Space Sciences Astronomical Events news thread

Tom L.

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How about a "news" thread alerting us to upcoming or recent astronomical events, like meteor showers, comets, that small (~50 feet / 15 meter wide?) asteroid that came within 50,000 miles of Earth recently, etc? A few meteor showers occur rather regularly, although the show can vary, and I think a total solar eclipse is supposed to be visible in a band across some of the United States next year.

I watched the Perseids a bit less than a month ago. The night was cloudy so I went to bed, but around 3 AM I happened to wake up, looked outside, and noticed the clouds appeared to be moving out- so I went outside around maybe 3:15. I was outside for maybe 1/2 hour and saw about 15 meteors. The meteors weren't nearly as bright as they were predicting, and the trails didn't last long at all, although the news reports had mentioned that the Perseids often left long-lasting visible trails; but they were fast, and did tend to come in spurts- nothing for about 10 minutes, then maybe 3 within roughly 2 minutes.

In other news: today I read a report that they found the Philae lander that touched down on that comet but got stuck in a shady area, and couldn't get power from its photovoltaic cells (until a brief period when the comet got closer to the Sun, and it powered up again for a few hours). The orbiter managed to get an image of the lander.

Edited to add: Rosetta space probe finds lost Philae lander on comet | Fox News

I guess I can forgive myself for not remembering the name of the comet Philae landed on. :D
 

Tom L.

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I copied this from earthsky.org's website about upcoming meter showers:

Late night November 4 until dawn November 5, 2016, the South Taurids
The meteoroid streams that feed the South (and North) Taurids are very spread out and diffuse. That means the Taurids are extremely long-lasting (September 25 to November 25) but usually don’t offer more than about 7 meteors per hour. That is true even on the South Taurids’ expected peak night. The Taurids are, however, well known for having a high percentage of fireballs, or exceptionally bright meteors. Plus, the other Taurid shower – the North Taurids – always adds a few more meteors to the mix during the South Taurids’ peak night. In 2016, the waxing crescent moon will set in the evening early, providing dark skies for this year’s South Taurid meteor shower. The South Taurids should produce their greatest number of meteors shortly after midnight on November 5. Remember, it’ll be possible to catch a fireball or two!

There are a number of other meteor showers predicted for later this year, and I'll post them if everyone wishes, but most aren't predicted to have that many meteors this year- for example, the Leonids tend to have spectacular meteor storms every 33 years and this year isn't on the peak. Also, for many of the upcoming showers, the moon will be quite bright for much of the viewing time. I'll be watching the Taurids because I wanna see a fireball.
 
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MadamSarcastra

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Rare Black Moon to rise on Friday for the Western Hemisphere

 
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Tom L.

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I see... a bla-ack moon a-risin'.... :p

I saw an article about the Draconid meteor shower, which is usually kind of ho-hum. If my insomnia strikes again and the clouds stay away on October 7th and 8th, I might check it out.

2016 Draconid Meteor Shower

At least the Draconids peak early in the night so you usually don't have to stay up late. I wish I had been watching them back in 2011- they sort of had an outburst that year. But maybe it was cloudy.
 
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Tom L.

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Well, the South Taurids weren't visible last night in my area- there was pretty much a solid layer of clouds. I woke up maybe twice during the night and looked out, but there was no break. Phooey.
 

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I went to look for the "Super Moon" last night, but it didn't seem that big. It was cloudy, but the moon still peered through the moving layer of clouds now and then. I suppose I should have looked when it was close to the horizon, as it looks much bigger then? Well, it was nowhere near the horizon when I was outside last night.
 

MadamSarcastra

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Live coverage: NASA's new findings on oceanic world, life beyond Earth

Thursday's scheduled speakers, via NASA, include:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Jim Green, director, Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters
  • Mary Voytek, astrobiology senior scientist at NASA Headquarters
  • Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California
  • Hunter Waite, Cassini Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer team lead at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio
  • Chris Glein, Cassini INMS team associate at SwRI
  • William Sparks, astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore

| NASA
 

Tom L.

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I still haven't made up my mind whether to travel for it or not, but I'd better decide soon. I'd head south for it and I'd definitely take either the train or a bus.
 

Amy SF

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I'm a member of The Planetary Society now. :D

Just got this email:



Greetings, fellow space fan!

The Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st is just around the corner. In this month’s episode, we explore all things eclipse, including a special visit to NASA JPL to see a spacecraft that can create artificial eclipses! Check it out:


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Your guide to the Great American Eclipse of 2017
On August 21, 2017, the Moon will totally eclipse the Sun for the first time as seen from the continental United States in more than 40 years. Here’s everything you need to knowfor a great eclipse experience.

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A guide to Cassini's remaining orbits
Sadly, NASA’s Cassini mission at Saturn will soon meet its planned end. Only a handful of orbits remain until Cassini meets its fate on September 15. Here's a look at the great mission's final science orbits.

Congress gives NASA's planetary science division a boost
The House of Representatives proposed $2.1 billion for NASA's planetary science budget, which would be an all-time high—we break down the details for you.

LightSail® 2 mission update
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MadamSarcastra

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Planning To Watch The Eclipse? Here's What You Need To Protect Your Eyes


I know Jer's planning to make the 8-hour drive with his buddy Tom to Carbondale, Illinois, stay over somewhere (if someone was smart enough to make reservations by now), check out the eclipse the next day, then drive back immediately after.... eye-protection will be their welding masks. ;)

I know my father really wants to go, too... my mother wasn't really keen on the idea, but he goes with her to so many festivals & functions, I think she should definitely go with him. The last one he "saw" was right here in Bay City in 1952. He used his telescope to project the eclipse onto a sheet of paper.
 
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