Astronomy and Law

NASA has announced a new service to help people see the International Space Station (ISS) when it passes overhead. “Spot the Station” will send an email or text message to anyone that signs up for the service.  A message will be sent a few hours before the space station is visible.

When the space station is visible — typically at dawn and dusk — it is the brightest object in the night sky, other than the moon. On a clear night, the station is visible as a fast moving point of light, similar in size and brightness to the planet Venus. “Spot the Station” users will have the options to receive alerts about morning, evening or both types of sightings.

Sometimes, however, the ISS passes overhead during the day.


The International Space Station’s trajectory passes over more than 90 percent of Earth’s population. The service is designed to only…

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In Avondale, AZ, All Trails Lead To Sonic


My running problem resurfaced in Avondale, Arizona, over the New Year long weekend.  The morning after a late night playing darts in my cousin’s man cave, the bright desert sun shone through my bedroom window and I jumped out of bed, grabbed my running shoes, leashed my dog, Monty, and set off on an exploratory run.  Irrigation canals criss-crossed through the field adjacent to the neighborhood, which was still in transition from rural to urban.  Running a dirt trail alongside the larger of the canals, Monty noticed the goats and chickens corralled in people’s one-acre yards; I don’t think Monty had ever before seen either, and I marveled at the idea of hurrying home from working in a skyscraper in downtown Phoenix to milk your cow.  A large fish in the canal hurriedly swam away; and I later learned it was an algae-eater, farmed there to keep the canals free of algae.  When we cut through a dirt trail smack dab in the middle of the field, Monty took off at full speed and I completely understood why, the desert seemed endless there with field surrounding, no mountains, no clouds just this long eternal trail, and vast empty, gorgeous space, what else was there to do but run?  It was strange to come to the edge of the field and see a Sonic burger sitting there on a four-lane street.  After cutting through the cemetery, we discovered a great neighborhood that integrated the canals into the planning, each home had a small bridge constructed over the irrigation canal, allowing access to the home. I showed Monty the ducks that swam in those canals, he had never before seen a duck either, and quickly learned how exciting it was to make them fly, we chased them for blocks.  We ran six miles  and lamentably missed out on the morning preparations for supper; this year there was no meat-centered meal for New Year’s, instead, we decided to make Vietnamese Pho, a health-conscious choice for those relatives with diabetes and/or high-cholesterol.  Like Chinese food, Pho fills you up, but, the hunger sets in again in no time, so it wasn’t long after supper when we ended up at the Sonic across from the field ordering fried fat.

Space Tourism Soon To Be A Reality?

Astronomy and Law

A British space-exploration company has revealed its aim to fly the public to the moon from 2015 – providing you have £100m for a ticket.Isle of Man-based Excalibur Almaz owns a fleet of six proven aircraft that it wishes to use for crewed space missions to the moon and beyond.

In an address at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, Excalibur Almaz’s founder and chief executive officer, Art Dula, outlined the business case that underpins the project, which is based on independent research by the Futron Corporation on the economics of commercial space voyages and lunar missions.

“The lunar mission costs about $150m (£96m) a seat for the first mission”, Dula told The Engineer. “I expect prices will decline after this”.

The company intends to use a combined spacecraft – comprising an “Almaz” capsule and a “Salyut-class” spacecraft — as a transportation system to the moon, asteroids and deep space.

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