(Source: Southgate ARC)
Earth has many stories to tell, even in the dark of night. Earth at Night, NASA’s new 200-page ebook, is now available online and includes more than 150 images of our planet in darkness as captured from space by Earth-observing satellites and astronauts on the International Space Station over the past 25 years.
The images reveal how human activity and natural phenomena light up the darkness around the world, depicting the intricate structure of cities, wildfires and volcanoes raging, auroras dancing across the polar skies, moonlight reflecting off snow and deserts, and other dramatic earthly scenes.
“Earth at Night explores the brilliance of our planet when it is in darkness,” wrote Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in the book’s foreword. “The book is a compilation of stories depicting the interactions between science and wonder. I am pleased to share this visually stunning and captivating exploration of our home planet.”
In addition to the images, the book tells how scientists use these observations to study our changing planet and aid decision makers in such areas as sustainable energy use and disaster response.
NASA brings together technology, science, and unique global Earth observations to provide societal benefits and strengthen our nation. The agency makes its Earth observations freely and openly available to everyone for use in developing solutions to important global issues such as changing freshwater availability, food security and human health.
For more information about NASA’s Earth science programs, visit:
(Source: ABC News via Michael Bird)
To NASA personnel, he is VK5ZAI. To his neighbours at Pinks Beach, a small coastal town in South Australia, he goes by Tony.
In his 30-year association with the US space agency, Tony Hutchison has been called upon to help in times of crisis, moderate calls between astronauts and their families, and run a worldwide schools program.
He’s shared a beer with first commanders, had barbecues with mission specialists, and watched the space shuttle launch from the bleachers at Kennedy Space Centre.
Looking back, it’s a life he never expected.
Mr Hutchison, 80, fell in love with radio at age 10, had his amateur radio licence by 21, and became involved with satellite communication a few years later.
In October 1992 he made his first contact in space — cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev onboard the Mir space station.
“You could talk up to them as they passed over and they’d talk back to you.”
He became good friends with one of them, Aleksandr Serebrov.
“He would call me probably a couple times a week as he passed over. Of course they keep to Russian time, which is almost the opposite time to us, so it would be in the middle of the night and Alex would call.”
NASA eventually caught on and had Mr Hutchison doing communications for Andy Thomas while he was onboard Mir.[…]
Click here to continue reading the full story.
(Source: ARRL News)
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) has scheduled a slow-scan television (SSTV) event to begin on Saturday, October 27, at about 1000 UTC. NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Department will support the event. SCaN manages NASA’s three most important communications networks — The Space Network (SN), Near-Earth Network (NEN), and the Deep Space Network (DSN). Participants in the SSTV event can qualify for a special endorsement for NASA on the Air (NOTA), celebrating the space agency’s 60th anniversary.
As during past ARISS SSTV events, 12 images will be transmitted. Six will feature SCaN educational activities, while the other six images will commemorate major NASA anniversaries, including the establishment of NASA and the moon landing. Transmissions are expected to take place on 145.800 MHz using PD-120 SSTV mode. Received images can be posted and viewed online. The event is dependent on other ISS activities, schedules, and crew responsibilities, and the schedule is subject to change at any time.
More information be posted to the AMSAT and ARISS websites as well as to the ARISS-BB, to the ARISS Facebook page, and via Twitter (@ARISS_status).
Click here to read the full article at the ARRL News.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Eric (WD8RIF), who writes:
This came in the most recent ARRL Contest newsletter:
The Sun, The Earth, and Near-Earth Space: A Guide to the Sun-Earth System by J. A. Eddy is a readable and accessible textbook that explains the dynamics of the Sun and its interaction with the Earth’s ionosphere. It’s available as a free download, courtesy of NASA and the International Living with a Star Program. Anyone using the ionosphere as a medium for radio wave transmission and wants to better understand propagation should find this book of interest. (Ward, N0AX)
Thank you for the stellar tip, Eric!
