Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jan. 30: Solar Eclipse Only Visible From Outer Space

File:Moon transit of sun large.ogg
A Lunar Transit of the Sun photographed
by NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations
Observatory B satellite orbiting the Sun.
The January 30 Transit will show the
Moon covering much more of the Sun.
(Image Source: NASA)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

There will be a very special New Moon on January 30. This New Moon includes a special Solar Eclipse ("Lunar Transit of the Sun") which can only be seen from Outer Space, the second time this month that there is a New Moon phase which closely coincides with lunar perigee, and with this New Moon the Chinese Calendar welcomes the Year of the Horse !

The January 30 New Moon will be different from most, as it includes a very unique type of Solar Eclipse. However, this Solar Eclipse, better known as a Lunar Transit of the Sun, can only be seen from Outer Space. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite is scheduled to record this Lunar Transit of the Sun, which begins January 30 at 8:31 a.m. EST (13:31 Coordinated Universal Time) and lasts almost 2.5 hours. Approximately 90 percent of the Sun will be covered by the Moon, during this celestial event. And since the Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite is solar-powered, NASA has charged-up the spacecraft's batteries to endure the blackout!

With satellites in Outer Space, such transits happen periodically, when the Moon happens to come between the satellite and the Sun. Except during normal solar eclipses, the eclipse shadow never reaches the Earth.

At the end of this post is a link to a YouTube simulation of the January 30 Lunar Transit of the Sun.

For the second time in one month, Earth will experience the Moon phase of New Moon, when the Moon is not visible in the sky. At this time of the month (which has happened twice in this month of January, which is somewhat rare), the Sun completely lights-up the far side of the Moon, while the dark side of the Moon faces the Earth.

The Earth's gravitation "locks" one side of the Moon, so that side always faces the Earth, no matter what part of the month or Moon phase. So, although one side always faces the Earth, as the Moon orbits the Earth all parts of the Moon face the Sun and receive sunlight at some point during the month.

But, both of these New Moon phases coincide, closely, with lunar perigee, the closest point of the Moon from the Earth in the lunar orbit. At a time of lunar perigee, if the Moon could be seen, it would appear a little larger than at other times of the month.

As January has 31 days and one lunar orbit occurs about every 27 days (actually 27.322 days), this month is a little unusual as there are two lunar perigees in January. The first perigee occurred at the very beginning of the month on New Year's Day at 4:00 p.m. EST (21:00 Coordinated Universal Time) when the Earth was 356,923 kilometers from the Moon, while the second perigee occurs on Thursday, January 30 at 5:00 a.m. EST (10:00 Coordinated Universal Time) when the Moon will be 357,080 kilometers from the Earth.

Both perigees, on New Year's Day and on January 30, occur within a half-day of the Moon phase of New Moon. New Moon on New Year's Day (which was Lunation number 1126) occurred at 6:14 a.m. EST (11:14 Coordinated Universal Time), while New Moon will occur on January 30 (which will be Lunation number 1127) at 4:38 p.m. EST (21:38 Coordinated Universal Time).

And, because the New Moon phase comes at the same time as lunar perigee at both times in January, larger than usual tides on the ocean coasts are predicted at the times of both lunar perigees. Although the Moon's gravity primarily controls the oceans' tides, when the Moon and the Sun are aligned during the New Moon phase (or the Full Moon phase), particularly close to lunar perigee, the Sun's gravity added to the Moon's gravity makes the tides a little stronger than normal.

The point in lunar orbit when the Moon is farthest from the Earth each month is called lunar apogee. And in January, Full Moon and lunar apogee also closely coincided; not particularly surprising when one learns that both of this month's New Moons closely coincide with lunar perigee. The patterns of lunar perigee / apogee and Moon phase are similar, though not exactly the same.

Lunar apogee occured this month on Wednesday, January 15 at 9:00 p.m. EST (January 16, 2:00 Coordinated Universal Time), when the Moon was 406,532 kilometers from the Earth. The Moon phase of Full Moon (Wolfe Moon) occurred that very same evening, at 11:52 p.m. EST (January 16, 4:52 Coordinated Universal Time); this resulted in the January Full Moon being the smallest Full Moon in 2014. Since Full Moon occurs so close to the Moon's farthest point in its orbit from the Earth (most of the time, Full Moon does not occur so far from Earth), the Moon looked slightly smaller in the middle of January.

