Casual Astronomy, Spaceflight News and Lower California Weather

Jupiter Southeast before Sunrise ••••• Venus with Mars Low in East before Sunrise ••••• Mercury Low WNW after Sunset ••••• Lyrid Meteor Shower, Early Morning April 22 ••••• Photo Op: Thin Crescent & Venus, Dawn April 22

By: LowerCal, 05:47 PM GMT die 18o March, anno 2009

Today - SpaceWeather.com
also Earth & Sky | Tonight & 365 Days of Astronomy
This Week - SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
also Jack Horkheimer - Star Gazer, Current Scripts
This Month - SkyandTelescope.com - Sky Tour Podcasts
also HubbleSite - Tonight's Sky: Your guide to constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and events
& International Year of Astronomy Monthly Discovery Guides

Visible Satellites:
Simplest - Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com
More satellites and more info - Heavens-Above.com

Launches - Spaceflight Now - Worldwide Launch Schedule
Reentries - Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies - Upcoming & Recent Reentries

All events described below can be viewed with your naked eye. Occasionally simple binoculars will improve the view and that will be noted. Scroll down for future dates, farther down for past dates.


Dawn, April 19-21 southeastern sky image from SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.


Meteor Shower

WU Photo: Searching for Shooting Stars by johnlanoue Monday October 8, 2007
Early Morning April 22
The Lyrid meteor shower has a usual rate of about 18 per hour visible from ideal locations. It is a variable shower and has produced an outburst of 90 per hour.

Best areas for watching are north of the Equator and highest numbers will be visible before the break of dawn while the sky is still at its darkest.

Source and more information at
IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2009 | International Meteor Organization - Lyrids.

Also see
Viewing Activity from the 2009 Lyrid Meteor Shower,
Astronomy.com - Sky-event preview: The 2009 Lyrid meteor shower and
NASA - Venus Disappears during Meteor Shower.

For Better Viewing
Find a Dark Location
A dark country location without "security" lights is best. If that's not convenient try to find a location where you can't see any lights or lighted surfaces. A nearby park or maybe even your backyard would qualify. On a beach facing the water could be a good alternative.

Where to Look
Meteors can appear in any part of the sky. To see the most meteors face the darkest part of your sky and look at least 45° above the horizon.

Be Comfortable
A reclining chair will keep you from getting a stiff neck and tired feet. A sleeping bag will keep you warm. (Even in the summertime you can get chilly at night if you are just lying still.) Insect repellent will keep you from being distracted by those little pests.

General Meteor Shower Information
An easy to read introduction to meteors with an interesting summary of annual showers is
Astronomy - Meteors and meteor showers - Francis Reddy.

The two primary sources of most of what you'll read about meteor showers are
The American Meteor Society and
The International Meteor Organinzation.


Thin Crescent Moon, Venus & Mars
Before Sunrise April 22
A thin crescent moon will stand very close to the brilliant planet Venus low in the east before sunrise. For western North America the Moon will even cover Venus!

Use binoculars to find the reddish planet Mars below the Moon and Venus.

Also see
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - A Daring Pairing of Moon and Venus and
NASA - Venus Disappears during Meteor Shower.


Dawn, April 22-23 eastern sky image from SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.


Meteor Shower
Early Evening April 23
The π (Pi) Puppid meteor shower has had occasional outbursts of 40 per hour visible from ideal locations and this is a good year to watch for some.

Best areas for watching are south of the Equator and highest numbers would be visible in the first hours of darkness after dusk.

Source and more information at
IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2009 | International Meteor Organization - π-Puppids.


Dark Moon (a.k.a. astronomical new moon)

Exact at
April 25
0323 GMT
April 24
11:23pm EDT
8:23pm PDT.

Lower and thinner morning crescent moons the week before. Higher and thicker evening crescent moons the week after.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows (see SPRING-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


) Thinnest Evening Crescent Moon (the original meaning of "new moon")

WunderPhoto: One day old Moon by LaddObservatory Friday June 15, 2007
April 25 or 26
Low in the western sky soon after sunset.

On April 25 a very thin new moon should be easy to spot from North America. It may be possible to spot an extremely thin new moon from western Europe.

