Story from NASA Orion EFT-1 Launch

The G+ Story created from my trip with +Lori Hibbett to see the NASA Orion EFT-1 launch last month.

If you'd like to see a launch tomorrow, NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive mission (SMAP) launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, is scheduled for 6:20 a.m. PST (9:20 a.m. EST) Friday, Jan. 30, with a three-minute launch window. The launch of the United Launch Alliance/Delta II rocket was scrubbed Thursday due to a violation of upper-level wind constraints. Launch managers have initiated a 24-hour recycle. The weather forecast for this launch window shows a 90 percent chance of favorable conditions. NASATV coverage will be available at this link:

#orionspacecraft #NASA #nasasocial #OrionEFT1

Massive Asteroid BL86 Approaches Earth

Here's a composite photo to go with the time-lapse video I posted this morning of mountain-sized Asteroid 2004 BL46 (357439) as it approached earth last night. Fortunately this pass was a near-miss, coming no closer than 3X the distance to the moon. That's still very close in terms of the vastness of space, and it'll be interesting to see how close it comes on its next lap 8000 years from now.

This still image was assembled from the first 60 images I captured, the video clips from 119 separate images of the sky. Click on my name to see all of my posts to see my post this morning with the video. I also posted photos and video of Comet Lovejoy in recent days.

The sequences of photos of the asteroid last night were taken with a full frame DSLR and 70-200 mm lens, on a star-tracking mount. The evening sky is becoming bright with the moonlight, so I lowered the they ISO sensitivity to 2000. I tried a second camera using an 85mm lens at f/2.2 without a tracking mount, but I probably won't get to that footage this week so see whether the asteroid shows up well.

#science #astronomy #news #astrophotography #537439


Massive Asteroid BL86 Approaches Earth

Mountain-sized asteroid BL86 (also known as 357439) came hurtling towards its near-miss with earth today, and I caught it on my camera. Here's the time-lapse video, both an edge to edge 16:9 crop at 200mm, then a second copy cropped to 1080p. Look in the center as it moves from lower right center to upper left center:

Both were assembled from 119 separate images of the sky, taken with a full frame DSLR and 70-200 mm lens, on a star-tracking mount. The evening sky is becoming bright with the moonlight, so I lowered the they ISO sensitivity to 2000. I tried a second camera using an 85mm lens at f/2.2 without a tracking mount, but I probably won't get to that footage this week so see whether the asteroid shows up well..

#science #news #astronomy #astrophotography #nightphotography

Comet Lovejoy Time-lapse Video (4 nights)

I captured Comet Lovejoy at 28 mm, 30 mm, 320 mm and 640 mm so far. See the resulting video here:

Four Nights With Comet Lovejoy
The news media has been abuzz regarding the recently discovered Comet Lovejoy in January, as it passed earth and brightened as it made its closest approach to the sun. Although it is being referred to as a “binocular comet”, best seen wi…

Comet Lovejoy: 2.5 Hours of Time-lapse Video, 640mm Focal Length

The video I threw together after shooting last night includes hours captured at 640 mm effective focal length. I can't wait to shoot the comet again tonight!

Blog post: #cometlovejoy #timelapsevideo #science #news #astrophotography

Comet Lovejoy Last Night

Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy has reached its maximum brightness. This is a photo of it last night, as seen under the dark skies of the Eastern Sierra. Knowing where to look (near the star cluster Pleiades) I was able to just make it out with my eyes, then find it with a 70-200 mm lens.

It showed up well in photos captured on a full frame DSLR with 16 – 35 mm lens at 30 mm focal length with no star tracking mount, but for the 200 mm shots I used a tracking mount so the stars wouldn't "drag" in the photo from the rotation of the earth.
#science #news #astronomy #astrophotography #photography


Ghost of a Wild West Day

Here's another image from the nice sunset we enjoyed in the "ghost town" of Bodie on Labor Day Weekend last year. We'll have several photography workshops in this authentic Wild West mining town again in 2015r:

To see more images from our visits to Bodie, here's an album containing over 250 photos:

+Bodie Photo Workshops #photographyworkshop #California #BodiePhotographyWorkshops


Comet Lovejoy, above and to the right of Orion

If you're familiar with the constellation Orion, shown in this picture, Comet Lovejoy (the blue-green fuzzy dot with faint white tail) can be found above and to the right of Orion over the next week or two. Comet Lovejoy will move up in the sky a bit more each night.

This photo of Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy was captured two nights ago facing the eastern horizon at 7:21 pm, January 7, 2014. It's a vertical crop from a landscape orientation shot captured at a wide 24 mm focal length.

Photograph Comet Lovejoy in January

#science #news #astronomy #astrophotography #nightphotography


Light Painting in Death Valley

It gets dark so early at this time of year, I decided to kill some time while in Stovepipe Wells last week…

Originally shared by +Death Valley Workshops

Under the Moonlight in Death Valley
Light painting an old fire engine in Death Valley, January 2015. For more night photography from Death Valley, see this album on G+:

#deathvalley #DeathValleyNationalPark #nightphotography


How is G+ Doing For You?

Are your posts getting seen? Do you see enough of the posts that your contacts make? How does the overall site feel?

See the comments in the original post for an interesting discussion.

Originally shared by +Tamara Pruessner

New Day's Hope

I have been doing a lot of thinking about how my main stream no longer shows everyone, or even a few and their newest posts, about how my own posts get increasingly smaller interaction, and how if my posts are doing that, then everyone's are. I think the algorithm that governs what we see and what others see of our own stuff has gotten too restrictive. And it frustrates me to no end – especially when I have 100 new posts in my stream and most are either 24 hours old, something I have already seen (and plussed or commented) or both. Fresh isn't happening anymore and it is FRUSTRATING.

I don't normally notify anyone of my posts but for this, I am (and I am not even sure how many will get the notification – over 3500 in my circles). What I am proposing is an experiment of sorts. To all of those that comment on this post, I will go to your stream and plus the heck out of you, comment as much as possible, and over the next week, share a few my favorite posts. Here is the catch – you have to share this post or something similar, calling your own circles to action.

Let's see if we can shake up the algorithm a bit. Let's see if we can take back control of our streams LIKE WE SHOULD HAVE. Let's see if our streams start showing our favorite people again. A week from now, I will make a new post so I can see if my stream has changed… hopefully, mine will and so will yours.

#ShakeUpTheStream #landscapephotography #landscape #Arizona #desert #sunrise



See Comet Lovejoy Tonight

Here's a quick test image from last night. You can just see the comet's tail to the left, but the nearly-full moon interfered. Tonight should be much better without the moon. I can't wait!
To find the comet in the sky, see also "Finding Lovejoy: How to Follow the Path of Comet 2014 Q2 Through January" by +Universe Today:

#science #news #breakingnews #astronomy #astrophotography


Via Magazine "Wonders of the West"

Help +AAA's Via Magazine pick great sights in the West, and you can enter to win $1500 for a trip, plus $400 credit at Hertz for your rental car. They ask you a few short questions, then ask for your nomination for a great sight in the West. What could epitomize the West better than a real Wild West ghost town, preserved in a state of "arested decay"?

To vote and enter the sweepstakes, go to their poll at, click on your votes for their 3-4 multiple choice questions, then write in Bodie State Historic Park at the end as a Wonder of the West!


New Years Eve Dust Storm

Shortly before sunset on New Years Eve in Death Valley National Park last week. For more of my Death Valley posts and photos, see my +Death Valley Workshops page on G+:
#deathvalleyphotography #deathvalleyphotoworkshop #deathvalleynationalpark