Tuesday, October 28, 2014

HOAX: 6 Days of Total Darkness in December

NASA administrator Charles Bolden
NASA administrator Charles Bolden was the supposed authoritative voice behind the news from Huzlers.com that six days of darkness would happen in December.
(Photo : Paul E. Alers)



By Dianne Depra, Tech Times

One of the best things about the Internet is the speed at which it allows information to be shared. Unfortunately, this means all information -- even false ones like the news about the six-day darkness that would envelop the world in December.

The report "NASA Confirms Earth Will Experience 6 Days of Total Darkness in December 2014" was published by Huzlers.com. Considering the site labeled itself as offering "a combination of real shocking news and satirical entertainment to keep its visitors in a state of disbelief," the story should have been taken with a grain of salt at the very least.

According to the story, NASA "confirmed" that the Earth would be experiencing six days of nearly complete darkness from Dec. 16 to 22. The event would supposedly happen because of a solar storm that would spur enough dust and debris in space that 90 percent of sunlight would be blocked out.

More - Link >>> http://www.techtimes.com/articles/18813/20141028/nasa-viral-news-on-days-of-darkness-in-december-is-hoax.htm

Source: TechTimes.com .

Original Story from Huzlers.com:
Link >>> http://huzlers.com/nasa-confirms-earth-will-experience-6-days-total-darkness-december-2014/

2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.


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

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, & More: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Friday, October 24, 2014

75th Anniversary of America's 5th Major Planetarium

http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/Buhlbook1956.JPG
Photograph of the historic Zeiss Mark II Planetarium Projector
during a performance in the Theater of the Stars of Pittsburgh's
original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, which
celebrates their 75th anniversary on October 24 and 25. This photograph
comes from the cover of a small informational book about Buhl
Planetarium published in 1956. (Image Source: Friends of the Zeiss)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Seventy-five years ago this hour, The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science was formally dedicated with the fifth Zeiss II Planetarium Projector installed in America. Previously, Zeiss II Planetarium Projectors had been installed at Adler Planetarium in Chicago (1930), Fels Planetarium at Franklin Institute in Philadelphia (1933), Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles (1935), and Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (1935). It was at this 1939 dedication that the Buhl Foundation gifted and legally conveyed the Buhl Planetarium building, and all contents of the building, to the City of Pittsburgh.

It was on Tuesday Evening, 1939 October 24 at 8:30 p.m  EST that the dedication ceremony began. As Daylight Saving Time was not observed in 1939, this blog post has been posted at 9:30 p.m. EDT, exactly 75 years to-the-moment of the beginning of the dedication ceremony.

The grand public opening of Buhl Planetarium came the next day, Wednesday Morning, 1939 October 25 at 10:00 a.m. EST. The first public planetarium show, "Stars Over Pittsburgh," began at 3:00 p.m. EST, with additional shows at 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. At that time, The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science opened seven days a week at 10:00 a.m., closing each day at 10:00 p.m.

It was closed only one day out of the year. Originally, that one day was New Year's Day. Later on, in the 1960s, they elected to stay open New Year's Day and close on Christmas Day.

The building's five public exhibit galleries (with a total of 15,000 square feet of exhibition space), the Institute of Popular Science, was free-of-charge the first year, while a small charge was levied for attendance to a planetarium show. About a year later, a small charge for building admission was added, to solve the problem of the homeless coming in just to take advantage of the heating or air-conditioning (Buhl Planetarium was the first publicly-owned building in the city, and possibly the state, built with air-conditioning), a problem public libraries continue to have.

The opening of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science was a big deal, particularly coming in the middle of the Great Depression. At that time, Pittsburgh only had a few major museums. Andrew Carnegie had opened his two big museums, The Carnegie Museum of Natural History and The Carnegie Museum of Art, in 1895 (with a major expansion of both museums in 1907) at the edge of Schenley Park, in the Oakland Civic Center district of Pittsburgh. Two years earlier, his boyhood friend, Henry Phipps, had opened the Phipps Conservatory a block away, also in Schenley Park. Also in Oakland at that time, the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania operated a small city history museum. The Pittsburgh Zoo had opened in 1898, in Highland Park in the East End. And in July of 1895, the Fort Pitt Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution began public tours of the historic Fort Pitt Blockhouse, Downtown, the last remaining structure of Fort Pitt and the oldest building in the city dating to 1764.