For areas and dates of visibility see Moonsighting.com.


Dusk, April 25-27 west-northwestern sky image from SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.


Moon, Mercury & the Pleiades
April 26
After sunset low in the western sky a very thin crescent Moon stands above the planet Mercury. Between them is the Pleiades star cluster visible in binoculars as the sky darkens.


Summaries of Sky Events for the Year
2009
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Eclipses in 2009
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Meteor Showers in 2009


***** Past Dates *****

Shuttle Discovery

Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder
Mission: STS-119
Spacecraft & Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery
Launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida
March 15
2343 GMT (23:43:46 ±5 minutes)
7:43pm EDT (local time)
4:43pm PDT.

Docking with the ISS
March 17
2113 GMT
5:13pm EDT
2:13pm PDT.

Undocking from the ISS
March 25
1347 GMT
9:47am EDT
6:47am PDT.

1953 GMT
3:53pm EDT
12:53pm PDT.

Landing at Kennedy Space Center
March 28
1742 GMT
1:42pm EDT (local time)
10:42am PDT.
1743 GMT
1:43pm EDT (local time)
10:43am PDT.
1738 GMT
1:38pm EDT (local time)
10:38am PDT.
1739 GMT
1:39pm EDT (local time)
10:39am PDT.

1914 GMT
3:14pm EDT (local time)
12:14pm PDT.

(Find later landing options at NASA - Launch and Landing
and the landing paths at NASA - STS-119 Landing Ground Tracks.)

Launch status updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

You can follow the progress of the Space Shuttle mission online at
Spaceflight Now | STS-119 Shuttle Report | Mission Status Center
and NASA - Space Shuttle.
There are links in the "WATCH NASA TV NOW" section of the NASA page where you can watch video (sometimes live).

You can dig for more info at
Spaceflight Now - Index of /shuttle/sts119 and
CBS News Space Place - STS-119 Status Report.

Live online coverage of the launch on NASA TV starts one hour or more before launch - see the NASA TV Schedule.


◑ Last Quarter Moon

Exact at
March 18
1747 GMT
1:47pm EDT
10:47pm PDT.

Rises near midnight and sets near noon. Morning crescent moons for a week after. Each one thinner and closer to the horizon.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are at right angles resulting in weaker tides - lower highs, higher lows and slower flows (see NEAP-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


Equinox Day
March 20
1144 GMT
7:44am EDT
4:44am PDT.
The Sun crosses the equator on its way to the Northern Hemisphere marking the beginning of spring there. It marks the beginning of autumn for the Southern Hemisphere.

Satellite Outages

One effect of equinoctial periods is the temporary disruption of communications satellites. For all geostationary satellites, there are a few days near the equinox when the sun goes directly behind the satellite relative to Earth (ie, within the beamwidth of the groundstation antenna) for a short period each day. The Sun's immense power and broad radiation spectrum overload the Earth station's reception circuits with noise and, depending on antenna size and other factors, temporarily disrupt or degrade the circuit. The duration of those effects varies but can range from a few minutes to an hour. (For a given frequency band, a larger antenna has a narrower beamwidth, hence experience shorter duration "Sun outage" windows).
Cultural aspects of the Equinox


Jupiter, Mars & Crescent Moon before Sunrise
March 22-24
Jupiter and the Crescent Moon can help you find Mars in the eastern dawn sky.

March 22-24 Eastern Sky Image from SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.


Cape Canaveral Delta II Launch

Photo credit: Patrick AFB
Satellite: Global Positioning System 49 (Navstar-2RM 7 [ex Navstar-2R 20])
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7925
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
March 24
0834-0849 GMT
4:34-4:49am EDT (local time)
1:34-1:49am PDT.

Launch status updates are at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule
with more details on the launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

In addition to its various navigational and timing uses the Global Positioning System carries nuclear detonation detectors.

You might find more information and a link to a live webcast of the launch at
United Launch Alliance as the launch date grows closer.


