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Viking 1 +40

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Viking 1 landing on Mars, here’s a mosaic I’ve made from hot-off-the-press images taken by the Curiosity rover, exploring Gusev Crater on the Red Planet…


I was hoping/expecting we’d be watching astronauts bounding across this landscape by this anniversary, but sadly we seem as far away from that as were were back in 1976…

UPDATE: another couple of mosaics here…




Mars rocks…

Yes. Yes, it does, and every day the rovers Opportunity and Curiosity prove it with the gorgeous images they send back. Here are some panoramas I’ve made out of the most recent ones. First, a view from Opportunity, currently wrapping up her exploration of Marathon Valley high up on the ancient rim of Endeavour Crater…


Next, a mosaic showing the view Curiosity is currently enjoying at Gale Crater…


And finally, here’s a hot-off-the-press mosaic showing some of the rocks around Curiosity…


When I saw that my eyes were immediately drawn to one of the “rocks” down near the bottom of the image… Hmmm…. is that a meteorite..? It looks rather shiny in places…



Hmmmm… that really does look like a meteorite to me… I’ll ask a few people on Twitter and Facebook and see what they think….

NLC Display – finally!

In the early hours of this morning, after shaking our fists at the sky in frustration since the start of June,  we were FINALLY treated to a vivid display of NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS (“NLC”). The display began about midnight, with just a few puffs of pale NLC very low on the NE horizon…


…and when you see that you have a choice to make – stay out longer, or go home having just seen that – because you know it’s either going to just fade away, or drop down behind the horizon, or blossom into something impressive. I chose to stay, and was glad I did, because the display grew higher, broader and brighter, and by 01.30 was pretty impressive. By 02.00 it was a very obvious sight to the naked eye, and NLC were still glowing in the predawn sky at 03.00 when I finally called it a night (or a morning, seeing as the birds were singing…!)

Here are my best pics… click on them to enlarge them…

NLC July 5-6 2016 bsh

NLC July 5-6 2016 c sh

NLC July 5-6 river dawn b sh


pano31 3am







Castle view…


A Midnight Planetary Trio…

Went up to Kendal Castle at around half eleven last night, hunting noctilucent clouds. Did everything right, remembered the right tripod this time, camera battery was fully charged and memory card cleaned up, and with a lovely clear sky to the north in front of me, and the castle wonderfully free of the mass of drunk, drugged-up chavs which have been infesting it recently, so I was hopeful…

Nothing. NOTHING. Not even a hint of a wisp of NLC. And with no work today too, typical.

So far I’m not enjoying the 2016 NLC Season at ALL…

But it wasn’t a wasted trip, because I got some half-decent pictures of other things. Click on them to enlarge (some of) them…








See those three planets labelled on the bottom picture? There are space-probes either orbiting, heading for or driving around all of them. How cool is that?🙂


I found a couple of previously-unseen close-up images of Pluto’s surface in last week’s NEW HORIZONS release, so cleaned them up, stitched the together, and this came out… amazing detail on the surface, and incredible to think that barely a year ago our best views of Pluto showed just a mottled ball…



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