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Still more space debris! March 16, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Uncategorized.
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(From CNN) A piece of an old Soviet-era satellite spinning through space could threaten the International Space Station overnight, NASA said Monday. On its current course, the piece of the Russian Kosmos 1275 will arrive about a half a mile (.79 kilometers) from the space station at 2:14 a.m. CDT Tuesday, said Bill Jeffs, a spokesman at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

NASA may decide to conduct a “debris avoidance maneuver,” which involves firing rockets so that the space station moves in a direction away from the debris’ path, Jeffs said. Officials were monitoring the debris closely and planned to decide by 6 p.m. whether to carry out the maneuver.Jeffs said the dimensions of the satellite debris are not known.

Three people are on the space station, astronauts Mike Fincke and Sandy Magnus and cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov .

Last week, a piece of debris forced the crew to take shelter in its escape capsule, a rare close call for the orbiting platform, NASA said.

Observatory Up & Running June 27, 2008

Posted by jcconwell in Observatory, Uncategorized.
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My thanks to the EIU Electricians for last week finding and installing a new transformer to the observatory. Just in time for the open house tonight. It looks like cloud cover, but we always have people even in the middle of a thunderstorm. If you’ve never been at an observatory it’s almost as much fun looking at the telescope as through the telescope . Plus if your nice, you get to rotate the DOME!! Here is a couple pictures of the field after the wind storm. Including the tracker-trailer and porto-pottie near the dome. Both of which are now upright. Thanks to the people in physical plant.

Hope no one was in there!Overturned trailer

Friday the 13 June 13, 2008

Posted by jcconwell in Uncategorized.
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Well.. we thought the observatory dogged the bullet during last weekend storms, but when I was there yesterday I found out a transformer blew on that segment of the campus.  First estimate says a replacment won’t come for several weeks. We’ll see if we can’t improve that number. At least I’m not suffering alone, … my class is having their first test today.