Thursday, November 20, 2014

Kickstarter: Lunar Mission One



A British-led consortium has announced an ambitious space mission named Lunar Mission One that plans to land a robotic probe in the southern polar region of the moon in about a decade. The announcement continues a stream of innovative space developments.

The Lunar Mission One is unique, in that the project will be funded by money raised solely through donations from the public. In order to achieve this, the project is using the funding platform Kickstarter to finance the next phase of development. Kickstarter supporters will become inaugural members of the Lunar Missions Club and will be rewarded with a range of involvement, information and rewards including their own “digital memory box”. These memory boxes will eventually go on sale to the general public and all of them will be included in a time capsule to be buried on the moon as part of the mission.

Alongside these individual archives, the project is creating a public archive to go in the capsule: a digital record of life on Earth – of human history and civilisation and a scientific description of the biosphere with a database of species. Publicly owned and accessible to all, this archive is a hugely ambitious plan that could only be resourced by a project of this scale.

The scientific and technological rewards from Lunar Mission One will be many. It is backed by leading space scientists, such as Monica Grady at the Open University and Richard Holdaway at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The mission is planning to land in the southern polar region of the Moon – a feat that has never been achieved before. Also, there is tantalising evidence in the polar regions of the Moon of huge reservoirs of water-ice – potentially delivered by comets and asteroids during 4.5 billion years of the moon’s geological history. Collecting and analysing material from lunar polar regions will contribute to our understanding of the sources of water on Earth.

More - Link >>> http://theconversation.com/british-choose-to-go-to-the-moon-with-kickstarter-crowdfunding-34103

Source: TheConversation.com .

Lunar Mission One Kickstarter Project:
Link >>> https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lunarmissionone/lunar-mission-one-a-new-lunar-mission-for-everyone?ref=nav_search

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


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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:
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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 >

Monday, November 17, 2014

Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight


Photograph of a meteor during the 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower. (Image Source: Wikipedia.org )

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

The annual Leonid Meteor Shower peaks tonight, and skywatchers could be treated to 10 to 15 meteors per hour, weather permitting. Of course, with the polar vortex making an early visit to much of the country, sky conditions may not be optimal for skywatching  tonight.

Some people may decide it is just too cold to look for meteors tonight, even if skies are clear. In the Pittsburgh region, the low temperature is predicted to be +13 degrees Fahrenheit / -10.6 degrees Celsius, Monday night--early Tuesday morning. Also, in Pittsburgh winds are predicted to come from the west at 15 to 20 miles-per-hour / 24 to 32 kilometers-per-hour, with possible wind gusts up to 30 miles-per-hour / 48 kilometers per hour; predicted wind chill temperatures could reach 0 degree Fahrenheit / -18 degrees Celsius. And, considering that Pittsburgh is only about 75 miles / 121 kilometers north of the Mason-Dixon Line, areas of the country further north will likely be even colder.

However, if your sky is clear tonight, and it is not too cold, the best time to view meteors is between local midnight and dawn. While the actual meteor shower peak this evening is 6:00 p.m. EST / 23:00 UTC, it is always best to look for meteors after local midnight, when the Earth is actually rotating into the meteor shower.

Meteors from the Leonid Meteor Shower emanate from remnants of Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Leonid Meteor Storms occur once each 33 years (the last one was in 2009), when many meteors are visible. Other years, such as this year, the peak rate of meteors would be about 10 (to possibly 15) meteors per hour, under ideal conditions.

The Leonids are so named because most meteors appear to radiate from the Constellation Leo the Lion. However, during any meteor shower, meteors can appear in any part of the sky at any time.

Telescopes and binoculars are of little use for finding meteors. Such optical devices restrict the field-of-view, thus that you could easily miss a lot of meteors, and the chance that you could observe a meteor with a telescope or binoculars is not very good. The best way to look for meteors is to lie down on the ground, in an area with an unobstructed view of most of the sky. Then, just keep scanning throughout the sky until you see a meteor.

