Now that I am working in the space products group at Analog Devices I pay much more close attention to various events occurring that are related to space and its exploration. We are now just a few short weeks into 2018 and we have already had some very cool events some of which are pretty historic.
To start off 2018 on January 1st we had a full super moon. If you do not know a super moon is termed as such because it is closer to Earth and appears brighter than usual in the night sky. Since this particular one was the first full moon of the year it is often termed the Full Wolf Moon which is a term that goes back to Native Americans since they would often hear howling wolves outside their villages in the month of January. This was not necessarily a historic event but turned out to be a precursor for some cool things to come. Only one day into 2018 and we had the first full moon and it was a super moon...pretty cool!
At the end of January we had the Super Blue Blood Moon with a lunar eclipse...now that is a mouthful! Talk about the stars (ahem moon) lining up! This was quite an historic event to have a super moon that was also a blue moon (second full moon in a month) and on top of that a lunar eclipse! What a nice cherry on top! Take a look at a screenshot I grabbed from NASA's live stream of the event. What a beautiful site to behold!
If you were up early enough on January 31st I hope you were able to catch this event on the live feed. It wasn't terribly early on the east coast (start time was about 6:50AM) but was quite early for the west coast folks (that's 3:50AM). The best view was from the west coast and thankfully NASA had the live stream for folks like myself who did not have a great view locally.If you missed the whole event, don't worry, you can watch a nifty time lapse from Griffith Observatory here: Super Blue Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse Time Lapse.
There will also be another lunar eclipse in late July of 2018. It won't be lined up with a super moon or a blue moon however, but is still very neat to behold.
Next up we had an historic rocket launch when SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy on February 6th. The rocket is the most powerful operation rocket by a factor of two. That is pretty amazing in itself. The plan was for the Falcon Heavy to launch, send its two secondary boosters back to Earth landing them two platforms, subsequently send its main booster back to Earth landing it on a mobile platform in the ocean, and ultimately send "Starman" out in an orbit that would take it around Mars. Starman is a SpaceX space suit riding in a Tesla, how is that for cool??? You can see more about the plan via the animation at www.spacex.com/webcast.
You can also see the video of Starman riding in his Tesla through space at the same link on the SpaceX website.
Finally, if you want to see the real thing you can also see that. The video is quite long so plan ahead, but it is really neat to watch. I won't spoil the outcome for you so you'll have to go check out the video to see if SpaceX was completely successful with the launch. I will say that you won't be disappointed!
There are many other neat space events to see coming up in 2018. For a pretty good list of events you can go to the calendar provided by www.space.com over at Space Calendar 2018 - Rocket Launches & Night Sky Events.
Another neat place to find a list of must-see events in 2018 is here: Top 8 Must-See Sky Events for 2018.
I'd encourage you to take a space odyssey in 2018 and see all the cool events occurring in the sky overhead. Take a break from looking down at your computer all the time and look up and be mesmerized by the incredible sights to behold in the skies above us!