Last month also had the smallest Full Moon of the year. This occurred as last month marked the end of the previous year, and the patterns of Moon phases and lunar orbit are somewhat similar in two consecutive months.

This New Moon phase, on January 30, heralds the Chinese New Year, as the Chinese use a lunar calendar to mark their special observances. The Year of the Horse really begins on January 31, the actual date in China of the New Moon phase.

This week, we also mark three sad anniversaries, the most tragic milestones of the American Space Program:

* Mon., Jan. 27 (1967) - Anniversary of Apollo 1 fire; three astronauts perished: Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee. (Jan. 27)

* Tue., Jan. 28 (1986) - Anniversary of STS Space Shuttle Challenger explosion; seven astronauts perished: Francis Scobee, Michael Smith, Elison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Gregory Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe (Teacher-in-Space). (Jan. 28) 

Viewed at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center).

* Sat., Feb. 1 (2003) - Anniversary of STS Space Shuttle Columbia disintegration during re-entry; seven astronauts perished: Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, Ilan Ramon, Kalpana Chawla, David M. Brown, Laurel Blair Salton Clark. (Feb. 1) 

 

YouTube Simulation of January 30 Lunar Transit of the Sun from Outer Space:
Link >>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8BY6JzpIU8

More from NASA regarding a Lunar Transit of the Sun from Outer Space:
Link >>> http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/SMIII_Problem33.html

More about Apogee and Perigee of the Moon:
Link >>> http://www.moonconnection.com/apogee_perigee.phtml

More about New Moon: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_moon

More on the Chinese New Year: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_new_year

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

Related Blog Posts ---

2nd Month in a Row: Smallest Full Moon of Year (2014 Jan. 14):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/01/2nd-month-in-row-smallest-full-moon-of.html
 

Earth Closest to Sun Sat. Morning (2014 Jan. 4):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/01/earth-closest-to-sun-sat-morning.html


Smallest Full Moon of Year: Dec. 17, 4:28 a.m. (2013 Dec. 14):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/12/smallest-full-moon-of-year-dec-17-428-am.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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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 >

Monday, January 27, 2014

Even More Accurate Atomic Clock

Computer networks and GPS systems are only possible because of the precision timekeeping of atomic clocks like the one above, says clockmaker and physicist Jun Ye.
Computer networks and GPS systems are only possible because of the precision timekeeping of atomic clocks like the one above, says clockmaker and physicist Jun Ye.
(Source: Ye Group and Baxley/JILA)

Scientists announced last week that they have created the most advanced clock in the world.

The clock, described last week in the journal Nature, is so precise that it would neither lose nor gain one second in about 5 billion years of continuous operation. That's pretty good, considering that the Earth itself is only around 4.5 billion years old.

Since the 1960s, official timekeeping has been based on the natural oscillations of atoms. And scientists just continue to come up with better designs for so-called atomic clocks. A few years ago, a team unveiled a clock that would neither gain nor lose one second in about 3.7 billion years.

Now that feat has been bested by a team led by physicist Jun Ye of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo.

"Many people would say, 'Well, one second in 5 billion years — how is that going to impact our lives? It's going to be irrelevant to what we are doing in daily life or in the society.' But that's actually not true," says Ye.

He says advances in clocks have ripple effects for all kinds of technology. Today we depend on things like computer networks and GPS systems that are only possible because of the precision timekeeping of atomic clocks — even though the first atomic-clock makers could not have predicted where their inventions would lead. "Nobody would have imagined everybody can have a cellphone and know exactly where you are," Ye says.

More - Link >>> http://www.npr.org/2014/01/24/265247930/tickety-tock-an-even-more-accurate-atomic-clock

Source: National Public Radio.

