"Sic Itur Ad Astra"


Weird, Wild & Breaking News Stories in Space and Astronomy From Around The World 24/7 Weekly With Updates. It's a FREE Service To The Public and ALL Media, It's Safe and Reliable. (Est. 2002)  Enquiries: (02) 6585 2260 Mobile: 0400 636 363 Email: davereneke@gmail.com

BOOKING NOW FOR 2023....Join LOCAL astronomer Dave Reneke on an amazing tour of the beautiful night skies of Norfolk Island. Its just been named a Gold Level Dark Sky registered site... and there's plenty of time for sightseeing and island tours as well. Probus, Rotary Lions Club etc. groups welcome. Check Out What We're Offering for 2023... *** Ask for a free brochure: www.sophie@travelcentre.nf  Free Phone call: 1800 1400 66 (AUS)Or contact Dave www.davereneke@gmail.com 

 New! Kids Space Activity Pack

Introducing a very affordable hands on 'Space Package' for the young budding astronomer designed as an educational aid as they develop their astronomy knowledge.

EACH PACK CONTAINS Dozens of fun, educational Space and Astronomy activity pages incl. Mazes, Colouring, Dot to Dot, Word Search, Space Stickers, and more! PLUS Our "Welcome To Astronomy" booklet. They are priced at $9.95 each.  To View contents or Buy:  https://www.davidreneke.com/p/excellent-encyclopedia/

Once In a Lifetime Event. Jupiter To Be Closest It's Been To Earth Since 1963

Jupiter's close encounter with the Earth is an excellent opportunity for stargazers who are learning the ins and outs of a new telescope.
Jupiter's close encounter with the Earth is an excellent opportunity for stargazers who are learning the ins and outs of a new telescope.

Please take time over the next few days and look up at Jupiter! Jupiter will make its closest approach to earth in 59 years on Monday, meaning it will appear opposite the sun to those on Earth... it won't be this close for another 107 years - The last time that Jupiter was this close was in 1963 when John F. Kennedy was president of the United States. 

 Just look for the bright "star" in the Southeast. If you have a telescope that you never use, get it out - you will be able to see details on the planet with even the smallest scope. It will be the brightest natural object other than the moon in the night sky.

The sun, Earth and Jupiter will nearly align perfectly in the solar system on Monday during an event that happens once every 13 months called the Jupiter opposition. This is also around the same time that the gas giant is closest to the Earth. People of all ages, even those who are near a light-polluted city, will easily be able to pick out Jupiter among the sea of countless stars in the night sky due to its brightness.

Those who choose to zoom in on Jupiter with virtually any telescope will be able to witness its four largest moons: Europa, Ganymede, Io and Callisto. The moons of Jupiter orbit the planet so fast that people who look at the planet through a telescope for several nights in a row will see the moons in different positions. More powerful telescopes may also reveal the colorful bands of clouds in Jupiter's atmosphere as well as its famous Great Red Spot, which is a storm that has been churning for hundreds of years.

Despite Jupiter having 53 named moons, scientists have detected 79 moons in total. Known as Galilean satellites, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto are the four largest moons circling the Gas Giant. Observed for the first time by Galileo Galilei in 1610, they are named after him. A telescope or binoculars will show the Galilean satellites as bright dots during opposition.

For six years, NASA's Juno spacecraft has orbited Jupiter and studied its surface and moons. It took Juno five years to reach Jupiter after starting its journey in 2011. During the spacecraft's mission to Jupiter since 2016, it has provided data and images about Jupiter's energetic atmosphere, internal structures, internal magnetic field, and magnetosphere. Jupiter's study could yield breakthrough discoveries about how our solar system was formed, according to scientists. Juno's mission has been extended until 2025 or until the spacecraft's lifetime is over.

Here's Where And When To Watch NASA's Spacecraft Smashing Into An Asteroid

Dimorphos is a large asteroid that could cause serious damage if it strikes the planet.
Dimorphos is a large asteroid that could cause serious damage if it strikes the planet.

As per NASA, DART will impact the space rock at an approximate distance of 6.8 million miles from Earth. DART's speed of 15,000 miles per hour won't destroy Dimorphos but will give it a little nudge.

