Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Astro-Calendar: Sep. / 160th Anniv: Carrington Event Solar Mega-Storm

                 
Drawing, by English Amateur Astronomer Richard C. Carrington, of sunspots on the Sun on 1859 September 1, which led to the major Solar Storm of 1859 better known as the Carrington Event. This was one of the first known geomagnetic storms to have major affects on Earth's magnetic field, 1859 September 1 to 2, including great auroral displays (even as far south as Cuba, people could read a newspaper by the bright glow) and caused severe electrical disruptions, electrifying telegraph systems and shocking telegraph operators and technicians (some telegraph systems actually caught fire). Mr. Carrington observed a Solar Flare (the first such observation in history), which is associated with a major, billion-ton Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) which caused the Carrington Event, just before 12:00 Noon on 1859 September 1. Such a solar storm today could bring down electrical grids (which did happen in Quebec in March of 1989), severely disrupt radio communications, destroy the electronics in satellites, and according to a NASA-funded study by the National Academy of Sciences such a storm could cause a trillion dollars in damage to the nation's electronic systems requiring years for recovery. In fact, a Carrington-Class Solar Mega-Storm did occur on the Sun on 2012 July 23, although in this case the CME missed the Earth.
More info at this link: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859
(Image Sources: Wikipedia.org, By Richard Carrington - Page 540 of the Nov-Dec, 2007 issue of American Scientist (volume 95), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4004005)

Astronomical Calendar for 2019 September / 160th Anniversary: Carrington Event Solar Super Storm ---
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2019.html#sep

 Related Blog Post ---

"Astro-Calendar: Aug. / Annual Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Aug. 13"

Thursday, 2019 August 1.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2019/08/astro-calendar-aug-perseid-meteor.html


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              Tuesday, 2019 September 3.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
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 >

Monday, August 19, 2019

Pitt Could Develop 3-D Printed Transplant Organs in Space on ISS

A rearward view of the International Space Station backdropped by the limb of the Earth. In view are the station's four large, gold-coloured solar array wings, two on either side of the station, mounted to a central truss structure. Further along the truss are six large, white radiators, three next to each pair of arrays. In between the solar arrays and radiators is a cluster of pressurised modules arranged in an elongated T shape, also attached to the truss. A set of blue solar arrays are mounted to the module at the aft end of the cluster.
The International Space Station (ISS), operated by the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Japan, Europe, and Canada, has been continuously occupied by humans since 2000 November 2.
(Image Sources: NASA, Wikipedia.org, By NASA/Crew of STS-132 - http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/shuttle/sts-132/hires/s132e012208.jpg(http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/shuttle/sts-132/html/s132e012208.html), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10561008)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

The U.S. National Laboratory at the International Space Station (ISS) has announced that research into new biomedical products, possibly including transplant organs, will be spear-headed on the ISS by the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh. NASA approached the Pitt researchers last year about leading a multi-year effort on the space station.

This research could include the perfection of techniques to create body parts and organs using 3-D Printers. Without gravity weighing-down gel-like materials, some studies have indicated that 3-D Printers could have greater success creating intricate, human tissues.

Such research, if successful, could lead to a new era when the shortage of body organs would no longer be a major problem. Research in this area is advancing quickly, including the successful implantation of artificial ovaries in mice in May of 2017 and the creation of 3-D-printable water gel at Rutgers University.

While such research is usually funded by the government or academia, McGowan Institute Director Dr. Bill Wagner indicates that funding from the private sector would also be sought. "The whole idea here with the International Space Station is to move it to a point where it's become commercialized and is being supported by the private sector," Dr. Wagner said.

In February of last year, the Trump Administration indicated an interest in privatizing the ISS by 2024, to free-up government funds for the human return to the Moon and later human exploration of Mars. However, last month NASA Administrator Jim Brigantine assured NASA supporters at the annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference that U.S. Government funding for the ISS would remain intact.

The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh has a staff of 250 researchers and support people and studies the failure of organs and bodily tissues with the aim to find ways to prevent such failures.

