcon” rocket – the most ever deployed on a single mission.

Well done to SpaceX and all the satellite makers. Also, good job Elon!

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55775977

Categories
Status

NGDC.NOAA.GOV domain is online

GOES-16 data is online and available again.

SPARC plots show missing data for 2 days while the service was offline (Jan 21st to Jan 23rd 2021) and we don’t know at this point if they will get filled in.

This depends on if an archive of the data is available or lost in time, like tears in rain.

Categories
MISC

Rolls-Royce and UK Space Agency collaboration in using nuclear power for space exploration

A contract has been signed between the UK Space Agency and Rolls-Royce to make a study into the options for using nuclear power for space exploration.

It’s not made clear what exactly the nuclear power will be used for since there have been past and present space missions that use nuclear technology for various purposes.

Most probably nuclear powered propulsion, but we’ll know more in the near future.

Rolls-Royce & UK Space Agency launches first study into nuclear power for space exploration

Categories
Status

Galileo EMU data paused

Reported issues with Galileo EMU data at ESA.

Will update once data is available again.

Categories
Status

NGDC.NOAA.GOV domain is temporarily unavailable

The NGDC.NOAA.GOV domain is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience.

2021-01-20: Due to scheduled system maintenance, ngdc.noaa.gov services will be unavailable from
Wednesday 2021-01-20 16:00 MT until Friday 2021-01-22 12:00 MT.

Categories
MISC

First Hall-effect electric propulsion cubesat launched

The first ever cube satellite with a hall-effect electric propulsion has been launched by Exotrail.

This allows the cubesat to perform advanced and automatic manoeuvres.

Exotrail paves the way for new space mobility with
first of its kind successful in-orbit demonstration mission

Categories
MISC

Virgin Orbit first satellites launched

Virgin Orbit has launched its first set of satellites into space which is great news for small satellite operators.

Congratulations to the team and Sir Richard Branson!

BBC News: Branson’s Virgin rocket takes satellites to orbit