Radio Stations Broadcasting Precise Time From Atomic Clocks 24 / 7 / 365 ---

Voice Announcements - Shortwave:  WWV, Fort Collins CO:
Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWV_%28radio_station%29

Voice Announcements - Shortwave:  WWVH, Kekaha HI:
Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWVH

For Radio-Controlled Clocks - Longwave: WWVB, Fort Collins CO:
Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWVB

Voice Announcements - Shortwave: CHU, Ottawa ONT Canada:
Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CHU_%28radio_station%29

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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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, January 25, 2014

New Supernova May Be Visible in Binoculars in February

The M82 galaxy is the proud owner of this type Ia supernova, and right now all eyes are on it <i>(Image: UCL/University of London Observatory/Steve Fossey/Ben Cooke/Guy Pollack/Matthew Wilde/Thomas Wright)</i>

The M82 galaxy is the proud owner of this type Ia
supernova, and right now all eyes are on it.
(Image: UCL/University of London Observatory/
Steve Fossey/Ben Cooke/Guy Pollack/Matthew
Wilde/Thomas Wright)

An elderly star has lit up a cosmic cigar. Images of the galaxy M82, also known as the Cigar Galaxy, show the sudden appearance of a supernova (Supernova SN 2014J), the brilliant explosion when a massive star dies. The event might offer new clues to dark energy and the ultimate fate of the universe.

The light from this explosion is reaching us from about 11.4 million light years away. That's not as close to Earth as the current record holder (Supernova SN 1987A), which appeared about 160,000 light years away in a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. Still, that was in 1987 and the new supernova is the closest one we've spotted since then.

"It's very rare to have them go off as close as this one," says Brad Tucker at the Australian National University in Canberra. The supernova is not visible to the naked eye, but it is rapidly brightening and should be visible with binoculars in the next few weeks.

More - Link >>> http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24923-closest-supernova-in-27-years-may-reveal-fate-of-cosmos.html#.UuRrHrROnIU

Source: New Scientist Magazine.

More on ---
Supernovas: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova
Supernova SN 2014J: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SN_2014J
Supernova SN 1987A: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1987_supernova

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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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, January 23, 2014

Water Vapor Found in Asteroid Belt

Scientists using the Herschel space observatory have made the first definitive detection of water vapor on the largest and roundest object in the asteroid belt, dwarf planet Ceres.

"This is the first time water vapor has been unequivocally detected on Ceres or any other object in the asteroid belt and provides proof that Ceres has an icy surface and an atmosphere," said Michael K├╝ppers of ESA in Spain, lead author of a paper in the journal Nature.

splash
An artist's concept of Ceres with vaporous jets in the asteroid belt. [Larger image

Herschel is a European Space Agency (ESA) mission with important NASA contributions. Data from the infrared observatory suggest that plumes of water vapor shoot up from Ceres when portions of its icy surface warm slightly.

The results come at the right time for NASA's Dawn mission, which is on its way to Ceres now after spending more than a year orbiting the large asteroid Vesta. Dawn is scheduled to arrive at Ceres in the spring of 2015, where it will take the closest look ever at its surface.

"We've got a spacecraft on the way to Ceres, so we don't have to wait long before getting more context on this intriguing result, right from the source itself," said Carol Raymond, the deputy principal investigator for Dawn at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

More - Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/22jan_ceres/

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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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 >

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mars Rover Sees Mystery Rock Suddenly Appear

marsrock_1390067000016.jpg

By Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

One fine day on Mars, Opportunity, a robotic mobile space probe from Planet Earth--from a nation called America--was taking images of the surrounding rocks, controlled as it was by geologists. So far, nothing seems unusual, since geologists like rocks and want to take pictures of them. However, it appears one of the rocks previously omitted seems to have wanted to get in on the photo. Hold on. This is going to shock you.

The geologists at JPL have called the rock Pinnacle Island, but it looks like a jelly donut and is about the same size. Opportunity, which has some analysis capability, determined it is a very unusual rock indeed; the center "jelly" is made of sulfur, magnesium, and manganese and a whole bunch of other things of that sort, reminding me of the manganese nodules at the bottom of the oceans of Planet Earth. Yet it is different from them also.

But what really got everyone going is how it got there, being that it clearly was NOT there 12 Martian days before. Geologists are used to rocks not moving around, and it surprises them when one does.

