Hubble Trouble

September 29, 2008

Word has come down that the Hubble Space Telescope has a serious problem. Apparently the SICDHS (The Science Instrument Command and Data Handling System) – which commands the detectors on the telescope – had a failure of the Science Data Formatter. This means that the telescope cannot send data back to earth. HST has been put into a “sleep mode” as NASA engineers attempt to turn on the backup for the system, which has never needed to be used in the 18+ years the telescope has been in orbit.

This means that the planned Hubble Servicing Mission, which was scheduled to launch on October 14th, is going to be postponed until sometime early next year, in order for a new SICDHS unit to be carried up and installed.

Dr. Phil Plait has more details on his Bad Astronomy blog.

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Veen Observatory Public Night – April 26

April 24, 2008

If the skies are clear Saturday night, the James C. Veen Observatory – located south of Lowell, MI – will be open for public tours and telescopic observations, weather permitting. Here are the particulars:

Time: 9.00pm – Midnight
Admission: $3 – Adults, $2 – kids 17 and under, under 5 free

If you are not sure whether we will be open or not, there are a couple of ways to check. First, you can call 616.897.7065 after 6.30pm where a recorded message will be updated with the latest information, or you can visit the club’s website, which will be updated at that time as well.

Full information on Public Nights can be found on the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association website – graaa.org. Just click on the Public Night link in the menu.

There you will find a map showing directions to the observatory, and a FAQ about visitors’ nights. On the main page of the site, click on the OPEN sign, and you will be taken to a page with particulars about the specific night detailing what objects will be featured through the telescopes.

The main feature will be the planet Saturn. Views through the telescope will show its rings, and several of its moons. Along with Saturn, we will show off some of the finest objects of deep space as well, including nebulas and star clusters. And who knows what else. The sky’s the limit.

If you go out to the observatory, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the experience. You can leave comments here, or drop an email to graaa @ graaa.org


Veen Observatory Visitors’ Night for October 27th

October 27, 2007

 

With clearing skies tonight (Saturday night) the James C. Veen Observatory – located south of Lowell, MI – will be open for public tours and telescopic observations. This is the final public night of the 2007 season.

Here are the particulars:

Time: 7.30pm – 10.30pm (Note the earlier start and end times!)
Admission: $3 – Adults, $2 – kids 17 and under, under 5 free

Full information on Visitors’ Nights can be found on the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association website – graaa.org. Just click on the Visitors’ Night link in the menu.

There you will find a map showing directions to the observatory, and a FAQ about visitors’ nights. On the main page of the site, click on the OPEN sign, and you will be taken to a page with particulars about the specific night detailing what objects will be featured through the telescopes.

Tonight’s featured objects will be the planets Uranus and Neptune, the farthest planets from the sun. In addition, we will be looking at some of the finest objects of deep space as well, including galaxies, nebulas and star clusters. And who knows what else. After all, we’ve got the whole night sky to choose from.

If you go out to the observatory, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the experience. You can leave comments here, or drop an email to graaa @ graaa.org.


Veen Observatory Visitors’ Night for October 13th

October 13, 2007

If the skies clear as promised, tonight (Saturday night) the James C. Veen Observatory – located south of Lowell, MI – will be open for public tours and telescopic observations. Here are the particulars:

Time: 7.30pm – 10.30pm (Note the earlier start and end times!)
Admission: $3 – Adults, $2 – kids 17 and under, under 5 free

Full information on Visitors’ Nights can be found on the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association website – graaa.org. Just click on the Visitors’ Night link in the menu.

There you will find a map showing directions to the observatory, and a FAQ about visitors’ nights. On the main page of the site, click on the OPEN sign, and you will be taken to a page with particulars about the specific night detailing what objects will be featured through the telescopes.

Tonight’s featured objects will be the planets Uranus and Neptune, the farthest planets from the sun. In addition, we will be looking at some of the finest objects of deep space as well, including galaxies, nebulas and star clusters. And who knows what else. After all, we’ve got the whole night sky to choose from.