More on tonight's Leonid Meteor Shower, from Scientific American Magazine and Space.com :
Link >>> http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/leonid-meteor-shower-peaks-tonight-how-to-see-it/

More on the Leonid Meteor Shower:
Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonid_meteor_shower

More on Comet Tempel-Tuttle:
Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/55P/Tempel-Tuttle

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 ?
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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, November 15, 2014

New Laser System Could Provide Mini Atomic Clocks


The Master Atomic Clock ensemble at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington DC, which
provides the time standard for the U.S. Department of Defense and provides precise time for
the general public at: Link >>> http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/cgi-bin/timer.pl
(Image Source: Wikipedia.org )

By MIT, Jennifer Chu

What time is it? The answer, no matter what your initial reference may be — a wristwatch, a smartphone or an alarm clock — will always trace back to the atomic clock.

The international standard for time is set by atomic clocks — room-sized apparatuses that keep time by measuring the natural vibration of atoms in a vacuum. The frequency of atomic vibrations determines the length of one second — information that is beamed up to GPS satellites, which stream the data to ground receivers all over the world, synchronizing cellular and cable networks, power grids and other distributed systems.

Now, a group at MIT and Draper Laboratory has come up with a new approach to atomic timekeeping that may enable more stable and accurate portable atomic clocks, potentially the size of a Rubik’s cube. The group has outlined its approach in the journal Physical Review A.

While chip-sized atomic clocks (CSACs) are commercially available, the researchers say these low-power devices — about the size of a matchbox — drift over time, and are less accurate than fountain clocks, the much larger atomic clocks that set the world’s standard. However, while fountain clocks are the most precise timekeepers, they can’t be made portable without losing stability.

The most accurate atomic clocks today use cesium atoms as a reference. Like all atoms, the cesium atom has a signature frequency, or resonance, at which it oscillates. Since the 1960s, one second has been defined as 9,192,631,770 oscillations of a cesium atom between two energy levels. To measure this frequency, fountain clocks toss small clouds of slow-moving cesium atoms a few feet high, much like a pulsed fountain, and measure their oscillations as they pass up, and then down, through a microwave beam.

Instead of a microwave beam, the group chose to probe the atom’s oscillations using laser beams, which are easier to control spatially and require less space — a quality that help in shrinking atomic clock apparatuses. While some atomic clocks also employ laser beams, they often suffer from an effect called “AC Stark shift,” in which exposure to an electric field, such as that produced by a laser, can shift an atom’s resonant frequency. This shift can throw off the accuracy of atomic clocks.

To avoid this problem, most standard fountain clocks use microwave beams instead of lasers. However, Kotru and his team looked for ways to use laser beams while avoiding AC Stark shift.

In laser-based atomic clocks, the laser beam is delivered at a fixed frequency and intensity. Kotru’s team instead tried a more varied approach, called Raman adiabatic rapid passage, applying laser pulses of changing intensity and frequency — a technique that is also used in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to probe features in individual molecules.

“For our approach, we turn on the laser pulse and modulate its intensity, gradually turning it on and then off, and we take the frequency of the laser and sweep it over a narrow range,” Kotru explains. “Just by doing those two things, you become a lot less sensitive to these systematic effects like the Stark shift.”

In fact, the group found that the new timekeeping system suppressed the AC Stark shift by a factor of 100, compared with a conventional laser-based system.

More - Link >>> http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/11/pocket-sized-atomic-clocks?et_cid=4262739&et_rid=544605860&location=top

Sources: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, LaboratoryEquipment.com .

Related Blog Posts ---

New U.S. Atomic Clock World's Most Accurate (2014 April 26):
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/04/new-us-atomic-clock-worlds-most-accurate.html

Even More Accurate Atomic Clock (2014 Jan. 27):
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/01/even-more-accurate-atomic-clock.html

 

Laser Pulses Create More Accurate Atomic Clocks (2013 June 21):
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/06/laser-pulses-create-more-accurate.html


