Thursday, November 1, 2018

Astronomical Calendar: 2018 November

                                 
Laser RetroReflector on the top deck of the Mars InSight space lander, for laser range-finding from Martian orbit and future node in a proposed Mars geophysical network. Mars InSight is expected to land on Mars on November 26.
More info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2018.html#InSight
(Image Sources: NASA, Wikipedia.org, By NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin - https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA22206, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66080315)

Astronomical Calendar for 2018 November ---
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2018.html#nov


 Related Blog Post ---

"Astronomical Calendar: 2018 October." 2018 Oct. 1.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/10/astronomical-calendar-2018-october.html


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              Thursday, 2018 November 1.

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            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
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gaw

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Pittsburgh Museum Displays Historic Apollo 11 Moon Mission Artifacts

                 
Replica of the Apollo 11 Columbia Command Module capsule which took astronauts to the Moon for the first time in 1969, part of the "Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission" exhibit at Pittsburgh's Senator John Heinz History Center. Children of all ages can go into this replica to experience how small the capsule really is. The actual Columbia Command Module capsule (which cannot be entered by visitors) is on display elsewhere in the exhibit. (Photograph by Christopher Sprowls)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Artifacts from the historic space mission of Apollo 11, which took two American astronauts to the surface of the Moon for the first time in 1969, are now on display at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. This temporary exhibit, titled “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission,” which features more than a hundred artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, will be on display at the Pittsburgh museum through Monday, 2019 February 18.

On 1961 May 25 before a joint session of the U.S. Congress, U.S. President John F. Kennedy set a goal, for the fledgling National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." After a decade-long “Space Race” with Russia, which included the loss of three astronauts in a space capsule fire during a test before the launch of Apollo 1 in 1967, this goal was achieved when Neil Armstrong stepped on the lunar surface on Sunday Evening, 1969 July 20 at 10:56:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / Monday (“Moonday”), July 21, 3:56:20 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Known as the “nation's attic,” the Smithsonian Institution acquired and displayed many artifacts from our nation's Space Program in the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Downtown Washington DC. At the present time, the National Air and Space Museum is undergoing a rehabilitation which includes a new “Destination Moon” permanent gallery expected to open in 2022. However, the National Air and Space Museum is still in preparation for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first landing of humans on the Moon next year.

During the rehabilitation, the Smithsonian is providing some Apollo 11 artifacts for a traveling exhibit, which is visiting museums in four American cities during a two-year (2017 to 2019) national tour (the first national tour since 1970 to 1971). The Senator John Heinz History Center (an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution) is the third of the four museums being visited, and the only museum to be visited in the eastern part of the United States. Previously, the exhibit was displayed at Space Center Houston and at the Saint Louis Science Center. After the Pittsburgh run, this exhibition will be displayed at The Museum of Flight in Seattle (2019 April 13 to September 2).

Sometimes Andrew Masich, Senator John Heinz History Center President and Chief Executive Officer, can be found explaining parts of the exhibit to visitors. On the day this writer visited the exhibit, Mr. Masich was in the exhibit hall telling some visitors the story of how Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin had to use his felt-tipped pen to launch the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) from the Moon to meet the Command Module in Lunar orbit, for the return trip to Earth. The circuit-breaker switch, which should have been used to launch the LEM, had earlier broken-off from the control panel after Mr. Aldrin had inadvertently bumped the switch and knocked it on the floor, when he turned-around in the very tight quarters of the LEM.

Historic Apollo 11 artifacts included in “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission,” at the Senator John Heinz History Center include ---

