The mystery of the blob in one of the first images taken by one of Curiosity’s Hazcams has been solved. NASA officials first thought it might be dust on the lens or even a dust devil in the distance, but it now appears to be the impact plume from the sky crane when it crash landed shortly after gently delivering the rover to the surface. Mission controllers checked the direction the rover’s camera pointed and it lined up perfectly with the blast. Images made 45 minutes later show nothing on the horizon. Nabbing a picture like that by chance is akin to a hole in one.
Mars is still booking through the evening sky sky, making a variety of ever-changing triangles with Saturn and the star Spica over the past few weeks. On the 13th and 14th, the planet will slide between the two and start a new series of triangles when it comes out the other side heading east.
The changing scene is fun to watch. All you need is a clear view to the southwest during evening twilight.
The International Space Station (ISS) made a fine pass across the northern sky here in Duluth around 10:10 p.m. last night Aug. 1o, following an arc spanning from the Big Dipper through the polestar and beyond the W of Cassiopeia. To find out when the ISS passes over your house this weekend, click HERE and type in your zip code. Duluth, Minn. times are shown below.
While taking pictures I was lucky enough to spot half a dozen Perseid meteors Counts were good Friday night with up to 30 per hour being reported at various locations around the world. This bodes well for tonight when the shower reaches maximum between 11 p.m. and dawn.
While you’re watching Perseids you might also catch some sporadic or random meteors. My best this morning was a bright orange fireball that sliced across the northern sky while fragmenting into pieces. What a treat! Read up on when and how to watch the meteor show HERE.
Space station viewing times for the Duluth, Minn. region:
* Tonight August 11 starting at 9:16 p.m. Brilliant overhead pass. Second pass at 10:53 p.m. across the northern sky.
* Sunday night August 12 at 10 p.m. across the north
* Monday night August 13 at 9:06 p.m. and again at 10:43 p.m. in the northern sky