The public is invited to watch NASA's "Armageddon-like crash" into an asteroid live. One of the greatest threats to our planet, other than ourselves, is a massive space rock crashing into the surface. This happened 66 million years ago when a gigantic piece of rock from outer space collided with our planet. The result? A mass extinction that sealed the fate of the dinosaurs, causing them to go extinct.

Sadly for the dinos, they hadn't evolved to develop a space program. Luckily for us, we have. Asteroid collisions are frequent, but it's been over 65 million years since a catastrophic one hit Earth. Moreover, the popularity of the doomsday comedy "Don't Look Up" in 2021 has renewed interest in objects hurtling toward us. In case it ever happens, NASA will test out its plan to defend the planet. DART, or Double Asteroid Redirection Test, is scheduled to crash next month into Dimorphos, a smaller asteroid orbiting its larger companion Didymos. 

Although neither asteroid is heading toward Earth, NASA reports that Dimorphos is a large asteroid that could cause serious damage if it strikes the planet. Scientists and astronomers will receive "important data" on how Earth would react if a dangerous asteroid collided with the planet, regardless of the outcome of the mission. According to scientists, we are not under threat at the moment.

"We don't want to be in a situation where an asteroid is headed toward Earth and then have to be testing this kind of capability. We want to know about both how the spacecraft works and what the reaction will be by the asteroid to the impact before we ever get in a situation like that," Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer for NASA, said in November. What is the expected date of DART's impact with Dimorphos? For AUSTRALIAN readers it is expected that DART will finish its 10-month journey through space on Tuesday Sep. 27, 9:14 a.m. AEST

An observation spacecraft will be launched ten days before the collision to capture images. NASA TV and its website will broadcast the event live. It can also be viewed on their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. As per NASA, DART will impact the space rock at an approximate distance of 6.8 million miles from Earth. DART's speed of 15,000 miles per hour won't destroy Dimorphos but will give it a little nudge. That will alter the asteroid's orbit by approximately 1%, which would be enough to divert a potential Earth-bound asteroid from colliding with us.

How to watch NASA's DART coverage

NASA's DART spacecraft will collide with Dimorphos at 4:14 p.m. PT/7:14 p.m. ET on Monday, Sept. 26. Live coverage is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET via NASA TV.  Our YouTube channel, CNET Highlights, will have two streams. The main livestream and a feed from the spacecraft's DRACO camera. NASA notes that the feed will mostly be black once it switches on, but as the spacecraft approaches, the asteroid pair will come into view. It should be pretty thrilling.

Neptune and Its Rings Come Into Focus With Webb Telescope

Neptune with its rings and several of its moons clearly visible, as captured by the James Webb Space Telescope’s Near Infrared Camera.Credit...NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI
Neptune with its rings and several of its moons clearly visible, as captured by the James Webb Space Telescope’s Near Infrared Camera.Credit...NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

No spacecraft has visited Neptune since 1989, when the NASA probe Voyager 2 flew past on its way out of the solar system. Neptune, which is four times as wide as Earth, is the most distant planet of our solar system. Voyager 2's observations whetted the appetites of astronomers, who were eager to learn more about the ice giant. Now we've returned..... Sort of.

On Wednesday, the James Webb Space Telescope cast its powerful gold-plated eye onto this remote world. The power of this infrared machine, the largest and most advanced telescope ever sent to space, has provided some of our best views of Neptune in 30 years. "I have been waiting so long for these images of Neptune," said Heidi Hammel,a NASA interdisciplinary scientist for the Webb telescope. "I'm so happy that it has worked."

Ground-based observatories and the Hubble Space Telescope have taken many images of Neptune in the past three decades. But the Webb's views of Neptune, taken in July, provide an unprecedented glimpse at the planet in infrared light. It took just a few minutes for the telescope to image Neptune close up, and another 20 to take a wider view, revealing not just the planet but myriad galaxies behind it stretching into the cosmos. 

Most prominent in the telescope's view are Neptune's rings, seen encircling the planet at a slight tilt given its orientation to Earth. The Webb telescope will allow astronomers to measure the reflectivity of the rings, offering an unmatched insight into this remote spectacle. New images could reveal the size and composition of these thin bands, which are probably made of ice and other debris. "The ring system was absolutely mind-boggling to me," Dr. Hammel said. "I have not seen it in that level of detail since the Voyager encounter in 1989. It just pops right out."

