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04/16/2019 – Ephemeris – Last week was quite a week in astronomy and space

April 16, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 31 minutes, setting at 8:28, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:55. The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 6:23 tomorrow morning.

Last week was quite a week in astronomy and space. Wednesday was the announcement that the Event Horizon Telescope team had actually imaged the supermassive black hole in the galaxy M87, using eight sub-millimeter radio telescopes observing from five continents simultaneously. We’ll have to wait a bit to get an image of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole. Later that Day SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy rocket to loft an Arab communications satellite into orbit. The three boosters landed safely. Thursday the Israeli privately financed Beresheet lunar lander almost landed safely on the Moon. Unfortunately its rocket engines failed during its landing attempt. They will build another and try again.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Black hole in M87

The first image of the black hole in M87. Credit Event Horizon Telescope.

M87 Jet

A 5,000 light year long jet from the black hole M87* that’s actually aimed mostly toward us. So the accretion disk in the black hole image is like a halo around the event horizon seen from near the pole of rotation. Credit: NASA/The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA).

Falcon Heavy launch

Falcon Heavy leaves the pad. April 10, 2019. Credit SpaceX.

A selfie image of part of the Beresheet lander moments before contact was lost from the Beresheet spacecraft during its descent to the Moon. Credit: SpaceIL/Israel Aerospace Industries.