22 August 2006

New and Improved

The stunning Helix Nebula. Credit: NASA, NOAO, ESA, the Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M. Meixner (STScI), and T.A. Rector (NRAO).

After a much tweaking and remodeling, the latest version of Wolverine's Den (mk. III) has been up and running for a few weeks now. I haven't forgotten about this - the original, temporary home for my astronomical musings, so I thought I'd post another note here encouraging passers-by to surf on over and enjoy the all latest items on my dedicated page. Well, that is, in the off-chance that anyone even stumbles across this little niche. :-)

By week's end we'll have a clearer indication of whether or not Pluto will retain its planetary status, and, the Space Shuttle Atlantis is currently scheduled for launch on Sunday, August 27th. Feel free to swing by the new venue to catch up on what else is happening in the universe. See you there.

24 January 2006

The New Den

Wolverine's Den mkII is now alive and well. I've included and uploaded all my prior articles and content from this site, and performed the arduous task of recreating all the necessary formatting.

I'll leave this, mkI, up for the time being so folks know where to find me.

Update your bookmarks and blogrolls. :)

http://www.wolverinesden.org/

22 January 2006

Transition

Note:

The Den is moving. This is a good thing. I'll be working on finishing up all the loose ends in the next few days. The new location will be:

http://wolverinesden.org/

The site's already up and running (and much more efficiently with the changes made), but it's not quite finished. Almost.

Feel free to take a peek though, and don't forget to update your bookmarks. :-)

More to come.

20 January 2006

Lit Candle

Wow. What an image:


Image Credit: NASA

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. — From between lightning masts surrounding the launch pad, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft roars into the blue sky aboard an Atlas V rocket spewing flames and smoke. Liftoff was on time at 2 p.m. EST from Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This was the third launch attempt in as many days after scrubs due to weather concerns. The compact, 1,050-pound piano-sized probe will get a boost from a kick-stage solid propellant motor for its journey to Pluto. New Horizons will be the fastest spacecraft ever launched, reaching lunar orbit distance in just nine hours and passing Jupiter 13 months later. The New Horizons science payload, developed under direction of Southwest Research Institute, includes imaging infrared and ultraviolet spectrometers, a multi-color camera, a long-range telescopic camera, two particle spectrometers, a space-dust detector and a radio science experiment. The dust counter was designed and built by students at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The launch at this time allows New Horizons to fly past Jupiter in early 2007 and use the planet’s gravity as a slingshot toward Pluto. The Jupiter flyby trims the trip to Pluto by as many as five years and provides opportunities to test the spacecraft’s instruments and flyby capabilities on the Jupiter system. New Horizons could reach the Pluto system as early as mid-2015, conducting a five-month-long study possible only from the close-up vantage of a spacecraft.


Click here for a large version (498 kb)

Those unable to view yesterday's magnificent launch may do so by clicking here.

View video of the SRB separation here.

More here in NASA's video archive.

Added 19:17 CST: Now we're talkin'. Check out the nicely updated gallery of New Horizons launch imagery courtesy of the Kennedy Space Center. Sweet!

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Fire in the Sky

17mm 1/30" F/5 ISO-100


17mm 1/30" F/5 ISO-100


25mm 1/40" F/5 ISO-100



Canon 20D & 17-40mm L

19 January 2006, Spicewood Texas


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19 January 2006

Liftoff!

Image credit: NASA/KSC
Success! NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a fast-moving Atlas V rocket. It's headed for a distant rendezvous with the mysterious planet Pluto almost a decade from now.

The third time was the charm for New Horizons. Two consecutive launch attempts earlier in the week were foiled by high winds at the launch site and a power outage at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., which operates the spacecraft now that the mission is underway.

As the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its moon Charon, New Horizons looks to unlock one of the solar system's last, great planetary secrets. After launch aboard an Atlas V, the New Horizons spacecraft will cross the entire span of the solar system and conduct flyby studies of Pluto and Charon in 2015. The seven science instruments on the piano-sized probe will shed light on the bodies' surface properties, geology, interior makeup and atmospheres.

The first 13 months of the mission include spacecraft and instrument checkouts, instrument calibrations and trajectory correction maneuvers. There will also be rehearsals for an encounter with Jupiter in spring 2007, in which the giant planet will provide a slingshot-like gravity boost that could save New Horizons up to three years of flight time. This encounter will be followed by an approximately 8-year interplanetary cruise to Pluto.


Keep up with all the latest:



Image credit: NASA/KSC
Click here for hi-res version (1.3 mb)

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All articles and imagery ©2006 Wolverine's Den unless otherwise stated.