Casual Astronomy, Spaceflight News and Lower California Weather

The Future of NASA  (see comments 138-141)                    1st Humans on the Moon  (see comment 119)     

By: LowerCal, 4:06 PM GMT on June 28, 2010

CURRENT MOON

moon phases

CURRENT PLANETS
• Very bright & golden Mercury low WNW after sunset (use binoculars), sets at dusk
• Brilliant white Venus west after sunset, sets WNW late evening
• Bright & reddish Mars WSW at dusk, sets west late evening
• Bright & yellowish Saturn WSW at dusk, sets west before midnight
• Brilliant off-white Jupiter rises east before midnight, SSE at dawn


Scroll past the links below to find special events for current and future dates.
Scroll farther to find past events.


***** Links *****

Today - SpaceWeather.com
also EarthSky,
365 Days of Astronomy
& Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
This Week - SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
also Jack Horkheimer - Star Gazer, Current Scripts
& This Week In Space on YouTube
This Month - SkyandTelescope.com - Sky Tour Podcasts
also HubbleSite - Tonight's Sky: Your guide to constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and events
Anytime - Stellarium (free planetarium for your computer)
also Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart (online planetarium)

Visible Satellites:
Simplest - Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com
More satellites and more info - Heavens-Above.com.

Launches:
Spaceflight Now - Worldwide Launch Schedule,
Vandenberg AFB Launch Schedule &
Wallops Flight Facility Launch Webcast & Blog
Reentries - Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies - Upcoming & Recent Reentries

Live Aurora Cams:
Kiruna, Sweden &
Sodankyla, Finland


Most events described below can be viewed with your eyes alone.
Occasionally simple binoculars will improve the view and that will be noted.


***** Current & Future Events *****

○ Full Moon

WunderPhoto: moonrise over the mountains by got2dogs Friday June 25, 2010
Exact at
July 26
0136 GMT
July 25
9:36pm EST
6:36pm PST.

Rises near sunset and sets near sunrise. At those times the Moon may seem huge (the Moon illusion) and unusually colored. The yellow/orange/red appearance of the Moon at the horizon is at least partly for the same reason the sky appears blue!




Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy

The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows. (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


Mercury Meets Regulus

July 27, after Sunset
Low in the western sky about half an hour after sunset the very bright and golden planet Mercury will be very close to the bright and blueish star Regulus. Binoculars may be necessary to spot Regulus and will make sightings of both objects easier.


Lunar Apogee (Greek apo, away from + Greek Gaia, Earth)

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

Exact at
July 28
2351 GMT
7:51pm EDT
4:51pm PDT.

The Moon is at its farthest distance in its non circular orbit around Earth. The Moon is about 12% farther than at its closest distance (perigee - Greek peri, near + Greek Gaia, Earth) and the Moon's gravitational influence on Earth and its oceans is about 20% less (due to the inverse square law).


Mars Passes Saturn

July 29-31
These evenings the the bright and reddish planet Mars passes the bright and yellowish planet Saturn.


Moon Rides with Jupiter

July 30-31, Early Morning through Dawn
These mornnings the Moon will travel with the brilliant off-white planet Jupiter.


Events earlier than those listed below will be found in previous blog entries.

***** Past Events *****

Vandenberg Minuteman III Launch

Image credit: USAF

Mission: Unarmed ballistic missile test
Target: Near the Kwajalein Atoll
Launch Vehicle: Minuteman III
Launch from Vandenberg AFB, California
June 30
time to be determined
3:01-09:01am PDT


Lunar Apogee (Greek apo, away from + Greek Gaia, Earth)

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

Exact at
July 1
1013 GMT
6:13am EDT
3:13am PDT.

The Moon is at its farthest distance in its non circular orbit around Earth. The Moon is about 12% farther than at its closest distance (perigee - Greek peri, near + Greek Gaia, Earth) and the Moon's gravitational influence on Earth and its oceans is about 20% less (due to the inverse square law).


Resupply Mission to the International Space Station (ISS) + Double Spacecraft Flyovers

Image credit: NASA

Mission: Flight 38P to ISS (cargo/resupply)
Spacecraft: Progress M-06M
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U
Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
June 30
8:35pm AQTT (Aqtobe Time, local time)
1535 GMT
11:35am EDT
8:35am PDT.

Docking with ISS
July 2
8:58pm MSD (Moscow Summer Time)
1658 GMT
12:58pm EDT
9:58am PDT.