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 >

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Supersonic Laser Propulsion

The effectiveness of current laser-propulsion techniques is limited by the instability of supersonic gas flow, caused by shock waves that “choke” the inlet of the nozzle, reducing thrust. Those effects can be reduced with the help of laser ablation, redirecting the plasma plume so that it flows close to the interior walls of a supersonic nozzle and significantly improving the overall thrust. Courtesy of Y.Rezunkov/IOIE The effectiveness of current laser-propulsion techniques is limited by the instability of supersonic gas flow, caused by shock waves that “choke” the inlet of the nozzle, reducing thrust. Those effects can be reduced with the help of laser ablation, redirecting the plasma plume so that it flows close to the interior walls of a supersonic nozzle and significantly improving the overall thrust. Courtesy of Y.Rezunkov/IOIE





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scientists and science fiction writers alike have dreamed of aircraft and spacecraft that are propelled by beams of light rather than conventional fuels. Now, a new method for improving the thrust generated by such laser-propulsion systems may bring them one step closer to practical use.

 

Currently, the maximum speed of a spacecraft is limited by the amount of solid or liquid fuel that it can carry. Achieving higher speeds means that more fuel must be burned — fuel that, inconveniently, has to be carried by the craft and hefted into space. These burdensome loads can be reduced, however, if a laser — one located at a remote location, and not actually on the spacecraft — were used to provide additional propulsive force.

 

A number of systems have been proposed that can produce such laser propulsion. One of the most promising involves a process called laser ablation, in which a pulsed laser beam strikes a surface, heats it up, and burns off material to create what is known as a plasma plume. The outflowing of that plasma plume — essentially, exhaust — generates additional thrust to propel the craft.

 

More - Link >>> http://www.scientificcomputing.com/news/2014/10/supersonic-laser-propelled-rockets-may-enable-aircraft-exceed-mach-10?et_cid=4240734&et_rid=544605860&location=top 

 

Sources: The Optical Society, ScientificComputing.com .

 

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, November 11, 2014

WWII Medals Return to Earth in Time for Veterans' Day

Astronaut Reid Wiseman tweets from space | Video
Photograph of Ralph Sweitzer's Purple Heart and
Bronze Star medals from World War II, which
flew with his great-nephew, NASA Astronaut Reid
Wiseman, on the International Space Station.
(Image Source: E.W. Scripps Co.)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Just in time for Veterans' Day, two World War II medals returned to Earth yesterday from spending several months on the International Space Station. The medals belong to 94-year-old Ralph Sweitzer of Vero Beach, Florida and were included in the small box of possessions taken aboard the Space Station by Mr. Sweitzer's great-nephew, NASA Astronaut G. Reid Wiseman.

U.S. Navy Commander Wiseman, Flight Engineer for Space Station Expedition 41, returned to Kazakhstan yesterday at 9:58 a.m. (Nov. 9, 10:58 p.m. EST / Nov. 10, 3:58 UTC) along with Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev of the Russian Federal Space Agency and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency.

Back in May, just before Commander Wiseman prepared for launch to the Space Station, he asked his great-uncle, Ralph Sweitzer, to allow him to take two of Mr. Sweitzer's several World War II medals into outer space: Mr. Sweitzer's Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Mr. Sweitzer fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Germany in 1945, near the end of the War. Mr. Sweitzer and two other soldiers were pinned-down in a fox-hole, enduring German bombing. Mr. Sweitzer was the only one who survived the ordeal, but he was badly injured.

During Commander Wiseman's time on the Space Station, he and the other crew members participated in research focusing on Earth remote sensing, advance manufacturing, and bone and muscle physiology studies. Human health management for long duration space travel was a key focus, as NASA and Russia prepare for two astronauts to spend an entire year on the Space Station beginning in 2015.

Commander Wiseman took two spacewalks outside of the Space Station. The first, with Mr. Gerst, was to relocate a failed pump module and configure the station for upcoming additions. The second spacewalk was completed with fellow NASA Astronaut Barry Wilmore.

During the mission on the Space Station, Commander Wiseman became well known to followers of social media for his many Twitter posts and his many photographs taken of Earth and celestial objects.

This was the first flight in space for Commander Wiseman, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer and Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1997 and a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2006.