Just before Buhl Planetarium opened, long-time Pittsburgh Press columnist Gilbert Love prepared an eight-page Sunday newspaper supplement devoted entirely to Buhl Planetarium. Three of Pittsburgh's five radio stations carried the Buhl Planetarium dedication ceremony. KQV-AM and WWSW-AM provided coverage that evening from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. while KDKA-AM's coverage was from 10:30 to 11:00 p.m.

Five out-of-town scientists were guests at the dedication ceremony:
* Dr. Henry Butler Allen, Director of Franklin Institute in Philadelphia
* Charles A. Federer, Secretary of the Amateur Astronomers Association of America
* Dr. Clyde Fisher, Hayden Planetarium Curator-in-Chief and William H. Barton, Jr. Executive Curator
* Dr. N.T. Bobrovnikoff, of the Perkins Observatory at Ohio Wesleyan University near Columbus
* Dr. J.J. Nassau, of Cleveland Observatory at the Case School of Applied Science

Buhl Planetarium's historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, in addition to being the fifth major planetarium installed in America, it was the last planetarium constructed before World War II and the last Zeiss II Projector built. After the War, a few other Zeiss II projectors were modified to be signified as Zeiss III projectors, while the first all-new Zeiss projectors, the Zeiss IV, were not built until the mid-1950s.

Pittsburgh's Zeiss II Planetarium Projector was the only Zeiss II to never receive any major modifications. Hence, before it was dismantled in 2002, it was the oldest operable major planetarium projector in the world! In 2010, it was reassembled for display-only at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Science Center, where it continues on display today.

Buhl's Zeiss II was also the first such projector to be placed on an elevator. This special elevator, with four huge worm-gears, was custom-built by Pittsburgh's Westinghouse Electric Company. When the projector was lowered below floor level into the Zeiss Pit, a stage would be automatically installed above the projector, allowing the Theater of the Stars to be used for other presentations.

However, this was just one of two stages in the Theater of the Stars. Buhl Planetarium was the first planetarium to also include a permanent theatrical stage. Buhl Planetarium's first Director, Dr. James S. Stokley, had used a temporary stage when he directed Fels Planetarium at Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, to allow a costumed "St. Luke" to tell the Christmas story during the annual "Star of Bethlehem" planetarium sky drama. When he came to Pittsburgh to open Buhl Planetarium, he suggested a permanent theatrical stage be added during construction. In addition to the annual Christmas show, this permanent theatrical stage was used for other presentations throughout the year, including student skits during the annual Foreign Language Festival.

The Theater of the Stars was originally designed to seat 500 visitors, although the City Fire Marshal only allowed an occupancy of 490. As the years went by, some seats were removed for a greatly expanded Planetarium Control Console and Laser Show Control Consoles. By the late 1980s, there were 381 permanent seats, with portable seats increasing the size of the audience to 425 during the busy holiday shows and the school field trips in the Spring.

In 1939, Buhl Planetarium's Theater of the Stars was also the first planetarium theater, and perhaps the first theater of any kind, to include a sound system specifically designed for the hearing-impaired. A person who was hearing-impaired could pay a one-dollar deposit for a set of earphones, which would plug into special receptacles in the Theater of the Stars; the one-dollar would be returned to the visitor with return of the headsets. Two varieties of headsets were available: air-conduction and bone-conduction.

Buhl Planetarium's astronomical observatory, originally known as "The People's Observatory," did not open for another two years, on 1941 November 19, when the rather unique 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope was dedicated. Buhl Planetarium did order a smaller, portable telescope, a 4-inch refractor, from the same company that built the planetarium projector, the Carl Zeiss Optical Works in Jena, Germany, so that Buhl scientists would have a telescope to show celestial objects to the public, before the main observatory was finished.

However, Buhl officials were disappointed when the telescope arrived from Germany. The Zeiss Optical Works had sent the wrong telescope! Buhl had ordered an astronomical refractor telescope (where objects are seen upside-down) while the German factory had sent a terrestrial refractor telescope (where objects are seen right-side-up). Astronomers always try to avoid using terrestrial telescopes, as the extra optics included to make an image right-side-up further degrades images of celestial objects.