  • Actual Apollo 11 Columbia Command Module capsule
  • Apollo 11 Columbia Command Module capsule replica, which people can enter
  • Actual Apollo 11 Columbia Command Module Hatch
  • Star Chart used by Apollo 11 astronauts
  • Apollo 11 Survival Kit
  • Apollo 11 Lunar Sample Return Container
  • Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin's Space Helmet and Gloves
  • Apollo 11 Operations Checklist
  • Apollo 11 Mechanical Pencil
  • Apollo 11 Felt-tipped Pen with small velcro tab to keep attached to space suit
  • Apollo 11 Command Module Medical Kit & Accessories
  • Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins' Chronograph / Watch
  • Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins' Pilot Flight Plan
  • Samples of Apollo 11 Capsule Heat Shield
  • Apollo 11 Press Kit for media covering space mission
  • Apollo 11 Launch Press Pass for Pittsburgh-native and future Space Shuttle Astronaut Jay Apt
  • Model of U.S. Flag left on the Moon
  • Model / prototype of Historic Plaque (with signature of U.S. President Richard M. Nixon) left on the Moon, on ladder of Lunar Excursion Module
  • Model of Saturn V Rocket, built by Pittsburgh-based North American Rockwell Corporation
  • Model of television camera used on the Moon by Apollo 11 astronauts, developed by Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Company (for many years, another model of this Westinghouse television camera was displayed at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science / Buhl Science Center)

    Other NASA and space-related artifacts include ---

    • Moon Rock – Lunar Sample 150 58 188 (024) collected by Apollo 15 Astronaut & Pittsburgh-native James Irwin at Station 8 adjacent to the Lunar Excursion Module landing site. Sample weighs109 grams; fragment of 2,672-gram original Mare Basalt rock – 3.3 billion years-old; older than 98 per-cent of Earth rocks. [The last time a Moon Rock was publicly displayed in Pittsburgh was in the Summer of 1989 (20th anniversary of Apollo 11) at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science / Buhl Science Center.]
    • Pittsburgh company Mine Safety Appliances Comfo-Brand Respirator used by astronauts during Earth quarantine period
    • 1972 prototype Lunar Drill produced by Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Company
    • Prototype Lunar-X Prize Rover by Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology, Inc. (Carnegie Mellon University spin-off); actual rover expected to land on the Moon in the 2020s
    • Section of exhibition commemorates eight NASA astronauts from the Pittsburgh region

    The Senator John Heinz History Center (named for the late U.S. Senator H. John Heinz III, who died in a mid-air collision near Philadelphia in 1991) is open each day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (closed on New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). The largest history museum in Pennsylvania is located at the northeastern end of Downtown Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle, in the Strip District at the corner of Smallman Street and 13th Street. About a mile away, across the Allegheny River on the Lower North Side, is the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science. Today (October 24) marks the 79th anniversary of the dedication of Buhl Planetarium.

    Internet Links to Additional Information ---

    "Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission" ---
    Link 1 >>> https://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/exhibits/destination-moon-apollo-11-mission
    Link 2 >>> https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/destination-moon

    Photograph of the Apollo 11 Columbia Command Module, as part of this history exhibit:
    Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/09/astronomical-calendar-2018-september.html

    Apollo 15 Astronaut & Pittsburgh Native James Irwin (8th man to walk on the Moon):
    Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/bio/Pghastronauts.html#irwin

    Space Shuttle Astronaut & Pittsburgh Native Jay Apt (who used a Cape Kennedy Press Pass to view the launch of Apollo 11): Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/bio/Pghastronauts.html#apt

    Former U.S. President John Quincy Adams, who helped establish Smithsonian Institution:
    Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/02/presidents-day-astronomy-president.html

    Samuel Pierpont Langley, 3rd Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and 1st University Director of Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory:
    Photograph - Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/08/170th-anniversary-smithsonian.html
    Biography - Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com/bio/LangleySP.htm

    Related Blog Posts ---

    "170th Anniversary: Smithsonian Institution." 2016 Aug. 10.

    Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/08/170th-anniversary-smithsonian.html

     

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

     

    Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
                  Wednesday, 2018 October 24.

                                 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 --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
    Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
    Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
    SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
    Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
    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 >

    Sunday, October 7, 2018

    Laser-Powered Sub to Explore Jupiter Moon Europa ?

        Europa-moon.jpg
    Image of Jupiter's moon, Europa, one of the four Galilean moons. Famous astronomer Galileo Galilei discovered Europa, along with the other three large moons of Jupiter (Io, Callisto, and Ganymede), in January of 1610 using the first telescope to be used for astronomical observing. These were the first moons discovered beyond Earth's Moon. (Image Sources: NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Wikipedia.org)

    By Glenn A. Walsh
    Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

    In the search for life elsewhere in our Solar System, one of the most promising areas to look for life are the oceans, under thick sheets of ice, on several of the Solar System's moons. However, it is not easy for a probe to melt the thick ice to get to the ocean. A new technique uses the power of a high energy laser to get through the ice.