Launch of ISS Expedition 19 Crew

Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Mission: Expedition 19 to the International Space Station (ISS)
Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA-14
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz FG
Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
March 26
4:49pm AQTT (Aqtobe Time, local time)
1149 GMT
7:49am EDT
4:49am PDT.

Docking with ISS
March 28
4:15pm MSK (Moscow Standard Time)
1315 GMT
9:15am EDT
6:15am PDT.

Updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

You can follow the progress of the mission at NASA - Expedition 19.

Live coverage of the launch and docking will appear on NASA TV - see the NASA TV Schedule.


Dark Moon (a.k.a. astronomical new moon)

Exact at
March 26
1606 GMT
12:06pm EDT
9:06am PDT.

Lower and thinner morning crescent moons the week before. Higher and thicker evening crescent moons the week after.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows (see SPRING-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


) Thinnest Evening Crescent Moon (the original meaning of "new moon")

WunderPhoto: One day old Moon by LaddObservatory Friday June 15, 2007
March 27 or 28
Low in the western sky soon after sunset.

For areas and dates of visibility see Moonsighting.com.


Turn off your lights 8:30-9:30pm!
March 28
Earth Hour


Sky Darkness Survey

From: The World Atlas of the Artificial Night Sky Brightness
Image credit: P. Cinzano, F. Falchi (University of Padova), C. D. Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder). Copyright Royal Astronomical Society. Reproduced from the Monthly Notices of the RAS by permission of Blackwell Science. The night sky in the World.


From: Visible Earth: Earth's City Lights
Image credit: Data courtesy Marc Imhoff of NASA GSFC and Christopher Elvidge of NOAA NGDC. Image by Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, NASA GSFC.

March 16-28
Participation in GLOBE at Night is open to anyone who lives or works in one of the 110 GLOBE countries and can get outside and look skyward during 16-28 March. You can enter your observations on the GLOBE at Night Report web page from 16 March - 7 April.


Binocular Star Clusters
March 29 & 30
A couple of fine binocular star clusters will be easy to find these evenings. On the 29th the crescent Moon is below the Pleiades. On the 30th the crescent Moon is above the Pleiades and to the right of the Hyades. At the same time each night the moon will continue to step eastward while the starts remain in nearly the same location.

March 29 & 30 western sky image from SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.


◐ First Quarter Moon

Exact at
April 2
1434 GMT
10:34am EDT
7:34am PDT.

Rises near noon and sets near midnight. Evening crescent moons for a week before. Each one thicker and higher above the horizon.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are at right angles resulting in weaker tides - lower highs, higher lows and slower flows (see NEAP-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


Moon Near the Twins
April 2
This night the Moon shines below the two stars that mark the heads of Castor & Pollux in the constellation Gemini. Pollux is farther south, closer to the Moon and slightly brighter than Castor.


Cape Canaveral Atlas V Launch

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin
Satellite: Wideband Global SATCOM 2 (WGS-2)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 421
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
March 18
0124-0200 GMT
March 17
9:24-10:00pm EDT (local time)
6:24-7:00pm PST.
To Be Determined
April 1

?April 4
0031-0133 GMT
March 31
April 3
8:31-9:33pm EDT (local time)
5:31-6:33pm PST.

Launch status updates are at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule
with more details on the launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center
as the launch approaches.

You can find more information and a link to a live webcast of the launch at
United Launch Alliance. Coverage is scheduled to begin at 9:05 EDT, 6:05 PDT. 8:12 EDT, 5:12 PDT.


100 Hours of Astronomy for the Public
April 2-5
Clickable World Map for Events Near You!

Welcome to 100 Hours of Astronomy
The 100 Hours of Astronomy Cornerstone Project is a worldwide event consisting of a wide range of public outreach activities, live science center, research observatory webcasts and sidewalk astronomy events.One of the key goals of 100 Hours of Astronomy is to have as many people as possible look through a telescope as Galileo did for the first time 400 years ago. ....

Moon Near Regulus
April 5
This evening the Moon is near the star Regulus, the heart of and the brightest star in the constellation Leo. Regulus is the "dot" on a backward question mark pattern that marks the mane and chest of the Lion.

April 4-6 Eastern Sky Image from SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.


