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07/16/2019 – Ephemeris – 50 years ago today the Apollo mission left for the Moon

July 16, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, July 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 12 minutes, setting at 9:25, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:13. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 9:30 this evening.

50 years ago today at 11:32 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time the most powerful rocket ever built roared into life. The Saturn V, a three stage rocket, 363 feet tall, which in turn launched two spacecraft, the Command and Service modules, and the Lunar Module, and three astronauts on their journey to destiny, Neil Armstrong, Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, and Michael Collins. It was the start of the Apollo 11 mission. It happens that tonight the namesake of the rocket, the planet Saturn is to the right of the Moon. At launch the Moon was two days old, a thin crescent in the west that evening. Four days later they would be orbiting the Moon, and Armstrong and Aldrin would be descending to the Moon’s surface.

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

Addenda

Apollo 11

Crew of Apollo 11

Left to right Neil Armstrong, Mission Commander; Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot; and Buzz Aldrin, Lunar Module Pilot. Credit: NASA.

Apollo 11 launch

The Saturn V for the Apollo 11 mission lifts of from Pad 39A. Credit: NASA.

The Moon and Saturn tonight

The Moon and Saturn tonight, 11 p.m. July 16, 2019. In reality the Moon will be so bright that Saturn will be almost overwhelmed. Created using Stellarium.

Here’s an excellent podcast series from the BBC:  13 Minutes to the Moon.

Partial Lunar Eclipse

The partial lunar eclipse today is not mentioned in the program because it is not visible locally.

Partial Lunar Eclipse of July 16, 2019. Click on image to enlarge. Credit NASA/GSFC/F. Espenak.

01/20/2019 – Ephemeris lunar Eclipse extra

January 20, 2019 Comments off

For those of us who may be socked in tonight we have a link to the livestream of the eclipse.

This is the link:  https://livestream.com/GriffithObservatoryTV/LunarEclipseJanuary2019?origin=event_published&mixpanel_id=f1e6c5e68dbb0-067054b61-43681f0a-2ee000-f1e6c5e68ec0e&acc_id=7596023&medium=email

I subscribe to their email notices, which explains the end of the URL.

You can go to their main site: http://griffithobservatory.org/ and scroll down to Upcoming Activities and Total Lunar Eclipse then Watch live online.  That connection is real slow now.

Update 9:p.m. EST:

Looks like they are having clouds over LA.  However we (Interlochen/Traverse City, MI) are partly cloudy with more clear spots than clouds, and the clouds seem to be thin.  The GOES satellite is showing a thin lake effect flow from the north.  So maybe we might pull this one off.

GOES Great Lakes cloud animation

GOES Great Lakes cloud animation for 9 p.m. Credit NOAA.

01/18/2019 – Ephemeris – There will be a total eclipse of the Moon Sunday night the 20th

January 18, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, January 18th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 5:31, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:14. The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 6:39 tomorrow morning.

There will be a lunar eclipse late this Sunday evening and into early Monday morning. For what it’s worth it’s also a super-moon. Starting around 10 p.m. a distinct duskiness will appear on the moon’s lower left side, as that part of the Moon is in the deepest part of the Earth’s outer penumbral shadow. At about 10:34 p.m. Sunday evening the lower left edge of the Moon will begin to enter the Earth’s inner shadow the umbra starting the partial phase of the eclipse. The Moon will be totally immersed in the shadow by 11:41 p.m. and will probably appear a coppery color. Totality will end at 12:43 a.m. Monday morning when the left edge of the Moon peeks out into sunlight. This final partial phase will end at 1:51 a.m.

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

Addendum

Total Lunar Eclipse

The Moon’s passage through the Earth’s shadow January 20-21, 2019. Credit Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC. Clicking on the above image will link to the official NASA pdf of this eclipse.

Eclipse times

UT times are for January 21st. EST times are for the nearest minute.

Note that at contacts P1 and P4 nothing will be visible out of the ordinary.  As the Moon moves to the U1 contact the left edge of the Moon will appear noticeably dusky as more and more sunlight is cut off.

The reddish color of totally eclipsed Moon is due to all the sunrises and sunsets happening at that time on the Earth.  The Earth’s atmosphere bends the Sun’s light into its shadow.

01/17/2019 – Ephemeris – There will be a total eclipse of the Moon Sunday night the 20th

January 17, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 17th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 15 minutes, setting at 5:30, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:14. The Moon, 3 days past first quarter, will set at 5:31 tomorrow morning.

There will be an eclipse of the Moon late this Sunday evening and into early Monday morning. For what it’s worth it’s also a so-called super moon dropping down to 222 thousand miles (357,300 km) from the Earth about 3 p.m. Monday, 15 hours after mid-eclipse. At about 10:34 p.m. Sunday night the lower left edge of the Moon will begin to enter the Earth’s inner shadow the umbra starting the partial phase of the eclipse. The Moon will be totally immersed in the shadow by 11:41 p.m. and will probably appear a coppery color. Totality will end at 12:43 a.m. Monday morning when the left edge of the Moon peeks out into sunlight. This begins the ending partial phase which itself will end at 1:51 a.m.

