Saturday, 31 August 2013

Astronomical Calendar: 2013 September



Planet Earth will experience the Autumnal Equinox, the beginning of the season of Autumn in
the Northern Hemisphere, on 2013 September 22 at 4:44 p.m. EDT (20:44 Coordinated
Universal Time). (Image Source: timeanddate.com )


Astronomical Calendar for 2013 September:

Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2013.html#sep


The current month's Astronomical Calendar can also be found on the cover page of the History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh web site at this link:

Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrocal


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.


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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
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Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Newest Dark Sky Park in New Mexico

The 34,000-acre Chaco Culture National Historical Park is home to many ancient wonders including the remains of a civilization that thrived over 1,000 years ago. The park, which has been protecting its archaeological riches since it was established in 1907, is now protecting its views of the starry skies too. It has just been named as the International Dark-Sky Association's newest Dark Sky Park.

Milky-Way-Fajada-Butte
“Milky Way, Fajada Butte” by Stan Honda

“Once the night sky was something that was very much a part of the human experience at Chaco and around the globe,” says IDA Executive Director Bob Parks. “We are delighted that Chaco is now preserving the nighttime environment alongside their historic treasures.”

As a Gold-tier IDA Dark Sky Park, Chaco has shown its commitment to preserving its near-pristine night skies. The park has adopted a set of strict lighting guidelines that include the use of dark-sky friendly lighting now and in the future, ensuring that it will do its part to keep the nighttime environment natural and unspoiled for generations to come.

More - Link >>> http://earthsky.org/science-wire/new-mexican-skies-protected-with-dark-sky-park-designation

Source: EarthSky.org .

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

NASA: Water Found on Moon's Surface Hints at Water Below


NASA-funded lunar research has yielded evidence of water locked in mineral grains on the surface of the moon from an unknown source deep beneath the surface.

Using data from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument aboard the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, scientists remotely detected magmatic water, or water that originates from deep within the moon's interior, on the surface of the moon.

The findings, published Aug. 25 in Nature Geoscience, represent the first detection of this form of water from lunar orbit. Earlier studies had shown the existence of magmatic water in lunar samples returned during the Apollo program.

M3 imaged the lunar impact crater Bullialdus, which lies near the lunar equator. Scientists were interested in studying this area because they could better quantify the amount of water inside the rocks due to the crater's location and the type of rocks it held. The central peak of the crater is made up of a type of rock that forms deep within the lunar crust and mantle when magma is trapped underground.

More - Link >>> http://www.nasa.gov/press/2013/august/nasa-funded-scientists-detect-water-on-moons-surface-that-hints-at-water-below/#.UhzZTUoZSO4

Source: NASA.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Comet ISON to Fly by Mars

Around the world, astronomers are buzzing with anticipation over the approach of Comet ISON.  On Thanksgiving Day 2013, the icy visitor from the outer solar system will skim the sun's outer atmosphere and, if it survives, could emerge as one of the brightest comets in years.

First, though, it has to fly by Mars.

"Comet ISON is paying a visit to the Red Planet," says astronomer Carey Lisse of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. "On Oct 1st, the comet will pass within 0.07 AU from Mars, about six times closer than it will ever come to Earth."

Mars Comet (splash)
A new ScienceCast video anticipates Comet ISON's close flyby of Mars on Oct. 1, 2013. Play it

Mars rovers and satellites will get a close-up view.  It’s too early to say whether Curiosity will be able to see the comet from the surface of Mars—that depends on how much ISON brightens between now and then. Lisse says the best bet is NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.  The MRO satellite is equipped with a powerful half-meter telescope named HiRISE that is more than capable of detecting the comet’s atmosphere and tail. Observations are planned on four dates: August 20th, Sept 29th, and Oct 1st and 2nd.

More - Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/23aug_marsison/

Source: NASA Science News.

