If you love “13 Minutes to the Moon”

13 Minutes to the Moon is a BBC podcast telling the story of the first Moon landing and all that led up to it and it’s gripping listening featuring recordings from the time, great music and great story telling.

However, if you want to dig deeper into the Apollo missions I would recommend the Omega Tau podcast episodes about the Apollo missions. I already blogged about them but it’s worth repeating since there’s probably a whole new audience that will want to hear more!

Episode 83 is an interview with W. David Woods about his book How Apollo Flew to the Moon:

… where he describes in great length all the detail a geek wants to know about how the Apollo spacecraft and the flights to the Moon worked. In the episode, we basically go through an Apollo mission and discuss aspects such as the mission structure, the workshare between the crew and mission control, communication and telemetry, guidance and navigation, approach, landing and re-launch on the Moon as well as re-entry and landing on earth.

In episode 97 he returned to talk about exploring the Moon!

This is the long-awaited follow-up to the first Apollo episode, once again with W. David Woods, author of How Apollo Flew to the Moon. In this episode we cover that part that we omitted in the first episode: the time on the moon. We talk about life support, the various scientific instruments and experiments as well as the technology and use of the lunar rover (about which David is actually writing another book).

If you’re really interested in the Apollo Guidance Computer you’ll love episode 167.

This episode is a mix between computer architecture, programming and (historic) space flight. We cover the ins and outs of the Apollo Guidance Computer. Our guest is Frank O’Brien, who wrote an incredibly detailed book about this machine. In the episode we cover the hardware architecture, the instruction set, the various layers (native, executive and interpreter) as well as some mission programs.

Follow those interviews up with episode 218, A Life in Apollo where Markus interviews George Knudsen about the Saturn 5 launch vehicle and Apollo.

George Knudsen started working in 1958 on the Redstone missile, and moved on to working on the Atlas ICBM. Later he worked on the Saturn 5 launch vehicle, where he was responsible for the fuel tanks. He was on the launch team at Cape Canaveral for various Apollo missions. In this episode with talk with George about his work in this fascinating period of science and engineering history.

The Omega Tau podcast has been going for many years and they have episodes on all sorts of engineering and scientific topics. For other episodes related to Apollo have a look at this search on his blog listing many more episodes.

Photography When-in-Ireland

The moon will be blood red tonight


A lunar eclipse is expected tonight at 10:44pm here in Ireland, all over Europe, Africa and elsewhere. I’ll be outside with my Canon 20D and 75-300 zoom so hopefully I’ll get a shot or two I can post here later. NASA has a great page on the eclipse which is where I got these two images.


I checked Astronomy Ireland too but unfortunately their site is basic and at a glance isn’t very informative. They definitely need a blog to update their events and provide more information. If one were cynical, you might think they want you to ring their premium rate numbers…

Never fear, the blogosphere came to the rescue. Daragh’s post on the subject has the times of the eclipse and how long it’ll last. I’m subbed to his blog, read that post this morning, and only thought seriously about the eclipse this evening, long after forgetting where I had come across it.. Thank you Darragh! Hope you enjoy the Blog Awards tonight!

Edit: I wrote a short post, how to photograph a lunar eclipse which might be useful to you if you’re out on this cold night. It’s getting foggy here in Blarney but I hope if clears up in the next hour!

9:46pm – a shadow can be seen at the bottom of the moon.2007-03-03_img_9802-m.jpg

Matt has some excellent shots of the eclipse:

(Matt – get off the phone! Jacinta just rang and the line is busy!)

More photos of the eclipse:

Photography When-in-Ireland

Lunar Eclipse Tonight!

I just heard on the radio, there’ll be a lunar eclipse tonight and it’s visible from Ireland! Unfortunately, the weather’s turned sour since the great weekend, but hopefully the clouds will clear!

PS. Here’s more about the March 3rd, 2007 eclipse, including some photos and facts and figures!