Monday, September 20, 2021

Harvest Moon Mon.; Fall Begins Wed.

http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/pix/graphics/solsticeimage008.png
This diagram shows the position of the Earth, in relation to the Sun, at the time of the Autumnal Equinox, as well as the other equinox and solstices of the year.
(Graphic Source: ©1999, 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

The Harvest Moon, this year the Full Moon of September, occurs early Monday evening. Fall or Autumn begins less than two days later on Wednesday afternoon.

                                                        Harvest Moon

For the year 2021, the Harvest Moon will be the Full Moon of Monday Evening, September 20, at 7:54 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 23:54 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). For farmers eager to finish harvesting their crops, the bright Full Moon which shines on their farms for the several evenings closest to the Autumnal Equinox (the Autumnal Equinox is the astronomical beginning of the season of Autumn or Fall in Earth's Northern Hemisphere) is called the Harvest Moon.

The Harvest Moon is one of the signature astronomical events near the beginning of, or shortly after the beginning of, the Fall season. It is an event particularly anticipated by farmers of both the past and the present. As many crops reach the time of harvest in late Summer and early Autumn, often the work of the harvest has to continue past sunset, which comes earlier and earlier each evening.

Nature has come to the rescue of these farmers, with a bright Full Moon (weather-permitting), which arrives just around the time of sunset, that allows farmers and their staff to continue the harvest after the Sun's light has dissipated. Hence, long-ago this Full Moon came to be known as the Harvest Moon.

For a similar reason, the Full Moon of October is often known as the Hunter's Moon, which allowed Native Americans to continue the hunt after sunset, to begin to store meat for the coming Winter months. However, the Harvest Moon is designated as the closest Full Moon to the Autumnal Equinox, and such a Full Moon does not always occur in September. Every few years the Harvest Moon occurs in October, shortly after the Autumnal Equinox. During those years, the Hunter's Moon occurs in November.

On average, the Moon rises about 50 minutes later each day. However, during the days near the Autumnal Equinox, the Moon rises each day only about 25-to-35 minutes later each day in the U.S.A., and only 10-to-20 minutes later in much of Canada and Europe. Thus, for several days around the time of the Autumnal Equinox, the Harvest Moon appears to rise around the same time each evening (roughly coinciding with local sunset), providing light at the time most needed by farmers.

The reason for this is due to the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun, Moon, and planets through Earth's sky, which makes a narrow angle with the horizon this time of year. It is this narrow angle which provides that moonrise occurs around the time of sunset, near the time of the Full Moon of September (or sometimes October). Hence, several days appear to have a rising Full Moon.

Also, at this time of year when farmers need moonlight the most, the Harvest Moon appears larger and more prominent, due to the mysterious but well-known "Moon Illusion" that makes the Moon seem larger when it is near the horizon. And, while near the horizon, the Moon is often reddened by clouds and dust, creating the appearance of a large, rising red ball.

Some even liken a rising Harvest Moon to a rising "Great Pumpkin," of Peanuts comic-strip fame! In the Peanuts' network-television cartoon just before Halloween each year (originally aired on CBS-TV on 1966 October 27) titled, "Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", the “Great Pumpkin” rises over the pumpkin patch to provide gifts to all good little boys and girls.

In China and Vietnam, a popular harvest festival is celebrated on the date close to the Autumnal Equinox of the Solar Cycle, as well as close to the Harvest Moon. This Mid-Autumn Festival / Moon Festival dates back more than 3,000 years to Moon worship in China's Shang Dynasty.

Native Americans also called the Full Moon of September the Corn Moon, as Corn was one of their main crops. Sometimes, the September Full Moon in the Northern Hemisphere is also known as the Fruit Moon.

In the Southern Hemisphere, where Winter is about to turn to Spring, the September Full Moon is known as the Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Sugar Moon, Chaste Moon, or Sap Moon. The Harvest Moon in the Southern Hemisphere occurs in March or April, with the same advantages to Southern Hemisphere farmers as the Harvest Moon in the Northern Hemisphere.

                                                       Beginning of Autumn

The Autumnal Equinox (also known as the September Equinox), the beginning of the season of Autumn or Fall in the Northern Hemisphere of Earth, occurs Wednesday Afternoon, 2021 September 22 at 3:21 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 19:21 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). In Earth's Southern Hemisphere, this equinox marks the astronomical beginning of the season of Spring.

On the day of the Equinox, the Sun appears directly overhead at local Noon on the Equator. At the moment of Equinox, the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of Earth are illuminated equally. And, the time of Equinox is the only time when the Earth Terminator (dividing line on Earth between daylight and darkness) is perpendicular to the Equator.

This, and the reason for seasons on Earth in the first place, is due to the fact that Earth rotates on its axis, which is tilted at an approximate 23.44-degree angle from the ecliptic, the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. As the Earth revolves around the Sun, this axial tilt causes one hemisphere of the planet to receive more direct solar radiation during that hemisphere's season of Summer and much less direct solar radiation about a half-year later during that hemisphere's season of Winter. As mentioned, during an Equinox [about half-way between Summer and Winter (Autumnal Equinox), and about half-way between Winter and Summer (Vernal Equinox)] both planetary hemispheres receive an equal amount of solar radiation. 