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

Addendum

Total Lunar Eclipse

The Moon’s passage through the Earth’s shadow January 20-21, 2019. Credit Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC. Clicking on the above image will link to the official NASA pdf of this eclipse.

Eclipse times

UT times are for January 21st. which starts at 7 p.m. EST the 20th.  EST times are for the nearest minute.

Note that at contacts P1 and P4 nothing will be visible out of the ordinary.  As the Moon moves to the U1 contact the left edge of the Moon will appear noticeably dusky as more and more sunlight is cut off.

The reddish color of totally eclipsed Moon is due to all the sunrises and sunsets happening at that time on the Earth.  The Earth’s atmosphere bends the Sun’s light into its shadow.

12/28/2018 – Ephemeris – Preview of space and astronomical events for 2019

December 28, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, December 28th. The Sun will rise at 8:19. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:09. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 12:30 tomorrow morning.

Lets look at some astronomical and space events for 2019. Right off the bat on January 1st the New Horizons space craft will encounter the Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 nick named Ultima Thule. I’ll have more on that Monday. January 20th overnight will see a total lunar eclipse lasting from 10:34 p.m. to 1:51 a.m. November 11th will see the planet Mercury cross the face of the Sun, a transit of Mercury from a couple of minutes after sunrise until 1:04 p.m. Among the space launches next year are several SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches, and the first launch of a uncrewed Dragon 2 capsule to fly up to the International Space Station. Boeing’s first Starliner uncrewed capsule test will occur in 2020.

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

Addenda

New Horizons encounter of 2014 MU69 (Ultima Thule)

Due to the fact that NASA is affected by the partial shutdown we will probably not get much immediate information from them.  However the New Horizons spacecraft is being run by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (JHAPL) and not NASA and it is a critical mission, it will not be affected.  All news will flow from JHAPL, rather than NASA.  NASA-TV appears to be operating, but on autopilot.

From JHAPL, Where to watch, timeline and links:  http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Where-to-Watch.php.

The Planetary Society has lots of information and links to follow the encounter:  http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2018/new-horizons-approaching-mu69-ultima-thule.html.

There is also a Planetary Society page of the time line of events for the spacecraft and the reception of data on the Earth :  http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2018/what-to-expect-new-horizons-mu69-ultima-thule.html.

I’ll have much more Monday, less than 24 hours before the fly by.

Lunar Eclipse January 20-21, 2019

Total Lunar Eclipse

The Moon’s passage through the Earth’s shadow January 20-21, 2019. P1 and P4 events are invisible. Credit Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC.

Eclipse times

UT times are for January 21st. EST times are te nearest minute.

Transit of Mercury November 11, 2019

Transit of Mercury

Mercury will travel from lower left to upper right across the face of the Sun. Credit Occult4.

The transit will run from about 7:34 a.m. EST
(2:34 UT) to 1:04 p.m. (8:04 UT).

01/31/2018 – Ephemeris – Lunar Eclipse happening now* and the bright planets for this week

January 31, 2018 Comments off

* The Ephemeris radio program run at 6:19 a.m. and 7 a.m. EST will run during the lunar eclipse.

Ephemeris for Wednesday, January 31st. The Sun will rise at 8:02. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 5:50. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 6:15 this evening.

We have a lunar eclipse in progress this morning. Before the partial phase starts the Moon will have a dusky appearance because the Moon will be in the Earth’s outer penumbra shadow.  The partial phase starts at 6:48 a.m. (11:48 UT), when the upper left part of the Moon will enter the Earth’s inner shadow, called the umbra. The Moon will be fully immersed in the shadow beginning at 7:51 a.m. (12:51 UT). It will probably disappear by then because the Sun will rise just after 8 a.m. and the Moon will set, at least in the Interlochen/Traverse City area at, 8:04.

Venus is our evening planet, but too close to the Sun to spot. At 7 a.m. Jupiter and Mars below left of it are in the south while Saturn is low in the southeast. Tomorrow morning Jupiter will rise at 2:20 a.m., Mars will follow at 3:25. Last of all Saturn will rise at 5:50 a.m.

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

Addendum

Partial eclipsed Moon

The partially eclipsed Moon at 7:40 a.m. January 31, 2018 from Traverse City, MI as simulated by Stellarium.

For more on the eclipse see yesterday’s post:  https://bobmoler.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/01-30-2018-ephemeris-looking-for-tomorrows-lunar-eclipse/.

On to the planets

Morning planets and the Eclipsed Moon

Morning planets and the partially eclipsed moon at 7 a.m. this morning, January 31, 2018. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and moons

Jupiter and its moons at 7 a.m. this morning January 31, 2018. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Saturn and moons

Saturn and its brighter moons at 7 a.m. this morning January 31, 2018. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets at sunset and sunrise of a single night

Planets at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on January 31, 2018. The night ends on the left with sunrise on February 1st. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

01/30/2018 – Ephemeris – Looking for tomorrow’s lunar eclipse

January 30, 2018 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 30th. The Sun will rise at 8:04. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 44 minutes, setting at 5:48. The Moon, 1 day before full, will set at 8:04 tomorrow morning.