    Cryobots, robots that can penetrate water-ice, are the latest technology for studying oceans beneath ice shelves. But, before such oceans can be studied, there must be a way to go through the ice to reach the ocean to be studied. In the case of Jupiter's moon, Europa, the ocean has a depth of about 60 miles / 100 kilometers, not including 18 to 30 miles / 30 to 50 kilometers of ice above the ocean.

    Cryobots are designed to heat water which cuts through these miles of ice. However, until now the power needed to melt the ice, and the communication with Earth during the process, have been two problems that have stalled such projects. Whether using standard drills or heating elements to get through the ice, as the cryobot descends, ice just reforms above the cryobot.

    Power packs, which have a finite source of energy for the cryobot, have to be carried with the probe. And, as the ice reforms above the cryobot, a radio link is seriously degraded, if not completely blocked.

    Stone Aerospace has come up with a technique which solves both power and communication problems. By using a high-powered laser on the cryobot, which is fed energy from the surface of the planet via an optical fiber, ice could reform around the optic-fiber while energy to the laser is not affected. And, communication to the surface, via the optic-fiber, also continues.

    Stone Aerospace's new cryobot system is called VALKYRIE: Very deep Autonomous Laser-powered Kilowatt-class Yo-yoing Robotic Ice Explorer. The Texas firm, founded by William Stone, has been working on the concept for more than a decade.

    In 2011, NASA awarded a $4 million grant to Stone Aerospace for Phase 2 of the VALKYRIE project, which allowed a cryobot to tunnel through ice in Matanuska Glacier, Alaska. This experiment proved that the cryobot, which used on-board ice-penetrating radar to watch where it was tunneling, could look ahead far enough to avoid collisions with buried obstacles and other hazards, such as meteoric debris or dense brine deposits.

    VALKYRIE Phase 3 proposes a full-scale version of the laser-powered cryobot to tunnel through to a sub-glacial lake in Antarctica. The cryobot would then return to the surface with samples from the lake. Sub-glacial lakes in Antarctica, which hold water never touched by humans, may include micro-organisms never seen before.

    If all goes well with Phase 3, then a cryobot mission to Europa would be considered. But first, the Europa Clipper will be launched by NASA to fly by Europa, while in orbit of Jupiter, several times. The Europa Clipper is expected to be launched sometime between 2022 and 2025. At around the same time, the European Space Agency (ESA) plans to send the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer space probe to fly by Europa twice, as well as exploring the Jupiter moons Callisto and Ganymede.

    Internet Links to Additional Information ---

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

    Jupiter Moon Europa: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europa_(moon)

    Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
                  Sunday, 2018 October 7.

                                 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 --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
    Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
    Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
    SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
    Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
    Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
    * Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
      < http://www.planetarium.cc >
    * Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
      < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
    * Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
      < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
    * Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
      < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

    Monday, October 1, 2018

    Astronomical Calendar: 2018 October

                      https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/gpn-2000-000686_2.jpg        

    Image of the launch of Friendship 7, the Mercury-Atlas rocket which sent John Glenn to be the first American to orbit the Earth, on 1962 February 20. NASA, America's civilian space agency, marks its 60th anniversary on October 1 of this year. (Image Source: NASA)

    Astronomical Calendar for 2018 October ---
    Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2018.html#oct


     Related Blog Post ---

    "Astronomical Calendar: 2018 September." 2018 Sept. 1.

    Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/09/astronomical-calendar-2018-september.html


    Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
                  Monday, 2018 October 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 --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
    Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
    Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
    SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
    Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
    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 >

    Sunday, September 23, 2018

    Japan Launches Mini-Space Elevator Experiment to International Space Station

                                                 Diagram of a space elevator.  At the bottom of the tall diagram is the Earth as viewed from high above the North Pole. About six earth-radii above the Earth an arc is drawn with the same center as the Earth.  The arc  depicts the level of geosynchronous orbit.  About twice as high as the arc and directly above the Earth's center, a counterweight is depicted by a small square.  A line depicting the space elevator's cable connects the counterweight to the equator directly below it.  The system's center of mass is described as above the level of geosynchronous orbit.  The center of mass is shown roughly to be about a quarter of the way up from the geosynchronous arc to the counterweight.  The bottom of the cable is indicated to be anchored at the equator.  A climber is depicted by a small rounded square.  The climber is shown climbing the cable about one third of the way from the ground to the arc. Another note indicates that the cable rotates along with the Earth's daily rotation, and remains vertical.
    This graphic shows the concept of an Earth to Earth-orbit Space Elevator. Japan has launched an experiment, to be managed by astronauts on the International Space Station, of a very small version of such a Space Elevator. (Image Source: Wikipedia.org)


    By Glenn A. Walsh
    Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

    After a launch delay of nearly 2 weeks, due to a Pacific Ocean typhoon and some unspecified technical problems, Japan has now [on September 22 at 1:52 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 17:52 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) / Sept. 23, 2:52 a.m. Japan Standard Time] launched a mini-Space Elevator experiment to the International Space Station (ISS). Well known to fans of science-fiction, a true, operable Space Elevator, between the Earth and Earth-orbit, could potentially reduce the cost of moving payloads to Earth orbit by a significant amount.

    The launch, originally scheduled the evening of September 10 (the morning of September 11, Japanese time), was delayed by Typhoon Mangkhut which had threatened the U.S. territory of Guam. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) uses a NASA ground-based satellite tracking station on Guam, which is needed to receive data during the launch of JAXA's H-IIB rocket.

    Once deployed in Outer Space from the ISS, this mini-experiment of the Space Elevator concept will consist of 2 ultra-small cubic satellites, known as “cube-sats,” connected by a steel cable. A small container, something like a mini-trolley-car or mini-elevator-car, will then travel between the 2 cube-sats using its own motor. Cameras attached to each cube-sat will record the movement of the small container.

    Each cube-sat is about 4 inches / 10 centimeters on each side. The steel cable, along which the elevator-car will move, measures about 33 feet / 10 meters long.

    This mini-Space Elevator experiment is a project of Japan's Shizuoka University Faculty of Engineering. It was launched on a Kounotori ('White Stork') Cargo Ship to the ISS, from the Tanegashima Space Center in the Japanese Prefecture of Kagoshima (a prefecture is similar to a U.S. state).

    The Japanese cargo ship also has 5 tons of supplies for the ISS, which includes water, food, fuel, spare parts, other science experiments, and 6 new lithium-ion batteries for the International Space Station. The cargo ship will take 3 to 5 days reach the space station.

    Although cables have been extended in Outer Space in the past, the Japanese Space Elevator experiment will be the first time an elevator-car-like container will travel along such a cable. If successful, this experiment could boost interest in such a transportation system.

    Both scientists and science-fiction writers have long dreamed of a Space Elevator. Although some people doubt such a transportation system is plausible, there is an International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) which held their 2018 Space Elevator Conference in Seattle last month.

    Corporations in both Japan and China have expressed the interest in building a true Earth to Earth-orbit Space Elevator by mid-century. Google X, the Google think-tank for big ideas, has also expressed interest in the concept.

    One of the major problems with space travel is the huge cost of transporting people and cargo into Earth orbit. Currently, we need expensive rockets to counter Earth's gravity to place payloads in Earth orbit.

    A true Space Elevator, between Earth and Earth-orbit, could greatly reduce the cost of transporting both human and cargo payloads into Earth orbit. This would make it much easier and inexpensive to build space stations in orbit of Earth and the Moon, as well as eventually traveling to Mars, the Asteroid Belt, and beyond.

    The Japanese firm, Obayashi Corp., estimates the total cost for constructing a fully functional Space Elevator at 10 trillion Yen / US $90 billion. The Obayashi Corp. compares this cost to a very similar cost of another transportation system being considered: a passenger, magnetic-levitation train project between Tokyo and Osaka.