The McGowan Institute looks for ways to enhance the body's natural abilities to heal itself. It is believed that such research in micro-gravity can lead to more medical advances. Although research has been done on the ISS for many years, this Pitt – ISS alliance is the first-of-its-kind.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

International Space Station:
Link 1 >>> https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html
Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_Station

NASA's Research on the International Space Station:
Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_research_on_the_International_Space_Station#NASA's_ISS_research_and_science_activity

McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine:
Link 1 >>> https://mirm-pitt.net//
Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McGowan_Institute_for_Regenerative_Medicine

3-D Printing: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
              Monday, 2019 August 19.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
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 >

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Astro-Calendar: Aug. / Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Aug. 13

http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/geminid20091209-full.jpg
Time-lapse image of the Meteor Outburst which occurred during the annual Perseid Meteor Shower in 2009. (Image Source: NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
The 2019 Perseid Meteor Shower peaks 3:00 a.m. EDT / 7:00 UTC on August 13, with the Full Sturgeon Moon two days later. -
More info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2019.html#perseid
Planet Mercury has its best morning appearance for the year on August 9 -
More info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2019.html#mercury 

Astronomical Calendar for 2019 August / Annual Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Aug. 13  ---
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2019.html#aug

 Related Blog Post ---

"Astro-Calendar: July / 50th Anniversary: Humans Land on Moon !"

Monday, 2019 July 1.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2019/07/astro-calendar-july-50th-anniversary.html


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              Thursday, 2019 August 1.

                             Like This Post?  Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
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                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
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 >

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

India Launches Rover to Probe Moon's South Pole


                              http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/observatory/pix/siderostat_moon.jpg
In the 1980s, photographs of the Moon's South Pole, similar to the photo above (which is a photo of the waxing crescent Moon), were taken using the rather unique 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, in the third floor astronomical "People's Observatory" of the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center - Pittsburgh's science and technology museum from 1939 to 1991), by American Lunar Society Founder Francis G. Graham, as part of a national research project to better map the area near the Moon's South Pole. Yesterday, India launched an unmanned rover probe to explore the Moon's South Pole. 
(Image Source: Friends of the Zeiss)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Yesterday (Monday, 2019 July 22), India launched a space probe and rover bound for the South Pole area of Earth's Moon. The launch, which had been delayed since July 15 due to technical problems, came just a couple days after the 50th anniversary of the first humans, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, to set-foot on the Moon.

If this mission is successful, India will become the fourth Earth nation to soft-land a probe on the Moon. Up until now, only the United States, Russia, and China have successfully soft-landed probes on the Moon. On January 3, China became the first nation to soft-land a probe on the far side of the Moon, the Chang'e 4 Lander and Rover.

On April 11, the Beresheet Lunar Lander, developed by Israel's private SpaceIL organization and launched from Cape Canaveral by SpaceX, attempted a soft-landing on the Moon. However, the robotic probe crashed on the lunar surface due to a main engine failure in the final descent.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) named the new space probe Chandrayaan-2, which translates from Sanskrit to mean “Moon vehicle.” The probe was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh state on July 22 at 2:43 p.m. local time / 5:13 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 9:13 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

The first Indian probe sent to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1, was a lunar orbiter and impacter which was launched on 2008 October 22. It entered lunar orbit on 2008 November 8 and operated until August of 2009. In a controlled manner, the Chandrayaan-1 Moon Impact Probe separated from the orbiter and struck near the Shackleton Crater, near the South Pole, on 2008 November 14. The probe strike ejected sub-surface soil, which was analyzed to determine if water-ice was present. After evaluating the data from the impact probe, Indian scientists confirmed that water existed in the lunar soil near the South Pole.

Weighing 3.8 tons, Chandrayaan-2 consists of an orbiter, lander, and rover and carries 13 payloads. It will travel for 2 months before settling into a circular orbit 62 miles / 100 kilometers above the lunar surface around September 7.

The space probe's lander, named Vikram (for Indian space pioneer Vikram Sarabhai), will then land near the South Pole. Vikram will confirm the technology to soft-land on the lunar surface.

A robotic rover named Pragyan (meaning “wisdom”), after separating from the lander, will travel near the South Pole area for 14 days (the amount of time sunlight will be available). Vikram and Pragyan will collect mineral and chemical samples from the lunar surface, sending the data back to India.

The primary goal of the mission is to study the water-ice and determine the amount of water available near the South Pole. This will be important for future human expeditions to the Moon, perhaps as soon as the proposed NASA return to the Moon by 2024. Water from craters near the South Pole, which do not receive any sunlight to melt the ice, can be used by astronauts for drinking water, to create oxygen to breathe, and to create rocket fuel.

The orbiter will map the surface of the Moon and evaluate what can be found of an outer atmosphere of the Moon.