At a bit before 5 this morning the Moon passed perigee, it closest approach to the Earth in its monthly orbit of the Earth. It was 223,072 miles (359,000 km) away. That makes tonight’s Moon, 12 hours or less before full, a super moon. It will rise tonight at about 5:01. However it’s setting that is of interest because it will be in eclipse. The partial phase of tomorrow morning’s lunar eclipse will begin at 6:48 a.m. (11:48 UT), when the upper left part of the Moon will enter the Earth’s inner shadow, called the umbra. The Moon will be fully immersed in the shadow beginning at 7:51 a.m. (12:51 UT). It will probably disappear by then because the Sun will rise just after 8 a.m. and the Moon will set, at least in the Interlochen/Traverse City area at, 8:04.

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

Addendum

Partial eclipsed Moon

The partially eclipsed Moon in twilight at 7:40 a.m. January 31, 2018 from Traverse City, MI as simulated by Stellarium.

The following is an article I submitted to Green Elk Rapids website that was also published in the Elk Rapids News.  Elk Rapids is a village about 20 miles north of Traverse City on the east shore of Grand Traverse Bay.  I added the metric units for this post.

We will have a calendrical coincidence on January 31st along with a natural event, and just missing another natural event all having to do with the Moon. The first is that the full moon on January fits one of the definitions for a “blue moon”, the second full moon in a month. Of course the Moon doesn’t actually turn blue. It doesn’t really care. Since February is shorter than a lunation, a lunar month, it will not have a full moon. However March will have two full moons like January.

The second is a real event. The Moon being opposite the Sun in the sky, the definition of a full moon, will pass into the Earth’s shadow causing a lunar eclipse or eclipse of the Moon. In this case, a total eclipse. A lunar eclipse of some type occurs in about one in six full moons. We only have to be on the night side of the Earth to see it. That’s the rub this time, because the eclipse will be in progress at sunrise. The partial phase starts at 6:48 a.m. From about 6:30 on the upper left part of the Moon will appear dusky as the Moon sinks deeper in the Earth’s outer shadow, where the Sun is only partially blocked. The Moon will sink farther and farther into the Earth’s inner shadow called the umbra until at 7:51 a.m. it will be totally immersed. By then the sky will be quite bright, with sunrise to occur at 8:02. The Moon should completely disappear and will set unseen at 8:04. Folks a few states west of us will see, more than likely, a coppery colored totally eclipsed Moon. Some TV preacher some years ago called it a blood moon, hoping to sell books about the end times.*

The color comes from the sum of all the sunrise and sunsets happening on Earth at that instant. The red sunrise we see is caused by the blue light being scattered out of the Sun’s light by molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere. It gives us the blue sky. Our atmosphere also bends the Sun’s light. When we see the full disc of the Sun just clear the horizon, it’s still actually fully below the horizon. The light of the sunrise that passes over our heads continues on, being bent further and becoming redder, and fills the Earth’s shadow by the time it reaches the Moon’s distance, making the Moon red. Volcanic ash in the upper atmosphere can make the Moon almost disappear during totality.

This full moon is also a so-called “super moon”. These occur when the full moon is nearest the Earth in its monthly orbit of the Earth. January first’s full moon was the closest of the year, you might say a super-duper moon. The Moon reached its perigee, closest point or 221,581 miles (356,600 km) away 5 hours before the Moon was officially full. This time perigee is the day before full, about 1,500 miles (2,400 km) farther away. These are measured center to center. The closest an Elk Rapids observer will be to the Moon on the 31st will be at about 12:30 a.m. at 219,920 miles (353,927 km), subtracting most of the Earth’s radius. Of course the Moon won’t look that big being high in the south then. By moon set it will retreat to 223,778 miles (360,136 km) from an Elk Rapids observer. The increased apparent size of the rising or setting Sun or Moon is an optical illusion. The Moon is closer to us when high in the sky than when on the horizon.

The next lunar eclipse visible to us is next year, on the night of January 20-21, 2019.

* The Elk Rapids News didn’t like my dig about the TV preacher and omitted this sentence.  I rather expected them to.


Lunar Eclipse January 31, 2018

Credit NASA.

The original page for this graphic is:  https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEplot/LEplot2001/LE2018Jan31T.pdf

    Total Lunar Eclipse January 31
Event               Time EST   Time UT
                    GT Area    
Enter penumbra      5:51 a.m.  10:51   Unseen
Begin partial phase 6:48 a.m.  11:48
Totality begins     7:51 a.m.  12:51
Sun rises           8:02 a.m.
Moon sets           8:04 a.m.
Mid eclipse                    13:28
Totality ends                  14:07
End partial phase              15:11
Leave penumbra                 16:08   Unseen

The shading of the penumbra is generally noticeable within 1/2
hour before the partial phase begins and again after it ends.