Buhl officials would have liked to send the telescope back to Germany and have the factory send the proper replacement. But, there was a problem. It was Autumn of 1939, and Adolf Hitler's forces had invaded Poland on 1939 September 1, resulting in the beginning of World War II. Even if the telescope had been sent back, they would have received no replacement (and probably no refund), as the Zeiss Optical Works was converted to produce bomb-sights for German military aircraft (the factory was eventually bombed by the Allies).

So, Buhl officials had to learn to make-do with a terrestrial telescope. And, today, the City of Pittsburgh owns, and the staff of the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory continues to use, this 4-inch Zeiss refractor telescope with a very interesting history.

When you consider the beginning of Buhl Planetarium, you need to talk about two people: Henry Buhl, Jr. and Leo Scanlon.

Henry Buhl, Jr. owned one of Pittsburgh's six major department stores in the 1920s, and the only department store located on the North Side: Boggs and Buhl Department Store. Boggs and Buhl was opened by Mr. Buhl, along with his brother-in-law Russell Boggs, in 1869. The store catered to the rich industrialists, many of whom lived only a few blocks away on Ridge Avenue. Today, some of the Ridge Avenue mansions continue to be used as part of the main campus of the Community College of Allegheny County.

When Henry Buhl died in 1927, he had no heirs, as his wife had died a few years earlier. He decided, in a bequest, to use his wealth to set-up a charitable foundation to benefit the people of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, in memory of his wife, Louise C. Buhl. When the Buhl Foundation was established with assets of $11 million, it was one of the ten largest foundations in the country. The Buhl Foundation was one of the very early philanthropic foundations. Another Pittsburgh resident, Andrew Carnegie, had pioneered modern philanthropy when he donated $135 million to set-up the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 1911.

It was announced this-past June that an asteroid had been named in honor of Henry Buhl, Jr., on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Buhl Planetarium. Two staff members at the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory at The Carnegie Science Center came-up with this idea to honor the planetarium's benefactor: Dan Malerbo (who began as a Planetarium Lecturer at the original Buhl Planetarium) and Frank Mancuso.

More on Asteroid Henrybuhl ---

Orbital Elements and Ephemeris by Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/75years/AsteroidHenrybuhl.html

General Information:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/06/asteroid-named-for-henry-buhl-of-buhl.html

Leo Scanlon, a plumber who lived in the Summer Hill section of the North Side, was an avid amateur astronomer. In 1930, astronomical observatory domes were constructed of steel, which, at that time, was thought to be the only metal strong enough to hold-up such a dome. That year, Leo Scanlon proved conventional wisdom wrong. In his backyard, he constructed a small astronomical observatory with a dome completely composed of aluminum. There is even a photograph of Leo sitting on top of the dome to show how strong the dome really is! This completely changed the way that astronomical observatory domes were constructed, from then-on.

In 1929, Leo Scanlon co-founded the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh. The next year, he and fellow club members took a road trip to Chicago to see America's first major planetarium, Adler Planetarium, which had just opened. These amateur astronomers were so impressed that they came back to Pittsburgh and immediately started lobbying for a planetarium to built in their home city.

In 1935, the Buhl Foundation announced that they would spend $1.07 million to build a planetarium and institute of popular science, in the memory of Henry Buhl, Jr. The building replaced the former Allegheny City Hall (Pittsburgh's "twin" city, Allegheny, had been annexed by the City of Pittsburgh in 1907) and was located just across Federal Street from America's first publicly-funded Carnegie Library and the very first Carnegie Hall. At the same time the Buhl Planetarium was being built, just across West Ohio Street the city was converting the original Allegheny town square into Ober Park. Since that time, the park has been redeveloped twice, most recently in 2012 as Buhl Community Park at Allegheny Square.

More on The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and its history:
Link >>> http://www.planetarium.cc

Detailed Photograph of the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/10/astronomical-calendar-2014-october.html

County of Allegheny Proclamation Congratulating Buhl Planetarium on the Occasion of its 75th Anniversary: Link >>> https://alleghenycounty.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1945055&GUID=5F6FC0E3-E68E-4974-8EC5-E7CC2E71CE28&Options=ID|Text|&Search=buhl+planetarium

Radio Interviews (2) of Glenn A. Walsh Regarding the 75th Anniversary of Buhl Planetarium -

"Preview: Buhl Planetarium 75th Anniversary." The Saturday Light Brigade / Neighborhood Voices. WRCT-FM 88.3 Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (and network of 5 Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio college radio stations) 2014 Oct. 25.
Radio interview occurred in the studios of The Saturday Light Brigade, located in Bowdish Gallery of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science building.
Link >>> http://neighborhoodvoices.org/preview-buhl-planetarium-75th-anniversary