India plans to launch a Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon in the 2023-2024 period. In 2014, India became the first Asian nation to put a probe (Mangalyaan) into orbit around the planet Mars. ISRO is also considering putting a probe in orbit of the planet Venus by 2023.

ISRO hopes to send Indian astronauts into Earth orbit by 2022. The Indian space agency also plans on launching their own space station into Earth orbit by 2030.

Even up until the 1980s, the South Pole was one area of the Moon that was not well mapped. As part of a national research project in the 1980s to better map the Moon's South Pole area, photographs of the Moon were taken by American Lunar Society Founder Francis G. Graham using the rather unique 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, in the third floor astronomical observatory of the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center - Pittsburgh's science and technology museum from 1939 to 1991).

Although Buhl Planetarium's “People's Observatory” was primarily used as a public observatory to educate the general public, particularly students, from time-to-time the City of Pittsburgh-owned telescope was used for scientific research.

At the time, Francis G. Graham was a Buhl Planetarium and Observatory Lecturer. Today, he is Professor Emeritus of Physics at Kent State University.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Indian Chandrayaan-2 Space Probe:
Link 1 >>> http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-missions/chandrayaan-2.html
Link 2 >>> https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraft/display.action?id=CHANDRYN2
Link 3 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrayaan-2

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO):
Link 1 >>> https://www.isro.gov.in/
Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isro

Buhl Planetarium's “People's Observatory” & 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html

Related Blog Posts --

"American Lunar Society Founder on 50th Anniversary: 1st Humans Walk on Moon !, KOKH’S QUESTION: After 50 Years, Why No Lunar Settlements ?"

2019 July 16.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2019/07/american-lunar-society-founder-on-50th.html

 

"American Lunar Society Founder on 50th Anniversary: 1st Humans Orbit Moon, The Incredible Legacy of Apollo 8." 2018 December 24.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/12/50th-anniversary-incredible-legacy-of.html

 

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
              Tuesday, 2019 July 23.

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           More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
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 >

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

American Lunar Society Founder on 50th Anniversary: 1st Humans Walk on Moon !

     
Historic plaque on the ladder of the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), "Eagle," commemorating the first human landing site on the Moon. (Image Sources: NASA, Wikipedia.org: Public Domain)

Editor's Note: Precisely 50 years ago, from the time of the posting of this blog-post, NASA's Apollo 11 spacecraft launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida at 9:32 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 13:32 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on Wednesday, 1969 July 16. Four days later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would become the first humans to step onto another world, the Earth's Moon. The following is a brief essay regarding the historical and scientific significance of the Apollo 11 mission, as well as possible reasons no crewed mission has returned to the Moon since the Apollo 17 mission in December of 1972. The author of this essay is Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University, and Founder of the American Lunar Society. Earlier in his career, he was a Planetarium and Observatory Lecturer at the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science and technology museum from 1939 to 1991.

             KOKH’S QUESTION: After 50 Years, Why No Lunar Settlements ?

By Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University
and Founder of the American Lunar Society
Reporting for Spacewatchtower

In the middle of the last century, not yet three fourths complete, human beings did an amazing thing.

They built several large chemical rockets and made a few trips to the Moon and back. The rocket type was the “Saturn V”, which had nothing to do with Saturn; it was a monster of a rocket, of which the preceding rockets were small by comparison. Yet this 360-foot-tall rocket and its associated technology was the minimum needed to accomplish the task with one rocket flight.

But since then, there have been no manned flights to the Moon. There have been no lunar settlements. To the bafflement of 1950’s science fiction writers, humans went to the Moon, and then stopped going there, or even anywhere else except Earth orbit. Prior to the 1960’s, except in the circles of such science fiction writers, talk of going to the Moon was crazy. So it was again in the 1990’s.

Which brings us to Kokh’s Question, named after Peter Kokh, an ardent lunar exploration activist, and founder of the Artemis Society.
.
The question is:“If lunar exploration began in the 1960s, why aren’t there lunar settlements now?”

Click on the Following Link To Continue Reading Professor Graham's Commentary ---

Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/grahamscorner/KOKHs_QUESTION.pdf

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Apollo 11: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2019.html#moonday

Personal Remembrance of Apollo 11 Mission by Glenn A. Walsh:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/bio/Apolloremembrance.htm

Related Blog Posts ---

"Pittsburgh Museum Displays Historic Apollo 11 Moon Mission Artifacts."

