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Posts Tagged ‘Apollo’

06/17/2019 – Ephemeris – President Kennedy wanted to get us to the Moon… But how?

June 17, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, June 17th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 9:30, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 9:56 this evening.

President Kennedy’s Challenge to land “a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth” came only 20 days after Alan Shepard’s sub-orbital flight and 45 days after Yuri Gagarin’s orbital flight. To the NASA designers the question was how! Three scenarios were studied. The Moon direct approach where the spacecraft would be sent intact to the Moon and back which would take a really gigantic rocket. The Earth rendezvous where the spacecraft would be assembled in Earth orbit and then sent to the Moon. And the lunar orbit rendezvous where only part of the craft would be sent down to the lunar surface, while the main craft stayed in orbit of the Moon. After a lot of study the third option was accepted. It was up to project Gemini to develop the skills necessary to rendezvous and dock two spacecraft in orbit.

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

Addendum

How will we get to the Moon

Three flight techniques to land on the Moon. John Houbolt, who came up with the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous went through a lot of grief before his method was accepted in 1962. Credit: NASA.

Categories: Ephemeris Program, History, NASA Tags:

06/07/2019 – Ephemeris – My presentation and viewing opportunities this weekend

June 7, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, June 7th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 27 minutes, setting at 9:25, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:57. The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 1:23 tomorrow morning.

I will be giving a presentation Apollo and the race to the Moon tonight at this evening’s meeting of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society at 8 p.m. at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory. The 1960’s were a heady time in the undeclared race with the Soviet Union for supremacy in space, where it seemed that the US was continually playing catch up. In 1968 spy satellites showed that the Soviets had a massive rocket ready to go. After the meeting there will be a star party starting at 9 p.m.

Tomorrow there will be weather permitting a Sun and Star Party at the Sleeping Bear Dunes Dune Climb from 4 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m. Both nights feature the Moon and Jupiter.

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

Addendum

A Sun Party at the Dune Climb. Credit: Eileen Carlisle.

Preparing to start the star party

Preparing to start the May star party 3 years ago at the Dune Climb. A few of the telescopes are visible including the GTAS 25″ “Emmettron” telescope at the far right. Credit: Eileen Carlisle.

05/09/2019 – Ephemeris – The USA: Step by step to the Moon

May 9, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 9th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 8:57, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:20. The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 1:54 tomorrow morning.

The Apollo 11 manned landing on the Moon 50 years ago was the culmination of a series of incremental steps. The Mercury program was in progress when President Kennedy announce the goal to land on the Moon. Following that was Gemini a two man capsule to test long duration flight, rendezvous and docking of two spacecraft, and EVA’s or spacewalks. There was the Ranger program attempted to photograph the Moon close up by sending probes to crash into the Moon. The Lunar Orbiter program to map the entire Moon, the Surveyor program to soft land on the Moon and test its surface. All this leading up to the three man Apollo program to test out the strategy and equipment and to land humans on the Moon.

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

Addendum

Project Mercury

Project Mercury astronauts and a model of the Mercury-Atlas rocket and capsule. Left to right: Grissom, Shepard, Carpenter, Schirra, Slayton, Glenn and Cooper, in 1962. Click on the image to enlarge. Credit NASA.

Project Gemini

Project Gemini: Left Ed White during the US first space walk during Gemini 4 in June of 1965. Right The rendezvous of Gemini 6 & 7 in December of 1965. Click on the image to enlarge. Credit NASA.

Ranger Program

Left: The Ranger spacecraft. Right: The floor of the crater Alphonsus from Ranger 9. Only the last 3 spacecraft were successful. They transmitted images all the way down as they crashed into the Moon. Click on the image to enlarge. Credit NASA.

Lunar Orbiter program

In the most unheralded of the lunar programs the 5 successful Lunar Orbiter satellites photographed 99% of the Moon. from 1966 to 1967. The Moon was photographed on film in strips, developed and the images scanned and transmitted back to Earth. Right: The oblique view of the crater Copernicus was dubbed at the time “The Picture of the Century”. Click on the image to enlarge. Credit NASA.

Surveyor program

Surveyor 3, visited by astronaut Pete Conrad during the Apollo 12 mission. Click on the image to enlarge. Credit: NASA / Alan Bean.

 

05/02/2019 – Ephemeris – Apollo and the constellations of Corvus, Crater and Hydra

May 2, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 2nd. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 8:48, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:30. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 6:18 tomorrow morning.