Moon Near Saturn
April 6
This evening the Moon is near the planet Saturn. Saturn is the farthest planet visible to the naked eye. It has an orbit of about 30 years and so moves very slowly against the background of stars. A year from now it will only be about hand's width farther from its current position near Regulus.


○ Full Moon

WunderPhoto: Rising Moon by StarDancer Tuesday March 10, 2009
Exact at
April 9
1456 GMT
10:56am EDT
7:56am PDT.

Rises near sunset and sets near sunrise.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows (see SPRING-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


Moon Near Spica
April 9
This evening the Moon is near the star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo. Spica is the spike of wheat in the Virgin's hand. Spica is one of the bluest stars in the sky. If it doesn't seem blue to your naked eye try looking through binoculars and unfocusing them to make Spica appear as a disk instead of a point of light.


Moon Near Antares

Early Morning April 13
After midnight the Moon can be seen near the star Antares, the heart of and the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius. The Scorpion is one of the most recognizable constellations with his long curving tail. Antares is a reddish star close the the pathway of the planets and is sometimes a rival (Ant-) of the red planet Mars (-ares).


Jupiter, Venus & Mars
Before Sunrise April 13
The very bright planet Jupiter is in the southeast. The brilliant planet Venus is beginning its appearance in the east as "The Morning Star". The red planet Mars is about a hand's width to the right of Venus (use binoculars) and will remain in close proximity to Venus for three more months.


◑ Last Quarter Moon

Exact at
April 17
1336 GMT
9:36am EDT
6:36am PDT.

Rises near midnight and sets near noon. Morning crescent moons for a week after. Each one thinner and closer to the horizon.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are at right angles resulting in weaker tides - lower highs, higher lows and slower flows (see NEAP-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


Moon Near Jupiter
Before Sunrise April 19
This morning the Moon is near the very bright planet Jupiter in the southeast.




Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

Updated: 03:58 PM GMT die 20o April, anno 2009

Permalink

Sky Darkness Survey, March 16-28 ••••• Spacecraft Flyovers (see comment 179)

By: LowerCal, 06:33 PM GMT die 09o March, anno 2009

Today - SpaceWeather.com
also Earth & Sky | Tonight & 365 Days of Astronomy
This Week - SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
also Jack Horkheimer - Star Gazer, Current Scripts
This Month - SkyandTelescope.com - Sky Tour Podcasts
also HubbleSite - Tonight's Sky: Your guide to constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and events
& International Year of Astronomy Monthly Discovery Guides

Visible Satellites:
Simplest - Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com
More satellites and more info - Heavens-Above.com

Launches - Spaceflight Now - Worldwide Launch Schedule
Reentries - Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies - Upcoming & Recent Reentries

All events described below can be viewed with your naked eye. Occasionally simple binoculars will improve the view and that will be noted. Scroll down for future dates, farther down for past dates.

Sky Darkness Survey

From: The World Atlas of the Artificial Night Sky Brightness
Image credit: P. Cinzano, F. Falchi (University of Padova), C. D. Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder). Copyright Royal Astronomical Society. Reproduced from the Monthly Notices of the RAS by permission of Blackwell Science. The night sky in the World.


From: Visible Earth: Earth's City Lights
Image credit: Data courtesy Marc Imhoff of NASA GSFC and Christopher Elvidge of NOAA NGDC. Image by Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, NASA GSFC.

March 16-28
Participation in GLOBE at Night is open to anyone who lives or works in one of the 110 GLOBE countries and can get outside and look skyward during 16-28 March. You can enter your observations on the GLOBE at Night Report web page from 16 March - 7 April.


◑ Last Quarter Moon

Exact at
March 18
1747 GMT
1:47pm EDT
10:47pm PDT.

Rises near midnight and sets near noon. Morning crescent moons for a week after. Each one thinner and closer to the horizon.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are at right angles resulting in weaker tides - lower highs, higher lows and slower flows (see NEAP-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


Equinox Day
March 20
1144 GMT
7:44am EDT
4:44am PDT.
The Sun crosses the equator on its way to the Northern Hemisphere marking the beginning of spring there. It marks the beginning of autumn for the Southern Hemisphere.

