07/04/2016 – Ephemeris – NASA’s going to light off fireworks at Jupiter tonight
Ephemeris for Independence Day, Monday, July 4th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 27 minutes, setting at 9:31, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:03. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.
There are two astronomical highlights for your Independence Day enjoyment. The first comes at 11:59 this morning (15:59 UT) when the Earth is at its very farthest from the Sun this year. Some 1.7% farther than average. You’re still gonna need your sun screen anyway. Later this evening, a half billion miles from Earth NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fire it’s rocket engine for 35 minutes to begin to decelerate over the north pole of Jupiter to drop into a long elliptical orbit of that planet. NASA TV will begin broadcasting the event at 10:30 p.m. (2:30 UT, July 5) The 35 minute engine burn will start at 11:18 p.m. (3:18 UT, July 5) What we’ll see is a real-time graph of the Doppler signal from the spacecraft as it slows down to drop into orbit of Jupiter.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.
The Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla has more information on How to watch Juno’s orbit insertion at http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2016/07011514-how-to-watch-junos-orbit.html.
NASA also has an application in which you can see simulations of Juno’s orbital insertion. It’s called NASA’s Eyes and can be downloaded from http://eyes.nasa.gov/.