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Dark Skies Update – July 2024

Dr. M. Charlton
By Dr. M. Charlton

Well, quite a bit has been happening in the Astronomical and exploratory world but not much caps a piece of the ISS coming through your roof. Reports Josh Dine.

Florida family files claim with NASA after ISS space junk crashes into home

The falling space junk crashed through two floors of their house.

A white rectangular structure falls to Earth. (Image credit: NASA/Mike Hopkins)

The growing problem of space debris isn’t just one that plagues Earth’s orbit. Several instances of space trash crashing back down to Earth have made recent headlines, and one family is requesting that NASA pay for the damages. The space agency has a claim on its hands after a chunk of space junk crashed through Alejandro Otero’s seaside home in Naples, Florida. The incident occurred on March 8, as debris tore through the roof and two floors of his family home, nearly hitting his son, Otero said in a now-deleted post on X.

NASA has since confirmed the debris came from a 2.9-ton pallet of used batteries jettisoned from the International Space Station in March of 2021; the structure was expected to burn up completely in Earth’s atmosphere. Otero speculated as much in posts online following the incident, and voiced his expectation that the responsible parties be held accountable. “[The Otero family is] grateful that no one sustained physical injuries from this incident, but a ‘near miss’ situation such as this could have been catastrophic,” said Mica Nguyen of Worthy’s legal. In the letter, Worthy’s points out that, under the Space Liability Convention, NASA would be liable had the debris caused damage in another country, and thinks that policy should apply within the United States as well. “We have asked NASA not to apply a different standard towards U.S. citizens or residents, but instead to take care of the Oteros and make them whole,” Worthy said.

The incident has the potential to set a precedent for governments and private space companies in terms of how compensation could be handled for victims of similar incidents in the future. Though their damage was less severe than that caused at the Otero home, several other reports of crashing space debris have occurred in the past year as well, including portions of a SpaceX Dragon trunk found in Canada and North Carolina, and a piece of an Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) rocket landing on a beach in Australia.

So what might we see in July because we are unlikely to have space junk in our garden thankfully!

July – all month is a good time to see noctilucent clouds – mentioned last month.

Photo by

For those up very early 03.00ish(?) you will be able to see the following array of stars and planets. From the start of the month but best mid month

During the month of July – 5th – the earth is at its farthest point in its orbit away from the sun – known as aphelion.

Meteor showers in July are probably best seen mid-month – the a- Capricornids in the constellation area of Capricorn followed by the Perseid show in later July.

To conclude there was a successful conclusion to the Chinese mission to the far side of the moon to collect samples.

Chinas Chang’e 6 successfully landed in Mongolia with rock and dust samples