Satellite Outages

One effect of equinoctial periods is the temporary disruption of communications satellites. For all geostationary satellites, there are a few days near the equinox when the sun goes directly behind the satellite relative to Earth (ie, within the beamwidth of the groundstation antenna) for a short period each day. The Sun's immense power and broad radiation spectrum overload the Earth station's reception circuits with noise and, depending on antenna size and other factors, temporarily disrupt or degrade the circuit. The duration of those effects varies but can range from a few minutes to an hour. (For a given frequency band, a larger antenna has a narrower beamwidth, hence experience shorter duration "Sun outage" windows).
Cultural aspects of the Equinox


Cape Canaveral Atlas V Launch

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin
Satellite: Wideband Global SATCOM 2 (WGS-2)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 421
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
March 14
0125-0207 GMT
March 13
9:25-10:07pm EDT (local time)
6:25-7:07pm PST.
March 15
0125-0203 GMT
March 14
9:25-10:03pm EDT (local time)
6:25-7:03pm PST.
March 18
0124-0200 GMT
March 17
9:24-10:00pm EDT (local time)
6:24-7:00pm PST.


Launch status updates are at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule
with more details on the launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center
as the launch approaches.

You can find more information and a link to a live webcast of the launch at
United Launch Alliance. Coverage is scheduled to begin at 9:05 EDT, 6:05 PDT.


Cape Canaveral Delta II Launch

Photo credit: Patrick AFB
Satellite: Global Positioning System 49 (Navstar-2RM 7 [ex Navstar-2R 20])
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7925
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
March 24
0834-0849 GMT
4:34-4:49am EDT (local time)
1:34-1:49am PDT.

Launch status updates are at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule
with more details on the launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

In addition to its various navigational and timing uses the Global Positioning System carries nuclear detonation detectors.

You might find more information and a link to a live webcast of the launch at
United Launch Alliance as the launch date grows closer.


Shuttle Discovery

Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder
Mission: STS-119
Spacecraft & Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery
Launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida
March 12
0120 GMT
March 11
9:20pm EDT (local time)
6:20pm PDT.

Docking with the ISS
March 13
2227 GMT
6:27pm EDT
3:27pm PDT.

Undocking from the ISS
March 23
1423 GMT
10:23am EDT
7:23am PDT.

Landing at Kennedy Space Center
March 25
1927 GMT
3:27pm EDT
12:27pm PDT.

Launch
March 13
0054 GMT
March 12
8:54pm EDT (local time)
5:54pm PDT.


Launch NET (No Earlier Than)
March 15
2343 GMT (23:43:46 ±5 minutes)
7:43pm EDT (local time)
4:43pm PDT.

Docking with the ISS
March 17
2113 GMT
5:13pm EDT
2:13pm PDT.

Undocking from the ISS
March 25
1347 GMT
9:47am EDT
6:47am PDT.

Landing at Kennedy Space Center
March 28
1742 GMT
1:42pm EDT (local time)
10:42am PDT.

(Find later landing options at NASA - Launch and Landing
and the landing paths at NASA - STS-119 Landing Ground Tracks.)

Launch status updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

You can follow the progress of the Space Shuttle mission online at
Spaceflight Now | STS-119 Shuttle Report | Mission Status Center
and NASA - Space Shuttle.
There are links in the "WATCH NASA TV NOW" section of the NASA page where you can watch video (sometimes live).

You can dig for more info at
Spaceflight Now - Index of /shuttle/sts119 and
CBS News Space Place - STS-119 Status Report.

Live online coverage of the launch on NASA TV starts one hour or more before launch - see the NASA TV Schedule.


Launch of ISS Expedition 19 Crew

Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Mission: Expedition 19 to the International Space Station (ISS)
Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA-14
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz FG
Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
March 26
4:49pm AQTT (Aqtobe Time, local time)
1149 GMT
7:49am EDT
4:49am PDT.

Docking with ISS
March 28
4:15pm MSK (Moscow Standard Time)
1315 GMT
9:15am EDT
6:15am PDT.

Updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

You can follow the progress of the mission at NASA - Expedition 19.

Live coverage of the launch and docking will appear on NASA TV - see the NASA TV Schedule.


Dark Moon (a.k.a. astronomical new moon)

Exact at
March 26
1606 GMT
12:06pm EDT
9:06am PDT.

Lower and thinner morning crescent moons the week before. Higher and thicker evening crescent moons the week after.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows (see SPRING-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


) Thinnest Evening Crescent Moon (the original meaning of "new moon")

WunderPhoto: One day old Moon by LaddObservatory Friday June 15, 2007
March 27 or 28
Low in the western sky soon after sunset.

For areas and dates of visibility see Moonsighting.com.


Turn off your lights 8:30-9:30pm!
March 28
Earth Hour


Summaries of Sky Events for the Year
2009
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Eclipses in 2009
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Meteor Showers in 2009


***** Past Dates *****

Find Saturn Easily Tonight
March 8-10
These evenings the Moon will help you easily locate the planet Saturn (a bright yellowish point of light), the constellation Leo and Leo's blazing heart, the star Regulus (a bright bluish point of light).

March 8 Eastern Sky Image from Astronomy.com - Sky-event alert: Saturn rules the night.

March 8-10 Eastern Sky Image from SkyandTelescope.com - Homepage Observing - This Week's Sky at a Glance (March 6-14).

After the Moon leaves that area of the sky Saturn (and the other celestial entities) can still be found in the same area around the same time. Saturn is currently rising in the east after sunset, highest around midnight and setting in the west before sunrise.


○ Full Moon

WunderPhoto: Moon Setting over L.I. Sound by sparkz Monday February 9, 2009
Exact at
March 11
0238 GMT
March 10
10:38pm EDT
7:38pm PDT.

Rises near sunset and sets near sunrise.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows (see SPRING-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


Launch of GOCE Satellite

Image credit: ESA - AOES Medialab
Spacecraft: Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) Satellite
Launch Vehicle: Eurockot Rockot
Launch from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia
March 16
March 17
1421 GMT
5:21pm MSK (Moscow Standard Time, local time)
10:21am EDT
7:21am PDT.

Launch status updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
.... Its arrow shape and fins help keep the satellite stable as it flies through the wisps of air still present at an altitude of 260km. .... To increase resolution, the satellite will fly in an unusually low orbit; an electric engine will make up drag losses ....
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | 'Space arrow' to map Earth's tug
.... Goce data will have many uses, probing hazardous volcanic regions and bringing new insight into ocean behaviour.

The latter, in particular, is a major driver for the mission.

By combining the gravity data with information about sea-surface height gathered by other spacecraft, scientists will be able to track the direction and speed of ocean currents.

"If we want to improve our climate models then we need to improve our knowledge of how the oceans move, and Goce will help us do that," mission scientist Dr Mark Drinkwater, from the European Space Agency (Esa), told BBC News. ....



Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

Updated: 05:49 AM GMT die 18o March, anno 2009

Permalink

Find Saturn Easily Tonight ••••• Shuttle Discovery Launches March 11 9:20pm EDT ••••• Venus Low in the West Sunset

By: LowerCal, 08:26 PM GMT die 02o March, anno 2009

Today - SpaceWeather.com
also Earth & Sky | Tonight & 365 Days of Astronomy
This Week - SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
also Jack Horkheimer - Star Gazer, Current Scripts
This Month - SkyandTelescope.com - Sky Tour Podcasts
also International Year of Astronomy Monthly Discovery Guides

Visible Satellites:
Simplest - Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com
More satellites and more info - Heavens-Above.com

Launches - Spaceflight Now - Worldwide Launch Schedule
Reentries - Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies - Upcoming & Recent Reentries

All events described below can be viewed with your naked eye. Occasionally simple binoculars will improve the view and that will be noted. Scroll down for future dates, farther down for past dates.

Find Saturn Easily Tonight
March 8-10
These evenings the Moon will help you easily locate the planet Saturn (a bright yellowish point of light), the constellation Leo and Leo's blazing heart, the star Regulus (a bright bluish point of light).