Across the planet there are bright spots believed to be clouds of methane ice, a bit like cirrus clouds on Earth.  The Webb telescope's future observations could uncover how they form and what they are made of. Webb images also show seven of Neptune's 14 moons. The brightest is Triton, the planet's largest moon, which scientists suspect was captured by Neptune's gravity early in the solar system's history. 

These images of Neptune are just the latest in Webb's tour of the solar system. This week we were treated to the telescope's first glimpses of Mars, while over the summer we saw amazing views of Jupiter. Much more of our solar system will come under the observatory's roaming eye, including Saturn, Uranus and even remote icy objects beyond Neptune - such as the dwarf planet Pluto.

"It illustrates that we are an all-purpose observatory," said Mark McCaughrean, a Webb telescope scientist and a senior scientific adviser at the European Space Agency. "We can observe very bright things like Mars and Neptune, but also very faint things. Everybody now sees that it works."

Listen To The Sound Of Space Rocks Slamming Into Mars

NASA's Insight Lander reveals new data about Mars
NASA's Insight Lander reveals new data about Mars

The NASA InSight Lander has "heard" and detected the vibrations of four space rocks as they slammed into Mars over the past two years. It's the first time a mission has picked up both seismic and acoustic waves from an impact on Mars, and InSight's first detection of impacts since landing on the red planet in 2018.

Fortunately, InSight wasn't in the path of these meteoroids, the name for space rocks before they hit the ground. The impacts ranged from 53 to 180 miles (85 to 290 kilometers) away from the stationary lander's position in Mars' Elysium Planitia, a smooth plain that's just north of its equator.  LISTEN TO THE AUDIO . CLICK ON BAR BELOW

A meteoroid hit the Martian atmosphere on September 5, 2021, and then exploded into at least three shards, each one leaving behind a crater on the red planet's surface. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter then flew over the site to confirm where the meteoroid landed, spotting three darkened areas. The orbiter's color imager, the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera, took detailed close-ups of the craters.

The agency released a recording of a Martian meteoroid impact Monday. During the clip, listen for a very science fiction-sounding "bloop" three times as the space rock enters the atmosphere, explodes into pieces and hits the surface. The Martian atmosphere only has 1% of the thickness of Earth's atmosphere, meaning that more meteoroids zip through it without disintegrating.

A meteoroid impact formed these craters on Mars in September 2021.
A meteoroid impact formed these craters on Mars in September 2021.

During its time on Mars, InSight has used its seismometer to detect more than 1,300 marsquakes, which take place when the Martian subsurface cracks due to pressure and heat. The sensitive instrument can detect seismic waves that occur thousands of miles away from InSight's location -- but the September 2021 event is the first time scientists used the waves to confirm an impact. It's possible the noise of the Martian wind or seasonal changes that occur in the atmosphere hid the additional impacts . Now that researchers understand what an impact's seismic signature looks like, they expect to find more when they comb through InSight's data from the last four years.

Seismic waves are helping researchers unlock additional information about the interior of Mars because they change as they move through different material. The meteoroid impacts create quakes with a magnitude of 2.0 or less. So far, InSight's largest detected quake was a magnitude 5 event in May.

InSight's mission is coming to an end as dust builds up on its solar panels and reduces its power. Eventually, the spacecraft will shut down, but the team is unsure of when that will happen. The most recent readings have suggested it could shut down between this coming October and January 2023. Until then, the spacecraft still has a chance to add to its research portfolio and stunning collection of discoveries on Mars. 

Did Nostradamus Predict the Death of Queen Elizabeth II and Future Abdication of King Charles III?

Did Nostradamus really predict future events?
Did Nostradamus really predict future events?

Many experts who have studied claim that Nostradamus, a reputed seer who in 1555 published Les Prophéties, a collection of 942 poetic quatrains predicted the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and a future abdication by King Charles III. A collection of 942 poetic quatrains, was published in 1555 by Michel de Nostredame, who was more commonly known as Nostradamus. He was a French astrologer, apothecary, and physician, and a very reputed seer.