More about Commander Wiseman: Link >>> http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/wiseman.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 >

Saturday, November 8, 2014

CMU Moon Robot to Send Virtual Reality Back to Earth

Daniel  Shafrir and robot Andy Daniel Shafrir hopes Andy can transform education about space.



Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a robot which they plan to land on the Moon to act as eyes for Earth-bound space enthusiasts.

The scientists from Carnegie Mellon have teamed up with space firm Astrobotic to compete for the Google Lunar XPrize, which requires a team to land a robot on the Moon, move it 500 meters and send back video to Earth.

The robot has already been shown to potential investors, including Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart.

It works in tandem with an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

"The vision was simple - let anyone on Earth experience the Moon live through the eyes of a robot," explained team leader Daniel Shafrir.

"We weren't just going to go to the Moon. We are going to bring the Moon back," he added.

The telepresence robot, nicknamed Andy after university founder Andrew Carnegie, can be controlled by an operator's head.

Working with games designer Ben Boesel and Slippery Rock University Planetarium Director Dan Arnett, the team put Andy through his paces in a demo last month.

Slippery Rock University
Slippery Rock University
More - Link >>> http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29704953

Source: British Broadcasting Corporation.

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 >

Thursday, November 6, 2014

160th B-day: Transit of Venus Admirer John Philip Sousa


U.S. Composer John Philip Sousa (Image Source: Wikipedia.org )

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

An admirer of a rare astronomical event, the Transit of Venus, would celebrate the 160th anniversary of his birth today (2014 November 6). Famous American composer John Philip Sousa was born 1854 November 6. He passed-away at the age of 77 on 1932 March 6.

John Philip Sousa composed the Transit of Venus March, in anticipation of the rare Transit of Venus on 1882 December 6. The stirring march was planned to be first played before the 1882 event, during the unveiling of a statue of Joseph Henry, the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Mr. Henry had served on the U.S. Transit of Venus Commission. However, the unveiling ceremony did not occur until 1883 April 19.

The Transit of Venus March was not popular and was pretty-much ignored for a century. A flood destroyed Sousa's personal copies of the music.

An avid follower of Astronomy, John Philip Sousa wrote a total of four marches regarding the heavens.

In 1920, John Philip Sousa also wrote Transit of Venus, one of three novels he penned. The novel surrounded a group of divorced men who took a fictional trip to the coast of Africa to watch the 1882 Transit of Venus.

Similar to a Solar Eclipse, a Transit of Venus occurs when the Planet Venus appears, from the vantage point of an observer on Earth, to move directly across the disk of the Sun in the sky. And, like a Solar Eclipse, it is very, very dangerous to look at such an event unless one has the proper training and the special equipment to do so safely. Otherwise, viewing such an event with a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical event could cause blindness instantly!

A Transit of Venus is very rare. It happened only twice in the 19th century and twice in the 21st century. It did not happen at all in the 20th century! When it does occur, the Transit of Venus usually comes in pairs, with about eight years between events.

In the 21st century, the Transit of Venus occurred on 2004 June 8 and 2012 June 5. It will not occur again until 2117 December 10 to 11 and 2125 December 8.

Friends of the Zeiss provided the only public observing event of the early-morning 2004 Transit of Venus in the City of Pittsburgh, on the observation deck of The Duquesne Incline on Mount Washington. A similar 2012 event was clouded-out in Pittsburgh, but Friends of the Zeiss and the Mount Lebanon Public Library did show the event to the public via a live Internet web-cast.

The Planet Mercury is the only other planet in our Solar System which can transit the Sun, from Earth's perspective.  Only planets closer to the Sun, than the planet where the observer is located, can have a transit event.

More on John Philip Sousa: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Philip_Sousa

More on John Philip Sousa & The Transit of Venus: Link >>> http://old.transitofvenus.org/sousa.htm

More on the Transit of Venus: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit_of_Venus

More on the Transit of Venus Viewed in Pittsburgh in the 21st Century:
Link >>> http://venustransit.pghfree.net/

Safe Way to View a Solar Eclipse or Eclipse of the Sun:
Link >>> http://andrewcarnegie.tripod.com/solflyer2.htm

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 >