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1/15/2021 – Ephemeris – What the Chinese Chang’e 5 lunar mission found

November 15, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Monday, November 15th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 5:14, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:41. The Moon, halfway from first quarter to full, will set at 4:45 tomorrow morning. | Late last year, the Chinese sent an uncrewed spacecraft to the Moon to collect samples of the surface material. That material is called regolith, and they drilled down at least a meter, which they returned to the Earth. An international team of geologists has been studying the material, and we have the first reports. Apparently the material they picked up was dated at 2 billion years, which is an intermediate age to the material picked up by the Apollo missions that dates either 3 billion years or older or 1 billion years. That helps fill gaps in the Moon’s history. Of course, all the material in the solar system is 4.5 billion years old. But the radioactive dating clock is reset when a rock is melted and solidifies.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT – 5 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Chang'e 5 Landing-Site on full moon map

Chang’e 5 Landing-Site on full moon map. Created using Virtual Mon Atlas.

12/17/2013 – Ephemeris – The Chinese have landed a rover on the Moon

December 17, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 17th.  The sun will rise at 8:14.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:03.   The moon, at full today, will rise at 5:45 this evening.

Over the weekend the Chinese landed a spacecraft on the moon with a rover.  The spacecraft was Chang’E 3 and the third of their successful lunar spacecraft.  Name after an ancient moon goddess it deposited a rover named Yutu, or Jade Rabbit named for the goddess’ pet rabbit.  The aim point was to be the beautiful Bay of Rainbows or Sinus Iridium, but it landed just outside it in Mare Imbrium, the Sea of Showers.  Some astronomers think that the actual landing spot is more interesting mineralogically speaking than the original aim point.  Both Chang’E and Yutu are solar powered  and it’s difficult to see them surviving the two-week lunar night,  Night will fall on the site on December 25th or 26th.  Give the Chinese credit though for a flawless landing.

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

Addendum

Chang’E 3 as seen from the Yutu rover.  There’s a lot more pictures and information from Emily Lakdawalla’s Planetary Society Blog, where I got this picture link from.