Happy Valentine’s Day from Space

Even space loves a  little love or more like we love a little Pareodolia.
-The Heart Nebula is located 7500 light years from Earth.  It is located the Perseus Arm of the Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia.
Astronaut Bellini
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February 2013

Ahhh Welcome Back February.  Welcome back cold days, colder nights, fear of snow storms and black ice. At least we only have 28 days of you until we can start dreaming of Spring again.  Welcome back The Walking Dead, I have missed you more than you know. Brazilian Carnival will make its yearly appearance from Feb. 8th to 12th followed by the amazing Mardi Gras.  For you sports fan, two words…SUPER BOWL.  All the lovers who follow us, enjoy Valentines Day and for our religious friends, remember it’s time for Lent.  February birthed the likes of Babe Ruth, Charles Dickens, Good Ole Abe Lincoln, GALILEO and yours truly.  Mercury will peek out from the glare of the Sun this month with its best viewing day on the 16th.   On the 15th, asteroid 2012DA14 will wiz by Earth it an uneasy distance of only 21,200 miles away.  And my all time favorite thing in the whole world returns to awe and amaze me this month, SATURN.  Dear February, I wish you weren’t so cold but I’ll take it since you seem to pack a punch this year.

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Astronaut Bellini

Wanted: Mars Colonists

Um…excuse me, what did you just say?!    According to space.com “The Netherlands-based nonprofit Mars One, which hopes to put the first boots on the Red Planet in 2023, released its basic astronaut requirements today (Jan. 8), setting the stage for a televised global selection process that will begin later this year”

I  just read those requirements.  I got this.

For example:

Are your thought processes persistent?  Why yes, I’m always thinking.

Do you have a “Can do!” attitude?  Duh, I ooze “Can do!” attitude all over the place.

Are you flexible in how an issue / problem / situation is approached?  Please, no one is quite as flexible to all life throws in their way quite like this girl.

Like I said, I got this.

The 1st Steps:

1. Apply Online

2. Write a motivational letter

3. Provide a Resume

4. Make a One Minute Video answering some questions about why I should be one of the first people to set foot on Mars.

5. Wait to move on to Round two…and Round 2, 3 and 4 are awesome, brutal and most importantly, exciting.

At least Mars One doesn’t have that stupid height restriction for  astronauts like NASA, a.k.a The Dream Crushers, do.

I’m on the mailer to be informed when the applications are available online.  Be ready FMT, you’re coming along for this ride.  You can go ahead and start calling me Astronaut Bellini from here on out, this is a done deal.

P.S. Lucky Little Chef, you’re in charge of the one minute video set design. Start Pinning away.  I wonder if they would appreciate me wearing these in it the video…hmm

Astronaut Bellini

50 Reminders of Just How Small We Truly Are

2012 was a great year for Astronomy.  Not only did we get the chance to view one of the rarest celestial events, The Transit of Venus but that hot guy Felix Baumgartner jumped from the stratosphere (talk about a nerve racking three hours for me).  And of course my favorite little rover Curiosity landed safely on the surface of Mars due to the amazing people at JPL(and more importantly that other hot guy Bobak Ferdowsi).  Thanks Space for being kind of awesome in 2012.  Enjoy!

Bellini

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another – Plato

A Year in Astronomy

I received my telescope on March 10, 2012.  I remember the enormous box being carried into the house when the kind UPS man realized the box was larger than I am.  I remember the moment of pure panic when opening the box and realizing maybe I purchased something far to big for me to handle.  But then I took it out, aimed to the night sky and saw the Moon.  It took my breath away, made me teary eyed and changed everything.  Nothing has ever been the same since, all it took was one hit and I was in hooked.  Here is a list of my personal adventures and observations in 2012 as an astronomy junkie.

