Casual Astronomy, Spaceflight News and Lower California Weather

Astronomy & Spaceflight

By: LowerCal, 4:48 PM GMT on November 16, 2010

CURRENT MOON

moon phases


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 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
also 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
also Sodankyla, Finland
& Yellowknife, Canada (click on CONNECT AURORAMAX LIVE)


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 *****

See the comment section.


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

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

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

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

Exact at
November 15
1148 GMT
6:48am EST
3:48am PST.

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).


Leonid Meteor Shower Peak(s)

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

November 17
1500 & 2115 GMT
and
November 17 or 18, Moonset until Dawn (about 2AM-5AM local time)

The Leonids are visible from the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Tropics. This year the peak times favor the Pacific from Alaska and Hawaii west to the International Date Line (IDL) in the early morning of November 17. West of the IDL through most of Asia is favored in the early morning of November 18.

The maximum rate is forecast to be about 20 per hour this year but has been variable recently.

Source and more information at
Leonids, 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.


Kodiak Minotaur IV Launch

Photo credit: Joe Davila

Mission: STP-S26 (Space Test Program Small launch vehicle mission 26)
Launch Vehicle: Minotaur IV
Launch from Kodiak Launch Complex, Alaska (Google map)
November 20
0124-0254 GMT
November 19
8:24-9:54pm EST
5:24-6:54pm PST
4:24-5:54pm AKST (local time).

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

More details appear on a launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Minotaur Launch Report | Mission Status Center.


Cape Canaveral Delta IV Launch

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Mission: NROL-32 (National Reconnaissance Office Launch 32)
Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
November 18
2310 GMT
6:10pm EST (local time)
3:10pm PST.
November 19
2306 GMT
6:06pm EST (local time)
3:06pm PST.
no earlier than

November 21
2258 GMT
5:58pm EST (local time)
2:58pm PST.

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

More details appear on a launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

You can find more info on the mission at
United Launch Alliance.

A live webcast will begin 25 minutes before launch.


○ Full Moon

WunderPhoto: Polar Moon by carlskou Friday October 22, 2010

Exact at
November 21
1727 GMT
12:27pm EST
9:27am 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.


◑ Last (or Third) Quarter Moon

Exact at
November 28
2036 GMT
3:36pm EST
12:36pm PST.

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. (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.


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

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

Exact at
November 30
1910 GMT
2:10pm EDT
11:10am 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).


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

Exact at
December 5
1736 GMT
12:36pm EDT
9:36am 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.


◐ First Quarter Moon

Exact at
December 13
1359 GMT
8:59am EST
5:59am PST.

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.


◑ Last (or Third) Quarter Moon

Exact at
December 28
0418 GMT
December 27
11:18pm EST
8:18pm PST.

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. (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.


Shuttle Discovery Launch, STS-133 Mission & Landing + Double Spacecraft Flyovers

Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder

Mission: STS-133
Spacecraft & Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery

Launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida
NET (No Earlier Than)
November 30
0902 GMT ±5min
4:02am EST ±5min (local time)
1:02am PST ±5min.
December 3
0752 GMT ±5min
2:522am EST ±5min (local time)
December 2
11:52pm PST ±5min.
no earlier than
December 17
no earlier than
February 3

February 24
2150 GMT ±5min
4:50pm EST ±5min (local time)
1:50pm PST ±5min.

Docking with ISS (International Space Station)
-

Undocking from ISS
-

Landing at Kennedy Space Center
-

Find (when published) landing options at NASA - Launch and Landing
and the landing paths (when published) at NASA - STS-133 Landing Ground Tracks.

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

You can follow the progress of the Space Shuttle mission online at
Spaceflight Now | STS-133 Shuttle Report | Mission Status Center
and
NASA - Space Shuttle.

You can dig for more info at
Spaceflight Now - Index of /shuttle/sts133
and
CBS News Space Place - Space Shuttle Status Report.

Live online coverage of the mission 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 & undocking and landing it may be possible to sight both craft in the sky at the same time. Shuttle Atlantis and the ISS will be making visible passes over North America between launch and docking.

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


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Updated: 11:11 PM GMT on June 15, 2011

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