Although "Equinox" in Latin means equal-night, the day of the Equinox does not actually have an equal amount of daylight and nightfall, as it appears on the Earth's surface. If the Sun was just a pin-point of light in our sky, as all other stars appear, day and night would be equal.

But, because the Sun is a disk, part of the Sun has risen above the horizon before the center of the Sun (which would be the pin-point of light); so there are extra moments of light on the Equinox. Likewise, part of the Sun is still visible, after the center of the Sun has set.

Additionally, the refraction of sunlight by our atmosphere causes sunlight to appear above the horizon, before sunrise and after sunset.

September 25 will mark the Equilux ("equal-light"), the actual day with equal hours and minutes of the Sun above the horizon, and equal hours and minutes of the Sun below the horizon. The Equilux occurs twice each year, approximately 3-to-4 days before the Vernal Equinox, when Spring begins,  and 3-to-4 days after the Autumnal Equinox, after Autumn or Fall has begun.

An urban legend that has been making the rounds for decades has it that eggs can be stood on their ends only during an Equinox, whether the Vernal Equinox in the Spring or the Autumnal Equinox in the Fall. This is completely false. Depending greatly on the size and shape of the particular egg, eggs can be stood on their ends any day of the year! Astronomy has nothing to do with whether an egg can stand on its end. If an egg can stand on its end on the Equinox (and, due to the shape and size of some eggs, this is not even possible), it can stand the same way any other day of the year.

In the last few years, with the help of the Internet and Social Media, another urban legend has become prevalent. Now it is claimed that brooms can stand, on their own, on their bristles, only on an Equinox day. This is also false. Again, as with eggs, if a broom can stand on its bristles by itself (this usually only works with newer brooms, with more even bristles) on an Equinox, it can do so any day of the year!

September 22 is also designated as the annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day for this year.

 Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Harvest Moon: Link >>> https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/16sep_harvestmoon/ 

Native American Full Moon Names: Link >>> https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/full-moon-names/ 

Mid-Autumn Festival / Moon Festival: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Autumn_Festival

Autumnal Equinox: Link >>> http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/astronomy/AutumnalEquinox.html


Season of Autumn or Fall: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autumn

Equinox: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equinox


Equilux: Link >>> https://darkskydiary.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/equinox-equilux-and-twilight-times/


Earth's Seasons: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season

Tilt of a planet's axis: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_tilt

Urban legend of eggs and brooms standing on their own, only on an Equinox:
Link >>> http://www.snopes.com/science/equinox.asp

Falls Prevention Awareness Day: Link >>> https://nationaltoday.com/falls-prevention-awareness-day/

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

                 Monday, 2021 September 20.

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           More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> 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: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

* Other Walsh Authored Blog & Web-Sites: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/gawweb.html

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Astro-Calendar: 2021 Sept. / 1st All-Civilian SpaceX Launch Sept. 15

Crew Dragon Resilience Crew-1.jpg

Image of SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience capsule at the Kennedy Space Center. Four civilian, SpaceX astronauts will launch in this capsule for a three-day mission orbiting Earth. More information: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2021.html#inspiration4

(Image Sources: SpaceX, Wikipedia.org, By SpaceX - https://images.nasa.gov/details-KSC-20201105-PH-SPX01_0002, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=95876932)

Astronomical Calendar for 2021 September ---
Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2021.html#sep

 Related Blog Post ---

"Astro-Calendar 2021 Aug. / Update: Boeing Starliner Launch Delayed Indefinitely." Sun., 2021 Aug. 1.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2021/08/astro-calendar-2021-aug-boeing.html

Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
            Wednesday, 2021 September 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:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> 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: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

* Other Walsh Authored Blog & Web-Sites: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/gawweb.html

 

Monday, August 23, 2021

Citizen Science: Help NASA Identify Clouds & Sky Color

   2nd_last_pic.png

This graphic demonstrates how clouds affect the heating and cooling of the Earth. In general, high clouds hold-in heat from the Sun and warm the planet, while Earth is cooled when low clouds reflect sunlight back into Outer Space. (Graphic Sources: NASA, Zooniverse.org)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

A new Citizen Science project will help NASA scientists identify cloud types, cloud cover, and how blue the sky is at a given time. From the review of sky photographs on-line, Citizen Scientists will help NASA determine how clouds affect the Earth's climate.

The NASA Globe Cloud Gaze (i.e. Community science project Leveraging Online and User Data through GLOBE And Zooniverse Engagement) community science project utilizes photographs taken by GLOBE Citizen Scientists (through the Zooniverse Citizen Science Portal), and then compares Citizen Scientists' descriptions of these photographs with satellite data collected by NASA. NASA scientists expect this will help them map energy flows across the planet and show how clouds influence this flow of energy.

The height of clouds, and the amount of moisture they contain, determine whether the particular cloud helps to warm Earth or cool the planet. In general, high clouds tend to have a warming effect on the planet, as they block infra-red radiation from escaping back into Outer Space after being received from the Sun. While, in general, low clouds tend to have a cooling effect on the planet, as they reflect more sunlight back into Outer Space. (See graphic at the beginning of this blog-post.)

