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Ace of Spades Pet Thread, June 22 | Main | Guest Music Thread [Joe Mannix]
June 22, 2024

Hobby Thread - June 22, 2024 [TRex]


Welcome hobbyists! Do not adjust your interweb. This thread is going to be out of this world. A spin of the Ace of Spades "wheel of hobbies" has come up with astronomy.

TRex has always been intrigued by the night sky. What is out there? What can you see? Planets and moons, meteors, comets, and galaxies are tantalizingly close but ever so far away. The sceince is compelling, the artistry is dramatic, and the vast unknown challenges everything we think we know about space and time.

Are you intrigued by astronomy? Do you gaze upward to the heavens? Are planetariums playgrounds for you? Do you have your own telescope equipment? Do you shoot photos of the moon, star trails or the Milky Way? Have you seen the northern lights?

Do you track satellites or the space station?

Do you have a cool telescope? Have you poured a ridiculous amount of money into fancy glass or are you finding amazing things with low-cost simple solutions? Are you computerized? How did you get started? Did someone show you Saturn's rings in a telescope?

While the constellations are named and have their own lore, let's keep the theme to astronomy rather than astrology. Maybe another time...

As usual, keep this thread limited to hobbies. Politics and current events can wait for other threads.


Let's get started. Sing it, Frank:



Top photo - The hubble telescope was launched in 1990 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-31). Discovery is now on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space annex near Dulles Airport outside of Washington, DC. The original plan envisioned a lifespan of about 15 years. Its life was extended thanks, in part, to five servicing missions with other Space Shuttle flights (1993, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2009).

Hubble is showing age and parts are faltering. It isn't dead yet and expected to run into the 2030s. NASA recently considered and rejected a SpaceX proposal to re-boost the telescope to a higher altitude and extend its life.

NASA has a sequence of videos from the Hubble telescope mission control facility at the Goddard Space Flight facility. Spin each video around for a 360 degree view.

NASA's gallery of Hubble images is vast.


Ten tips for beginners:


The worlds largest home-built amateur telescope?


Amateur astronomers took up the challenge of tracking the US military's classified X-37B orbital test vehicle since it was first launched in 2010.

Amateur Satellite Tracker Spots US Military's Classified Space Plane (2024 story)

X-37's Next -- and 7th -- Launch Could Be Its Last (2023 story)

Air Force's Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Spotted by Amateur Astronomers (2015 story)


Amateur astronomers have identified a lot of celestial bodies, including moons of Jupiter:

Jupiter may have dozens or even hundreds of undiscovered moons orbiting around it. This massive planet boasts a substantial gravitational field that allows it to capture space debris into its orbit. Jupiter currently hosts at least 79 moons, and the number continues to grow.Amateur astronomer discovers a tiny moon around Jupiter (2021 story)

Apparently the 79 count is outdated. NASA's website says 95 moons of Jupiter have been officially recognized.


The space station is a science project. Shooting photos of the space station is also a science project:


NASA also has a real-time space station tracking map. On a clear night, if you know where to look, you can see the point of light transiting the night sky with the naked eye.


If you like science, space, engineering, and generally trying to figure out how things work, you should know Destin and his SmarterEveryDay Youtube channel. He asks questions, finds answers, meets experts, and explains how it all works and why. His channel has dozens of great videos, but the one he did in May after the ecplipse is amazing. He didn't just watch the eclipse - he took an epic photograph:


NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory posts a four to five minute video each month for stargazers pointing out features in the sky for that month. This one is for the current month of June, but the one for July will be along shortly.


The galaxy of Centaurus A is around 11 million light years away in the constellation of Centaurus. It was discovered in 1826 by Scottish astronomer James Dunlop from his home in Parramatta, in New South Wales, Australia. This photo is believed to be the deepest view ever obtained of Centaurus A and likely the deepest image ever taken with amateur equipment. It took over 100 hours of exposure. This is "amateur" but well down the rabbit hole. Lots of great photos and knoweldge on the website - read more from Rolf Alsen photography.


Always good to know your neighbors. Andromeda is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way. It is 2.5 million light years away. The Milky Way and Andromeda merge in about 4.5 billion years and will probably form a huge elliptical galaxy. Andromeda is a popular target for astronomers and you don't need fancy equipment to see it.


If astronomy is not your thing and you can't find something in the content that resonates with you, hijack the thread for your hobbying as you see fit. We will feature a different hobby next time around. Send thoughts or suggestions to moronhobbies at protonmail dot com. The truth is out there. Thanks for being here.

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