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About Lexif

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    Spacecraft Engineer
  1. Congratulations! Zooming in, it kind of makes you understand how Galileo first reported that Saturn has two moons, one on each side.
  2. Astronut, haha, way to win this thread! These are all great, I especially dig the Mars picture and of course the ISS collage. Care to share some details on the optics used? What piques my curiosity is how the shuttle's belly (that's what we see, right?) seems quite bright compared to the station. Thanks. Yes, it's quite the eyeopener that Saturn is so large absolutely and as seen from here. Basically about the same diameter as the theoretical limit of resolution of the human eye (0.5 arc minutes or something like that). Also, Jupiter and it's moons --- kind of strange to think about how the gallilean moons should almost be visible to the naked eye if it were not for the large contrast. Just imagine distances were a bit more in favour, and how that would have changed the whole history of our understanding of the world.
  3. I caught Saturn in a close conjunction with the Moon last evening as they both set behind a chimney. Canon 1000D (APS-C), 250 mm f/7.1, 1/10 s, ISO 400, full res crop from 10 MP Too bad I didn't have my 8 inch f/4 newton with me, at 250 mm you can barely make out the rings...Saturn is only 7 or 8 pixels wide. But better than nothing. I think this was an occulation for parts of Africa, and I might get to see one on 25.10., too, if the autumn weather doesn't interfere...
  4. I think that's the current plan. And the ATV-5 is testing an autonomous rendezvous system on this mission (hence the flybys of the station) that -- to quote lajoswinkler's ESA-link -- might be usefull for Orion's planned missions or future ESA science probes:
  5. I saw them fly over, it was great! There was quite a distance between them, maybe twenty degrees at the highest point (Zenit)? ATV-5 was easily visible even at a relatively low angle, even with the moon out. What I found most interesting was that the distance between them gave the whole thing a sense of depth as they were approaching my position. I didn't take pictures, as I was at a friend's place. I remember looking at Mir followed by a Soyuz, and to my surpise, a Progres in front of it that must have undocked before and that wasn't mentioned in the press article that made me look that night. I wish I still knew the date... According to the predicted TLEs, ATV-5 will continue to drift away in front of the ISS until the 10th, when it will be moved (at about 5:00 UTC) to a slightly higher orbit. Then, ISS will overtake it again on the 11.8. This will give the eastern US two passes were both are very close together in the sky in the night of the 10.8 to the 11.8. Here in Europe, there will be one good pass on saturday and sunday with both ATV and ISS visible at the same time. On the 11.8 (at about 18:50 UTC), ATV will lower its orbit again to close in on the ISS until rendezvous. That's if everything goes as planned.
  6. Passes tonight should be very interesting as the ATV-5 will pass just 7km below the ISS. The closest approach will be at about midnight CEST, so if you can get a good pass you should really take a look. At 23:10 CEST for example, ATV-5 will trail 10 seconds behind the ISS. Here in Germany, we will get a good pass starting at about 23:24 CEST, when it will be even closer. Some more infos from ESA: http://blogs.esa.int/atv/2014/08/08/spot-atv-5-iss-together-tonight/
  7. I had a look at the predicted orbital elements. It seems there's a maneuver called "fly-under" planned for the 8th that has the ATV pass closely under the ISS, apparently to test sensors for the new approach system. This will be observable from Europe, where the ISS and ATV will be visible together in the sky from about then until docking, with two evening passes per night. On the 8th, they will appear particulary close together. After the fly-under, the ATV will move away from the ISS until it is elevated into a higher orbit on the 10th, which let's the ISS overtake it again. Then, the transporter will move to the traditional rendezvous position below and behind the station.
  8. In central Europe, it will be visible early in the morning on it's second pass after launch, together with the upper stage. http://blogs.esa.int/atv/2014/07/29/spotting-atv-5-over-europe/ I saw ATV-4 and took some pictures of it as it closed in on the ISS, and I might try again. Central Germany will get a perfect series of ISS passes the nights before the docking (12.8.), so it will be possible to see the two together in the sky.
  9. That Saturn pic is great, kookoo_gr! Are you sure you can't take control of the exposure with your camera? What's your setup, do you have a finder scope? You could try to add some kind of sight without magnification to your telescope, like aiming markings or a paper tube. Also, practice.
  10. Nice video, PakledHostage! My time was well wasted, thanks. I assume those streaks are planes and not meteors? I have to try something like that some time. And kookoo_gr, your pictures rock so hard, they are a great inspiration.
  11. Yeah, I think that's by design. You could consider those waste resources to get ejected. Seems much better to me than making Kerbals die from CO2 poisoning or overflowing toilets.
  12. I didn't try it, but I think the description says that if you have no tank volume left for the waste resources, they are just discarded. So you could just try to shut off the waste resource tanks by clicking on the green arrow next to the resource bar when you right click on all the containers. Your waste should just disappear then if I got that right. Please report back if it worked.
  13. I kind of regret writing that post as it just leads to off-topic-debate. So I will reply in a short fashion and not adress all your arguments, please dont be offended. My fundamental disagreement is with the theory that we will at one point in the near future run out of resources on this planet. After all, what we use will be left on the very same sphere and can be recycled. (Except for the stuff we shoot into space. ;->) What we really use up is easily accesible (cheap) fossil energy, and that is what's needed to cheaply get to the remaining resources, or to recycle what we used. So there will be no resource crisis, only an energy crisis, and that can be solved by technology and will scale the prices for off-world-mining just like it will scale resource costs on this planet. I think at the moment, we are just behind on investments in exploration and extraction as the developing economies overheat, that's no systematic problem, but it might cause political conflicts and even wars in the short-medium term. If you take that viewpoint, a space race looks very unreasonable. And anyway, is there really any commitment to do anything new? We are posting in a thread about the russians saying they might want to build a new SLS-class launcher, but that's it. We (humanity) know how to do this already. For the record, I am very much in favour of developing the key technologies needed to go interplanetary, like radiation research and life support. I would be very much in favour of a project for a base or station out of the earth's magnetic field that would go for a year without resupply. That would give us most of the tech needed, not planting another flag on the moon. (But as I said, I will still enjoy the footage of that...)
  14. Thanks! Don't give up, my skies are also not very dark, and the night I took that picture was far from clear. Maybe mag 3 visually. I live in a city of about 115000 people, but there's not much around it. But that night was quite hazy. Here's one of the single 4 s exposures of which I stacked 21 to make that picture. Converted straight from the RAW file without edits (50% size, though), couldn't see most of those stars visually. http://i.imgur.com/XKrxyZQ.jpg Ceres and Vesta are still well visible. kookoo_gr, that picture of M106 ist just amazing. Thinking back to the early nineties, when digital photography and the internet were in it's infancy, I got all astronomy books I could get from the public library, and the best deep sky pictures in them were not nearly as good. And they were taken from Mount Palomar with a 5 m mirror on photographic plates, stuff no amateur could dream of... It's just amazing what is possible today. With regard to shaking scopes, I think one problem is that a lot of amateur scopes have bad mountings and weak tripods. They are built to a price point, and the money goes into the dimensions of the optics, which will be the selling point. When I got my 8 inch Newton mirror, I talked to some guys from the local amateur astronomers club about wether I should invest into a better mounting, and they told me to go with a more solid tripod first. They said that a telescope should be built from the ground up, and I got a strong wooden tripod made for geodesy that made a lot of a difference. Maybe you can see if you can exchange some parts, I've had a cheap scope where the main screws were compatible with photographic tripod shoes. Also, if your scope tips over, it's not balanced. Maybe you can move the bellows that hold the tubus to balance it out? (If it has bellows.) That might help. Edit: If your tripod has telescoping legs, you could try and retract them a segment or two from the bottom up. That will increase stability.
  15. Can you post a picture of it? Kind of hard to give any advice without knowing your scope.