March 8 Eastern Sky Image from Astronomy.com - Sky-event alert: Saturn rules the night.

March 8-10 Eastern Sky Image from SkyandTelescope.com - Homepage Observing - This Week's Sky at a Glance (March 6-14).

After the Moon leaves that area of the sky Saturn (and the other celestial entities) can still be found in the same area around the same time. Saturn is currently rising in the east after sunset, highest around midnight and setting in the west before sunrise.


○ Full Moon

WunderPhoto: Moon Setting over L.I. Sound by sparkz Monday February 9, 2009
Exact at
March 11
0238 GMT
March 10
10:38pm EDT
7:38pm PDT.

Rises near sunset and sets near sunrise.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows (see SPRING-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


Launch of Shuttle Discovery

Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder
Mission: STS-119
Spacecraft & Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery
Launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Launch tentatively scheduled for
March 13
0054 GMT
March 12
8:54pm EDT (local time)
5:54pm PDT.

March 12
0120 GMT
March 11
9:20pm EDT (local time)
6:20pm PDT.

(Find later landing options at NASA - Launch and Landing
and the landing paths at NASA - STS-119 Landing Ground Tracks.)

Launch status updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

You can follow the progress of the Space Shuttle mission online at
Spaceflight Now | STS-119 Shuttle Report | Mission Status Center and
NASA - Space Shuttle.
There are links in the "WATCH NASA TV NOW" section of the NASA page where you can watch video (sometimes live).

You can dig for more info at
Spaceflight Now - Index of /shuttle/sts119 and
CBS News Space Place - STS-119 Status Report.

Live online coverage of the launch on NASA TV starts one hour or more before launch - see the NASA TV Schedule.


Cape Canaveral Atlas V Launch

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin
Satellite: Wideband Global SATCOM 2 (WGS-2)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 421
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
March 14
0125-0207 GMT
March 13
9:25-10:07pm EDT (local time)
6:25-7:07pm PST.

Launch status updates are at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule
with more details on the launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center
as the launch approaches.


Launch of GOCE Satellite

Image credit: ESA - AOES Medialab
Spacecraft: Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) Satellite
Launch Vehicle: Eurockot Rockot
Launch from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia
March 16
1421 GMT
5:21pm MSK (Moscow Standard Time, local time)
10:21am EDT
7:21am PDT.

Launch status updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

.... Its arrow shape and fins help keep the satellite stable as it flies through the wisps of air still present at an altitude of 260km. .... To increase resolution, the satellite will fly in an unusually low orbit; an electric engine will make up drag losses ....
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | 'Space arrow' to map Earth's tug
.... Goce data will have many uses, probing hazardous volcanic regions and bringing new insight into ocean behaviour.

The latter, in particular, is a major driver for the mission.

By combining the gravity data with information about sea-surface height gathered by other spacecraft, scientists will be able to track the direction and speed of ocean currents.

"If we want to improve our climate models then we need to improve our knowledge of how the oceans move, and Goce will help us do that," mission scientist Dr Mark Drinkwater, from the European Space Agency (Esa), told BBC News. ....


From: The World Atlas of the Artificial Night Sky Brightness
Image credit: P. Cinzano, F. Falchi (University of Padova), C. D. Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder). Copyright Royal Astronomical Society. Reproduced from the Monthly Notices of the RAS by permission of Blackwell Science. The night sky in the World.


From: Visible Earth: Earth's City Lights
Image credit: Data courtesy Marc Imhoff of NASA GSFC and Christopher Elvidge of NOAA NGDC. Image by Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, NASA GSFC.

Sky Darkness Survey
March 16-28
Participation in GLOBE at Night is open to anyone who lives or works in one of the 110 GLOBE countries and can get outside and look skyward during 16-28 March. You can enter your observations on the GLOBE at Night Report web page from 16 March - 7 April.


◑ Last Quarter Moon

Exact at
March 18
1747 GMT
1:47pm EDT
10:47pm PDT.

