Like many kids his age, 4-year-old Lucas Whiteley is fascinated about space and astronauts and has a lot of questions to ask. Unlike most kids, though, Lucas got his answers directly from a NASA engineer, with a custom-made video no less!
Astrophotographer Terry Hancock has been working on this for several weeks and the results are fabulous. This panoramic view of the Orion region includes two of the most recognizable objects in this constellation — the Orion Nebula and the Horsehead Nebula. It also takes a look at the three bright stars of Orion’s belt Alnitak (to the left of the image), Alnilam and Mintaka. Additionally, it shows part of the Orion molecular cloud.
More info on this image from Terry:
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The action starts today around 4:30 p.m. EDT (8:30 p.m. UTC) with the hatch closure ceremony, which you can watch in the video, with landing expected at 11:24 p.m. EDT (3:24 a.m. UTC). We have full details of the schedule below the jump.
There’s a lot you can learn by just staring at an object, watching how it changes in brightness. This is the technique of photometry, and it has helped astronomers discover variable stars, extrasolar planets, minor planets, supernovae, and much more.?