It’s Earthkam Week!

   Several times each year there is an opportunity to request pictures of the Earth to be taken by a camera on the ISS (International Space Station). This is one of those weeks, which actually started last Friday and ends this coming Saturday April 8th. Earthkam is open to educators (parents, teachers, scouts, etc.). On the mission web site there is an application form and there are lessons and activities as well as an archive of the many pictures taken by participants.
   This week I am working with students in several classes at Lee’s Summit High School, and a group of 5th grade students at Westview Elementary School tomorrow afternoon.

   Here are some of the pictures so far.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

EarthKam Week Wrap Up

This past week I visited and worked with students at 3 schools in the Lee’s Summit School District as we participated in the Sally Ride EarthKam Mission.
earthkam-ani    What is EarthKam? In short it is an opportunity for students to request images of the Earth’s surface to be taken by a camera on the International Space Station. The previous time I participated with the program was last January and during that week the daytime orbits we could request images from were all from the equator and southward. We got some great pictures of mountains and islands, and of course clouds!

Here are some of the pictures we received from the International Space Station. These have been cropped to a smaller size and edited using Photoshop.
Here is a link to the full size pictures (4312×2868).
Here are some follow-up activities:
Where in the World? (Student) (what to do with an image-what is it of)
Where in the World (Teacher)
Earth Features Seen From Space
Cloud Patterns

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

It’s EarthKam Week

   This week I am privileged to be able to once again take part in the Sally Ride EarthKam Mission with students in the Lee’s Summit School District and Aerospace students at the Center for Advanced Placement Studies (CAPS) in the Blue Valley KS School District.
earthkam-ani    What is EarthKam? In short it is an opportunity for students to request images of the Earth’s surface to be taken by a camera on the International Space Station. The previous time I participated with the program was last January and during that week the daytime orbits we could request images from were all from the equator and southward. We got some great pictures of mountains and islands, and of course clouds!

   
   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

An EarthKam Mission

iss_flyover-ani   This coming week, the last one in January, is going to help make this month a more memorable month than I had previously thought.
How so?
Firstly January marks my 200th monthly column of Scope on the Skies for Science Scope Magazine, the NSTA‘s Professional Journal for Middle School Science Teachers. In that column I wrote about Earth viewing missions.”A New Year, A New Earth View”. take-pics   Secondly, and very coincidentally, earlier this month an opportunity came up to apply to take part in the next scheduled Sally Ride EarthKam Mission. I was accepted and so this week will be for requesting images on the orbits between Sunday and Friday.
“Doing this alone?” You ask.
I have teamed up with two Science Teachers at Summit Lakes Middle School here in Lee’s Summit Missouri, and starting Monday morning students will begin making their requests. Also my college Astronomy class students will be requesting images as part of a lab lesson on tools Astronomers and Earth Science (among others) use.
cover
Making requests is a simple 10 or so step process beginning with logging in to the web site. However the Teacher first needs to register at the mission website, and then register for the next mission. The teacher will receive a list of codewords a few days ahead of the actual mission dates. Each codeword may only be used once; one codeword = one picture request. I’ve prepared a guidebook of sorts using screen captures that steps through the process of logging in and making a request. A more detailed and useful guidebook is the one prepared by the Sally Ride EarthKam Mission folks. Some time ago I wrote a short blog about the EarthKam mission.
orbits-ani

Our week looks promising for getting pictures of the southern hemisphere according to the mission orbit plotter. That is weather permitting. By clicking on the desired orbit group the map will then display the paths for that group. Remember that red lines show where it will be daylight and only when pictures could be taken.
zoom-ani

Using Google Earth means that you are able to zoom in to better place your marker for a picture. There are limits to getting a ‘good’ picture, one taken from as directly overhead as possible. Specifically it is the distance from the ISS orbit path. The further away from the orbit path the lower the ISS will be relative to the horizon.

I’ll share the pictures sometime next week after we get them.

[centup]
Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

EarthKam Opportunity

sally   Students and educators are invited to join NASA for the Sally Ride EarthKAM Summer 2013 Mission from July 9-12, 2013. Guide your students in hands-on research as they program a camera aboard the International Space Station to take pictures of specific locations on Earth. The optional online curriculum at the Sally Ride EarthKAM website is targeted at middle school students, but could easily be adapted for other grade levels.. All students and educators are welcome — including participants in summer and afterschool programs.

   Click here to go to the Sally Ride EarthKam website form more information.
   Click here to go to NASA’s Teaching from Space web site.

   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

GRAIL, Sally Ride, and Goldschmidt Crater

GRAIL's Impact!

GRAIL’s Impact!

   Yesterday the two lunar orbiters, EBB and Flow, impacted with a mountain near the lunar north pole as planned by NASA’s GRAIL mission scientists. The twin impact sites, probably small craters created by the impacts, will be named the Sally K. Ride Impact Site for Sally Ride, the first woman from the United States to fly in space.
   The estimated impact speed of Ebb and Flow was nearly 4,000 mph as they smacked into a 1.5 mile (2.5 km) tall mountain near the Goldschmidt crater.

   Click here to see the above graphic full-size and to read the NASA Press Release.

7x50 Binocular View

7×50 Binocular View

   The impact site, as small as it probably is, will not visible in binoculars or telescopes. However the area of the Moon, including the Goldschmidt Crater are visible in large enough instruments. As shown in this simulated view with binoculars or just with the unaided eye you are able to see where on the Moon the crater and impact site are located.
18december8pm   This evening the waxing crescent Moon sets a few hours after sunset and is to the east from the 3 stars making up the Summer Triangle asterism. Click on the thumbnail image to see a full size graphic showing a view of the after sunset skies this evening.
   


Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.