See comments 17-19 & 22.

Launch status updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

Live coverage of the docking will be on NASA TV - see the NASA TV Schedule.


WunderPhoto: SPACECRAFT by Westerberg Wednesday June 20, 2007

Between launch and docking with the ISS it may be possible to sight both craft in the sky at the same time.

Check satellite pass predictions at
Heavens-Above
or try the simpler tool at
Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.


Moon Rides with Jupiter

July 3, Early Morning through Dawn
This mornning the Moon will appear with the brilliant off-white planet Jupiter.


Aphelion Day (Greek apo, away from + Greek Helios, Sun)

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

July 6
~1200 GMT
~8AM EDT
~5AM PDT.

Along it's not quite circular orbit Earth is at it's farthest distance from the Sun. Earth is 3.4% farther than it's closest to the Sun (perihelion: New Latin peri, near + Greek Helios, Sun) and receives 6.9% less radiation and gravitation from the Sun (due to the inverse square law). From now until January 3, 2011 (perihelion) Earth will be moving closer to the Sun.

For the Northern Hemisphere less solar radiation in the summer and more in the winter makes the Northern Hemisphere's climate more moderate than it would otherwise be. However the Southern Hemisphere has more moderate climates than the at corresponding latitudes (except for Antarctica)! Why is this? The Northern Hemisphere has twice as much land surface as the Southern Hemisphere. The Northern Hemisphere is 40% land versus 20% land for the Southern Hemisphere. Land both heats up and cools down faster than water.



Image credit: Sean Baker


Thin Moon Passes (Over) the Seven Sisters

WunderPhoto: Moon in Pleiades, April 8, 2008 by hadrianus

July 8, before Dawn
This morning a thin crescent moon will pass near the Pleiades star cluster (The Seven Sisters). Six or seven of the stars in this cluster can be seen with the naked eye. Many more can be seen through simple binoculars.

For parts of the the South Atlantic and SE Brazil the Moon will pass over some of the stars in the Pleiades cluster.

Maps and time tables for the disappearance & reappearance of the brightest stars at some cities can be found here with a DATE-TIME of "08 Jul 10". The star names can be found in the chart below.


Image credit: NASA, ESA and AURA/Caltech


Thin Crescent Rides the Bull

July 9, before Dawn
This mornning the thin crescent moon will appear to the left of the bright and orange star Aldeberan. Alderberan is the brightest star and glaring right eye of the constellation Taurus the Bull. With binoculars you can easily see the "V" shaped pattern of stars that forms the rest of the face of the bull. This collection of stars is known as the Hyades star cluster.


Venus 1° from Regulus

July 9-10, after Dusk
In the western sky brilliant white planet Venus appears about 1° (less than a finger width) from bright and blueish star Regulus.


Total Solar Eclipse

Image credit: Luc Viatour


Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA's GSFC
Interpretation of this map.

The following times are for somewhere on Earth. Times for specific locations will be within these ranges.
July 11
1709 GMT - start of partial eclipses
1815 GMT - start of total eclipses
2052 GMT - end of total eclipses
2157 GMT - end of partial eclipses

Solar and lunar eclipses require a near perfect alignment of the Sun, Earth and Moon. During lunar eclipses the Earth is between the Sun and Moon. During solar eclipses the Moon is between the Sun and Earth. When one of these alignments is nearly perfect it frequently happens that half a lunar orbit later (about 15 days) the other alignment is nearly perfect too. And so it is that the partial lunar eclipse of June 22 is followed by a total solar eclipse this day.

The solar eclipse will progress west to east from sunrise to sunset across the South Pacific to southeast South America. Totality will be visible from some South Pacific islands and near the southern tip of South America. Use the links below for more detailed information.

Animations for the entire eclipse area and closeups of South America are at
Total Eclipse of the Sun on July 11, 2010 animated.

General, detailed and highly detailed eclipse maps with time marks,
an interactive (clickable) map,
weather maps,
and other useful maps and tables are at
NASA - Total Solar Eclipse of 2010 July 11.

You can watch the progress of the Moon's shadow across the Earth surface on weather satellite imagery and even use the images to make an animation as I did below


Shadow of 2009-01-26 Annular Solar Eclipse by LowerCal

and as in Dr. Rob Carver's blog entry Satellite images of the 2009 total solar eclipse (Lots of images).


Dark Moon (a.k.a. astronomical new moon)

Exact at
July 11
1940 GMT
3:40pm EDT
12:40pm PDT.

