Archive for July 2, 2019

Announcement: I’m offering to present Apollo and the Race to the Moon to schools, libraries and non-profits

July 2, 2019 Comments off

Apollo and the Race to the Moon is the story of the space race from Sputnik to Apollo 17 between the United States and the Soviet Union that traces the United States’ incremental steps and the Soviets’ rather disorganized approach that allowed the US to be the first on the Moon.  The presentation by yours truly will be illustrated by images and a short video.

I will be giving this presentation as a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.  The presentation will be given free of charge for non-profit groups, libraries and schools.  I can be reimbursed for expenses if traveling over 50 miles from Traverse City, MI.  The presentation lasts a bit over an hour depending on the number of questions, which I welcome.

Apollo and the Race to the Moon Title

Apollo and the Race to the Moon Title slide

I’ve been an avid amateur astronomer and space enthusiast since before the launch of Sputnik, so I have lived through all these events.  For more information on me click on the About link above.  There’s even a timeline of my astronomy activities here.  The About link above contains a contact form where you can reach me.


Categories: Ephemeris Extra

07/02/2019 – Ephemeris – Looking for Draco the Dragon

July 2, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, July 2nd. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 9:31, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:02. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

Later today Chile and Argentina will experience a total solar eclipse. High in the northern sky at 11 p.m. lies the twisted constellation, that of Draco the dragon. This dragon is more like the snakelike Chinese dragon than the dinosaur-like dragon of European legend. I find it better to start at the tail of Draco, to trace him out in the stars. Draco’s tail starts between the bowl of the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. The Dragon is seen in a line of stars that extends parallel to the handle of the Big Dipper before curving around the bowl of the Little Dipper then bends back toward the southeast. The head of Draco is an odd box of stars above the bright star Vega, high in the east. Though not made up of very bright stars, Draco has an easy shape to trace.

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


Draco finder animation for 11 p.m. July 2. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.