"It's about the size of a jelly doughnut," Exploration Team leader Steven Squyres said in a talk reported by Ian O'Neill of Discovery News. "It was a total surprise, we were like 'wait a second, that wasn't there before, it can't be right. Oh my God! It wasn't there before!' We were absolutely startled." He continued, "I don't know what any of this means. We're completely confused, everybody on the team is arguing and fighting. We're having a wonderful time!"

More with possible explanations:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/fgg/THE_ROCK_THAT_WALKED_IN_Revised.pdf

Source: Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University; former Planetarium Lecturer & Observatory Observer, Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science; Steering Commitee Member, Friends of the Zeiss;
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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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, January 18, 2014

'Invisibility' Metamaterials Could Speed-up Computers

http://i.livescience.com/images/i/000/061/156/iFF/colorful-light.jpg?1389379822




By Jesse Emspak, LiveScience Contributor

The materials that make Harry Potter's invisibility cloak a real scientific possibility could also be used to perform advanced mathematical calculations usually done by computers, new research suggests.

An international team of researchers now proposes that so-called metamaterials, which can alter the properties of light waves often to render an object invisible, could perform mathematical operations as well. While they haven't built an actual device yet, their work shows the mathematical basis for the technology, which could dramatically speed up calculations such as those used in image processing. The study is detailed this week in the journal Science.

Until now, most research in this area had focused on using metamaterials to bend light around objects, to make them invisible at certain wavelengths. But Nader Engheta, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-author of the paper, noted that metamaterials could change the shape of an incoming light wave in ways that have the same effect as performing calculations on a computer.

"As [a light wave] goes through a block [of metamaterial], by the time it comes out, it should have a shape that would be the result of mathematical operations," Engheta told LiveScience.

By running simulations of light waves passing through metamaterials, the team showed that the method could perform operations from calculus, such as taking derivatives — a measure of the rate of change in a mathematical equation. When you take a derivative of a curve, such as the profile of a light wave, and plot its shape onto a graph, the resulting curve shows how quickly the first curve is changing, called an "integral" in calculus. Placing another piece of metamaterial in front of the first one can reverse the operation, showing that the calculations can be done in both directions, just as a computer (or a person) would.

More - Link >>> http://www.livescience.com/42491-invisibility-metamaterials-perform-math.html?cmpid=556410

Source: LiveScience.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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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, January 16, 2014

Dobsonian Telescope Inventor Dies

File:JohnDobson2002.jpg

John Dobson, Astronomy popularizer
and inventor of the Dobsonian Telescope.
(Image Source: Wikipedia.org )

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Yesterday morning (January 15), Amateur Astronomy popularizer and inventor of the Dobsonian Reflector Telescope, John L. Dobson, passed-away at the age of 98 in Burbank, California. He was born in Beijing, China in 1915, where his maternal grandfather had founded Peking University in 1898.

Perhaps next to Carl Sagan, John Dobson is one of the persons most responsible for making Astronomy more accessible to the general public. He co-founded the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers in 1967 which, in lieu of formal membership meetings, club members would simply set-up telescopes on the city sidewalk for passers-by to view the heavens and learn more about Astronomy. Interestingly, one of the co-founders of the new club, Bruce Sams (who had built his own large telescope) was only 12 years-old, making him too young to join the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers; hence, the new club was a necessity.

Of course, John Dobson is best known for developing a simple-to-build, large, and low-cost reflecting telescope, which became known as the Dobsonian Telescope. John Dobson hesitated to take credit for the new telescope design, as he said that the simple design was all that he needed.

A Dobsonian Telescope is an altitude-azimuth mounted Newtonian telescope, constructed with low-cost items such as plywood, formica, PVC closet flanges, cardboard construction tubes, recycled porthole glass, and indoor-outdoor carpet. While good quality telescopes of the 1960s, when the Dobsonian Telescope was first designed, often cost over a thousand dollars in today's dollars, John Dobson could teach someone to build a Dobsonian for a small fraction of that amount.