Lower and thinner morning crescent moons the week before. Higher and thicker evening crescent moons the week after.




Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy

The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows. (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


Thin Crescent near Mercury

July 12, after Sunset
Low in the western sky soon after sunset if you can spot the thin crescent of the new moon (refer to the following section) the very bright and golden planet Mercury will be nearby to the right. Binoculars will make sightings of both objects easier.


) Thinnest Evening Crescent Moon (the original meaning of "new moon")

WunderPhoto: Brand New Moon by Ohlen Wednesday June 4, 2008

July 12 or 13, after Sunset
Look low in the western sky soon after sunset. Binoculars can help you spot it sooner.

Earliest and thinnest sightings of the new moon may be possible in Africa on July 12. Progressively later sightings may be possible from South & Central America, most of the United States and the Eastern Pacific on July 12. Nearly all the rest of the world may be able to see the new moon July 13.

See the visibility maps at Moonsighting.com.


Lunar Perigee (Greek peri, near + Greek Gaia, Earth)

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

Exact at
July 13
1122 GMT
7:22am EDT
4:22am PDT.

The Moon is at its closest distance in its non circular orbit around Earth. The Moon is about 10.5% closer than at its farthest distance (apogee - Greek apo, away from + Greek Gaia, Earth) and the Moon's gravitational influence on Earth and its oceans is about 25% greater (due to the inverse square law).


Thin Crescent near Venus (& Regulus)

July 14, after Sunset
In the western sky soon after sunset a thin crescent moon appears to the left of the brilliant white planet Venus. Later as the sky darkens the bright and blueish star Regulus will appear an equal distance to the right of Venus. Regulus can be sighted sooner with binoculars.


Moon Rides with Mars & Saturn

July 15
This evening the Moon travels with the bright and reddish planet Mars and the bright and yellowish planet Saturn. Mars and Saturn can be sighted sooner with binoculars.


Moon Rides with Spica

July 17
This evening the Moon will travel with the bright & blueish star Spica. Spica is the brightest star of the constellation Virgo the Virgin. Spica can be sighted before dark with binoculars.


◐ First Quarter Moon

Exact at
July 18
1010 GMT
6:10am EDT
3:10am PDT.

Rises near noon and sets near midnight. Evening crescent moons for a week before. Each one thicker and higher above the western horizon.




Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy

The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are at right angles resulting in weaker tides - lower highs, higher lows and slower flows. (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


Moon Rides the Scorpion

July 20-21
The Moon travels tonight's sky with the bright and reddish star Antares. Antares is the brightest star and beating heart of the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion.


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Updated: 11:44 PM GMT on July 23, 2010

Permalink

* Worldwide Visible ISS Flyovers  (see comment 109 & blog entry)

By: LowerCal, 7:05 PM GMT on June 05, 2010

CURRENT MOON

moon phases

CURRENT PLANETS
• Brilliant white Venus west after sunset, sets WNW late evening
• Bright & reddish Mars WSW at dusk (upper left of the Bright & Blueish star Regulus), sets west near midnight
• Bright & yellowish Saturn SW at Dusk, sets west after midnight
• Brilliant off-white Jupiter rises east after midnight (near dim blue-green Uranus [use binoculars]), SE at dawn


Scroll past the links below to find special events for current and future dates.
Scroll farther to find past events.


***** Links *****

Today - SpaceWeather.com
also EarthSky,
365 Days of Astronomy
& Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
This Week - SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
also Jack Horkheimer - Star Gazer, Current Scripts
& This Week In Space on YouTube
This Month - SkyandTelescope.com - Sky Tour Podcasts
also HubbleSite - Tonight's Sky: Your guide to constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and events
Anytime - Stellarium (free planetarium for your computer)
also Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart (online planetarium)

Visible Satellites:
Simplest - Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com
More satellites and more info - Heavens-Above.com.

Launches:
Spaceflight Now - Worldwide Launch Schedule,
Vandenberg AFB Launch Schedule &
Wallops Flight Facility Launch Webcast & Blog
Reentries - Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies - Upcoming & Recent Reentries

Live Aurora Cams:
Kiruna, Sweden &
Sodankyla, Finland


Most events described below can be viewed with your eyes alone.
Occasionally simple binoculars will improve the view and that will be noted.


***** Current & Future Events *****

Visble Space Station Flyovers

WunderPhoto: ISS Over the Old Farmhouse by synthman19872003 Tuesday July 7, 2009

June 23 -29 through Late June / Early July
The International Space Station (ISS) will be making visible evening & morning passes over North America most of the world.

