Friday, April 21, 2017

Saturday: March for Science in Cities Around the World

Washington October 2016-6 (cropped) (cropped).jpg
The Washington Monument, on the Washington DC
National Mall, will be the beginning of the Washington
March for Science.
(Image Sources: Wikipedia.org , By Alvesgaspar - Own work, 
CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?
curid=56582162)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

On the annual Earth Day this Saturday a new event, the March for Science, is a series of marches and rallies which will occur in Washington DC and more than 500 other cities world-wide including Pittsburgh. According to the March for Science Internet web-site, “The March for Science is the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.”

The organizers and supporters of the March for Science insist that it is a non-partisan event. The goal of the March for Science is to call for science which upholds the common good and provides for evidence-based information to be used for developing good public policy.

The March for Science was inspired by the Women's March held on January 21, the day after the inauguration of U.S. President Donald J. Trump. The organizers of the March for Science have been skeptical of the lower priority that the Trump Administration, thus far, has given to scientific issues related to public policies.

It is hoped that the March for Science will give greater exposure to all of the elements of science which provide us with the good quality of life we have today and impress upon policy-makers that advancement in the sciences is a necessity to maintain such a good quality of life. It is also hoped that the March for Science will inspire the public to engage policy-makers regarding the decisions being made, or neglected, regarding science public policy.

The March for Science in Washington, along with all satellite marches (including the one in Pittsburgh) is free-of-charge to the public and open to everyone! No prior registration is required. All events will go-on, rain or shine!

For people who do not live in or near Washington and would like to participate in a satellite march, the March for Science Internet web-site (link to this web-site at the end of this blog-post) provides a listing of all satellite marches that are currently planned.

In Washington, the March for Science will be an all-day event concentrating on the National Mall in Downtown Washington. The event begins at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) on the National Mall just north of the grounds of the Washington Monument, on Constitution Avenue NW between 15th and 17th Streets NW.

The Washington event will include 21 science teach-in sessions, beginning at 9:00 a.m. EDT and running until around Noon, or a little after. The 18 organizations sponsoring these teach-in sessions include the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Anthropological Association, American Chemical Society, and the University of Rochester. Several other special events, as part of the March for Science, are also scheduled throughout the weekend at different venues in Washington.

The actual Washington March begins at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The March will form on the National Mall at the grounds of the Washington Monument. The March will proceed east on Constitution Avenue NW from 15th Street to 3rd Street NW, then south on 3rd Street NW terminating in Union Square.

In Pittsburgh, the March for Science will center on the University of Pittsburgh campus in the Oakland Civic Center section of the city. Scheduled for 12:00 Noon to 2:00 p.m. EDT, it will begin on Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes Avenues [between the Cathedral of Learning and the William Pitt Student Union (originally, the historic Hotel Schenley)]. The main event will be a march completely around the large city block encompassing the University of Pittsburgh's signature, 42-story Cathedral of Learning (tallest academic building in the Western Hemisphere, second tallest in the World!).

Around 1:00 p.m. EDT, the Pittsburgh March will be followed by several speakers from the Pittsburgh scientific community in the closed block of Bigelow Boulevard (between Fifth and Forbes Avenues).

Friends of the Zeiss, parent organization of the SpaceWatchtower Blog and Twitter News Feed, will participate in the March for Science in Pittsburgh.

Friends of the Zeiss is a non-profit organization with the mission to promote Astronomy, Space Science, and other sciences to the general public through Internet web sites, SpaceWatchtower Blog, and SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed, as well as public observing sessions of special astronomical events and other public educational programs and services regarding Astronomy, Space Science, and other sciences. This organization also promotes the history and preservation of the historic equipment, artifacts, and building of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, including the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector (prior to 2002 dismantling, oldest operable major planetarium projector in the world!) and the fairly unique 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

March for Science -
     Internet Web-Site: Link >>> https://www.marchforscience.com/
     Wikipedia Page: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_for_Science
     March for Science Pittsburgh: Link  >>> https://www.facebook.com/MarchForSciencePGH/

Related Blog Posts ---

"NASA & the Trump Administration." 2017 Jan. 23.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/01/nasa-trump-administration.html

 

"U.S. Presidential Candidates Answer Science Questions." 2016 Sept. 18.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/09/us-presidential-candidates-answer.html


     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2017 April 21.

