Posts Tagged ‘International Space Station’

09/28/2017 – Ephemeris – View the Moon and Saturn tonight at the library

September 28, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, September 28th. The Sun will rise at 7:37. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 51 minutes, setting at 7:28. The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 1:05 tomorrow morning.

Tonight the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will set up their telescopes at the Traverse Area District Library Central Library on Woodmere Avenue in Traverse City from 7 to 9 p.m. weather permitting for a star party, though it won’t actually feature stars. It will feature the Moon in its gibbous phase and the planet Saturn probably after 8 p.m. We might also catch a glimpse of the Sun, since the event starts before sunset. The Sun’s sunspot activity has picked up a bit in the last month or so, since just before August’s solar eclipse. We’ve had a pretty sunspot-less early summer.

There will be a visible pass of the International Space Station, which will be high in the south at 8:30 p.m.  It will rise above the southwestern horizon at 8:25, and disappear into earth’s shadow at 8:33 p.m. in the south-southeast.  It will be visible from anywhere in Michigan, though the times may vary by a minute or so.  It’s traveling at 5 miles per second (8 km/s).

The library has a telescope, donated by the society and Enerdyne that they lend out, which has been in heavy demand. See the library for details.

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


04/21/2016 – Ephemeris – Up up and a way my beautiful balloon*

April 21, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, April 21st.  The Sun rises at 6:47.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 8:36.   The Moon, 1 day before full, will set at 7:16 tomorrow morning.

The successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 spacecraft and the Dragon module marked the returned SpaceX to supplying the International Space Station after its failure last June.  Besides the great achievement of landing the first stage of the Falcon on a barge, it delivered the Bigelow Aerospace BEAM inflatable module to the ISS.  It’s already been attached to the station and will be inflated next month.  Bigelow already has two inflatable satellites in orbit:  Genesis I and II launched in 2006 and 2007 and though retired, are still in orbit.  Inflatable spacecraft offer maximum volume for minimum weight.  If the tests on the space station prove the concept, the Mars manned spacecraft may feature an inflatable living module.

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

*Apologies to the 5th Dimension and Bigelow Aerospace.


Loading BEAM

The BEAM module being loaded in the Dragon Trunk. Credit NASA / SpaceX.

BEAM in the trunk

Dragon separating from the Falcon second stage with the BEAM module seen in the Dragon trunk. From a SpaceX/NASA video.

Inflated BEAM

What the BEAM module will look like when attached to the ISS and inflated. Credit NASA.


Cutaway view of the Bigelow Aerospace B330 Expandable Space Habitat. They are contracting with United Launch Alliance to send it into orbit. It will have 330 cubic meters of volume. Credit Bigelow Aerospace.