File:Red dobsonian.jpg

Photograph of a Dobsonian Telescope.
(Image Source: Wikipedia.org )

Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center) purchased a 13-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope in the Autumn of 1985, to assist in public viewing of the 1985-1986 apparition of Halley's Comet, during Buhl's "Halley Watch" program. As the primary telescope in Buhl's third-floor astronomical observatory, a rather unique 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, was limited in the amount of sky that could be viewed, the Dobsonian was used on the open-air east and west wings of the Observatory when Halley's Comet was not high enough in the sky to be viewed by the Siderostat Telescope.

On certain evenings, people stood in line, in Buhl Planetarium's Great Hall on the first floor, for more than an hour to have the opportunity to view Halley's Comet through one of Buhl Planetarium's telescopes. As the 1985-1986 apparition of Halley's Comet did not come as close to Earth as did the 1910 apparition [when John Brashear hosted telescope observing of Halley's Comet at the new Allegheny Observatory building], Buhl Planetarium could not guarentee how good a view could be seen through the telescopes by the public, and hence, only charged one dollar for the Comet viewing.

Although, at this time, Buhl Planetarium's third floor Observatory was not accessible to wheelchairs [visitors had to climb steps to reach the second and third floors], on a couple occasions when a wheelchair patron wished to view the Comet, several staff members and volunteers simply carried the patron, wheelchair and all, up the steps to the Observatory. Regular weekly, evening public observing sessions [every Friday evening (7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., following the 7:00 p.m. planetarium show), weather-permitting, year-round] in Buhl Planetarium's Observatory were restored, after an absence of several years, about a month [1986 June 13] following the conclusion of the "Halley Watch."

More on John Dobson ---
Internet Obituary: Link >>> http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message2459685/pg1
Wikipedia Biography:
Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dobson_%28amateur_astronomer%29

More on the Dobsonian Telescope: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dobsonian_telescope

Special Thanks:  James Schultheis, Amateur Astronomers On-Line Mail Group.

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

Related Blog Posts ---

Centennial: New Allegheny Observatory Dedication (2012 Aug. 28):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2012/08/centennial-new-allegheny-observatory.html

 

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

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2011/11/70th-anniversary-buhl-planetarium.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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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, January 14, 2014

2nd Month in a Row: Smallest Full Moon of Year



These 2007 photographs show the difference between the largest Full Moon (close to lunar perigee)
and the smallest Full Moon (close to lunar apogee), visible from Earth.

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

For the second month in a row, people looking at the Moon will see the smallest Full Moon of the year, late Wednesday evening. Of course, this occurs as this month marks the beginning of a New Year, and the patterns of moon phases and lunar orbit are somewhat similar in two consecutive months.

Lunar apogee occurs this month on Wednesday, January 15 at 9:00 p.m. EST (January 16, 2:00 Coordinated Universal Time), when the Moon will be 406,532 kilometers from the Earth. The Moon phase of Full Moon that very same evening, at 11:52 p.m. EST (January 16, 4:52 Coordinated Universal Time), results in the January Full Moon being the smallest Full Moon in 2014. Since Full Moon occurs so close to the Moon's farthest point in its orbit from the Earth (most of the time, Full Moon does not occur so far from Earth), the Moon will look slightly smaller than it did at the beginning of the month during lunar perigee on New Year's Day, when the Moon was 356,923 kilometers from the Earth.

To most Native Americans, the Full Moon of January was known as the Wolf Moon (although some references refer to the December Full Moon as the "Wolves" Moon). Of course this refers to the hungry wolf packs howling on cold and snowy night outside Indian villages.

The Full Moon in January, in the Northern Hemisphere, was also known as the Old Moon, the Moon After Yule, Difficulty Moon, and Black Smoke Moon. And, some Indian tribes referred to this Full Moon as the Snow Moon, although most tribes used the Snow Moon name for the Full Moon of February.

 In the Southern Hemisphere, the Full Moon of January was known as the Hay Moon, Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, and Mead Moon.

