Posts Tagged ‘Women in STEM’

10/13/2020 – Ephemeris – Mars at opposition and Ada Lovelace Day

October 13, 2020 2 comments

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Ada Lovelace Day, Tuesday, October 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 4 minutes, setting at 7:00, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:57. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 4:50 tomorrow morning.

Mars will be in opposition from the Sun this afternoon and will officially enter the evening sky and begin rising before sunset. Ada Lovelace or more properly Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was the daughter of Lord Byron and worked for Charles Babbage, and is considered the first computer programmer, even though Babbage was unable to build his mechanical computer the Analytic Engine in the mid 1800s. This day is set aside to celebrate the accomplishments of women of science, technology, engineering and math, STEM. This year three women were awarded Nobel Prizes: Two in chemistry, and one shared with two men in physics. The computer language Ada was created for the US Department of Defense.

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


Mars Opposition

Inner solar system on October 13, 2020 showing Mars at opposition from the Sun. The Sun, Earth and Mars are in a straight line. Note the motion of the planets and space probes are counterclockwise. Mars was closest to the Earth a week ago. It is moving away from the Sun in its orbit. Its closest point to the Sun, called perihelion, at about the 2 o’clock point in its orbit. The Mars 2020 Rover “Percy” has a bit more than 4 months to go to reach Mars. Credit: NASA Eyes App

Don’t worry, that the Mars 2020 is behind both the Earth and Mars. In being sent to Mars, it is now moving slower than the Earth, but faster than Mars, which it will reach on February 18, 2021.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace

Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852) considered the first computer programmer, even though the machine she wrote code for was never built. Credit: Science & Society Picture Library


Trial model of a part of the Analytical Engine, built by Charles Babbage, as displayed at the Science Museum (London). By Bruno Barral (ByB), CC BY-SA 2.5.

Women winning the Nobel Prizes in Chemistry and Physics

The 59 second program length of Ephemeris prevented me from naming the Nobel prize winners. Here they are.

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on CRISPR-Cas9 as a way to edit genomes. Andrea Ghez shared the Physics Prize with Roger Penrose who got half the prize for discovering that black holes were a prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, and Reinhard Genzel for the discovery of the supermassive black hole in our Milky Way galaxy. Ghez and Genzel shared the other half of the prize.