About an hour after sunset, the International Space Station will be flying directly over Michigan tonight (Nov. 30, 2017). This would be a great opportunity to spot the station if you have never seen it!
International Space Station Ground Track – Nov. 30, 2017, Credit: heavens-above.com
The Station will be visible from my location in Chesterfield between 6:16 – 6:21 PM, and will be almost directly overhead at its highest.
International Space Station location in the sky from Chesterfield Michigan, Nov. 30, 2017. Credit: heavens-above.com
Astronomy for Everyone is a TV series produced by members of the Ford Amateur Astronomy Club, airing monthly in a couple communities in southeastern Michigan, and also on YouTube. The program is targeted towards beginner and intermediate audiences, as well as all amateur astronomers and sky observers. My program was the first of the show’s 7th year, and the first to be filmed in HD; it airs in early June – I’ll put up a link to it when it is posted.
We started out discussing what Asteroids were, where they were, and how they were discovered.
Asteroid Belt and NEOs. Image Credit: Scott Manley
We talked about the relationship of meteorites to Asteroids, and some interesting discoveries from the study of meteorites, such as: determining the age of the Earth, organic molecules, and even amino acids.
Workers repair a power line near the wall of a local zinc plant which was damaged by a shockwave from a meteor in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, on February 15, 2013. A meteor strike in central Russia that left today hundreds of people injured is the biggest known human toll from a space rock, a British expert said. AFP PHOTO / 74.RU/ Oleg Kargopolov/Getty Images
We then talked about the frequency of Asteroid strikes, and how to defend against them. I discussed the pitfalls of using nukes or impactors against a low-density or porous asteroids (or comets), and covered some other deflection methods – such as the Planetary Society’s Laser Bees project, and the Gravity Tractor concept.
I mentioned that you have to find Asteroids before you can deflect them, and that as of this time, no government on the planet has assigned the task of Planetary Defense to any of its agencies. Because of this, private individuals and foundations are having to take up the mantle; I described the B612 Foundation’s privately-funded, asteroid-hunting Sentinel Mission:
The Sentinel Space Telescope in orbit around the sun. Image courtesy of Ball Aerospace.
I mentioned the formation of IWAN, the International Asteroid Warning Network, and went over the #AsteroidDay declaration, its impressive list of signatories, and the numerous global awareness events happening on June 30th:
All of this in 20 minutes, with a short break in the middle. It was quite the experience, and I hope to be back in the future!
Bob with scopes. Credit: Scott Kennedy – Penguicon, May 3 2014
If you have spent ANY time in proximity to me in recent years, I’ve probably brought up the subject of Asteroids; of all my Astronomy and Space Science lecture topics, it’s my favorite. Over the last couple years, I’ve gotten to know several people who are in the “Asteroid biz:” planetary astronomers, entrepreneurs who want to mine them, and concerned citizens who are tired of world government inaction, and intend on finding Potentially Hazardous Asteroids themselves.
The B612 Foundation has released an interview with me about the Sentinel Mission – the first privately-funded infrared asteroid-hunting space telescope – words cannot express how honored I am.