 More on the Full Moon: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_moon

More on Full Moon names ---
Link 1 >>> http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/full-moon-names
Link 2 >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_moon#Harvest_and_Hunter.27s_moons
Link 3 >>> http://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/

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

Related Blog Posts ---

Earth Closest to Sun Sat. Morning  (2014 Jan. 4):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/01/earth-closest-to-sun-sat-morning.html

 

Smallest Full Moon of Year: Dec. 17, 4:28 a.m.  (2013 Dec. 14):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/12/smallest-full-moon-of-year-dec-17-428-am.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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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, January 11, 2014

Laser Satellite to Defend Earth from Asteroid Impacts?

Artist Concept-Comparison Observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveal new information about the structure of 2011 MD, a small asteroid being considered by NASA for its proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission, or ARM. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

It sounds like something straight out of Hollywood. Astronomers discover an asteroid that’s on a collision course with Earth. But there’s no reason to duck and cover — a giant laser in orbit takes aim, and in a few months it vaporizes the space rock. And when it’s done, it wheels around to propel a robotic probe to another star.

This system is still in the realm of fantasy, but the scientists who designed it say it could be built with today’s technology. It wouldn’t be easy — or cheap — but it could defend our planet while performing other tasks.

It’s called DE-STAR — Directed Energy System for Targeting of Asteroids and Exploration.

More - Link >>> http://stardate.org/radio/program/earth-impacts-v

Source: "StarDate" Radio Program: University of Texas McDonald Observatory.

Also see: "DE-STAR Project Proposed After Asteroid 2012 DA14 Flyby, Russian Meteor Blast":
Link >>> http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/438042/20130222/end-world-2013-de-star-project-proposed.htm#.UtED-LQ1mqK

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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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, January 9, 2014

U.S. Funds Space Station to 2024



By Joel Achenbach

    

The international space station received a significant boost Wednesday when the Obama administration vowed to keep the laboratory in orbit at least until 2024, a four-year extension, NASA officials said Wednesday. 

 

The decision is not a shocker, because the alternative would involve putting the ISS through a controlled de-orbit just six years from now. The $100 billion, nearly 1 million-pound laboratory — which took 13 years, more than 100 rocket and shuttle launches, and 160 spacewalks to construct — would crash into the vast open space of the South Pacific.

But the extension is a relief for NASA, which spends about $3 billion a year on the space station. It shores up the marketability of the ISS as a platform for scientific research and commercial operations, which can require many years of planning.

This is also good news for the private launch companies SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp., which have contracts to supply cargo to the station and could compete for future contracts. SpaceX, Boeing and Sierra Nevada are interested in launching crews to the station by 2017, and the extension makes the competition for a contract look like a better investment of time and energy.

More - Link >>> http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/nasa-space-station-operation-extended-by-obama-until-2024-at-least/2014/01/08/9819d5c8-788e-11e3-8963-b4b654bcc9b2_story.html

Source: The Washington Post.

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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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, January 7, 2014

Astrophysicist Searches for Time Travelers on Internet


Someone has just been teleported through time, in this scene from the 1966 science-fiction
television series, "The Time Tunnel." During the series, two scientists are teleported to
several historic events, via a secret government time travel project.
(Image Source: http://skunkfeathers57.blogspot.com )


Astrophysicist Robert Nemiroff and his students were playing cards (for chips) last summer, chatting about Facebook. They wondered: If there were time travelers among us, would they be on social media? How would you find them? Could you Google them?

"We had a whimsical little discussion about this," said Nemiroff, a professor at Michigan Technological University. The result was a serious-but-fun effort to tease out travelers from the future by sifting through the Internet. Unfortunately, they have uncovered no DeLorean time machines, but that hasn't made the search less interesting.

You can't just put out a cattle call for time travelers and expect good results. So Nemiroff's team developed a search strategy based on what they call prescient knowledge. If they could find a mention of something or someone on the Internet before people should have known about it, that could indicate that whoever wrote it had traveled from the future.

They selected search terms relating to two recent phenomena, Pope Francis and Comet ISON, and began looking for references to them before they were known to exist.

More - Link >>> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140103205133.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fspace_time+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Space+%26+Time+News%29

Sources: Michigan Technological University, ScienceDaily.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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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, January 4, 2014

Earth Closest to Sun Sat. Morning




By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

While this week the American Northeast and Midwest regions have been under the grip of near-zero, and in some cases sub-zero, temperatures (Fahrenheit), along with many inches of snowfall, it may seem ironic that this morning the Earth reaches the closest approach to the Sun. The Earth reaches the point in is orbit of the Sun called perihelion on Saturday morning, 2014 January 4 at 6:59 a.m. EST (11:59 Coordinated Universal Time).