2018 October 24.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/10/pittsburgh-museum-displays-apollo-11.html


"Apollo 11 TV Camera Developer Dies at 91." 2015 Feb. 23.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2015/02/apollo-11-tv-camera-developer-dies-at-91.html


"45 Years Ago: Man Lands on the Moon !" 2014 July 20.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/07/45-years-ago-man-lands-on-moon.html


"JFK: Loss of the Man Who Sent Us to the Moon." 2013 Nov. 22.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/11/jfk-loss-of-man-who-sent-us-to-moon.html


"Moon Day - A National Holiday ?" 2013 July 20.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/07/moon-day-national-holiday.html

 

"American Lunar Society Founder on 50th Anniversary: 1st Humans Orbit Moon, The Incredible Legacy of Apollo 8." 2018 December 24.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/12/50th-anniversary-incredible-legacy-of.html

 

"45th Anniversary: Apollo 8 Orbits the Moon Christmas Eve." 2013 Dec. 24.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/12/45th-anniversary-apollo-8-orbits-moon.html


Source: Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University & Founder of the American Lunar Society.

              Tuesday, 2019 July16.

                             Like This Post?  Please Share!

           More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
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 >

Monday, July 1, 2019

Astro-Calendar: July / 50th Anniversary: Humans Land on Moon !

                        
This is a photograph of the boot-print on the lunar surface of Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon 50 years ago this month. This particular boot-print was part of an experiment to test the properties of the lunar regolith. This boot-print occurred about an hour after he and Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong set-foot on the Moon on Sunday Evening, 1969 July 20. This photograph has become one of the iconic images of this historic space mission.
More information: http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2019.html#moonday
(Image Sources: NASA, Wikipedia.org, By NASA / Buzz Aldrin - This image or video was catalogued by NASA Headquarters of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under Photo ID: AS11-40-5877., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=468121)

Astronomical Calendar for 2019 July / 50th Anniversary: Humans Land on Moon ! ---
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2019.html#jul

 Related Blog Post ---

"Astro-Calendar: June / ISS Astronauts to Return June 24."

Sunday, 2019 June 2.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2019/06/astro-calendar-june-iss-astronauts-to.html


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              Monday, 2019 July 1.

                             Like This Post?  Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
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 >

Friday, June 21, 2019

2019 Summer Begins at Moment of Solstice, Mid-Day

           http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/JuneSolstice.JPG

(Graphic Source: © Copyright 2005, Eric G. Canali, former Floor Operations Manager of the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center - Pittsburgh's science and technology museum from 1939 to 1991) and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers amateur astronomy club; permission granted for only non-profit use with credit to author.)


By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

This morning, Summer begins in the Northern Hemisphere of Earth, while at the same time, Winter begins in the Southern Hemisphere.

For 2019, the season of Summer begins at Earth's Northern Hemisphere's Summer Solstice (and the season of Winter begins at the Southern Hemisphere's Winter Solstice) at the moment of the June Solstice: Friday Morning, 2019 June 21 at 11:54 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 15:54 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

In etymology, the word solstice comes from the Latin terms Sol (Sun) and sistere (to stand still). In ancient times, astronomers / astrologers / priests recognized that on one day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere, on or near the day we now call June 21), the Sun would appear to stand-still as Sol reaches its highest point in the sky for the entire year. The motion of the Sun's apparent path in the sky (what is known astronomically, today, as the Sun's declination) would cease on this day, before appearing to reverse direction.

Although the Summer months in the Northern Hemisphere are known for the year's warmest weather, the Earth is actually at the point in its orbit farthest from the Sun (astronomically known as the point of aphelion) around July 5; the Earth's closest approach to the Sun (perihelion) each year is around January 2. Hence, in general, the distance from the Earth to the Sun is not the major factor determining the heat of Summer or the cold of Winter.

Solar radiation, and hence the heat from the Sun, depends on the length of daylight and the angle of the Sun above the horizon. The tilt of the planet's axis toward the Sun determines the additional and more direct solar radiation received by a planet's Northern or Southern Hemisphere, and hence, the warmer season of the respective hemisphere.

While the Sun does have motions, it is actually the motion of the Earth tilted on its axis, away from the plane of the ecliptic (Earth's orbital plane around the Sun), while revolving around the Sun, that causes the Earth's seasons. As of the 2019 June Solstice, this tilt of Earth's axis is precisely 23.43676 degrees / 23 degrees, 26 minutes, 12.3 seconds. Hence, as the Earth arrives at the point in its orbit around the Sun, when the north polar axis is most directly inclined toward the Sun, this marks the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

Alternately, the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere (the Winter Solstice is always on or near December 21) occurs when the Earth reaches the point in its orbit when the North Pole is most directly inclined away from the Sun. And, conversely, at this time Summer begins in the planet's Southern Hemisphere.