Current Position of Comet ISON:
Link >>> http://www.heavens-above.com/comet.aspx?cid=C%2F2012%20S1&lat=40.441&lng=-79.996&loc=Pittsburgh&alt=235&tz=EST

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Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Thursday, 22 August 2013

NASA to Revive Asteroid-Hunting Satellite

Back to Hunt More Asteroids This artist's concept shows the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE spacecraft, in its orbit around Earth. In September of 2013, engineers will attempt to bring the mission out of hibernation to hunt for more asteroids and comets in a project called NEOWISE. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Full image and caption


 A NASA spacecraft that discovered and characterized tens of thousands of asteroids throughout the solar system before being placed in hibernation will return to service for three more years starting in September, assisting the agency in its effort to identify the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects, as well as those suitable for asteroid exploration missions.

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) will be revived next month with the goal of discovering and characterizing near-Earth objects (NEOs), space rocks that can be found orbiting within 28 million miles (45 million kilometers) from Earth's path around the sun. NASA anticipates WISE will use its 16-inch (40-centimeter) telescope and infrared cameras to discover about 150 previously unknown NEOs and characterize the size, albedo and thermal properties of about 2,000 others -- including some which could be candidates for the agency's recently announced asteroid initiative.

"The WISE mission achieved its mission's goals and as NEOWISE extended the science even further in its survey of asteroids. NASA is now extending that record of success, which will enhance our ability to find potentially hazardous asteroids, and support the new asteroid initiative," said John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for science in Washington. "Reactivating WISE is an excellent example of how we are leveraging existing capabilities across the agency to achieve our goal."

More - Link >>> http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-257&cid=release_2013-257

Source: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

'Blue Moon' Tuesday Night

File:December 2009 partrial lunar eclipse-cropped.jpg
Another definition of a visible "blue moon" from the Total Lunar Eclipse of 2009 December.
(Image Source: Wikipedia.org )

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

The August Full Moon will occur on Tuesday Evening, 2013 August 20 at 9:45 p.m. EDT (August 21, 01:45 Coordinated Universal Time). And, this is actually considered a "Blue Moon."

While most people consider a "Blue Moon" to be the second Full Moon in a calendar month, the more classical definition of a "Blue Moon" is the third Full Moon in a calendar season which has four full moons. Most calendar seasons have three full moons, for the three months per season.

However, this year (2013) the Summer season actually has four full moons: June 23, July 22, August 20, and September 19. Hence, the August Full Moon is considered a "Blue Moon," by the classical definition. The previous "Blue Moon," by the classical definition, was on 2010 November 21. The last "Blue Moon," by the new and more popular definition of the second Full Moon in one calendar month, was on 2012 August 31.

The third Full Moon in a season with four full moons was called a "Blue Moon," so that the nicknames normally given to the three full moons of a season by the Native Americans, and later adopted by farmers who immigrated to America from Europe, could remain consistent for that particular season. In the 19th century, the Maine Farmers' Almanac started listing "Blue Moons," as an aid to farmers.

In March of 1946, Sky and Telescope Magazine misinterpreted the classical "Blue Moon" definition, by interpreting the 1937 Maine Farmers' Almanac as promoting eleven months with one full moon and one month with two full moons. Hence, started the more popularly-known definition of a "Blue Moon" being the second Full Moon in a calendar month. The daily radio program, StarDate, found the 1946 misinterpretation and popularized it in their broadcast of 1980 January 31.

Is one "Blue Moon" definition better than another? Folklorist Phillip Hiscock of Memorial University of Newfoundland wrote of the new definition in his article "Folklore of the 'Blue Moon'," for the 1993 December issue of the International Planetarium Society's quarterly journal Planetarian: "Old folklore it is not, but real folklore it is."

Native Americans had several names for the Full Moon of August: Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Grain Moon, Green Corn Moon, or simply Corn Moon. Of course, these referred to the time of year when harvesting grain or corn was beginning, the best time to catch sturgeon, or the red appearance of the Moon as it rises in the haze of late Summer.

In Earth's Southern Hemisphere which is in the middle of the Winter season, the Full Moon of August is known by the names Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, and Wolf Moon.