At that time, Earth will be closer to the Sun that at any other time in the year: 0.98329 Astronomical Units (one Astronomical Unit equals the average distance between the Sun and Earth, approximately 93,000,000 miles). In kilometers the distance is 147,104,781, which is about 91,402,500 miles. Each year, Earth perihelion occurs during the first few days of the New Year.

Earth's orbit around the Sun is not circular but elliptical, with one point in the orbit closest to the Sun (called perihelion) and one point farthest from the Sun (called aphelion). Earth reaches the farthest point in its orbit around the Sun on or around July 3 each year. In 2014, Earth reaches aphelion on Thursday evening, July 3 at 8:13 p.m. EDT (July 4, 0:13 Coordinated Universal Time), at a distance of 152,093,481 kilometers from the Sun.

Likewise, the Moon's orbit around the Earth has one point closest to the Earth each month (called perigee) and one point farthest from the Earth each month (called apogee). One lunar orbit around the Earth actually takes a little less than one month's time: 27.322 days.

As January has 31 days and one lunar orbit occurs about every 27 days, this month is a little unusual as there are two lunar perigees in January. The first perigee occurred at the very beginning of the month on New Year's Day at 4:00 p.m. EST (21:00 Coordinated Universal Time), while the second perigee occurs on Thursday, January 30 at 5:00 a.m. EST (10:00 Coordinated Universal Time).

On New Year's Day, the Moon was 356,923 kilometers from the Earth. On January 30 the Moon will be 357,080 kilometers. Although the distances are similar, they are rarely the same, month-to-month.

Likewise, Earth perihelions are not the same from one year to another. This year, the perihelion distance is 147,104,781 kilometers, while last year's perihelion distance (on Wednesday, January 2 at 12:00 Midnight EST - 5:00 Coordinated Universal Time) was 147,098,161 kilometers.

This month, larger than usual tides on the ocean coasts are predicted at the times of both lunar perigees. This is due to the fact that both perigees, on New Year's Day and on January 30, occur within a half-day of the Moon phase of New Moon. New Moon on New Year's Day (which was Lunation number 1126) occurred at 6:14 a.m. EST (11:14 Coordinated Universal Time), while New Moon will occur on January 30 (which will be Lunation number 1127) at 4:38 p.m. EST (21:38 Coordinated Universal Time).

Lunar apogee occurs this month on Wednesday, January 15 at 9:00 p.m. EST (January 16, 2:00 Coordinated Universal Time), when the Moon will be 406,532 kilometers from the Earth. The Moon phase of Full Moon (Wolfe Moon) that very same evening, at 11:52 p.m. EST (January 16, 4:52 Coordinated Universal Time), results in the January Full Moon being the smallest Full Moon in 2014. Since Full Moon occurs so close to the Moon's farthest point in its orbit from the Earth (most of the time, Full Moon does not occur so far from Earth), the Moon will look slightly smaller in the middle of January.

More on Perihelion and Aphelion:
Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perihelion#Perihelion_and_aphelion_of_the_Earth

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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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, January 1, 2014

Astronomical Calendar: 2014 January

                      2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium

http://buhlplanetarium3.tripod.com/pics/buhl_front.jpg

The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science / Buhl Science Center:               1939 October 24 to 1991 August 31
Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory at The Carnegie Science Center:        1991 October 5 to Present

 

With the beginning of 2014, it is well into the 75th year of operation of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium. The 75th anniversary of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science will be October 24. This photograph, from the early 1980s, shows The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science looking from Allegheny Square Plaza, where students would often eat lunch during school field trips to Buhl.
Quick History: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/75years/quickhistory.html
(Image Source: Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University)

Astronomical Calendar for 2014 January:

Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2014.html#jan


The current month's Astronomical Calendar can also be found on the cover page of the History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh web site at this link:

Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrocal


Source: 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 >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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/ >
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 >