A shocking interpretation of the quatrains written by Nostradamus, a man who many authors claim predicted the future hundreds of years before it happened, reveals that King Charles III may only hold the throne for a very short period of time, with the suggestion that Prince Henry (Harry) may succeed him. A prediction written more than 500 years ago by Nostradamus is said to have accurately predicted Queen Elizabeth II's death in 2022, according to a writer who is known for interpreting Nostradamus' predictions and publishing a book more than fifteen years ago.

This excerpt is from Mario Reading’s 2005 book ‘Nostradamus: The Complete Prophecies for the Future
This excerpt is from Mario Reading’s 2005 book ‘Nostradamus: The Complete Prophecies for the Future

Nostradamus: The Complete Prophecies for the Future.  These 'predictions' really only gaine dprominence in 2005 in a book by Mario Reading, he interprets prophetic quatrains written by the French seer in the 1550s. Among the many interpretations, the book refers to future events, including Elon Musk's mission to Mars, which is apparently also predicted by Nostradamus, according to the author's son. Hmm, it's getting suspicions now isn't it?

Predictions of the future?

According to Mr. Reading Nostradamus' quatrains, or four-line rhymes, were number-indexed to correspond to dates. Several years ago, Mario said his interpretations of what Nostradamus wrote were also right about the 2015 Paris terror attacks. "There are some very eerily prescient quatrains," he said during a past interview. Nostradamus is also said to have correctly predicted King Charles I would be executed during the English Civil War by the Parliamentarian 'Roundheads' in 1649. Surprise, surprise... the beheading of Charles I took place in 1649.

A section of Mario's interpretation also seemed to have predicted the death of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022. In the same section, curiously, is a prediction of the future of King Charles III. Nostradamus quatrain 10/22 reads: "Because they disapproved of his divorce, A man who later they considered unworthy; The People will force out the King of the islands; A Man will replace who never expected to be king ."

As Mario explained, he contended that this quatrain predicts King Charles will abdicate due to "resentments held against him by a certain proportion of the British population, following his divorce from Diana, Princess of Wales" and the "the relentless attacks on him and his second wife." In the end, the book states that Prince Harry will become the next Monarch - a man who would never have thought he would become king. As opposed to his brother William, the new Prince of Wales.

A conclusion

And while this may seem like an astonishing thing, it is very difficult to prove anything. In fact, most of what Nostradamus has written is biased in the way that anyone can interpret the quatrains in any way and can write his interpretation so that it suits or resembles a specific event or time in history. And while all of the above really does seem interesting, it is hard to believe that he did indeed possess a strange way of observing future events before they had taken place. 

As I have said previously, and as skeptics argue, Nostradamus never had the ability to peer into the future and add that his entire book has been exploited in fallacious ways. Pragmatists and those who have analyzed Nostradamus agree that the prophecies written by him are nothing more than mere reinterpretations of events that were fittingly and accordingly adjusted to fit a specific historical event. Are we really to believe a man who lived centuries ago could see the future by peering into a fishbowl????

Chariots of the Frauds: Erich von Daniken Was A Fake

In 1960, two French authors who were interested in the occult, Nazis, UFOs, and H. P. Lovecraft put out a book called Morning of the Magicians in which they tried to show that Lovecraft's vision of ancient astronauts could be correlated to the "occult" truths of Theosophy and the UFO movement. Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels put together the entire case for ancient astronauts as we currently know it-from the claims about ancient atom bombs to the claims about "impossibly" precise and heavy stone architecture. Their book inspired several by Robert Charroux, who presented Bergier's and Pauwel's discursive, disorganized ideas in a more popular and readable format.

Von Daniken is a person of low moral character and little intellectual originality. In a nutshell, he's a clever crook. Sound harsh? He has the prison record to prove it. **In 1964, von Däniken simply appropriated this material wholesale for a magazine article, and on the strength of the magazine article, he received a book deal for what became Chariots of the Gods ...

  • He was Suspended from School for Theft. 
  • He got involved in a jewellery deal which resulted in his conviction. On returning to Switzerland, Erich von Däniken was convicted for nine months for fraud and embezzlement.
  • In November 1968, Erich got into trouble for fraud and falsifying records to take a $130K loan. He was arrested after intending to have a credit reference for the loan which could have been due for over twelve years. 
  • . Two years later, he was convicted for repeated and sustained embezzlement, fraud and forgery. He was to serve three years in jail and got fined 3,000 francs. 