                             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, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
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, April 12, 2017

4 Comets May Be Visible w/ Small Telescopes

https://assets.cdn.astronomynow.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/02211027/Comet_C2015_V2_40x10s_2Apr2017_0044BST_v3.jpg
Image of Comet Johnson (C/2015 V2) at visual magnitude +8, with an obvious tail, photographed in the Constellation Hercules the Hero on the night of April 1-2 by Ade Ashford.
(Image Source: AstronomyNow Magazine from the United Kingdom)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

This month, four comets may be visible to stargazers with small telescopes, and possibly binoculars. Although it is unlikely any of these comets will be bright enough to see with the naked-eye (at least, not this month), those with a small telescope, or possibly good binoculars, may have a chance to see one or more of these cosmic “dirty snowballs.”

American astronomer Fred Whipple described a comet as a “dirty snowball.” Comets are a combination of rocks, dust, water ice, and other frozen gases, from the early days of our Solar System.

The solid core of a comet is known as the nucleus. Streams of dust and gas released from the comet, as it nears the Sun, form a thin atmosphere around the comet nucleus called the coma. The coma is composed mostly (90 per-cent) of water, with dust making-up the rest of the coma.

Most, but not all, comets have one or more visible tails. The tail(s), which is usually not visible in the Outer Solar System, is composed of dust and gases emanating from the comet, caused by solar radiation as the comet comes closer to the Sun; this radiation usually is too weak to create tails in the Outer Solar System. Normally, a comet's tail(s) points away from the Sun, no matter the direction of movement of the comet; hence, a comet leaving the Inner Solar System often has a tail pointing in the direction of the comet's motion.

Comets usually have a highly-eccentric, elliptical orbit around the Sun, which brings a comet into the Inner Solar System for a short time, while it spends most of its time in the Outer Solar System. Short-period comets originate in the Kuiper Belt, just beyond the orbit of the Planet Neptune, while long-period comets are thought to originate in the Oort Cloud, a spherical cloud of icy bodies beyond the Kuiper Belt.

Short-period comets may have an orbit of only a few years, while long-period comets, potentially, could have an orbit of several million years. Some comets have very short lives, and they disappear into the Sun before they can resume traveling to the Outer Solar System. Other comets, known as hyperbolic comets, go around the Sun once and never come back, continuing into Interstellar Space forever.

To more easily see comets, it is better to be away from city lights, as artificial lighting can drown-out the dimmer comets. Bright moonlight can also drown-out some of the dimmer comets, so monitor the Moon Phase on the monthly SpaceWatchtower Astronomical Calendar.

When looking for a comet, it is best to be in an area that gets a good view of the entire sky (with few obstructions such as buildings, trees, or hills). Of course, you definitely want an unobstructed view for the area of the sky where you expect to find the comet. And, if the comet is expected to be low on the horizon where you expect to view it, you want your observation site to be as high in elevation as possible.

Of course, viewing comets, like all celestial observations, are weather-permitting. If there are more than a very few clouds in the sky, a comet will be much more difficult to find.

And, you want to go out ahead of time, before you actually start looking for comets, to get your eyes accustomed to the dark sky. Dark-adapting your eyes for comet-watching could take up to a half-hour.

                                    Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacombini-Kresák

Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacombini-Kresák has been called by some the “April Fool's Comet,” because it approached Earth, on the first day of this month, at a closer point than any other fly-by since the comet's discovery in 1858: 13.2 million miles / 21.2 million kilometers. Today (April 12), this comet reaches the point in its orbit called perihelion (closest approach to the Sun for this apparition): 97.1 million miles / 156.3 million kilometers.

This is a short-period comet, which comes around once every 5.5 years. Astronomer Horace Tuttle of the Harvard College Observatory first discovered this comet on 1858 May 3. It was next observed by Professor M. Giacombini of France's Nice Observatory on 1907 June 1, and after that by Slovak astronomer Lubor Kresak on 1951 April 24.

It was only after this third observation that it was realized that the comets of 1858, 1907, and 1951 were all the same comet. Hence, all three astronomers' names were given to this comet as the comet's discoverers.

On April 18 and 19, this comet will be in the Constellation Draco the Dragon, passing the bright Star Rastaban, in the dragon's head on the 18th. After that, the comet heads into the Constellation Hercules the Hero, where it will start to fade in brightness as it travels further from the Earth.

                                          Comet Lovejoy (C/2017 E4)

A new Comet Lovejoy should not be confused with the Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) SpaceWatchtower reported on back on 2015 January 7. Discovered just last month by a prolific amateur astronomer, Terry Lovejoy in Australia, this Comet Lovejoy has continued brightening to about +7.0 visual magnitude.

This Comet Lovejoy rises in the early morning just above the east-northeast horizon, having just passed the Constellation Pegasus the Winged Horse a few days ago.

                                         Comet Johnson (C/2015 V2)

Discovered in 2015, it is unsure whether Comet Johnson is a long-period comet (that might not come back to the Inner Solar System for another 14 million years) or a hyperbolic comet (which is destined to leave our Solar System after this one pass around our Sun).

