Deep Sky Objects Browser

Sebastián García Rojas points me to his Deep Sky Objects Browser –

The site was born as a necessity of answering questions such as “which galaxies rise at least 40 degrees above the horizon for 2 hours between 10pm and 2am at my location”? but it has gradually become more complete. It nows includes:
* Search for DSOs fine-tuning your criteria:
* Create an online observing list
* Share your astrophotography unlimitedly and for free – similar to Astrobin but nicer and free –
* Check a Virtual Sky Map in your browser – similar to Stellarium, less powerful but online to check from any computer without installing anything –
* Get reminders for specific objects – e.g. “send me an e-mail when Andromeda Galaxy is best seen at 10pm from my location”.
* Check Sun, Moon and planetary rise/transit/set times –
* Check the Moon monthly and yearly calendars –
* Save your usual locations and get monthly suggestions tailored for you.
I’m constantly working on the site, adding more features and everything is and will always be free 🙂
Check out Sebastian’s Deep Sky Objects Browser –
Screen capture of DSO Browser home page.

Images: ISS and Mercury captured crossing the face of the Sun

An image of both the planet Mercury and the Int. Space Station transiting the face of the Sun simultaneously:

Space in Images – 2016 – 05 – Space Station Mercury

“Space Station Mercury” –  Thierry Legault

On 9 May Mercury passed in front of the Sun as seen from Earth. These transits of Mercury occur only around 13 times every century, so astronomers all over Earth were eager to capture the event.

For astrophotographer Thierry Legault, capturing Mercury and the Sun alone was not enough, however – he wanted the International Space Station in the frame as well.

To catch the Station passing across the Sun, you need to set up your equipment within a ground track less than 3 km wide. For Thierry, this meant flying to the USA from his home near Paris, France.

On 9 May there were three possible areas to capture the Station and Mercury at the same time against the solar disc: Quebec, Canada, the Great Lakes and Florida, USA.

Choosing the right spot took considerable effort, says Thierry:

“Canada had bad weather predicted and around Florida I couldn’t find a suitably quiet but public place, so I went to the suburbs of Philadelphia.”

With 45 kg of equipment, Thierry flew to New York and drove two hours to Philadelphia to scout the best spot. Even then, all the preparations and intercontinental travel could have been for nothing because the Station crosses the Sun in less than a second and any clouds could have ruined the shot.

“I was very lucky: 10 minutes after I took the photos, clouds covered the sky,” says a relieved Thierry.

“Adrenaline flows in the moments before the Station flies by – it is a one-shot chance. I cannot ask the space agencies to turn around so I can try again. Anything can happen.”

The hard work and luck paid off. The image here includes frames superimposed on each other to show the Station’s path. Mercury appears as a black dot at bottom-centre of the Sun.

For Thierry, the preparation and the hunt for the perfect shot is the best part.

“Astrophotography is my hobby that I spend many hours on, but even without a camera I encourage everybody to look up at the night sky. The International Space Station can be seen quite often and there are many more things to see. It is just a case of looking up at the right time.”

Watch a video of the pass, including another moment with an aircraft flying by. 

Visit Thierry’s homepage here:

The Space Show this week – May.31.16

The guests and topics of discussion on The Space Show this week:

1. Monday, May 30, 2016: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): NO SHOW TODAY DUE TO THE MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND.

2. Tuesday, May 31, 2016: 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT) We welcome retired astronaut Woody Spring to the show. You do not want to miss what he has to say and talk about.

3. Wednesday, June 1, 2016: Hotel Mars with JOHN BATCHELOR & Hotel Mars. DOUG MESSIER of Parabolic Arc is our special guest on the new development with XCOR.

4. Friday, June 3, 2016: 2016; 9:30-11AM PDT; (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30 AM – 1 PM CDT) TBD. Please check the website newsletter and the Upcoming Show menu on our home page later in the week for program details.

5. Sunday, June 5, 2016: 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): OPEN LINES. All space and STEM topics welcome. First time callers are wanted so do call in and talk with us.

See also:
* The Space Show on Vimeo – webinar videos
* The Space Show’s Blog – summaries of interviews.
* The Space Show Classroom Blog – tutorial programs

The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.

Videos: SpaceX Falcon 9 booster returns for landing at sea + Bigelow module on ISS expand to full size

A couple of major milestones in NewSpace last week.

On Friday, SpaceX launched the THAICOM-8 communications satellite with a Falcon 9 rocket. After separating from the second stage, the first stage booster of the Falcon returned to earth for a successful landing on the platform of a special ship that maintains a fixed position autonomously. This is the third successful booster landing at sea. (There was also a successful booster return for a landing on the ground at Cape Canaveral last December.)

Here is a sped-up video from a camera attached to the first stage:

This video shows the launch of the Falcon rocket:

And on Saturday, Bigelow Aerospace‘s Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which was delivered to the Int. Space Station in April via a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, was successfully expanded to its full volume:

Video: 9.19 – When living a #MarsLifestyle, what will you miss from Earth?

The latest episode of is now available in the archive: When living a #MarsLifestyle, what will you miss from Earth? – TMRO

#MarsLifestyle asks, when you go to Mars what will you miss most from Earth? When you come back to Earth what will you miss most from Mars?

Space News topics discussed:

* India flies experimental mini sub-orbital space plane
* Soyuz rocket lifts off with new Galileo satellites
* Falcon 9 Launches Thaicom 8
* Orbital ATK’s proposed heavy launcher
* BEAM bummer and success!
* Delta 4 launch postponed and the Cubesat competition URL is is supported by viewers:

TMRO Live is a crowd funded show. If you like this episode consider contributing to help us to continue to improve. Head over to for information, goals and reward levels. Don’t forget to check out our SpacePod campaign as well over at