For Earth observers at precisely 23.43676 degrees / 23 degrees, 26 minutes, 12.3 seconds North Latitude at the moment of June Solstice, the Sun will appear to shine directly overhead. The line around the Earth at 23.43676 degrees / 23 degrees, 26 minutes, 12.3 seconds North Latitude is known as the Tropic of Cancer. Likewise, at 23.43676 degrees / 23 degrees, 26 minutes, 12.3 seconds South Latitude is located the Tropic of Capricorn, where the Sun appears directly overhead at the moment of the December Solstice.

However, as the tilt of the Earth is dynamic, and changes minutely over the years, the location of the Tropic lines also change. Currently, these Tropic lines are moving north at the rate of 0.47 arc-seconds / 49.21 feet / 15 meters per year.

The names Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn were coined in the last centuries B.C., when the Sun would appear in the Constellation Cancer the Crab on the June Solstice and in the Constellation Capricornus the Horned Goat on the December Solstice. However today, hours after the June Solstice, the Sun enters the Constellation Gemini the Twins, 30 degrees from Cancer. And at the December Solstice, the Sun is now in the Constellation Sagittarius the Archer.

This is due to “Precession of the Equinoxes” of Earth, which is analogous to the wobbling of a spinning top. In the case of the Earth, this 25,772-year wobble causes observers to view the Sun in different parts of the sky over the centuries, at the same time of year while remaining in the same geographical location. As the Earth wobbles over the centuries, the north pole star also changes. Currently, Polaris is our north pole star; around A.D. 13,700, Vega will be our north pole star, due to the Precession of the Equinoxes.

No matter which hemisphere, the day of the Summer Solstice always has the most hours and minutes of daylight (the length of time between sunrise and sunset) for the year, while the Winter Solstice always has the least number of hours and minutes of daylight for the year. The exact number of hours and minutes of daylight, for a particular location, depends on the locale's geographic latitude on the Earth. Astronomers and long-distance radio enthusiasts, both of whom mostly depend on non-daylight hours to ply their craft, often prefer the days closer to the Winter Solstice.

The Vernal Equinox, when the season of Spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere (and the season of Autumn begins in the Southern Hemisphere), occurs between the Winter and Summer Solstices when the Earth reaches the point in its orbit around the Sun when the Earth's axis is inclined neither toward nor away from the Sun. Likewise, when the Earth reaches the point in its orbit around the Sun, between the Summer and Winter Solstices, when the Earth's axis is inclined neither toward nor away from the Sun, this is known as the Autumnal Equinox (beginning of Fall or Autumn) in the Northern Hemisphere; at this time Spring begins in the Southern Hemisphere. And, half-way between the beginning points of each season are Cross-Quarter Days, each related to traditional holidays: Groundhog Day (February 2), May Day (May 1), Lammas Day (traditionally, the first harvest festival of the year on August 1), and Halloween (October 31).

In ancient times, the Summer Solstice was known as Mid-Summer Day, in early calendars observed around June 24. At that time, May 1 to August 1 (i.e. the two Cross-Quarter Days) was considered the season of Summer. Such early European celebrations were pre-Christian in origin. Many will associate this ancient holiday with the famous William Shakespeare play, “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” Some speculate that the play was written for the Queen of England, to celebrate the Feast Day of Saint John.

As with the Roman Catholic Church's decision to Christianize the pagan Winter Solstice festivals with the introduction of Christmas Day on December 25 (by an early calendar, December 25 was reckoned as the Winter Solstice), the Church began to associate the Mid-Summer festivals with the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist on June 24. In the Christian Bible, the Gospel of Saint Luke implies that Saint John was born six months before the birth of Jesus, although no specific birth dates are given.

The most famous celebration of the Summer Solstice occurs each year at the Stonehenge pre-historic monument in England. Constructed between 3,000 B.C. and 1,600 B.C. in three phases, the actual purpose of the landmark is still unclear. However, it seems to have been associated with burials, originally. It was also used as a type of astronomical observatory, particularly for observing the Sun, which was important to help early cultures make annual decisions regarding agriculture.

Stonehenge is known as a way for pre-historic peoples to mark both the Summer and Winter Solstices. From inside the monument, a viewer facing northeast can watch the Sun rise (weather-permitting) above a stone outside the main circle of rocks, known as the Heel Stone, on the day of the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Although today, due to serious erosion of the stones, visitors on the Summer Solstice can only walk around the landmark from a short distance away during this annual event.

Although not as prominent as Stonehenge, a calendar ring using smaller rocks was also constructed at Nabta Playa in southern Egypt, perhaps as early as 7,000 years ago! As with Stonehenge, some stones aligned with sunrise on the day of the Summer Solstice.

Today, a Stonehenge-like event occurs each year at the University of Wyoming (UW) Art Museum in Laramie, Wyoming, free-of-charge to the general public. At 12:00 Noon Mountain Daylight Saving Time (MDT) / 2:00 p.m. EDT / 18:00 UTC on the day of the Summer Solstice, visitors can see a single beam of sunlight shine through a solar tube in the ceiling of the UW Art Museum's Rotunda Gallery; the beam of sunlight then shines onto a 1923 Peace Silver Dollar embedded in the floor of the Museum's Rotunda Gallery. Visitors are encouraged to arrive at the museum by 11:30 a.m. MDT / 1:30 p.m. EDT / 17:30 UTC, to view this rather unique architectural feature.

The bright Star Spica (Alpha Virginis), the brightest star in the Constellation Virgo the Virgin and the 16th brightest star in Earth's night sky (Apparent Visual Magnitude: + 0.97), may have helped develop another one of civilization's early calendars. A calendar of ancient Armenia used the year's first sighting of Spica in the dawn sky, a few days before the Summer Solstice, to mark the beginning of the New Year for this particular calendar. The development of this calendar somewhat coincided with the beginning of agriculture in Armenia.

Like clock-work, a well-known asterism (pattern of stars in the sky, not officially recognized as a constellation) of three stars shaped as a triangle is visible nearly overhead around local midnight during the Summer months (weather-permitting). And logically, as Star Trek's Mr. Spock might say, this asterism is known as the Summer Triangle!

Three of the brightest stars in the Summer sky constitute the Summer Triangle ---
  1. Vega (Alpha Lyrae - brightest star in the Constellation Lyra the Harp); brightest of the three stars and closest to the zenith (highest point in the sky);
  2. Altair (Alpha Aquilae - denotes the eagle eye and brightest star in the Constellation Aquila the Eagle); second brightest star of the trio;
  3. Deneb (Alpha Cygni - denotes the tail star, is the brightest star in the Constellation Cygnus the Swan, and is the “head” star of the asterism known as the Northern Cross).

The term Summer Triangle was popularized in the 1950s by American author H.A. Rey and British astronomer Patrick Moore, although constellation guidebooks mention this triangle of stars as far back as 1913. And, during World War II, military navigators referred to this asterism as the “Navigator's Triangle.”

Regardless of city light pollution, the three bright stars of the Summer Triangle should be visible to nearly everyone in Earth's Northern Hemisphere (weather-permitting). So, just look overhead late-evening or early-morning throughout the Summer for these annual visitors to our Summer sky!

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Summer Solstice: 
Link 1 >>> http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/astronomy/SummerSolstice.html 
Link 2 >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_solstice  

Season of Summer: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer  

History of Mid-Summer: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midsummer
 

Summer "Solstice Day" Annual Free-of-Charge Day (With Snowballs !), 1985 to 1991, at the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center - Pittsburgh's science and technology museum from 1939 to 1991):  
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2015/06/snowballs-on-first-day-of-summer.html

Stonehenge: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge

News Release - University of Wyoming Stonehenge-type event:
Link >>> https://www.uwyo.edu/uw/news/2018/06/uw-art-museum-to-celebrate-summer-solstice-june-21.html

Star Spica: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spica

Precession of the Equinoxes: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_precession 

Tropic of Cancer: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropic_of_Cancer 

Tropic of Capricorn: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropic_of_Capricorn 

Summer Triangle: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_Triangle

Related Blog Posts ---

"Science Experiments Children & Teens Can Do At Home !" 2018 June 5.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/06/science-experiments-children-teens-can.html

 

"Snowballs on the First Day of Summer!" 2015 June 21.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2015/06/snowballs-on-first-day-of-summer.html


Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
              Friday, 2019 June 21.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
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 >