More on a "Blue Moon":
Link 1 >>> http://earthsky.org/space/when-is-the-next-blue-moon
Link 2 >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_moon

More on the Full Moon: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_moon

More on Full Moon Names:
Link 1 >>> http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/full-moon-names
Link 2 >>> http://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/
Link 3 >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farmers%27_Almanac_full_moon_names#Farmers.27_Almanacs

Source: Glenn A. Walsh, Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Saturday, 17 August 2013

SpaceX Founder Proposes Super-Fast Intercity Transit System

An artist's impression of the Hyperloop podCourtesy Elon Musk: An artist's impression of the Hyperloop pod

Almost a year after Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors (TSLA) and SpaceX, first floated the idea of a superfast mode of transportation, he has finally revealed the details: a solar-powered, city-to-city elevated transit system that could take passengers and cars from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. In typical Musk fashion, the Hyperloop, as he calls it, immediately poses a challenge to the status quo—in this case, California’s $70 billion high-speed train that has been knocked by Musk and others as too expensive, too slow, and too impractical.
In Musk’s vision, the Hyperloop would transport people via aluminum pods enclosed inside of steel tubes. He describes the design as looking like a shotgun with the tubes running side by side for most of the journey and closing the loop at either end. These tubes would be mounted on columns 50 to 100 yards apart, and the pods inside would travel up to 800 miles per hour. Some of this Musk has hinted at before; he now adds that pods could ferry cars as well as people. “You just drive on, and the pod departs,” Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek in his first interview about the Hyperloop.

More - Link >>> http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-08-12/revealed-elon-musk-explains-the-hyperloop

Source: Bloomberg BusnessWeek Magazine.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

chrisandkelly

chrisandkelly

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Space Junk Tracking to be Hindered by Shutdown of USAF 'Space Fence'





This computer illustration depicts the density of space junk around Earth in low-Earth orbit.Image: ESA

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force's decision to shut down a key component of its Space Surveillance Network will weaken the service's ability to accurately detect and characterize objects in Earth orbit, experts say.

The space fence shutdown, ordered by Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, also will reduce the overall capacity of the system, these experts said. At the same time, they suggested it could increase pressure on the Air Force to award a contract on a next-generation system, which has stalled amid a Pentagon-wide review of its acquisition plans.

According to two recent memos obtained by SpaceNews, the Air Force will shut down the aging Air Force Space Surveillance System, also known informally as the Space Fence, Sept. 1. The memos, from Austin Frindt, a contracting officer with Air Force Space Command, were addressed to Five Rivers Services of Colorado Springs, Colo., operator of the current Space Fence, which consists of a line of VHF radars stretching across the southern United States.

Deployed in the 1960s, the VHF Space Fence includes three transmitter sites and six receiving stations. It is responsible for approximately 40 percent of all observations performed by the Air Force-run Space Surveillance Network, which includes other ground-and space-based sensor assets, said Brian Weeden, technical adviser at the Secure World Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to space sustainability.

More - Link >>> http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=us-militarys-space-fence&WT.mc_id=SA_DD_20130814

Sources: SpaceNews, Tech Media Network, Scientific American Magazine.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

More FREE NASA Books



By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

 Last week, I reported on "NASA's Massive Free E-Book Collection":

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/08/nasas-massive-free-e-book-collection.html

Richard Spencer, Information Services Manager for the Library at NASA Headquarters in Washington has informed me of more free NASA E-Books, and also some free regular books in celebration of 50 years of NASA.  Here is the message he sent me:

By the way, let your readers know that the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate is also building a collection of free ebooks at http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/ebooks
 
Also, I oversee the Headquarters Information Center which distributes and sells the books to the public.  Currently, the History Program Office is celebrating 50 years of publishing books with a massive giveaway of many titles.  The price page (including which titles are available for free) is at: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/hqlibrary/ic/ic2.htm. We’re distributing them for a $3.00 per book shipping/handling fee (or visitors can walk in for copies – although we will be closing to public access for 9 months beginning Aug 21st.)
 
Rick
 
Richard Spencer
Information Services Manager, BFJV, Inc.
Library, Information Center, Historical Reference Center
NASA Headquarters
300 E St. SW, Rm 1J22
Washington, DC 20546
(202) 358-0168


Source: Glenn A. Walsh, Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Sun., Mon. Nights



By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

The largest meteor shower of the year, the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, peaks Sunday and Monday nights. The actual peak is Monday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. EDT (18:00 Coordinated Universal Time), for those viewers where the Sun has already set.

