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Today I came across something on the web that’s actually interesting. It’s on the website that I usually visit daily – I’ve linked to today’s archive so it can be found again. It’s about ‘Oumuamua.

The pretty pictures are of course artwork, and I’ve linked the one above to the BBC article it came from, as part of the story about this object. The latest paper suggests that the properties of this object are compatible with it being a piece of alien hardware – which is utterly fascinating!

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Noctilucent clouds

Travelling back from Toronto this morning there were some lovely noctilucent clouds (the white swirly ones) visible through the aircraft window. I’ve seen them before from the ground, but never as clearly as this. Photo taken with the little Nikon Coolpix A10, handheld 0.5s exposure. A nice end to a great trip to Toronto.

The final photo of Starman from Elon Musk / SpaceX. Sadly there won’t be comms at all in future close approaches to Earth (or anywhere). So … I’ll have to get cracking on my own project to receive signals from deep space craft.

starman in car

This was just amazing – I watched it live earlier today. There is also video taken from the first stage itself – haven’t found that extract yet. Fully automated control has come a long way since Apollo!

Here’s the full thing from pre-launch to landing of stage 1, and deployment of the spacecraft and its solar panels. The fun starts at about 13m30s, first stage landing at about 16m30s:

Great stuff.

Great to see live coverage of the Soyuz launch on terrestrial TV this morning; I have just watched the docking to the International Space Station live on Nasa TV – here’s a screen grab of the Soyuz craft (three astronauts on board!) taken on the first automated approach which had to be abandoned – the Soyuz craft was then docked manually. When I was young I found space exploration inspired me so much to go into science; I hope this does the same for youngsters today, with Tim Peake visiting the ISS. If we want to continue to move forward with science and technology, we must keep exploring at the frontier. Without this, we wouldn’t have our mobile phones, computers, Facebook and so on today. More and better science education please!

screen grab

The photo is a screen grab from NASA TV during the docking process.