Artist’s concept of Voyager I (Source: NASA)
Yesterday, while listening to the BBC World Service, I heard this fascinating documentary focusing on the Voyager I and II spacecraft. It absolutely blows my mind that both of these spacecraft have been operating for 40 years and continue to send signals back to Earth. Talk about weak signal DX!
Note that you will have to visit the BBC World Service website to listen to the documentary via their media player.
(Source: BBC World Service)
Voyager 1 and 2: Still operating after 40 years in the depths of space. Voyager 1 is currently some 20 billion kilometres from Earth travelling at 15.5 kilometres a second. It takes 19 hours for a signal from the spacecraft’s 20 watt transmitter to reach home. Voyager 2 is 17 billion kilometres away and will soon leave the Solar System.
Launched in 1977, the twin spacecrafts have explored the giant planets and their strange moons, investigated the boundary of the Solar System and changed how we see our place in the Universe. The probes even carry a message for aliens in the form of a golden record.
Retired NASA astronaut Ron Garan meets many of the original team still working on the mission, nursing the twin spacecraft through their final years.
Click here to listen to the documentary via the BBC World Service website.
The gas mixtures from NASA’s ionospheric experiment cause parts of the night sky to glow blue and green. (Photo: NASA)
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ed, who writes:
It might be interesting if you invited SWLing Post readers today see how NASA’s ionospheric experiment tonight (shortly after 9:00PM ET) affects RF propagation along the east coast:
I searched online to find any reference to this long series of NASA experiments affecting RF propagation, and found this 1980 paper:
…which contains this paragraph:
The objectives motivating various experiments based on either decreasing or increasing the ambient plasma density by means of a chemical release include: (a) obtaining measurements of the rate of refilling after creation of a plasma depletion “hole” as a means of studying ambient ionization processes, (b) studying the magnetic field aligned propagation of VLF waves by creating a propagation duct, (c) simulating the formation and movement of the natural depletion “bubbles” which occur over the magnetic equator, (d) investigations of reaction rates, recombination coefficients, airglow production, etc., and (e) creating the conditions for inducing selected plasma instabilities to produce ionospheric irregularities and spread-F conditions. The science objectives in these experiments have a direct bearing on communication problems. Other forms of ionospheric modification are directed toward studying ionospheric/magnetospheric coupling and testing plasma theories.
So it might be fun to crowdsource from the SWL community to see if we can detect any propagation anomalies Tuesday night during this brief experiment. It’s unfortunate there’s not more time to coordinate different listeners monitoring different assigned frequencies. This reminds me of participating in ANARC’s “Woodpecker Project” in 1985 with 95 other SWL’s in 18 countries to determine the interference effects on HF broadcast from the Soviet Union’s use of Over-The-Horizon (OTH) radar in the HF bands.
I wonder how many SWL’ing Post readers participated in The Woodpecker Project and still have the nice “No Woodpeckers” tee shirt they earned for submitting their findings, which were combined into a final report that condemned the Soviets for causing interference on the HF bands.
Thanks for the tip, Ed! According to the linked article, the experiment will take place this evening, “soon after nine o’clock eastern time” (or 01:00 UTC).
This would be a great time to do an SDR wideband spectrum recording since you could possibly see any propagation effects on the waterfall display and play the event over multiple times. I’ve no clue if this experiment would yield any discernable results on HF, but it would be fun trying to detect it nonetheless.
Please comment if you plan to check out the experiment and/or if you were a participant in the Woodpecker Project!
I’m very proud to note that my good friend, George Knudsen (W4GCK), has been featured on the excellent omega tau podcast.
The interview is absolutely fascinating–here’s a description:
George Knudsen started working in 1958 on the Redstone missile, and moved on to working on the Atlas ICBM. Later he worked on the Saturn 5 launch vehicle, where he was responsible for the fuel tanks. He was on the launch team at Cape Canaveral for various Apollo missions. In this episode [we] talk with George about his work in this fascinating period of science and engineering history.
Click here to listen via the omega tau site.
omega tau, hosted by Markus Völter, covers a wide variety of topics from engineering and science. It’s one of my favorite podcasts, so I would encourage you to not only listen to this episode, but subscribe to the podcast.