"Wednesday Rundown: Celebrating the Birthday of the Original Buhl Projector." Essential Pittsburgh. WESA-FM 90.5 Pittsburgh 2014 Oct. 22.
Link >>> http://wesa.fm/post/wednesday-rundown-celebrating-birthday-original-buhl-projector

Related Blog Posts ---

Solar Eclipse on Eve of Buhl Planetarium's 75th Anniversary (2014 Oct. 21):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/10/solar-eclipse-on-eve-of-buhl.html


Asteroid Named for Henry Buhl of Buhl Planetarium (2014 June 26):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/06/asteroid-named-for-henry-buhl-of-buhl.html

 

Buhl Community Park at Allegheny Square Opens (2012 June 25):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2012/06/buhl-community-park-at-allegheny-square.html

 

70th Anniversary: Buhl Planetarium Observatory (2011 Nov. 19):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2011/11/70th-anniversary-buhl-planetarium.html 


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

2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.


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

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, & More: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Solar Eclipse on Eve of Buhl Planetarium's 75th Anniversary

Photo from postcard sold at Buhl Planetarium in the 1970s, showing Buhl Planetariium fronted by the Allegheny Square Fountain
Photograph from the 1970s of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute
of Popular Science with the fountain of Allegheny Square Plaza in the foreground.
Thursday's Partial Eclipse of the Sun falls on the eve of the 75th anniversary of
the dedication of Buhl Planetarium. (Image Source: Friends of the Zeiss)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

A Partial Eclipse of the Sun or Solar Eclipse, visible throughout most of North America, will occur Thursday Afternoon, 2014 October 23 between 3:37 and 7:52 p.m. EDT / 19:37 and 23:52 Coordinated Universal Time. This Solar Eclipse occurs on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the dedication of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.

The western portion of North America will receive the best view of this eclipse, while the eclipse occurs very close to sunset in the eastern part of the continent. Internet web-casts are the safest way to view a Solar Eclipse, and may be the only practical way for people in the eastern part of North America.

In south suburban Pittsburgh, safe public viewing, free-of-charge, of this Partial Solar Eclipse will be displayed, via a live Internet web-cast, in a meeting room of the Mount Lebanon Public Library, located at 16 Castle Shannon Boulevard near Washington Road at the southern end of the Mount Lebanon Uptown Business District. This special event is co-sponsored by Friends of the Zeiss and the Mount Lebanon Public Library.

Normally, Friends of the Zeiss would try to show the eclipse to the general public using a telescope on the Library grounds, weather-permitting. However, as the eclipse begins in the Pittsburgh region so close to sunset, regular telescope views of the eclipse are not practical. Hence, we are providing the public with an Internet web-cast of the event.

An Eclipse of the Sun or Solar Eclipse occurs at the New Moon phase of the Moon, when the Moon comes between the Earth and the Sun and blocks out some or all of the light from the Sun on part of the Earth's surface.

WARNING: Observing the Sun or a Solar Eclipse with a telescope, binoculars, or any other type of optical device should only be attempted by people who have received the proper training and possess the proper equipment to do so safely. Looking at the Sun or a Solar Eclipse without the proper training and special equipment would cause PERMANENT BLINDNESS INSTANTLY ! Blindness could come without pain, as there are no nerves in the eyes.

This Solar Eclipse occurs on the eve of the 75th anniversary of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, America's fifth major planetarium with the historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, the first such projector to be placed on an elevator. The Solar Eclipse event at the Mount Lebanon Public Library will include a celebration of the Buhl Planetarium milestone.

Friends of the Zeiss is a non-profit organization with the mission to promote Astronomy, Space, and related sciences as well as the history and preservation of the historic building, apparatus, and artifacts of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.

For people who cannot attend the Library Solar Eclipse event, the Solar Eclipse can be safely viewed at the following Internet web-casts:

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles:
Link >>> http://new.livestream.com/GriffithObservatoryTV

Coca-Cola Space Science Center, Columbus GA: Link >>> http://www.ccssc.org/webcast.html

Slooh Community Observatory: Link >>> http://events.slooh.com/

For a method of safely viewing the Solar Eclipse, check-out this Internet web site:
Link >>> http://andrewcarnegie.tripod.com/solflyer2.htm . 
 