A meteor shower normally consists of dust particles related to a comet. Each time a comet approaches the Sun, the comet loses dust particles following the melting of ice on the comet. These dust particles, called meteoroids, continue to follow the same orbit as the comet and form a meteoroid stream. Each year, as the Earth orbits the Sun, the Earth passes through several of these meteoroid streams, becoming Earth's meteor showers.

The Earth's gravity then attracts many of these meteoroids to fall to Earth, and they are viewed by people as meteors, as they burn-up in the atmosphere. Most are extremely small and burn-up completely. From time-to-time, larger particles enter the atmosphere and create brilliant displays known as fireballs. If these particles are large enough, they may not completely burn-up and land on Earth as a meteorite.

Meteors can be seen any night of the year, although they are not predictable and are rare outside of one of the annual meteor showers. The vast majority of meteors that can be seen during the Perseid Meteor Shower originate from the Comet Swift-Tuttle, which has an orbital period of 133 years. Comet Swift-Tuttle was discovered in 1862 and returned for viewing in 1992.

Comet Swift-Tuttle measures about 16-miles across, much larger than the object that is thought to have fallen to Earth which resulted in the extinction of the dinosaurs. Comet Swift-Tuttle will make a very close approach to the Earth in  the year 4479. Scientists are now studying whether some day Comet Swift-Tuttle could impact the Earth. Comet Swift–Tuttle has been described as "the single most dangerous object known to humanity".

Viewers in the Northern Hemisphere are fortunate that the Perseid Meteor Shower arrives during the Summer month of August, when temperatures are comfortable for nighttime viewing, although sometimes August can be very humid with poor seeing conditions.

It is best to look for the Perseids, or any meteor shower, after local midnight, when the Earth is then rotating toward the meteor shower. As most meteors are often dim, it is best to view a meteor shower away from city lights, which cause a brightening of the sky at night, and hence, the dimmest meteors are often missed. And, you want to go out ahead of time, before you start actual viewing of meteors, to get your eyes accustomed to the dark sky.

The Perseid Meteor Shower is named because the meteors appear to radiate from the Constellation Perseus. However, meteors can appear in any part of the sky at any time. In fact, looking  towards Perseus may not result in finding the best meteors, as meteors coming from the apparent radiant may be seen for a shorter time in the sky.

Telescopes and binoculars are really not useful when searching for meteors. You need a wide field-of-view to find a meteor. Hence, your best instrument for viewing meteors are simply your eyes!

More on the Perseid Meteor Shower: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseid

More on Meteor Showers: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_shower

More on Meteors: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor#Meteor

More on Comet Swift-Tuttle: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swift-Tuttle

Fifth largest fragment of the meteorite which struck Barringer Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona, which was displayed at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/Buhlexhibits.htm#meteorite

Related Blog Post ---

NASA: Perseid Meteor Shower Has Most Fireballs  (2013 July 27):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/07/nasa-perseid-meteor-shower-has-most.html 


Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Thursday, 8 August 2013

NASA's Massive Free E-Book Collection


pavelbelyayaev.jpg
Cosmonaut Pavel Belyayaev in 1965 from Rockets and People (Asif Siddiqi)

Behold, the hundreds of free e-books about space history contained on this webpage.

From old favorites like The Difficult Road to Mars: A Brief History of Mars Exploration in the Soviet Union and Wind Tunnels of NASA to experimental work like Aerospace Food Technology and Life in the Universe: Proceedings of a conference held at NASA Ames Research Center Moffet Field, California, June 19-20, 1979, this is one of the best collections of space arcana you're likely to find.

These books were placed online over the last decade, so some of the formatting leaves something to be desired. Many of the works have been broken up into tiny pieces, forcing one to click through page after page. But this is a singular information repository, a storehouse for our fascination with flight.

 More - Link >>> http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/08/nasas-massive-free-e-book-collection/278496/

Source: The Atlantic Magazine.

NASA History Series Publications - Free E-Books:
Link >>> http://history.nasa.gov/series95.html
 
Related Blog Post ---
 

More FREE NASA Books  (2013 Aug. 13):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/08/more-free-nasa-books.html

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Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >..

