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Posts Tagged ‘Gemini’

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.

 

04/02/2019 – Ephemeris – Hydra the longest constellation

April 2, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 2nd. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 8:11, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:20. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 7:03 tomorrow morning.

In the south and southeastern sky at 10 p.m. can be found the constellation of Hydra the water snake. Unlike the monster of the same name this Hydra has but one head, which is its most distinctive part. At 10 p.m. look to the south. The head of Hydra is located below a line from the constellation Leo the Lion in the south and Gemini high in the west-southwest, and directly below Cancer the crab. Hydra’s head is a small but distinctive group of 6 stars that make a drooping loop to the right. The rest of Hydra wends its way diagonally to the southeastern horizon below the bright blue star Spica in Virgo. Some delineations of Hydra have the tail tickling the constellation Libra which is just about to rise at that time.

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

Addendum

Hydra finder

Hydra the water snake finder animation for 10 p.m. April 2nd.. Hydra is the longest of all the constellations. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

02/11/2019 – Ephemeris – The stars Castor and Pollux

February 11, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 11th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 16 minutes, setting at 6:05, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:47. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 12:57 tomorrow morning.

At 9 p.m. the constellation of Gemini the twins will be seen high in the southeast. The namesake stars of the two lads are the two bright stars at the top of the constellation. Pollux the pugilist, or boxer, is the lower of the two, while Castor, the horseman, is the other star, or rather a six star system. In telescopes two close stars may be seen each is a spectroscopic binary, meaning the lines of two stars can be seen in the spectrum. A faint nearby spectroscopic binary also belongs. Pollux, though a single star, does have at least one planet, over twice the mass of Jupiter orbiting the star at a distance somewhat greater than Mars is from the Sun. Pollux is 34 light years away while Castor is 50 light years away. Not too far away as stars go.

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

Addendum

Gemini with Castor and Pollux

Gemini with Castor and Pollux. Created with Stellarium.

Castor star system

The Castor star system exploded in this JPL/NASA infographic.

02/04/2019 – Ephemeris – Gemini the twins, or are they?

February 4, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 4th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 5:55, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:57. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

Lets look at another of the winter constellations, and member of the Zodiac. The constellation Gemini, the Twins is visible high in the southeast, above and left of Orion the hunter at 9 p.m. The namesake stars of the two lads, will be at the left end of Gemini, nearly vertically aligned. Castor is on top, while Pollux is below. From them come two lines of stars extending toward Orion that outline the two. In Greek mythology the lads were half brothers, Castor was fathered by a mere mortal, while Pollux was fathered by Zeus in the famous Leda and the swan affair and immortal, but were born together as twins. When Castor was killed during the quest for the Golden Fleece, Pollux pleaded with Zeus to let him die also, so Zeus placed them together in the sky so they could be together forever.

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

Addendum

Two ways of seeing Gemini

An animated look at two versions of the Gemini outlines. First the way I learned them as an outline of the lads. Second the way H. A. Rey from his popular 1952 book The Stars – A New Way to See Them, where the stars are connected to make stick figures. The Stellarium default for Gemini is that of H. A. Rey. My lines are due to a modification of the constellation lines table for the program. Created using Stellarium.

 

5/15/2018 – Ephemeris – Two thirds thru spring

May 15, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 15th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 9:04, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:13. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

Here we are at the middle of May, nearly two-thirds through spring and in the west only a few winter stars remain. Castor and Pollux of Gemini are horizontal in the west, Procyon the Little Dog Star is below and left of them, Capella in Auriga is in the northwest, but for most of the IPR listening area it will never quite set. At 10:30 Betelgeuse in Orion the hunter will be setting, chased from the skies by Scorpius the scorpion, which is rising in the southeast. In one story it is the sting of this scorpion that killed him. Already at that time two-thirds of the stars of the summer Triangle are up. Bright Vega in Lyra the harp, and Deneb in Cygnus the swan. The Big Dipper reigns overhead as spring is in full bloom.

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

Addendum

Goodbye winter, hello summer

The sky dome for 10:30 p.m. May 15, 2018 showing the stars and constellations. It may not work for any latitude or time, but it works for our location, near 45 degrees north. Created using Stellarium.

03/09/2018 – Ephemeris – The good ship Argo

March 9, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, March 9th. The Sun will rise at 7:06. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 6:41. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 2:50 tomorrow morning.

Located south and east of Canis Major, the great hunting dog of Orion and it brilliant star Sirius in the south is a dim constellation of Puppis, the poop deck of the old constellation Argo Navis, the constellation that depicts the ship Jason and the Argonauts used in their search for the Golden Fleece. This huge constellation has been subdivided. Only Puppis and Pyxis the ship’s compass are visible from Michigan. The other parts of the ship are Carina the keel, and Vela the sails require traveling south at least to the southern most of the United States. Three other constellations also related to this expedition are Gemini with Castor, who died on the expedition and Pollux. Hercules was also aboard as was the physician of the constellation Ophiuchus.

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

Addendum

Argo Navis

Puppis ans Pyxis; what we can see from Michigan, plus the rest of Argo Navis at 9 p.m., March 9, 2018. The Stellarium artist has the ship reversed. Puppis is the rear end, not the bow. Note that the Crux, the Southern Cross is below the ship. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

01/12/2018 – Ephemeris – A look at Gemini the very unusual twins

January 12, 2018 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, January 12th. The Sun will rise at 8:18. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 6 minutes, setting at 5:24. The Moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 5:16 tomorrow morning.

The constellation Gemini, the Twins is visible half way up the sky in the east at 9 p.m. The namesake stars of the two lads will be on the upper left edge of the constellation, nearly vertically aligned. Castor is above, while Pollux, a slightly brighter star is below it. Lines of stars from Castor and Pollux to the right delineate the lads. In Greek mythology Castor and Pollux were twins, and half brothers, Castor was fathered by a mere mortal, while Pollux was fathered by Zeus in the famous Leda and the swan affair. The brothers, however were inseparable, and when Castor was killed during the quest for the Golden Fleece, Pollux pleaded with Zeus to let him die also. Zeus granted his wish, so they both appear in the sky together forever.

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

Addendum

Gemini

Gemini as it should appear at 9 p.m., January 12, 2018. Created using Stellarium.

Gemini with Castor and Pollux

Gemini with Castor and Pollux. A closeup with a different way to link the stars with constellation art.  Created with Stellarium.