You can find pass predictions for many locations, dates and satellites at:
Simplest - Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com
More satellites and more info - Heavens-Above.com.


Resupply Mission to the International Space Station (ISS) + Double Spacecraft Flyovers

Image credit: NASA

Mission: Flight 38P to ISS (cargo/resupply)
Spacecraft: Progress M-06M
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U
Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
June 30
8:35m AQTT (Aqtobe Time, local time)
1535 0114 GMT
11:35am EDT
8:35am PDT.

Docking with ISS
July 2
8:56pm MSD (Moscow Summer Time)
1656 GMT
12:56pm EDT
9:56am PDT.

Launch status updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

Live coverage of the docking will be on NASA TV - see the NASA TV Schedule.


WunderPhoto: SPACECRAFT by Westerberg Wednesday June 20, 2007

Between launch and docking with the ISS it may be possible to sight both craft in the sky at the same time.

Check satellite pass predictions at
Heavens-Above
or try the simpler tool at
Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.


Vandenberg Minuteman III Launch

Image credit: USAF

Mission: Unarmed ballistic missile test
Target: Near the Kwajalein Atoll
Launch Vehicle: Minuteman III
Launch from Vandenberg AFB, California
June 30
time to be determined


Lunar Apogee (Greek apo, away from + Greek Gaia, Earth)

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

Exact at
July 1
1013 GMT
6:13am EDT
3:13am PDT.

The Moon is at its farthest distance in its non circular orbit around Earth. The Moon is about 12% farther than at its closest distance (perigee - Greek peri, near + Greek Gaia, Earth) and the Moon's gravitational influence on Earth and its oceans is about 20% less (due to the inverse square law).


Moon Rides with Jupiter

July 3, before Sunrise
This evening the Moon will appear with the brilliant off-white planet Jupiter.


◑ Last (or Third) Quarter Moon

Exact at
July 4
1435 GMT
11:35am EDT
8:35am PDT.

Rises near midnight and sets near noon. Morning crescent moons for a week after. Each one thinner and closer to the eastern horizon.




Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy

The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are at right angles resulting in weaker tides - lower highs, higher lows and slower flows (see NEAP-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


Aphelion Day (Greek apo, away from + Greek Helios, Sun)

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

July 6
~1200 GMT
~8AM EDT
~5AM PDT.

Along Earth's not quite circular orbit it passes farthest from the Sun this day. Today Earth is 3.4% farther than it's closest to the Sun (perihelion: New Latin peri, near + Greek Helios, Sun) and experiences 6.9% less radiation and gravitation from the Sun (inverse square law).

For the Northern Hemisphere less solar radiation in the summer and more in the winter makes the Northern Hemisphere's climate more moderate than it would otherwise be. However except for Antarctica the Southern Hemisphere has more moderate climates than the at corresponding latitudes! Why is this? The Northern Hemisphere has twice as much land as the Southern Hemisphere. The Northern Hemisphere is 40% land versus 20% land for the Southern Hemisphere. Land both heats up and cools down faster than water.



Image credit: Sean Baker


Events earlier than those listed below will be found in previous blog entries.

***** Past Events *****

Uranus less than ½° from Jupiter

June 5-8, before Dawn
In the ESE sky dim blue-green planet Uranus will appear less than ½° to the upper left of brilliant off-white planet Jupiter. Use binoculars.


Mars less than 1° from Regulus

June 5-8, after Dusk
In the WSW sky bright and reddish planet Mars appears less than 1° from bright and blueish star Regulus.


Vandenberg GBI Launch

Image credit: MDA (Missle Defense Agency)

Launch Vehicle: GBI (Ground Based Interceptor)
Launch from Vandenberg AFB, California
June 6
Time to be determined.
12:00-4:00pm PDT (local time)


Thin Crescent above Mercury

June 10, Dawn
Low in the ESE a thin crescent moon appears above the very bright and golden planet Mercury.


Thin Crescent beside Mercury

June 11, Dawn
Very low in the ESE a thin crescent moon appears about a fist width to the left of the very bright and golden planet Mercury.


Venus + Twins Lineup

June 11 after Dusk
This evening in the western sky to the right of the brilliant white planet Venus are the brightest two stars of the constellation Gemini, Pollux in the middle and Castor on the left.

Pollux and Castor are twins but are they identical? What if any differences do you see?