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Sun's Magnetic Field About to Flip

Something big is about to happen on the sun.  According to measurements from NASA-supported observatories, the sun's vast magnetic field is about to flip.

"It looks like we're no more than 3 to 4 months away from a complete field reversal," says solar physicist Todd Hoeksema of Stanford University. "This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system."

Field Flip (splash)
A new ScienceCast video anticipates the reversal of the sun's global magnetic field. Play it
The sun's magnetic field changes polarity approximately every 11 years.  It happens at the peak of each solar cycle as the sun's inner magnetic dynamo re-organizes itself.  The coming reversal will mark the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24. Half of 'Solar Max' will be behind us, with half yet to come.

Hoeksema is the director of Stanford's Wilcox Solar Observatory, one of the few observatories in the world that monitor the sun's polar magnetic fields.  The poles are a herald of change. Just as Earth scientists watch our planet's polar regions for signs of climate change, solar physicists do the same thing for the sun.

Magnetograms at Wilcox have been tracking the sun's polar magnetism since 1976, and they have recorded three grand reversals—with a fourth in the offing.

Field Flip (WSO, 200px)
Astronomers at the Wilcox Solar Observatory (WSO) monitor the sun's global magnetic field on a daily basis. WSO home page
Solar physicist Phil Scherrer, also at Stanford, describes what happens: "The sun's polar magnetic fields weaken, go to zero, and then emerge again with the opposite polarity. This is a regular part of the solar cycle."

A reversal of the sun's magnetic field is, literally, a big event. The domain of the sun's magnetic influence (also known as the "heliosphere") extends billions of kilometers beyond Pluto. Changes to the field's polarity ripple all the way out to the Voyager probes, on the doorstep of interstellar space.

More - Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/05aug_fieldflip/

Source: NASA Science News.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Comet Graveyard Found in Asteroid Belt



These illustrations show the asteroid belt in the present day and in the early Solar System, located between the Sun (at centre) and four terrestrial planets (near the Sun) and Jupiter (at bottom left). The top image shows the conventional model for the asteroid belt; largely composed of rocky material. The middle image shows the proposed model, with a small number of active comets and a dormant cometary population. The lower diagram shows how the asteroid belt might have looked in the early Solar System, with vigorous cometary activity. (Credit: Ignacio Ferrin / University of Anitoquia)

A team of astronomers from the University of Anitoquia, Medellin, Colombia, have discovered a graveyard of comets. The researchers, led by Anitoquia astronomer Prof. Ignacio Ferrin, describe how some of these objects, inactive for millions of years, have returned to life leading them to name the group the 'Lazarus comets'.

The new work looked at a third and distinct region of the Solar System, the main belt of asteroids between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. This volume of space contains more than 1 million objects ranging in size from 1 m to 800 km. The traditional explanation for asteroids is that they are the building blocks of a planet that never formed, as the movement of the pieces was disrupted by the strong gravitational field of Jupiter.

In the last decade 12 active comets have been discovered in the asteroid main belt region. This was something of a surprise and the Medellin team set out to investigate their origin. The team, made up of Prof. Ferrin and his colleagues Profs. Jorge Zuluaga and Pablo Cuartas, now think they have an explanation.

"We found a graveyard of comets," exclaims Professor Ferrín. He adds: "Imagine all these asteroids going around the Sun for aeons, with no hint of activity. We have found that some of these are not dead rocks after all, but are dormant comets that may yet come back to life if the energy that they receive from the Sun increases by a few per cent."

More - Link >>> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130802080248.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fspace_time+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Space+%26+Time+News%29

Sources: Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), ScienceDaily.com .

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Astronomical Calendar: 2013 August

File:Maria Mitchell.jpg

Image of America's first professional woman astronomer, Maria Mitchell, whose 195th
birthday is August 1 of 2013. She won a gold medal prize presented by the King of
Denmark, for her discovery of a comet named in her honor: Miss Mitchell's Comet.
(Image Sources: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/ U.S. Department
of Commerce, Wikipedia.org )

Astronomical Calendar for 2013 August:

Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2013.html#aug


The current month's Astronomical Calendar can also be found on the cover page of the History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh web site at this link:

Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrocal


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.


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Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >..

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower>
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >