Archive for January, 2011

Remembering the Challenger

Friday, January 28th, 2011

25 years ago today, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch in front of a television audience of millions in what has become on of the most notable tragedies in space exploration and that NASA has ever seen. On that mission, 7 astronauts were tragically killed when the Challenger exploded after launch. The mission was supposed to mark the significance of the first schoolteacher, Christa McAuliffe, going into space.

The tragedy thrust into the spotlight the security measures of NASA and the Space Shuttle program, launching investigations into what caused the explosion (the O-rings’ failure to seal the solid rocket booster correctly) and the status of the entire United States Space Program. Weeks earlier, a mission was delayed weeks due to inclement weather and other launch issues, so officials began to wonder about and scrutinize NASA for rushing the Challenger launch to make the program appear as if it was recovering from the earlier delays.

President Reagan postponed the State of the Union Address scheduled for the same night and instead addressed the nation from the Oval Office. He finished his speech with this quote:

“We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ’slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’”

January 27, 2011

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Vixen Telescopes: The A70Lf 70mm Achromatic Refractor

A great thing about this refractor is that it is inexpensive and is still a great quality Vixen telescope. This telescope has the same quality glass and workmanship seen in larger and more advanced Vixen telescopes. That makes the A70Lf a great starter telescope for amateurs interested in looking at the stars. Many people start on this telescope before moving up because it is offers great value for the money. With this achromatic refractor from Vixen, you can see craters and mountains on the moon, the rings of Saturn and storms on Jupiter. With the help of star charts you can find an array of double stars and other objects in the sky.

What is Included with this Vixen Telescope

This refractor comes with a 45x and a 143x eyepiece and has an objective diameter of 70mm. If you decide to purchase this telescope from Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes, the new Mini-Porta mount, which comes equipped with two fine adjustment handles for whole-circle motion in both directions. This helps you search for and track stars in the sky. This mount will help amateurs steady the telescope and get the most out of their experience from their Vixen telescope. If you have any questions or are interested in Vixen telescopes, visit Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes online today.

January 26, 2011

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Intro to Astronomy: What is a Last Quarter Moon?

A last quarter moon is a phase of the moon that occurs between a full moon and a new moon. The moon appears to be half-illuminated in the sky as the moon is on its way to completing its orbit around the Earth. The last quarter moon rises around midnight and appears at its highest in the sky at dawn. The last quarter moon comes around three weeks after the new moon and is named because it appears in the last quarter of the moon’s orbit. The moon will begin to set around noon, so you will be able to see the moon in the morning sky.

Viewing the Last Quarter Moon

You will be able to get a good look at the last quarter moon tonight as it is going to rise around midnight. As the moon moves through its phases from last quarter to new moon, you may not be able to notice the moon during the day because it will appear near the sun and could be drowned out by the sunlight. You can see the moon more closely with your telescope and can notice that only half of the moon is visible. Notice the differences in what you can see between the last quarter and full moon. See the calendar of events from Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes for more chances to see celestial objects.


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