If you go out to the observatory, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the experience. You can leave comments here, or drop an email to graaa @ graaa.org.


Veen Observatory Visitors’ Night for August 25

August 25, 2007

With the promise of clearing skies from the gloom and rain of the past few days, tonight (Saturday night) the James C. Veen Observatory – located south of Lowell, MI – will be open for public tours and telescopic observations. Here are the particulars:

Time: 9.00pm – Midnight
Admission: $3 – Adults, $2 – kids 17 and under, under 5 free

Full information on Visitors’ Nights can be found on the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association website – graaa.org. Just click on the Visitors’ Night link in the menu.

There you will find a map showing directions to the observatory, and a FAQ about visitors’ nights. On the main page of the site, click on the OPEN sign, and you will be taken to a page with particulars about the specific night detailing what objects will be featured through the telescopes.

Tonights main feature will be the planet Jupiter. The solar system’s largest planet hangs low in the southern sky, and a telescope will show clouds bands on the planet, plus four of it’s moons. In addition, we will be looking at the farthest planet from the Sun, Neptune, as well as the bright gibbeous moon, it’s light being obvious as it drowns out dimmer stars. In addition, there will also be selected brighter deep sky objects like star clusters.

If you go out to the observatory, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the experience. You can leave comments here, or drop an email to graaa @ graaa.org.


Veen Observatory Visitors’ Night for August 11

August 12, 2007

**Update 8/12 12.45am: The public night was a success, although clouds did drown out the last 45 minutes. Thanks to the following media outlets for their support: WLHT-FM, WOOD-TV, WXMI-TV, WZZM-TV.**

With partly cloudy/mostly clear skies tonight (Saturday night) the James C. Veen Observatory – located south of Lowell, MI – will be open for public tours and telescopic observations. Here are the particulars:

Time: 9.00pm – Midnight
Admission: $3 – Adults, $2 – kids 17 and under, under 5 free

Full information on Visitors’ Nights can be found on the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association website – graaa.org. Just click on the Visitors’ Night link in the menu.

There you will find a map showing directions to the observatory, and a FAQ about visitors’ nights. On the main page of the site, click on the OPEN sign, and you will be taken to a page with particulars about the specific night detailing what objects will be featured through the telescopes.

Tonights main feature will be the planet Jupiter. The solar system’s largest planet hangs low in the southern sky, and a telescope will show clouds bands on the planet, plus four of it’s moons. Along with the solar system’s largest planet, we will show off some of the finest objects of deep space as well, including nebulas and star clusters. And who knows, perhaps a comet and an asteroid. The sky’s the limit.

This is also the weekend for the Perseid Meteor Shower, possibly the most widely known meteor shower of the year. Keep looking skyward when you are outside to catch these fleeting streaks of light in the sky.

If you go out to the observatory, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the experience. You can leave comments here, or drop an email to graaa @ graaa.org


Veen Observatory Visitors’ Night for July 28

July 28, 2007

With mostly clear skies tonight (Saturday night) the James C. Veen Observatory – located south of Lowell, MI – will be open for public tours and telescopic observations. Here are the particulars:

Time: 9.30pm – Midnight
Admission: $3 – Adults, $2 – kids 17 and under, under 5 free

Full information on Visitors’ Nights can be found on the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association website – graaa.org. Just click on the Visitors’ Night link in the menu.

There you will find a map showing directions to the observatory, and a FAQ about visitors’ nights. On the main page of the site, click on the OPEN sign, and you will be taken to a page with particulars about the specific night detailing what objects will be featured through the telescopes.

Tonights main feature will be the planet Jupiter. The solar system’s largest planet hangs low in the southern sky, and a telescope will show clouds bands on the planet, plus four of it’s moons. The other big object of the night will be the nearly full moon, it’s light being obvious as it drowns out dimmer stars. In addition, there will also be selected brighter deep sky objects like star clusters.

If you go out to the observatory, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the experience. You can leave comments here, or drop an email to graaa @ graaa.org.