Rises near midnight and sets near noon. Morning crescent moons for a week after. Each one thinner and closer to the horizon.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are at right angles resulting in weaker tides - lower highs, higher lows and slower flows (see NEAP-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


Equinox Day
March 20
1144 GMT
7:44am EDT
4:44am PDT.
The Sun crosses the equator on its way to the Northern Hemisphere marking the beginning of spring there. It marks the beginning of autumn for the Southern Hemisphere.

Satellite Outages
One effect of equinoctial periods is the temporary disruption of communications satellites. For all geostationary satellites, there are a few days near the equinox when the sun goes directly behind the satellite relative to Earth (ie, within the beamwidth of the groundstation antenna) for a short period each day. The Sun's immense power and broad radiation spectrum overload the Earth station's reception circuits with noise and, depending on antenna size and other factors, temporarily disrupt or degrade the circuit. The duration of those effects varies but can range from a few minutes to an hour. (For a given frequency band, a larger antenna has a narrower beamwidth, hence experience shorter duration "Sun outage" windows).
Cultural aspects of the Equinox


Cape Canaveral Delta II Launch

Photo credit: Patrick AFB
Satellite: Global Positioning System 49 (Navstar-2RM 7 [ex Navstar-2R 20])
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7925
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
March 24
0834-0849 GMT
4:34-4:49am EDT (local time)
1:34-1:49am PDT.

Launch status updates are at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule
with more details on the launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

In addition to its various navigational and timing uses the Global Positioning System carries nuclear detonation detectors.

You might find more information and a link to a live webcast of the launch at
United Launch Alliance as the launch date grows closer.


Launch of ISS Expedition 19 Crew

Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Mission: Expedition 19 to the International Space Station (ISS)
Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA-14
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz FG
Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
March 26
4:49pm AQTT (Aqtobe Time, local time)
1149 GMT
7:49am EDT
4:49am PDT.

Docking with ISS
March 28
4:15pm MSK (Moscow Standard Time)
1315 GMT
9:15am EDT
6:15am PDT.

Updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

You can follow the progress of the mission at NASA - Expedition 19.

Live coverage of the launch and docking will appear on NASA TV - see the NASA TV Schedule.


Dark Moon (a.k.a. astronomical new moon)

Exact at
March 26
1606 GMT
12:06pm EDT
9:06am PDT.

Lower and thinner morning crescent moons the week before. Higher and thicker evening crescent moons the week after.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows (see SPRING-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


) Thinnest Evening Crescent Moon (the original meaning of "new moon")

WunderPhoto: One day old Moon by LaddObservatory Friday June 15, 2007
March 27 or 28
Low in the western sky soon after sunset.

For areas and dates of visibility see Moonsighting.com.


Turn off your lights 8:30-9:30pm!
March 28
Earth Hour


Summaries of Sky Events for the Year
2009
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Eclipses in 2009
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Meteor Showers in 2009


***** Past Dates *****

◐ First Quarter Moon

Exact at
March 4
0746 GMT
2:46am EST
March 3
11:46pm PST.

Rises near noon and sets near midnight. Evening crescent moons for a week before. Each one thicker and higher above the horizon.

The gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are at right angles resulting in weaker tides - lower highs, higher lows and slower flows (see NEAP-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)


Cape Canaveral Delta II Launch

Photo credit: NASA
Mission: Kepler
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7925
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
March 7
0349-0352 GMT
0413-0416 GMT
March 6
10:49-10:52pm EST (local time)
11:13-11:16pm EST (local time)
7:49-7:52pm PST
8:13-8:16pm PST.

Launch status updates are at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule
with more details on the launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

More info on the mission is at
Kepler Mission and Planet Quest: Missions - Kepler.

You can find more information and a link to the live webcast of the launch at
United Launch Alliance. Coverage is scheduled to begin at 9PM EST, 6PM PST. Live online NASA TV coverage begins at 8:30pm EST, 5:30pm PST.


Change to Daylight Saving Time
March 8
In most areas of the United States and Canada 2:00am Standard Time becomes 3:00am Daylight Time. You can set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed on Saturday, March 7.

Daylight Time - United States Naval Observatory

Daylight saving time around the world - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




Visitor Map
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Updated: 12:50 AM GMT die 09o March, anno 2009

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