The small constellation of Corvus the crow is located low in the south at 10:30 this evening. It’s made of 5 dim stars, but the pattern is a distinctive distorted box with two stars at the upper left marking that corner. To the right is a fainter constellation of a thick stemmed goblet called Crater. Both appear above the long constellation of Hydra the water snake who is slithering just above the southern horizon. In Greek mythology Corvus, then white, was the god Apollo’s pet. He once bid Corvus to take a cup and fetch him some water. Corvus however dallied and waited for a green fig to ripen. Corvus grabbed a snake and returned with a story on how the snake had delayed him. The angry Apollo turned the crow and all crows to this day black.

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

Addendum

Corvus, Crater, Hydra animation

Corvus, Crater and Hydra finder chart for 10 p.m. May 2, 2019. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

05/11/2018 – Ephemeris – Corvus, Crater, Hydra and a fig

May 11, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, May 11th. The Sun rises at 6:19. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 40 minutes, setting at 8:59. The Moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 5:09 tomorrow morning.

The small constellation of Corvus the crow is located low in the south at 10:30 this evening. It’s made of 5 dim stars, but the pattern is a distinctive distorted box with two stars at the upper left marking that corner. To the right is a fainter constellation of a thick stemmed goblet called Crater. Both appear above the long constellation of Hydra the water snake who is slithering above the southern horizon. In Greek mythology Corvus, then white, was the god Apollo’s pet. He once bid Corvus to take a cup and fetch him some water. Corvus however dallied and waited for a green fig to ripen. Corvus then grabbed a snake and returned with a story on how the snake had delayed him. The angry Apollo turned the crow and all crows black to this day.

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

Addendum

Corvus, Crater, and Hydra

Corvus, Crater and Hydra finder chart for 10:30 p.m. May 11, 2017. Apollo is not in the night sky, and is presumably resting after guiding the Sun’s (Helios) chariot across the daytime sky. The fig? Corvus ate it. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

07/13/2017 – Ephemeris – Constellations of the Summer Triangle I: Lyra the harp

July 13, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, July 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 16 minutes, setting at 9:26, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:10. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 12:02 tomorrow morning.

Very high up in the eastern sky at 11 p.m. can be found a bright star just above a small, narrow, but very distinctive parallelogram of stars. They are the stars of the constellation Lyra the harp. The bright star is Vega, member of the Summer Triangle and one of the twenty one brightest first magnitude stars. Vega is actually the 5th brightest night-time star. The harp, according to Greek mythology, was invented by the Greek god Hermes. The form of the harp in the sky, is as he had invented it: by stretching strings across a tortoise-shell. Hermes gave it to his half-brother Apollo, who in turn gave it to the great musician Orpheus. The Sun’s motion with respect to most stars around it is towards the vicinity of Lyra.

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

Addendum

The Summer Triangle July 5, 2012 at 11 p.m. Created using Stellaruim and The Gimp.

The Summer Triangle. Created using Stellarium.

Annimated Lyra finder chart

Animated Lyra finder chart. The lyre image not supplied by Stellarium but is from The World’s Earliest Music by Hermann Smith, a Project Gutenberg E book, figure 60, captioned “The Chelys or Greek Tortoiseshell Lyre”. Image created using Stellarium and GIMP.

04/27/2017 – Ephemeris – A constellation story on why crows are black

April 27, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, April 27th.  The Sun rises at 6:38.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 4 minutes, setting at 8:42.  The Moon, 1 day past new, will set at 10:16 this evening.

The small constellation of Corvus the crow is located low in the south-southeast at 10:30 this evening. It’s made of 5 dim stars, but the pattern is a distinctive distorted box with two stars at the upper left marking that corner. To the right is a fainter constellation of a thick stemmed goblet called Crater. Both appear above the long constellation of Hydra the water snake who is slithering just above the southern horizon.. In Greek mythology Corvus, then white, was the god Apollo’s pet. Apollo once bid Corvus to take a cup and fetch him some water. Corvus however dallied and waited for an unripe fig to ripen. Corvus grabbed a snake and returned with a story as to how the snake had delayed him.  The angry Apollo turned the crow and all crows to this day black.

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

Addendum

Corvus, Crater and Hydra

Corvus, Crater and Hydra finder chart for 10:30 p.m. April 27, 2017. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.