Dark Moon (a.k.a. astronomical new moon)

Exact at
June 12
1115 GMT
7:15am EDT
4:15am PDT.

Lower and thinner morning crescent moons the week before. Higher and thicker evening crescent moons the week after.




Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy

The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows. (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


HAYABUSA Space Probe Rentry

Image credit: JAXA

June 13
11:00pm JST (Japan Standard Time)
11:30pm ACST (Australian Central Standard Time, local time)
1400 GMT
10:00am EDT
7:00 PDT

After a long series of crippling malfunctions and heroic engineering efforts JAXA's HAYABUSA (Peregrine Falcon) spacecraft will be making a nighttime return over Woomera, South Australiaa from it's asteroid sampling mission.

From SkyandTelescope.com - News Blog - Readying for Hayabusa's Return:

.... Before, during, and after its brief touchdown on asteroid 25143 Itokawa in November 2005, the craft suffered several crippling malfunctions — solar-cell panels damaged by a powerful flare, complete failure of its stabilization system, an internal fuel leak, loss of thruster rockets and three of its four ion-drive engines, partial battery failure — any of which might have doomed the mission.

Yet somehow the mission’s engineers have coaxed Hayabusa back to Earth’s doorstep, albeit two years later than planned. ....
Find updates at JAXA | Asteroid Explorer "HAYABUSA" (MUSES-C).


) Thinnest Evening Crescent Moon (the original meaning of "new moon")

WunderPhoto: One day old Moon by LaddObservatory Friday June 15, 2007

June 13 or 14
Low in the western sky soon after sunset.

Earliest and thinnest sightings of the new moon may be possible from the western Pacific and northern and western Australia June 13. Progressively easier sightings will be possible from southern Asia, southern Europe, Africa and the Americas June 13. The rest of the world will not see the new moon until June 14.

See the visibility maps at Moonsighting.com.


Photo Op: Venus & Thin Crescent Moon

June 14, after Sunset
This evening as light fades from the western sky the brilliant white planet Venus will stand close by a very thin crescent moon.


Lunar Perigee (Greek peri, near + Greek Gaia, Earth)

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

Exact at
June 15
1455 GMT
10:55am EDT
7:55am PDT.

The Moon is at its closest distance in its non circular orbit around Earth. The Moon is about 10.5% closer than at its farthest distance (apogee - Greek apo, away from + Greek Gaia, Earth) and the Moon's gravitational influence on Earth and its oceans is about 25% greater (due to the inverse square law).


Launch of ISS Expedition 24/25 Crew + Double Spacecraft Flyovers

Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Mission: Expedition 24/25 to the International Space Station (ISS)
Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA-19
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz FG
Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
June 16
2:35am AQTT (Aqtobe Time, local time)
June 15
2135 GMT
5:35pm EDT
2:35pm PDT.

Docking with ISS
June 18
2:25am MSD (Moscow Summer Time)
June 17
2225 GMT
6:25pm EDT
3:25pm PDT.

The remaining three members of the Expedition 24 crew will join the three already aboard the International Space Station.

Updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

You can follow the progress of the mission at NASA - Expedition 24.

Live coverage of the launch and docking will appear on NASA TV - see the NASA TV Schedule.


WunderPhoto: Endeavour and the ISS by WeatheringHeights Tuesday March 25, 2008

Between launch and docking with the ISS it may be possible to sight both craft in the sky at the same time.

Check satellite pass predictions at
Heavens-Above
or try the simpler tool at
Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.


Vandenberg Minuteman III Launch

Image credit: USAF

Mission: Unarmed ballistic missile test
Target: Near the Kwajalein Atoll
Launch Vehicle: Minuteman III
Launch from Vandenberg AFB, California
June 16
time to be determined
3:01-9:01am


Moon Rides with Regulus & Mars

June 16-17
Before they set in the late evening the fat crescent moon will appear with the bright and blueish star Regulus and farther above the bright and reddish planet Mars.


Moon Rides with Saturn

June 18
This evening the Moon will appear with the bright and yellowish planet Saturn.


◐ First Quarter Moon

Exact at
June 19
0429 GMT
12:29am EDT
June 18
9:29pm PDT.

Rises near noon and sets near midnight. Evening crescent moons for a week before. Each one thicker and higher above the western horizon.




Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy

The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are at right angles resulting in weaker tides - lower highs, higher lows and slower flows. (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


Moon Rides with Spica

June 20
The Moon travels tonight's sky with the bright and blueish star Spica.


Northern Solstice (Latin sol, Sun + Latin sistere, to stand still)

Image credit: Przemyslaw "Blueshade" Idzkiewicz and NASA

Exact at
June 21
1128 GMT
7:28am EDT
4:28am PDT.

Happy "Sun Stands Still" Day!

Today the Sun makes its furthest northerly rising, setting and passage across the sky. It is the longest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest for the Southern Hemisphere. Northern winter and Southern summer begin today.

Why "Sun Stands Still"? As the Sun reverses its apparent journey from north to south it must of course "stand still" for a moment. However the Sun also slows" before making its "turn" and in the days just before and after there is no apparent change in the position of risings and settings to the casual observer.


June Boötid Meteor Shower Outburst?

WunderPhoto: Searching for Shooting Stars by johnlanoue Monday October 8, 2007

June 22-24, Early Morning

This shower is best seen from the Northern Hemisphere. The best time to look for these meteors is after moonset (early morning) and before dawn (about one and a half hours before sunrise).

The June Boötid meteor shower is variable with some years producing virtually none but a couple of recent years have shown outbursts of 50-100 per hour.

Source and more information at
June Boötids, IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2010 | International Meteor Organization.

For Better Viewing
Find a Dark Location
A dark country location without "security" lights is best. If that's not convenient try to find a location where you can't see any lights or lighted surfaces. A nearby park or maybe even your backyard would qualify. On a beach facing the water would be another good alternative.

Where to Look
Meteors can appear in any part of the sky. To see the most meteors face the darkest part of your sky and look at least 45° above the horizon.

Be Comfortable
A reclining chair will keep you from getting a stiff neck and tired feet. A sleeping bag will keep you warm. (Even in the summertime you can get chilly at night if you are just lying still.) Insect repellent will keep you from being distracted by those little pests.

General Meteor Shower Information
An easy to read introduction to meteors with an interesting summary of annual showers is
Astronomy - Meteors and meteor showers - Francis Reddy.

Two primary sources of information on meteor showers are
The American Meteor Society and
The International Meteor Organinzation.


Virginia Terrier-Orion Launch

Image credit: NASA

Missions: Eleven university suborbital experiments
Launch Vehicle: Terrier-Orion
Launch from Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Wallops Island, Virginia
June 24
1000-1300 GMT
6:00-9:00am EDT (local time)
3:00-6:00am PDT

Launch status updates, blog and a live webcast are at
Wallops Flight Facility.

The webcast will begin at 5:00am EDT.


Moon Rides with Antares

June 23-24
The Moon travels tonight's sky with the bright and reddish star Antares. Antares is the brightest star and beating heart of the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion.


Partial Lunar Eclipse

WunderPhoto: PARTIAL LUNAR ECLIPSE AUG 16, 2008 by giannitumino

June 26
Dark Partial Shadowing Begins at
1017 GMT
6:17am EDT
3:17am PDT

Maximum Partial Eclipse at
1138 GMT
5:38am MDT
4:38am PDT

Dark Partial Shadowing Ends at
1300 GMT
6:00am PDT

At the time of the full moon the Sun and Moon are always on opposite sides of the Earth. For this month's full moon the Earth will be almost directly between the Sun and Moon and will cast part of its shadow on the Moon.

NASA Lunar Eclipse Map - Visibility & Times for 2010 June 26

• The eclipse begins at near morning moonset for parts of the SE US, the western Caribbean and western South America.

• Westernmost North America and southernmost South America will see virtually all of the eclipse before morning moonset.

• Most of the Pacific will see the entire eclipse.

• Parts of the western Pacific, western Asia and most of the Indian Ocean will see part of the eclipse after evening moonrise.

See also:
SPACE.com -- Partial Lunar Eclipse Coming On June 26
and
Shadow & Substance - Partial eclipse of the Moon (animated) June 26, 2010.


○ Full Moon

WunderPhoto: May Moon by SunsetSailor Thursday May 27, 2010
Exact at
June 26
1130 GMT
7:30am EST
4:30am PST.

Rises near sunset and sets near sunrise. At those times the Moon may seem huge (the Moon illusion) and unusually colored. The yellow/orange/red appearance of the Moon at the horizon is at least partly for the same reason the sky appears blue!




Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy

The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows. (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


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Updated: 7:33 PM GMT on June 27, 2010

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APRSWXNET Woodland Hills CA US
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