Later this month, Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacombini-Kresák will join Comet Johnson in the Constellation Hercules. Comet Johnson will be easier to spot when it passes three bright stars in Hercules on April 22 [when it will lie between Stars Tau (τ) Herculis and (υ) Upsilon Herculis], and again on April 25 [when it will lie between Stars Phi (φ) Herculis and (υ) Upsilon Herculis].

Comet Johnson is expected to reach visual magnitude +7.4 by the end of the month. However, since it will not fly-by the Sun until mid-June, there is a chance it could get even brighter—perhaps, reaching naked-eye brightness. So, this is a comet to keep watching!

                                    Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2015 ER61)

This month, we may get to see another Comet Pan-STARRS, this time C/2015 ER61. On 2013 March 5, SpaceWatchtower reported on a Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2011 L4), that was then brightening in the sky.

Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) is a robotic system of astronomical cameras, telescopes, and computers continually watching the sky for asteroids (particularly near-Earth asteroids which could one day threaten Earth), comets, variable stars, and other celestial objects. It is expected to eventually create a data-base of space objects, down to 24th visual magnitude, over 75 percent of the sky—the part of the sky visible from its base in Hawaii.

Although this Comet Pan-STARRS was very dim (visual magnitude +21) when it was discovered two years ago, it has brightened considerably as it approaches our Sun. This month, it has brightened to visual magnitude +6.5.

It passes the Earth on April 19 at a distance of 109 million miles / 175 million kilometers, before it swings around the Sun on May 10. So, it could brighten even more over the next few weeks.

Currently, this Comet Pan-STARRS appears as a tiny fuzz-ball in Constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer, very low in the pre-dawn sky. It may become a little easier to spot as it rises just before dawn, but it will become more difficult to see as the sky brightens.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

SpaceWatchtower Monthly Astronomical Calendar ---
Current Month (2017 April):
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/04/astronomical-calendar-2017-april.html
Calendar Archives: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium3.tripod.com/Buhlnews.htm#astrocalarchiv

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

Comets ---
Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacombini-Kresák:
Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/41P/Tuttle%E2%80%93Giacobini%E2%80%93Kres%C3%A1k
Comet Lovejoy (C/2017 E4): Link >>> https://theskylive.com/c2017e4-info
Comet Johnson (C/2015 V2): Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2015_V2
Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2015 ER61):
Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2015_ER61_(PANSTARRS)

Pan-STARRS: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan-STARRS

Related Blog Posts ---

"Two Dim Comets May Be Visible in a Telescope." 2017 Feb. 19.

 Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/02/two-dim-comets-may-be-visible-in.html

 

"Comet Lovejoy: Best View Next 2 Weeks." 2015 Jan. 7.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2015/01/comet-lovejoy-best-view-next-2-weeks.html

 

"European Space Probe Aims for 1 Comet, Finds 2." 2014 July 22.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/07/european-space-probe-aims-for-1-comet.html

 

"Comet ISON vs. the Solar Storm." 2013 Nov. 26.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/11/comet-ison-vs-solar-storm.html?m=0

 

"Comet LINEAR Suddenly Brightens." 2013 Oct. 22.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.de/2013/10/comet-linear-suddenly-brightens.html

 

"Comet ISON to Fly by Mars." 2013 Aug. 24.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/08/comet-ison-to-fly-by-mars.html?m=0


"Comet: Source of Mysterious Water on Jupiter." 2013 May 4.
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/pearcee/pe-jupiterwater.html


"Possible Naked-eye Comet in March." 2013 Feb. 7.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/02/possible-naked-eye-comet-in-march.html


"Comet of the Century?" 2013 Jan. 19.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/01/comet-of-century.html


     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2017 April 12.

                             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, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
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, April 1, 2017

Astronomical Calendar: 2017 April


A very rare color photograph from 1917 (although digitally enhanced), of a Nieuport Bi-Plane Fighter used during World War I. The United States of America entered World War I on April 6, one hundred years ago.
(Image Source: Wikipedia.org , By Paul CastelnauThe factual accuracy of this description or the file name is disputed.Reason: Attributed to Fernand Cuville by Réunion des musées nationaux [1] - Source BNF Available at http://gallica.bnf.fr/scripts/ConsultationTout.exe?E=0&O=03300083 (bad link), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5967740 )

Astronomical Calendar for 2017 April: 
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2017.html#apr

 Related Blog Post ---


"Astronomical Calendar: 2017 March." 2017 March 1.

Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2017.html#mar


     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm

Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              2017 April 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, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
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 >