Home > Uncategorized > 10/05/2020 – Ephemeris – The Space Age is 63 years old

10/05/2020 – Ephemeris – The Space Age is 63 years old

October 5, 2020

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Monday, October 5th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 28 minutes, setting at 7:14, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:47. The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 9:15 this evening.

Sixty three years ago yesterday the space age began with the Soviet Union’s launching of the first artificial Earth satellite Sputnik 1. the name Sputnik means fellow traveler or traveling companion. I was a junior in high school at the time and already into astronomy and was well aware of the United States own Vanguard satellite program and preparations for amateur astronomers to track it from the ground. I was watching TV that night when the news broke that the Russians launched a satellite and played the beep-beep-beep transmitted by Sputnik and a white dot moving across the screen, supposedly the satellite. It caused a great deal of soul searching by the public about our science and educational programs.

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


Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1, launched October 4, 1957, contained a battery and a radio transmitter to send out a beeping signal. It transmitted its signal for 21 days before its battery power ran out, and reentered the atmosphere on January 4, 1958. Source: National Air and Space Museum.
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