Von Daniken in recent years has admitted he never visited the majority of countries he claimed and he also intimated he made up facts, or over embellished them to make the book more appealing to publishers! He FAKED it all! 

Catch superb Saturn at its best in 2022 before the rings start to close up!

The Solar System's most picturesque planet comes to opposition at 17h UT on 14 August (14/15, night of Sunday into Monday morning), when it lies at the vast distance of 1,324 million kilometres). It can be observed among the stars of the southern constellation of Capricornus for most of the night; when you watch its steady glow, consider that its reflected light from the Sun, travelling at an unimaginably fast 299,792 kilometres per second, has taken around 67 minutes to wing its way across interplanetary space to hit your eyeballs!

Saturn's opposition is eagerly awaited as it's one of the observing highlights of the year. In fact, Saturn is well placed throughout the remainder of August and into September and October, so if you're clouded out on Sunday night don't worry as there's ample other observing nights to come. Saturn is the planet that every casual stargazer or budding amateur astronomer wants to see through a telescope. Even a seasoned, seen-it-all sage never tires of grabbing a look at the most beautiful planet in the Solar System. 

It only takes one look at Saturn's majestic system of rings through a telescope and you're hooked. Nobody ever forgets the first time they see Saturn sail serenely into the field of view. Saturn comes to opposition on 14 August, when it can be found among the stars of Capricornus. A small telescope in the 80-90mm (~three-inch) class operating at 50x is all you'll need to see Saturn's two main rings, Rings A and B, as separate structures, to show the flatness (oblateness) of Saturn's globe (it's the most oblate or squat planet in the Solar System, more so than Jupiter) and to follow Titan, Saturn's giant moon, orbiting its parent.

Observing any astronomical body at an altitude of less than about 30 degrees increases the chance of enduring destructive seeing conditions. The closer to the horizon your chosen object lies, the more atmosphere or air you are looking through and the more your view deteriorates and the brightness of the object decreases. To give yourself the best chance of securing some decent views, an atmospheric dispersion filter is a very handy accessory to employ, as it will correct for atmospheric chromatic dispersion, which causes distracting red and blue fringing at Saturn's limbs, as Earth's atmosphere acts like a weak prism.

Saturn's classified as a gas giant planet with a diameter of 116,500 kilometres, 10 times that of Earth. Despite its huge volume and mass, it's a much smaller planet than mighty Jupiter and lies twice as far away. Saturn's globe appears 40 per cent as large as Jupiter's, spanning at best 18.8 arcseconds (increasing to about 42 arcseconds along the ring's major axis). Saturn is a much less active planet than Jupiter (though on occasion the odd white spot appears and storms can break out) and visually it doesn't offer anywhere near such obvious banding. Modern imagers however are able to coax out a surprising number of well-defined bands and its North Polar Hood.

Saturn's rings offer a changing aspect year-on-year. Since they were fully open (tilted by around 26 to 27 degrees towards us) in 2017 they have been closing up, with the planet's north pole now tilted towards us by almost 14 degrees. They will lie edge-on to our line of sight in 2025.


Many thanks to Peter and the crew at ASTRO ANARCHY Queensland. A New business with the amateur astronomer firmly in mind.  Astro Anarchy has the experience, the stock and the knowledge to set up the first timer, to assist in the development of our hobby for the experienced observer OR cater to any other size need or desire in the field of amateur astronomy. 

ATRO ANARCHY AS OUR SPONSOR: My business partner Peter Davies and I have set up a new Astro Tourism business focusing on the recently 'Dark Sky Town' accredited to Norfolk Island. We call it 'Norfolk Island STARGAZING'. When approached, Pete from Astro Anarchy had no hesitation in organizing and supplying all our Telescopes, Binoculars and associated gear to get started. Nothing was any trouble allowing us more than enough time to set up and become fully operational. He and he and his business come highly recommended for anyone wanting any astronomical gear in Australia.

Web: https://www.astroanarchy.com.au/    Sales: sales@astroanarchy.com.au   Phone: 0412 085 224

'Stargazing' - Astronomy Nights At Your Place

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