The Telescope

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Saturn

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The Moon

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Andromeda (our nearest neighbor galaxy, not personal picture)

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Globular Cluster, beyond stunning (not personal picture)

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Jupiter

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The Carbon Star (not personal picture)

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The Double Star (not personal picture)

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The Milky Way Arm Bands (not personal picture)

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The Astronaut

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Shooting Stars (not personal picture)

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The ISS Flyby, with The Astronaut in it:) (not personal picture)

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Venus (clearly not a personal picture)

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Mars (clearly not a personal picture)

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Thank you George with your 20,000 dollar scope and endless patience at Cherry Springs State Park who was willing to show me about 50% of the items on the above list.  You took what would have been a night of fumbling in 30 degree weather in August to a night of discovery and renewed desire.  Thank you Jason for driving me all over Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia in hopes of catching just a glimpse of Saturn.  Thank you to the Ladies of FMT who have to listen to me ramble about space, point out the Planets in the night sky and who love me despite my overall nerdiness.  Just wait to the astronomy camera comes in.  I can not wait to see what 2013 has in store for my wide eyed curiosity!

– Bellini

Planet Earth

I spend so much time in astronomy peering through tiny lenses to look far away planets, distant galaxies and scanning the night sky for what star I would visit if I could.  My head is always in the clouds, itching to see Jupiter and dreaming of living of Mars.  I often forget about Earth and how incredibly stunning it is.  I’m to quick to answer that Saturn is our Solar System’s prize possession when in reality it’s the ground we stand on.  Sometimes you have to take one big step away (<–Video!) to see all the beauty that surrounds you.

Bellini

The Day I Meet The Astronaut

I’m sure this will come as a shock to our fellow readers but I have a slight affection for Space.  The amount of time I spend thinking about Space borders on the slightly obsessive and about 50% of Space.com’s internet traffic comes from this girl right here.  There’s always something new to see, always something shocking to read and always something that gets my imagination running wild and wishing for the impossible to become possible. It reminds me of childhood when the world was laid out before us, anything was possible and as long as we worked hard enough we could all be doctors, lawyers, princesses and astronauts.  It’s the last great childhood hope that has stayed with me, going to the great unknown of Space.  Like people put singers and actors on a pedestal, I hold the great minds of our Space industry on one.  They are living embodiments of genius and childhood dreams come true.  They are proof that maybe the human race may make despite our ever-increasing odds.

Like normal, I was fumbling around on NASA’s website (probably stalking Mar’s Curiosity) when I came across something called a NASA Social.  In an effort to connect with the public, NASA provides get-togethers aimed towards its social media followers.  NASA doesn’t hold out on its followers either.  In nerd world, they offer pretty amazing opportunities for few lucky people, like the ability to watch Curiosity blast off from Earth.  Despite our blog, despite the fact that I now have two Facebook pages and a Twitter FMT page, I’m not a social media wizard nor was I very active until FMT came along.  Even though the odds were against me, I figured the next DC Area social I would apply and I didn’t have to wait very long.  What little prize was NASA offering it’s eager followers…MEETING ASTRONAUT JOE ACABA!  This is like dangling Georgetown Cupcakes or Justin Timberlake in Poinsettia’s face. On September 17th, Joe Acaba returned from the International Space Station after spending 4 months staring down on Earth from Space.  Somehow, I actually won a spot.  One spot out of about 75.  I can not do my experience justice.  On Dec 4th at NASA headquarters, I got to hear what it is like float around in micro gravity (you are very nimble), eat (watch your food or it will float away), sleep ( zip yourself in), play and work in Space.  These memories will stay with me forever.  Joe ( yes, I now call him Joe) use to teach middle school in Florida and when he spoke to the children of the group, you got a hint of what an amazing and inspirational teacher he must have been.  Strip away the astonishment of all he has accomplished, he has remained a truly humble and appreciative man.

Thank you NASA for continuing to inspire the young and the young at heart. Thank you for giving us a group of men and women who are fearless, the best of the best and sending them into Space so people like me have a chance to live out our dreams.  Thank you Joe Acaba for being more than I had hoped you would be and for showing me that anything is possible.

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Bellini