For further questions about safely viewing the Solar Eclipse, contact:
Electronic Mail >>> < solareclipse@planetarium.cc > or Telephone 412-561-7876.

More on the October 23 Solar Eclipse ---

"Two Eclipses in One Month!!" - Blog of James Mullaney, former Buhl Planetarium Curator of Exhibits & Astronomy: Link >>> http://blog.scientificsonline.com/2014/09/two-eclipses-in-one-month/

NASA ---
Link 1 >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/17oct_sunseteclipse/
Link 2 >>> http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEsearch/SEsearchmap.php?Ecl=20141023

Wikipedia.org >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_October_23,_2014

News Release regarding the Library Solar Eclipse Event:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/news/releases/NR-soleclipse20141023.html

More on the history of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science:
Link >>> http://www.planetarium.cc

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

2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.


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

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, & More: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Saturday, October 18, 2014

'Beautiful' Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks Tuesday

Waking up before sunrise is a good way to get a head start on the day. On Oct. 21st, waking up before sunrise could stop you in your tracks.

Blame Halley’s Comet.  Every year in mid-to-late October, Earth passes through a stream of dusty debris from Comet Halley, and the pre-dawn sky can light up with a pretty display of shooting stars.

splash
Orionid meteors fly out of a radiant near the shoulder of Orion, the Hunter.  In this sky map, the radiant is denoted by a red dot. Although the meteors emerge from a single point, they can appear anywhere in the sky. Image credit: Dr. Tony Phillips [Larger image

"We expect to see about 20 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Tuesday morning, Oct 21st," says Bill Cooke, the head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.  "With no Moon to spoil the show, observing conditions should be ideal."

Because these meteors streak out of the constellation Orion, astronomers call them "Orionids."

"The Orionid meteor shower is not the strongest, but it is one of the most beautiful showers of the year," notes Cooke.

More - Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/17oct_orionids/

Source: NASA Science News.

2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.



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

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, & More: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Autumn Sun Glare Can Affect Drivers


(Image Source: National Weather Service, NOAA)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

The Sun affects life on Earth in many ways. In the early Autumn, it can have a negative affect on some people who drive motor vehicles: Autumn Sun Glare.

During the month of October, actually from the Autumnal Equinox on September 22 until the end of Daylight Saving Time on November 2, the Sun can be a danger to motorists. For commuters who drive any segment of highway directly east or west during morning and / or afternoon rush hours, the location of the rising or setting Sun near the horizon can cause momentary (or longer) virtual blindness.

Some Tips to Remain Safe When Driving with Autumn Sun Glare ---

* Be aware that other drivers may be blinded by sun glare.
* Wear quality, polarized sunglasses to help reduce glare.
* Ensure your windshield is clean before you start.
* Do not put reflective items on the dashboard.
* Increase the following distance behind the vehicle ahead of you, to allow three or more seconds between vehicles.
* Turning on headlights can help other motorists see you, as they are driving towards the Sun.
* If possible, use a travel route that mostly avoids east-west driving, unless east-west roads include shade from trees or buildings.
* Always stay aware !

If you live in a metropolitan area with train, subway, or bus service, you may want to try public transit on very sunny days. You may even save some money on gasoline and parking rates!

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

2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.


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

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, & More: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Sunday, October 12, 2014

1504: Lunar Eclipse Saves Columbus' Crew


  During a 1504 Total Lunar Eclipse, the natives of Jamaica cower in
  fear, as Christopher Columbus warns that his God is displeased with
  them.  (Image Source: Wikipedia.org )

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

As we commemorate the day Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas, we note how he saved his crew from starvation using astronomical information from an almanac.

Today (October 12) is the day known as Columbus Day, when we commemorate the 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbus' three-ship fleet in the Americas, which he thought was the Far East. As October 12 falls on a Sunday this year (2014), the official United States Federal Government observance of Columbus Day occurs tomorrow (October 13). In Canada, October 13 is also recognized as Thanksgiving Day, earlier than the American Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November) due to the earlier harvest of the far northern latitudes.

Since the time man first set sail on the seas, navigation by the stars was a necessity. When Christopher Columbus set sail to find an ocean route to the Far East, by sailing west, he took with him an almanac authored by Abraham Zacuto, which included astronomical tables originally calculated by the German astronomer Regiomontanus (whose real name was Johannes Muller von Konigsberg).

During Columbus' fourth and last voyage to the Americas, he lost all four ships due to an epidemic of shipworms eating holes in the wooden ships. He was forced to beach the last two caravels on the northern coast of Jamaica on 1503 June 25. At first, the natives on Jamaica welcomed Columbus and his crew and provided them with food and other necessities, in return for items the crew could salvage from the ships.

After being marooned on Jamaica for about six months, half of Columbus' crew mutinied as well as robbing and murdering some of the natives. As the natives had also grown weary of supplying the unexpected castaways, Columbus and his crew faced famine.

Columbus came-up with an ingenious plan to save his crew. In Zacuto's almanac, Columbus noticed that a Total Eclipse of the Moon would occur on the evening of 1504 February 29 to March 1. Three days before the eclipse, Columbus met with the tribal Chief of the natives, telling him that the Christian God was angry with the Jamaican people for stopping the supply of food to Columbus and his men. Columbus told him that God would display his displeasure by all-but obliterating the rising Full Moon in three days. This Moon would be "inflamed with wrath" as an omen for what was to come for the Jamaican people.

On the predicted day and hour, the natives watched as the Moon rose with the lower edge missing. As the sky grew darker, they saw the Moon take-on a bloody-red appearance.

Ferdinand, Christopher Columbus' son, later wrote:

"The Indians observed this [the eclipse] and were so astonished and frightened that with great cries and lamentations they came running from all directions to the ships, carrying provisions and begging (...) and promising they would diligently supply all their needs in the future."

The natives begged Columbus to have his God restore the Moon. Columbus went to his cabin to "confer" with his God. He actually watched his hour-glass for the time the total phase of the eclipse would end. Just before the end of totality, Columbus reemerged from his cabin to announce to the natives that his God had pardoned them, and the Moon would slowly be restored to normal later in the night.

The Jamaican natives kept their word, and Columbus and his crew were well-supplied until a rescue ship from Hispaniola (today, the island that includes the Dominican Republic and Haiti) arrived on 1504 June 29. Columbus and his crew returned to Spain on 1504 November 7.

An interesting anecdote: When Mark Twain wrote his 1889 novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, he was inspired by Columbus' ploy to have his main character, Hank Morgan who had inadvertently time-traveled to the era of King Arthur and Merlin the Magician, saved from execution by predicting a solar eclipse, and, thus, claiming power over the Sun. However, Mark Twain never checked any almanacs while writing the novel, and no eclipse actually occurred on the date he used in the novel: A.D. 528 June 21.

Total Lunar Eclipse of 1504 February 29 to March 1 ---

NASA - Astronomical Details:
Link >>> http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEhistory/LEplot/LE1504Mar01T.pdf

More Information:
Space.com / Joe Rao - Link 1 >>> http://www.space.com/2729-lunar-eclipse-saved-columbus.html
Wikipedia - Link 2 >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_1504_lunar_eclipse

More on Lunar Eclipses: >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_eclipse

Related Blog Posts ---

Colorful, Early Wed. Morning Lunar Eclipse w/ Web-Casts (2014 Oct. 8):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/10/colorful-early-wed-morning-lunar-eclipse.html

 

U.S. to See 4 Total Lunar Eclipses in Year & A-Half  (2014 March 29):  

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/03/us-to-see-4-total-lunar-eclipses-in.html


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

2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.


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

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, & More: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Colorful, Early Wed. Morning Lunar Eclipse w/ Web-Casts

splash
                                       Play it
A new NASA ScienceCast video examines the red and turquoise colors sky watchers
can expect to see during the 2014 October 8, Total Lunar Eclipse.
(Image Source: NASA Science News)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

A very colorful Total Eclipse of the Moon will be visible over the Americas, Australia, and most of Asia this morning (Wednesday Morning, 2014 October 8). An Eclipse of the Moon or Lunar Eclipse is the type of eclipse that is safe to watch with the naked-eye, binoculars, or a telescope, weather-permitting. Where the weather does not permit direct viewing, or for other parts of the world where the eclipse would not be visible in the sky, there will be several live video web-casts available for people to follow the event.

Officially, this morning's eclipse begins at 4:15 a.m. EDT / 8:15 UTC with the beginning of the hard-to see penumbral portion of the eclipse. It continues until the end of the second penumbral eclipse segment at 9:33 a.m. EDT / 13:33 UTC. For the eastern portion of North America, sunlight will brighten the sky before this eclipse ends. Here are the major events of the eclipse:

Penumbral Eclipse Begins:  4:15:33 a.m. EDT /   8:15:33 UTC
Partial Eclipse Begins:         5:14:48 a.m. EDT /   9:14:48 UTC
Total Eclipse Begins:            6:25:10 a.m. EDT / 10:25:10 UTC
Moon Phase - Full Moon:     6:51 a.m. EDT / 10:51 UTC
Greatest Eclipse:                   6:54:36 a.m. EDT / 10:54:36 UTC
Total Eclipse Ends:               7:24:00 a.m. EDT / 11:24:00 UTC
Partial Eclipse Ends:             8:34:21 a.m. EDT / 12:34:21 UTC
Penumbral Eclipse Ends:      9:33:43 a.m. EDT / 13:33:43 UTC

This will be the second of four Total Lunar Eclipses, each one visible in at least part of the United States, over about a year and a-half, called a Tetrad of Total Lunar Eclipses. Lunar Eclipse Tetrads are sporadic and usually rare. There were no such Tetrads during the 300-year period of 1600 to 1900. However, this is the first of eight Tetrads in the 21st Century! The dates of the other three Total Lunar Eclipses of the current Tetrad are 2014 April 15, 2015 April 4, and 2015 September 28.

A Lunar Eclipse or Eclipse of the Moon is when the orbit of the Moon brings our natural satellite into the Earth's shadow, always near the time of a Full Moon. Unlike the Tetrad we are now experiencing, not all Lunar Eclipses are Total. Partial and Penumbral Lunar Eclipses also occur from time-to-time. However, all Total Lunar Eclipses include Partial and Penumbral phases of the Eclipse.

The October Full Moon is usually known as the Hunter's Moon, as it allowed hunters additional light for hunting as the Native Americans prepared for the Winter months. The Full Moon occurs this morning at 6:51 a.m. EDT / 10:51 UTC.

Often, particularly during the middle of a Total Eclipse of the Moon, the Moon will not disappear from view but can be seen with a reddish tint, what some call "blood red." If the Earth had no atmosphere, likely no sunlight would reach the Moon during a Total Lunar Eclipse, and the Moon might seem to disappear.

Although no direct sunlight reaches the Moon during a Total Lunar Eclipse, the Earth's atmosphere refracts the sunlight around our planet allowing a portion of the sunlight to continue to be transmitted to the Moon. However, the refracted light reaching the Moon is primarily in the red portion of the light spectrum, as with red-tinted sunrises and sunsets (during such a Total Lunar Eclipse, a person standing on the side of the Moon facing Earth could see all Earth sunrises and sunsets simultaneously, as they viewed the Earth in a Total Solar Eclipse !). Hence, it is red light that is reflected from the Moon back into your eyes during a Total Lunar Eclipse.

Web-Casts of the October 8 Total Lunar Eclipse:

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles:
Link >>> http://new.livestream.com/GriffithObservatoryTV

PBS-TV Star Gazers from Reno: Link >>> http://www.ustream.tv/star-gazers-eclipse

Coca-Cola Space Science Center, Columbus GA: Link >>> http://www.ccssc.org/webcast.html

Slooh Community Observatory: Link >>> http://events.slooh.com/
 

More on the October 8 Total Lunar Eclipse ---

"Two Eclipses in One Month!!" - Blog of James Mullaney, former Buhl Planetarium Curator of Exhibits and Astronomy: Link >>> http://blog.scientificsonline.com/2014/09/two-eclipses-in-one-month/

"Colorful Lunar Eclipse" - NASA Science News:
Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/18sep_lunareclipse/

October 8 Eclipse Details ---

Link 1 - NASA: >>>  http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OH2014.html#LE2014Oct08T
Link 2 - Wikipedia.org : >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_2014_lunar_eclipse

More on Lunar Eclipses: >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_eclipse

Related Blog Posts ---

Total Lunar Eclipse Early Tue. Morning w/ Web-Cast (2014 April 14):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/04/total-lunar-eclipse-early-tue-morning.html

 

U.S. to See 4 Total Lunar Eclipses in Year & A-Half  (2014 March 29): 

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/03/us-to-see-4-total-lunar-eclipses-in.html

 

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

2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.


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

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, & More: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >