View of SpaceX Rocket Launch from Our Pond

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launch on May 22, 2012

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launch on May 22, 2012

The launch last night of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft was awesome!  Like many people here on the Space Coast, I set my alarm to get up in time for the launch at 3:44 am.  The night was warm, the crickets were chirping, and an owl was hooting in the distance.  When the rockets fired, the sky lit up like a sunrise.  This long exposure image was taken at our backyard pond, which is about 40 miles south of Kennedy Space Center.  Night launches are truly the best!

UPDATE:  On March 30, 2017, SpaceX successfully reused the Falcon rocket booster that had previously been launched and landed 9 minutes afterward on the “Of Course I Still Love You” platform on an offshore drone ship near Cape Canaveral, Florida.  This achievement is a technology breakthrough and milestone in space exploration!  

Kitt Peak Astronomy Experience

Eagle Nebula

Whirlpool Galaxy

Kitt Peak National Observatory (southwest of Tucson) offers an Advanced Observing Program to the public (http://www.noao.edu/outreach/aop/).  Guests spend the night working side-by-side with a resident astronomer to prepare digital pictures of the universe.  We worked with Flynn Haase to create these images of the Eagle Nebula and Whirlpool Galaxy.  The Eagle Nebula image was published in the book “Archaeoastronomy of the Southwest”.  I highly recommend this experience!

Lick Observatory, Mount Hamilton, California

Lick Observatory Domes

Lick Observatory 36 inch Telescope

Lick Observatory Old Photograph

Lick Observatory Seismograph of 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Lick Observatory Space Art on Display

Lick Observatory is located at the top of Mount Hamilton (south of San Francisco).  Lick was the first mountaintop observatory in the world in 1887.  All supplies (construction, food, telescopes, etc.) were carried up the mountain on the backs of burros.  The observatory was financed by James Lick, a wealthy San Franciscan who profited from the gold rush.  He is buried in the cement pier that supports one of the oldest telescopes.  On an ultra-clear day at Lick Observatory, the view is incredible:  the Pacific Ocean to the west; the snow-capped Sierra Mountains to the east; San Francisco to the north, and the Central Valley to the south.

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