    Internet Link to Additional Information ---

    Space Elevator: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator

    Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
                  Sunday, 2018 September 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 --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
    Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
    Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
    SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
    Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
    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 >

    Saturday, September 22, 2018

    Autumn Begins Saturday Evening; Harvest Moon Monday Night

    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 solstices and equinox of the year.
    (Image Source: ©1999, Eric G. Canali, former Floor Operations Manager of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science 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 Autumnal Equinox, the beginning of the season of Autumn or Fall in the Northern Hemisphere of Earth, begins Saturday evening. In Earth's Southern Hemisphere, this equinox marks the astronomical beginning of the season of Spring. And, the Harvest Moon in the Northern Hemisphere, the Full Moon of September, is on Monday evening.

                                                      September Equinox

    The September Equinox occurs on Saturday Evening, 2018 September 22 at 9:54 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / September 23, 1:54 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

    On the day of 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 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 a half-year later during that hemisphere's season of Winter. As mentioned, during an Equinox (about half-way between Summer and Winter, and about half-way between Winter and Summer) 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.

    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.

                                                        Harvest Moon

    This year's Harvest Moon will occur on Monday Evening, 2018 September 24 at 10:52 p.m. EDT / September 25 at 2:52 UTC. Often, but not always (usually, two out of every three years), the September Full Moon is considered the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the Full Moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, when the season of Autumn or Fall officially begins, usually September 22 or 23.

    So, the Harvest Moon, in general, can occur from two weeks before the Autumnal Equinox to two weeks after the beginning of Fall. When the October Full Moon occurs early in the month, it is then sometimes considered the Harvest Moon. The October Full Moon, which is usually the first Full Moon after the Harvest Moon, is usually considered the Hunter's Moon, providing hunters with additional light to hunt game after sunset. When the October Full Moon is considered the Harvest Moon, some still consider it the Hunter's Moon as well, while others then consider the November Full Moon the Hunter's Moon.

    Occurring in the late Summer or early Autumn, in September or October in the Northern Hemisphere, the Harvest Moon provides farmers with additional light in the early evening, during the very busy harvest time.  The Harvest Moon has the same characteristics in the Southern Hemisphere, when it occurs in March or April.

    On average, throughout the year, the Moon rises 50 minutes later each day. However, this lag time between successive Moon rises shrinks to an annual minimum near the Full Moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox. This greatly reduced lag time averages between 25 and 35 minutes throughout most of the United States, and as little as 10 to 20 minutes for Canada and much of Europe, each day for several days around the time of the Full Moon. Hence, for a few days around the date of the Harvest Moon, there is little or no period of darkness between sunset and Moon rise. This provides farmers with several days of extra, uninterrupted, light after sunset, for completing the harvest (of course, weather-permitting).

    In the Northern Hemisphere, the September Full Moon is also known as the Corn Moon, Fruit Moon, Wild Rice Moon, and Red Plum Moon.

    The September Full Moon has been given several names in the Southern Hemisphere: Worm Moon, Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Sugar Moon, Chaste Moon, and Sap Moon.

    Internet Links to Additional Information ---


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

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

    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 >>> http://www.ncoa.org/improve-health/center-for-healthy-aging/falls-prevention/falls-prevention-awareness.html
    Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
                  Saturday, 2018 September 22.

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

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    gaw

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

    Saturday, September 1, 2018

    Astronomical Calendar: 2018 September



    Image of the Columbia Command Module, which transported the first humans to the Moon as part of the historic Apollo 11 space mission in July of 1969. The Columbia, along with many other artifacts from the Moon mission, are part of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum exhibit, "Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission," which will open as a temporary exhibit at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh on September 29. More information on this traveling exhibit: Link >>> https://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/exhibits/destination-moon-apollo-11-mission
    (Image Source: National Air & Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution; Photographer: Eric Long)

    Astronomical Calendar for 2018 September ---
    Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2018.html#sep


     Related Blog Post ---

    "Astronomical Calendar: 2018 August." 2018 Aug. 1.

    Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/08/astronomical-calendar-2018-august.html


    Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
                  Saturday, 2018 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 --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
    Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
    Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
    SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
    Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
    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 >