For sky color, scientists are studying the effects of other sky phenomena such as contrails, dust, haze, smoke, and smog. They hope to determine how much this additional sky phenomena affects the heating and cooling of the planet.

You can help NASA with this project by participating in one or more of the three lines of study:

  1. Cloud Cover - Focuses on how much each photograph is covered by clouds.

  2. What Do You See? - Focuses on which cloud types or other sky events (e.g. dust storm or smoke plumes) you observe in the photographs.

  3. Sky Color – Focuses on what is the deepest blue you see in each photograph.

To get started, just go to the NASA Globe Cloud Gaze Internet Web-Site:

Link >>> https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/nasaglobe/nasa-globe-cloud-gaze

 Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Citizen Science Projects: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/citizenscience.html

Zooniverse Citizen Science Portal: Link >>> https://www.zooniverse.org/ 

NASA: Link >>> https://www.nasa.gov/ 

Science Friday Public Radio Program: Link >>> https://www.sciencefriday.com

 Related Blog-Post ---

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

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

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

                 Monday, 2021 August 23.

                             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:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> 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: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

* Other Walsh Authored Blog & Web-Sites: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/gawweb.html

 

Monday, August 9, 2021

Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Wed., Thur.

                                 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dc/Perseid_Meteors_and_Comet_Swift-Tuttle.png

This graphic shows the radiant of the Perseid Meteor Shower and the orbit of the parent comet, Comet Swift-Tuttle, compared to the Earth.

(Image Sources: Wikipedia.org, By Aanderson@amherst.edu - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41821851)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

This year's Perseid Meteor Shower, which peaks late this week, is considered the best meteor shower of the year by NASA and most astronomers.

Astronomically, the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower this year occurs Thursday Afternoon, 2021 August 12 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 19:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). However, the best time to watch most meteor showers, including this year's Perseids, is always between local midnight and dawn, when the Earth is rotating into the meteor shower.

So, the best time to view this year's Perseid Meteor Shower is late Wednesday night / early Thursday morning and late Thursday night / early Friday morning.

At the peak time, sometimes up-to 50-to-100 meteors could possibly be seen per-hour, if observing conditions are ideal. Depending on your location, weather conditions, and the condition of your eye-sight, seeing 40-to-60 meteors per-hour would be more likely.

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. Dark-adapting your eyes for meteor watching could take up-to one half-hour.

Also, after your eyes are dark-adapted, do not look at your cellular telephone while looking for meteors. The light you see from your telephone could disrupt your dark-adapted night-vision.

For the Perseid Meteor Shower this year, the Moon will be in a Waxing Crescent Phase, having passed the primary lunar phase of New Moon four days earlier (Sunday, 2021 August 8 at 9:50 a.m. EDT / 13:50 UTC: Lunation #1220); the primary Moon phase of First Quarter will occur on Sunday, 2021 August 15 at 11:19 a.m. EDT / 15:19 UTC. Although a thin lunar crescent will be visible in the early evening, the Moon will set before local midnight. Even during the early evening, there should not be quite as much reflected sunlight from the Moon to obscure the dimmer meteors. Try not to look directly at the Moon, so it does not hinder your dark-adapted eye-sight.

Actually, some meteors from the Perseid Meteor Shower can be seen as early as mid-July and as late as late August (~July 17 to August 24); but they are few and far-between. Most Perseid meteors can be seen three-to-five days before and three-to-five days after the peak time, which is considered, approximately, between August 9 and 14 each year.

Viewers in the Northern Hemisphere are fortunate that the Perseid Meteor Shower arrives during the Summer month of August, when temperatures are comfortable for night-time viewing. However, some locations (such as in the mountains) could be cooler in the early-morning hours. So, be sure to check your local weather forecast (with NOAA Weather Radio, local forecasts on radio, television or local newspapers, or the Internet) and bring a sweater or jacket with you if your location has a cooler forecast.

Be aware that sometimes August can be very humid with poor seeing conditions. And, the closer to the horizon, the worse the seeing conditions could be.

Binoculars and telescopes are not very useful for finding meteors. Meteors streak across the sky in a very brief period of time, too short to aim binoculars or a telescope. So, the best way to view a meteor shower is to lie on the ground (perhaps on a blanket, sheet, or beach-towel—or possibly in a reclining beach or lawn-chair), in an area with a good view of the entire sky (with few obstructions such as buildings, trees or hills, perhaps at a higher elevation), and keep scanning the entire sky with your naked-eyes (one-power).

Meteor showers appear to emanate from a radiant point in the sky. For the Perseid Meteor Shower, the radiant appears to be within the Constellation Perseus, named for the hero of Greek mythology (hence, the name Perseid Meteor Shower). However, you should not, necessarily, be looking only at Perseus, when looking for meteors in this shower.

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, with much shorter sky streaks.

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, often high 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 fire-balls or bolides. If these particles are large enough, they may not completely burn-up and land on Earth as a meteorite.

Many museums and science centers display meteorites to the general public. From 1939 to 1991, 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) displayed the fifth largest fragment of the meteorite that formed Barringer Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona. This large meteorite is now displayed on the second floor of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Science Center, outside the entrance to the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium. Meteorites are also on display in the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

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 Comet Swift-Tuttle, which has an orbital period of 133 years, leaving behind a trail of dust and grit. Comet Swift-Tuttle was discovered in 1862 and last returned for Earth viewing in 1992.

Comet Swift-Tuttle measures about 16 miles / 25 kilometers across, much larger than the object that is thought to have fallen to Earth which resulted in the extinction of the dinosaurs (about 6 miles / 10 kilometers across) approximately 66 million years ago (after the dinosaurs had lived on Earth for about 165 million years!).

Comet Swift-Tuttle will make a very close approach to the Earth in the year A.D. 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".

There are two additional meteor showers, which both peaked at the end of July, with some meteors still visible now.

The Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower peaked at 1:00 a.m. EDT / 5:00 UTC on July 29; these meteors are visible each year between July 12 and August 23. It is not certain which comet originated the Southern Delta Aquariids. This is considered a strong meteor shower, with 15-to-20 meteors visible per-hour, around the peak of shower; fewer would now be visible per-hour.

The evening of July 29 / early-morning of July 30 saw the peak of the Alpha Capracornid meteor shower. The official peak occurred on July 30 at 2:00 a.m. EDT / 6:00 UTC. At the peak time, five meteors per-hour are expected, making the Alpha Capracornids a minor meteor shower; of course, now there would be fewer Alpha Capracornids visible per-hour. The Alpha Capracornids, which originated as remnants of Comet 169P / NEAT, are visible each year from July 3 to August 15.

Another minor meteor shower may be visible to some between August 28 and September 5; the peak is expected August 31 / September 1. The Aurigid Meteor Shower is believed to have originated as remnants of Comet Kless (C / 1911 N1). Astronomers do not know the composition of this meteoric debris. So, it is uncertain how the meteors from this shower may interact with the Earth's atmosphere, and hence, scientists are unsure how visible this shower may be each year.

So in mid-August, the time for viewing is right, and the less moonlight is great. And, of course, with the warm weather most of us experience in the Northern Hemisphere, this time of year, what could be better for viewing meteors?

Of course, meteor showers, like all celestial observations, are weather-permitting. Even a few clouds could obscure quite a few meteors.

If the weather in your area does not permit direct viewing of this meteor shower outdoors, it is possible (but not guaranteed) you may be able to use Google, Yahoo, Bing, Lycos, or your favorite Internet search engine to find special, live-stream web-casts of the meteor shower at one or more sites on the Internet.

A cautionary note for those who find it necessary to watch the meteor shower on the Internet. The video camera, used for each live-stream web-cast, can only aim at one part of the sky at a time. Hence, do not expect to see as many meteors as you might see with your own eyes outside. Outdoors, you can easily scan the entire sky for meteors, while a camera aimed at one area of the sky will only be able to see the meteors that enter that particular field-of-view.

 Internet Links  to Additional Information ----

Perseid Meteor Shower: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids

Comet Swift-Tuttle: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet_Swift%E2%80%93Tuttle

Constellation Perseus: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseus_%28constellation%29

South Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower: Link >>>  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Delta_Aquariids 

Alpha Capracornid Meteor Shower: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Capricornids 

Aurigid Meteor Shower:

Link 1 >>> https://astronomyforbeginners.wordpress.com/2007/08/24/aurigid-meteor-shower-astronomy-for-beginners/ 

Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurigids

Meteor Shower: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_shower

Meteor: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteoroid#Meteor

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

Meteorite: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteoroid#Meteorites

Fifth largest fragment of the meteorite which struck Barringer Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona, which was displayed (1939 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. Today, this meteorite is displayed on the second floor of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Science Center, next to the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/Buhlexhibits.htm#meteorite

Related Blog-Posts ---

Annual Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tue. Night / Early Wed. Morning." Mon., 2020 Aug. 10.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2020/08/annual-perseid-meteor-shower-peaks-tue.html 


"Tonight's 'Meteor Outburst' w/Web-Casts: 150 Years After Comet-Meteor Shower Link Found." Thur., 2016 Aug. 11.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/08/tonights-meteor-outburst-wweb-casts-150.html

 

"Great Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Wed. Night w/ Web-Casts." Wed., 2015 Aug. 12.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2015/08/great-perseid-meteor-shower-peaks-wed.html

 

"Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks in Sky & Web-Casts." Tue., 2014 Aug. 12.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/08/perseid-meteor-shower-peaks-in-sky-web.html

 

"Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Sun., Mon. Nights." Sat., 2013 Aug. 10.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/08/perseid-meteor-shower-peaks-sun-mon.html

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

                 Monday, 2021 August 9.

                             Like This Post?  Please Share!

           More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> 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: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Astro-Calendar 2021 Aug. / Update: Boeing Starliner Launch Delayed Indefinitely

 CST-100 Starliner integration with Atlas V for Orbital Flight Test (KSC-20191121-PH-CSH02 0080) (cropped).jpg

Update (2021 Aug. 4): The Boeing Starliner launch has been delayed, indefinitely, until NASA and Boeing can determine the "cause of the unexpected valve position indications on the CST-100 Starliner propulsion system."

More information: Link >>> https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2021/08/03/nasa-boeing-standing-down-on-aug-4-starliner-launch-attempt/

Update (2021 Aug. 3): August 3 Launch of the Boeing Starliner was scrubbed "due to unexpected valve position indications in the Starliner propulsion system" according to NASA. NASA goes on to say "Pending resolution of the forward work, our next available launch opportunity would be 12:57 p.m. EDT / 16:57 UTC on Wednesday, Aug. 4."

More information on the technical problem: Link >>> https://starlinerupdates.com/nasa-boeing-to-delay-starliner-launch/

Boeing CST-100 Starliner space capsule, which is expected to have another, non-crewed test launch on August 3 (back-up launch date August 4). A previous test launch in December of 2019 failed to dock with the International Space Station (ISS). It was originally scheduled to launch on July 30, but that launch was scrubbed at the last minute, due to the ISS being thrown out-of-control by jet thrusters, which inadvertently activated following the addition of a new Russian space station module. The Boeing Starliner is another commercial spacecraft expected to transport NASA astronauts to the ISS, in addition to the SpaceX Crew Dragon. In this photograph, the Starliner is being placed atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

(Image Sources: NASA, Wikipedia.org, By NASA/Cory Huston - https://www.nasa.gov/feature/boeing-cst-100-starliner-takes-next-step-for-orbital-flight-test (image link), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87867676) 

More info on the Boeing Starliner: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_Starliner 

More on the July 30 launch delay: Link >>> https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/space-station-mishap-prompts-nasa-postpone-launch-boeing-starliner-2021-07-29/

Update (2021 Aug. 4): Launch date and time delayed indefinitely.

Update (2021 Aug. 3): Launch date and time ---

NASA Live-Stream coverage of Starliner launch, now scheduled for  NO EARLIER THAN Wednesday, 2021 August 4, 12:57 p.m. EDT / 16:57 UTC (Live-Stream coverage begins 12:00 Noon EDT / 16:00 UTC): Link >>> https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Original Launch Date and Time: NASA Live-Stream coverage of Starliner launch, now scheduled for Tuesday, 2021 August 3, 1:20 p.m. EDT / 17:20 UTC (Live-Stream coverage begins 12:30 p.m. EDT / 16:30 UTC): Link >>> https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive   

Astronomical Calendar for 2021 August ---
Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2021.html#aug

 Related Blog Post ---

"Astro-Calendar: 2021 July / Good View of Mercury July 9." Thur., 2021 July 1.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2021/07/astro-calendar-2021-july.html


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
            Sunday, 2021 August 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:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> 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: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

Monday, July 26, 2021

50th Anniversary: Pittsburgh Native Walks on Moon

 

Pittsburgh native James Irwin gives a military salute to the American Flag at the Hadley-Apennine landing site of Apollo 15 on the Moon, on 1971 August 2. Seen next to James Irwin is the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), which landed him and Dave Scott on the Moon, and the Lunar Rover [officially known as the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV)]; Apollo 15 was the first mission to use a Lunar Rover.

(Image Sources: NASA, Wikipedia.org, By NASA Johnson Space CenterRestored by Bammesk - This file was derived from: AS15-88-11866 (21648389932).jpgOriginal by: Project Apollo Archive at https://www.flickr.com/photos/projectapolloarchive/21648389932/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91388729)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Fifty years ago, on 1971 July 31, August 1 & 2, Pittsburgh native James B. Irwin became the eighth human to walk on the Moon. Accompanied to the lunar surface by Dave Scott, with Alfred Worden remaining in the Command Module, this was the Apollo 15 mission to the Moon, which included the first use of an automobile on the Moon called a Lunar Roving Vehicle.

It was 50 years ago today (July 26) that Apollo 15 launched toward the Moon from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Apollo 15 was the first (of three flown) NASA “J Mission” to the Moon, which provided for a longer stay on the Moon as well as more of an emphasis on scientific exploration than earlier Apollo, lunar landing missions. James Irwin was the Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 15 mission, while David R. Scott (the seventh person to step onto the Moon) was mission Commander and Alfred M. Worden was the Command Module Pilot.

Of course, the new part of the Apollo 15 mission was the introduction of the electric battery-powered Lunar Roving Vehicle (better known as the Lunar Rover or 'Moon Buggy') on the surface of the Moon. Originally conceived in the early 1960s as a closed-cabin vehicle, somewhat like a normal automobile but with the addition of a mini-laboratory (titled MOLAB for Mobility Laboratory), weighing as much as 6,000 pounds / 2,700 kilograms, by the time the contract was let to Boeing for three Lunar Rovers for three missions, it had been decided that such a heavy vehicle was unnecessary since Federal funding cuts would not permit the establishment of a lunar base in the foreseeable future. So, a scaled-down, four-wheeled Lunar Rover was developed weighing 460 pounds / 210 kilograms.

Each Lunar Rover could carry a maximum payload of 1,080 pounds / 490 kilograms, including seating for two astronauts along with equipment and lunar samples. The top speed for the Lunar Rover was designed to be 8 miles-per-hour / 13 kilometers-per-hour, although on the last Apollo mission to the Moon, Apollo 17, the speed reached 11.2 miles-per-hour / 18.0 kilometers-per-hour.

Each of the three Lunar Rovers, which all remain on the Moon, drove an average of 18.6 statute miles / 30 kilometers, without incident. The Apollo 15 Lunar Rover traveled a total of 17.25 statute miles / 27.76 kilometers within 3 hours and 2 minutes of travel time. The Apollo 15 Lunar Rover traveled a maximum 3.1 statute miles / 5.0 kilometers from the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) which landed James Irwin and Dave Scott on the Moon; the longest single traverse was 7.75 statute miles / 12.47 kilometers.

Due to the newness of the Lunar Rover, and the unknown reliability in the lunar environment, this limited the usefulness during the mission. In case the Lunar Rover stalled, the astronauts had to be close enough to walk back to the LEM.

Each Lunar Rover was tucked into Apollo 15's Lunar Excursion Module's Quadrant 1 Bay. To commemorate the first driving vehicle on the Moon, the LEM, with the call-sign Falcon (named after the U.S. Air Force Academy mascot), included a plaque which read: "Man's First Wheels on the Moon, Delivered by Falcon, July 30, 1971".

The Lunar Rover allowed James Irwin and Dave Scott to do more scientific exploration and collect lunar samples from a greater distance from the LEM, than previous missions. The Lunar Rover was used on three separate Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) trips, with Dave Scott as the driver and James Irwin as the navigator.

In addition to proving the concept of the Lunar Rover, Apollo 15 achieved all of the mission objectives. This included surveying and sampling an area of the Hadley Rille and Apennine Mountains region of the Moon, installing lunar surface experiments, and evaluation of the capability for Apollo equipment to provide extended stay-time for astronauts on the Moon. According to the “Apollo 15 Mission Report”: Apollo 15 "was the fourth lunar landing and resulted in the collection of a wealth of scientific information. The Apollo system, in addition to providing a means of transportation, excelled as an operational scientific facility."

James Benson Irwin was born in Pittsburgh on 1930 March 17. He lived his first eleven years in the South Hills section of the City of Pittsburgh, first in the Beechview neighborhood and later a mile east in the Brookline neighborhood. When James Irwin was eleven years-old, the Irwin family moved to Florida.

His father was a steamfitter running the power plant at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Institute, which includes the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Museum of Art, the main branch of Carnegie Library, and the Carnegie Music and Lecture Halls. James Irwin wrote in his autobiography, To Rule the Night, that he was enthralled by Carnegie Institute's world-class collection of dinosaur skeletons. He wrote, "Some of my earliest memories are of waiting for Dad in this tremendous place". Later in the autobiography, he wrote how his imagination was stirred by his visits to Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.

By age 12, James Irwin had told his mother that he wanted to be the first person to walk on the Moon! This would have been in 1942, just after the United States had entered World War II. As mentioned, he was the eighth human (of 12 Apollo astronauts) to walk on the Moon.

He attended middle school and high school in Salt Lake City, graduating from East High School in 1947. According to Delta College Planetarium Manager / Astronomer Mike Murray (who lived a few blocks from East High School, 2002 to 2015), East High School has a small historical display regarding James Irwin. Later in 1947, Jim Irwin attended the annual church picnic, at the church he had attended in Pittsburgh, the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Beechview.

James Irwin attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Naval Science in 1951. He went on to earn Master of Science degrees in Aeronautical Engineering and Instrumentation Engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1957; the University of Michigan was the first U.S. college to offer an Aeronautical Engineering degree, beginning in 1914.

James Irwin received flight training in Texas, first at the Hondo Air Base and then at Reese Air Force Base. In 1961, he graduated from the Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School (Class 60C). In 1963, he graduated from Aerospace Research Pilot School (Class IV).

Before joining NASA on 1966 April 4 (when he was in the fifth group of astronauts selected by NASA, one of 19 astronauts selected for Moon mission training), James Irwin was Chief of the Advanced Requirements Branch at Headquarters Air Defense Command. He also was a developmental test pilot for the Lockheed YF-12 Mach 3 fighter-interceptor.

As a training instructor, James Irwin suffered compound fractures, amnesia, and nearly lost one leg after the crash of a training airplane flown by one of his student pilots; the student also survived the crash. U.S. Air Force orthopedic surgeon John Forrest was able to prevent the amputation of James Irwin's leg.

While in the military, James Irwin accumulated more than 7,015 hours of flying time (5,300 hours in jet aircraft). He received the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, two Air Force Commendation Medals, and an Air Force Outstanding Unit Citation while with the 4750th Training Wing.

At NASA, James Irwin served as part of the astronaut support crew for Apollo 10, the “dress-rehearsal” in lunar orbit for the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. He was then assigned as back-up Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 12, the second crewed mission to land on the Moon, before being assigned to the Apollo 15 mission.

James Irwin accumulated more than 295 hours of space flight. More than 18 of those hours were in Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA), outside the LEM on the Moon..

He retired from NASA and the U.S. Air Force in 1972 as a Colonel. He had not been very religious since about the age of 10. This all changed when he returned from the Moon. He said that during the Apollo 15 mission, “I felt the power of God as I'd never felt it before.” He also said, “Jesus walking on the Earth is more important than man walking on the Moon."

In 1972 he created the High Flight Foundation in Colorado Springs, which helped him spread the Christian Gospel around the world. For nearly 20 years, he and his family traveled the globe sharing his unique experience and a message of hope and encouragement.

Starting in 1973, James Irwin led several expeditions to Mount Ararat in Turkey, in his search for the remains of Noah's Ark. He considered the biblical scripture in the Book of Genesis to be real, literal history. During one expedition in 1982, he was injured during the descent down the mountain and had to be carried on horse-back.

After a two-year, first marriage in 1952, James Irwin married the former Mary Ellen Monroe in 1959. Although there were marital problems in the second marriage, particularly during the NASA years, their marriage survived until James Irwin's death in 1991. They considered James Irwin's born-again, Christian faith, following the return from the Moon, had helped to solidify the marriage. With his second wife, he had five children: Joy, Jill, James, Jan, and Joe.

James Irwin was the first, and youngest, of the Apollo astronauts to die. He passed-away from his fourth heart attack on 1991 August 8 at age 61. NASA physicians believed that space travel had nothing to do with his heart attacks. They noted that a tendency for cardiac arrhythmias, during strenuous exercise, had been observed during pre-flight testing.

The mother (Eleanor Alsnauer) and maternal grandparents (Louis and Margaret Alsnauer) of the author (Glenn A. Walsh) knew James Irwin when he was young. The Irwin family lived just a couple blocks from the Alsnauer family in Pittsburgh's Beechview neighborhood.

Both families attended the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on the edge of the Beechview Business District. James Irwin and Eleanor Alsnauer both attended Lee Elementary School, just a block up the hill from the Alsnauer residence. Even after the Irwin family moved out-of-town, both families would continue to correspond, including with annual Christmas cards.

The author remembers the Saturday afternoon, in April of 1966, when his grandfather showed him the news article, from the Tuesday, 1966 April 5 edition of The Pittsburgh Press (Page 8), reporting that James Irwin had been selected as one of the astronauts to train for missions to the Moon. The author's grandfather knew that the author had a great interest in the American Space Program, even at the young age of 10.

                            

                                        James B. Irwin in his official NASA photograph. 

                                                           (Image Sources: NASA, New Mexico State University)

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

James Irwin:

Link 1 >>> https://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/bio/Pghastronauts.html#irwin 

Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Irwin 

"Pittsburgh Native Named Astronaut."

The Pittsburgh Press 1966 April 5. Page 8.

 Link >>> https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=djft3U1LymYC&dat=19660405&printsec=frontpage&hl=en 

Apollo 15:

Link 1 >>> http://www.astronautix.com/a/apollo15.html 

Link 2 >>> https://airandspace.si.edu/explore-and-learn/topics/apollo/apollo-program/landing-missions/apollo15.cfm 

Link 3 >>> https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/missions/apollo15.html 

Link 4 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_15 

Related Blog-Posts ---

"American Lunar Society Founder on 50th Anniversary: 1st Humans Orbit Moon." Mon., 2018 Dec.24.

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


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

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


"American Lunar Society Founder on 50th Anniversary: 1st Humans Walk on Moon !" Tue., 2019 July 16.

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


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

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


"50th Anniversary: NASA's Most Successful Failure." (Apollo 13) Mon., 2020 April 13.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2020/04/50th-anniversary-nasas-most-successful.html

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

                 Monday, 2021 July 26.

                             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:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> 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: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

Monday, July 19, 2021

LIVE-STREAM Early Tue.: Blue Origin Flight to Space w/ 'Mercury 13' Woman & Jeff Bezos

                      New Shephard - Upright View.jpg

 This photograph shows the Blue Origin New Shepard rocket, without the crew capsule, as displayed at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 2017. Blue Origin will launch the first crewed New Shepard rocket to the edge of Outer Space from western Texas early Tuesday morning.

(Image Source: Wikipedia.org, By ThePenultimateOne - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61440254)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

The “billionaire space race” continues Tuesday with the first crewed launch by Jeff Bezos' commercial spaceflight company, Blue Origin. The four passengers on this flight (a full complement in the New Shepard space capsule would be six passengers) include Jeff Bezos and 82-year-old Wally Funk, one of 13 women who had qualified for NASA's Mercury Spaceflight Program in 1961. Blue Origin will Live-Stream the launch early Tuesday morning.

Internet link to the Blue Origin Live-Stream is near the end of this blog-post.

The Blue Origin spaceship, New Shepard, is scheduled to launch at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 8:00 a.m. Central Daylight Saving Time (CDT: launch site is in the Central Time Zone) / 13:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on Tuesday Morning, 2021 July 20, weather-permitting and provided there are no technical problems.

As of Sunday, weather conditions looked favorable for an uneventful launch. Although there is a small chance for thunderstorms in the early morning hours of Tuesday, any storms are forecast to clear-out before launch time.

Live-Stream coverage will begin at 7:30 a.m. EDT / 6:30 a.m. CDT / 11:30 UTC. The Blue Origin Launch Site One is located on a portion of the Corn Ranch, 25 statute miles / 40 kilometers north of the west Texas town of Van Horn. As with the Virgin Galactic flight on July 11, the Blue Origin flight will be a short sub-orbital flight.

Sir Richard Branson flew his Virgin Galactic space-plane to the edge of Outer Space nine days earlier. Jeff Bezos purposely chose to wait to launch the first crewed flight of New Shepard, mission NS-16, because July 20 coincides with the 52nd anniversary of the first landing of humans on the Moon.

The Virgin Galactic space-plane flew 53 statute miles / 85.295232 kilometers above mean sea-level, just above the 50-statute mile / 80-kilometer altitude determined as the beginning of Outer Space by the U.S. Air Force, NASA, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The New Shepard spacecraft plans to go a little higher. Blue Origin intends to meet the altitude definition of Outer Space determined by an international aeronautic standards and record-keeping body, Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI): 62 statute miles / 100 kilometers above mean sea level, known as the Karman Line.

The Virgin Galactic space-plane launch on July 11 was a “drop-launch” from a larger aircraft, similar to the launch of the X-15 experimental rocket-plane, which was tested by the U.S. Air Force and NASA in the 1950s and 1960s. The New Shepard space vehicle is more like a traditional rocket.

New Shepard will launch like a rocket. Powered flight is expected to last about 110 seconds, reaching an altitude of 25 statute miles / 40 kilometers above mean sea-level. From that point, the spacecraft's momentum is expected to carry it in un-powered flight to the destination of 62 statute miles / 100 kilometers above mean-sea-level.

The crew module will, then, separate from the propulsion module (i.e. rocket) at a point close to the peak altitude of the mission. At that point, as the crew module begins to fall back to Earth, the crew will encounter about three minutes of micro-gravity (a.k.a. “weightless-ness”) and observe the curvature of the Earth from the edge of Outer Space, as well as the blackness of space.

Then, the crew module will return to Earth, via three large parachutes, landing close to the launch site on the ground, as Russian Soyuz space capsules land. The only exception to the Soyuz-type landing on ground is that New Shepard includes thrusters which ignite, just before the landing, to help to soften the landing. The total duration of the flight of the crew module is expected to be about ten minutes.

The rocket will make a vertical landing near the launch site, similar to the vertical landing of the first stage of SpaceX rockets. Both the crew capsule and the rocket are designed to be re-usable.

Unlike all past human space missions, there will be no pilot or flight engineer aboard the New Shepard crew capsule. This flight will be completely automated, from beginning to end!

In the case of a rocket malfunction or other emergency, New Shepard has, what is described as, a “full-envelope” launch escape system. Solid propellant separation boosters can separate the crew module from the propulsion module, and the crew capsule would then use parachutes to return to Earth.

As mentioned, Jeff Bezos, who founded Blue Origin in 2000 as well as Founder of the well-known Amazon on-line market company, will be aboard the very first crewed launch of New Shepard. He will be accompanied by his brother, Mark Bezos.

Wally Funk, now 82 years-old, will become the oldest person to ever fly in Outer Space. The late U.S. Senator John Glenn currently holds this record, when he launched as a Payload Specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery (mission STS-95) on 1998 October 29, when Senator Glenn was age 77. Of course, John Glenn is well-known for being the first American to orbit the Earth in the Mercury capsule Friendship 7 (three orbits in the 4 hour and 55-minute flight) on 1962 February 20, when John Glenn was age 40.

In 1961, Wally Funk was at the top of her “Mercury 13” class of 13 women who all qualified to fly as part of the Woman in Space Program. Ms. Funk is a very experienced pilot with 19,600 flight hours.

However, NASA never pursued flying women in space in the 1960s, even though Russian female cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova flew, alone, for almost three days in Earth orbit beginning on 1963 June 16. NASA did not launch a woman into space until 1983 June 18, when Sally Ride flew on the Space Shuttle Challenger (mission STS-7) and was the third woman to fly in Outer Space.

New Shepard mission NS-16 will also include the youngest person to ever fly in Outer Space. Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen, the company's first paying customer, had originally been set to fly on the second New Shepard flight. However, the unidentified person who had won a June 12, charity auction for a ticket on the first flight had a “scheduling conflict” on July 20. So the 18-year-old Oliver Daemen will make history on Tuesday morning!

Following a successful NS-16 flight on Tuesday, Blue Origin plans two additional New Shepard flights this year with paying customers, starting sub-orbital, commercial space tourism in earnest. The next flight of New Shepard is expected to be in late September or early October.

Blue Origin New Shepard Mission NS-16 LIVESTREAM ---

 Link >>> https://www.blueorigin.com/

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Blue Origin New Shepard Mission NS-16 ---

Link 1 >>> https://www.blueorigin.com/news-archive/first-human-flight-updates 

Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Origin_NS-16

New Shepard ---

Link 1 >>> https://www.blueorigin.com/new-shepard 

Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Shepard 

Blue Origin ---

Link 1 >>> https://www.blueorigin.com/ 

Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Origin

Karman Line: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A1rm%C3%A1n_line

Female Aviator & 'Mercury 13' Woman in Space Program Member Wally Funk:

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

Related Blog-Post ---

"LIVE-STREAM Sunday: Virgin Galactic Flight to Space w/ Founder Richard Branson." Fri., 2021 July 9.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2021/07/live-stream-virgin-galactic-flight-to.html

 

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

                 Monday, 2021 July 19.

                             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:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> 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: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc