Monday, November 22, 2021

LIVE-STREAM - NASA Launch: Asteroid Redirection Test Early Wednesday

This graphic shows the original orbit of Didymos-B (satellite of asteroid Didymos; satellite also known as Dimorphos) and the new orbit of Didymos-B that is expected when NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft impacts the asteroid satellite, in a test of Earth planetary defense against asteroids which could hit our planet.

 (Graphic Sources: NASA, Wikipedia.org, By NASA/Johns Hopkins APL - https://dart.jhuapl.edu/Gallery/media/graphics/lg/DART-infographic_v4.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=108456794)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Earth Planetary Defense, from possible asteroid, comet, or large meteor impacts, has become increasingly vital, particularly since the large meteor explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia on 2013 February 15. NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft, expected to launch early Wednesday morning, is designed to test a method of slightly deflecting an asteroid from an orbit that might possibly endanger the Earth in the future.

The target of the DART space probe is the double-asteroid, 65803 Didymos. Actually, the small satellite of 65803 Didymos, Didymos-B also known as Dimorphos, will be impacted during this demonstration.

The DART mission is scheduled for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, from Vandenberg Space Force Base near Lompoc, California, early on Wednesday Morning, 2021 November 24 at 1:21 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) / 6:21 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). NASA will begin Live-stream, Internet coverage of the launch Wednesday morning at 12:30 a.m. EST / 5:30 UTC (Internet link to the NASA Live-stream near the end of this blog-post).

The collision with Dimorphos is scheduled to occur on 2022 October 2.

65803 Didymos was discovered in 1996 by the Spacewatch Survey at Kitt Peak National Observatory, located on Kitt Peak in the Quinlan Mountains in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. The small moon of this asteroid, Dimorphos, was discovered in 2003.

Due to the binary nature of these two asteroids, they were then named “Didymos”, which is the Greek word for “twin”. The Didymos binary system has been classified a potentially hazardous asteroid and Near-Earth Object (of both the Apollo and Armor groups of Asteroids). However, at this time, the Didymos asteroid system does not cross the Earth's orbit. Hence, the deflection caused by this experiment could not cause an impact hazard with Earth.

Scientists have estimated that about 25,000 large asteroids exist in our Solar System, although only about 8,000 large asteroids have been cataloged. The Asteroid Belt, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, contain between 1.1 and 1.9 million asteroids; but, the majority of these asteroids are very small.

Near-Earth Objects (NEO) are estimated to number more than 27,000; again, many of these NEOs are quite small. There are also more than 100 known short-period Near-Earth Comets (NECs). And, several meteoroids, which orbited the Sun, were large enough to be tracked before hitting the Earth.

So, finding a way to detect objects which could endanger the Earth, and finding a way to deflect such objects from a collision with the Earth, are high priorities with scientists today. DART is a test to see if crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective means to change its orbit, so that a future hazardous asteroid could be deflected to miss the Earth.

DART is mostly an impactor, designed to hit and deflect Dimorphos. The only scientific instruments that will be carried aboard DART are a Sun sensor, star tracker, and a 7.9-inch / 20 centimeter aperture camera. Based on a similar camera that flew on the New Horizons mission past Pluto, this camera supports autonomous navigation; it should help to ensure that DART hits the mini-moon at its center.

DART weighs about 1,100 pounds / 500 kilograms. It is expected to impact Dimorphos at a speed of 4.1 miles-per-second / 6.6 kilometers-per-second.

The DART spacecraft uses a NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster–Commercial (NEXT-C) engine, a type of ion thruster that provides solar electric propulsion, to provide the thrust to impact Dimorphos. It will use 240-square-foot / 22-square-meter solar arrays to generate the approximately 3.5 kilowatts needed for the mission.

The DART impact is expected to produce a velocity change in Dimorphos of about 0.4 millimeter-per-second. Although this should lead to a slight trajectory change in the asteroid system, it is expected that it would lead to significant change in the path of the asteroids over a longer length of time. Eventually, the orbital period of Dimorphos could change by as much as 10 minutes. Consequently, such a change could move the orbit of an asteroid or comet from a head-on collision with Earth to a safe fly-by of our planet.

While Earth-based telescopes and radar will be used to assess the success of the DART impact, an Italian cube-sat mini-probe, which will fly on the DART spacecraft, will be used to further assess the success of the mission. Ten days before impact, the Italian Space Agency (ASI) LICIACube (Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids) will separate from DART to send images of the impact and resulting ejecta back to Earth for analysis.

Then in 2024, an European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft called Hera will be launched to confirm the results of the DART mission. Hera is expected to arrive near the Didymos system in 2027 to perform a detailed analysis of the mission results.

DART is a joint project of NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office and Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). The space agencies of Europe, Italy, and Japan are also contributing to this project. Launching the DART payload on a Falcon 9 rocket is the only involvement of SpaceX with this project.

Live-stream - NASA Launch: DART Mission Link >>> https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

DART Mission:

Link 1 >>> https://www.nasa.gov/specials/pdco/index.html#dart 

Link 2 >>> https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense/dart/dart-news 

Link 3 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Asteroid_Redirection_Test 

Asteroid 65803 Didymos: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/65803_Didymos 

Asteroid Satellite Dimorphos: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimorphos

Planetary Defense / Asteroid Impact Avoidance: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_impact_avoidance

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

                 Monday, 2021 November 22.

                             Like This Post?  Please Share!

           More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

* Other Walsh Authored Blog & Web-Sites: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/gawweb.html

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Early Fri. Lunar Eclipse Longest in 1,000 Years

   Latter phases of the Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon seen from Gloucestershire, United Kingdom on 2019 July 17. A Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon will be visible, weather-permitting, early on Friday Morning, 2021 November 19. November 19 also happens to be the 80th anniversary of the Astronomical Observatory of the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center - Pittsburgh's science and technology museum from 1939 to 1991).

(Image Sources: Wikipedia.org, By Caroline Grubb from United Kingdom - This file was derived from: Lunar eclipse 2019-07-17 (48303346356).jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80506672) 

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

The longest Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon in 1,000 years can be seen early Friday morning, weather-permitting. Although this will technically be a Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon, it is nearly a Total eclipse.

A Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon is the only category of eclipses which is safe to view with the unaided eyes (one-power), binoculars, and a telescope.

Live-stream Web-casts of this Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon will be available for observers not in a region where the eclipse is visible in the sky, or where weather conditions make such an observation impossible (Internet links to these Live-streams near the end of this blog-post).

Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon

The last time a Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon was longer than Friday's eclipse was on 1440 February 18. The next such long, Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon will be on 2669 February 8. For a Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon, this is one of the longest such eclipses at a duration of about 6 hours and 2 minutes (including the Penumbral phases of the eclipse). When considering only the Umbral phase of the eclipse, the November 19 eclipse is the longest Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon this century.

The reason the duration of this eclipse is so long is because the eclipse occurs only 41 hours before the Moon reaches the monthly, apogee point in the lunar orbit,(farthest point away from the Earth for the month). The Moon takes longer to traverse the Earth's shadow during this eclipse, due to the fact that the Moon always moves more slowly when it is farther from the Earth.

Everyone on the night or dark side of the Earth can view at least part of any Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon, weather-permitting. For the November 19 eclipse, only people in eastern Europe, western Russia, much of southwestern Asia, most of Africa, and much of the Indian Ocean could not view any part of the eclipse in the sky; they would need to watch the eclipse on the Internet.


Here are the major stages of this Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon –--

Early Friday Morning, 2021 November 19 -

[Eastern Standard Time (EST) / Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)]

(Note that a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon is the only type of Eclipse where the times of Eclipse are the same world-wide, when using Coordinated Universal Time. Everyone on the dark or night side of Earth can view this Eclipse in the sky, weather-permitting.)


Penumbral Lunar Eclipse Begins --- 1:02:09 a.m. EST / 6:02:09 UTC

Partial Lunar Eclipse Begins --- 2:18:42 a.m. EST / 7:18:42 UTC

Primary Moon Phase: Full Moon – Beaver Moon --- 3:57 a.m. EST / 8:57 UTC

Greatest Partial Lunar Eclipse --- 4:02:53.1 a.m. EST / 9:02:53.1 UTC

Partial Lunar Eclipse Ends --- 5:47:04 a.m. EST / 10:47:04 UTC

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse Ends  --- 7:03:40 a.m. EST / 12:03:40 UTC


A Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon occurs when the orbit of the Moon brings our natural satellite into the Earth's shadow (shadow caused by the Earth completely blocking light from the Sun). The Earth's shadow, extending into Outer Space from the dark or night side of Earth, is divided into two sections: the dim Penumbra or Penumbral shadow, which encircles the deeper Umbra or Umbral shadow.

The Moon's orbit is slightly tilted, so most months at the primary Moon phase of Full Moon, the Moon moves above or below the Earth's shadow, with no Eclipse occurring. At the time of Greatest Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon on November 19, the Moon will be 99 per-cent obscured by the Earth's Umbral shadow. The remaining 1 per-cent of the Moon's surface will be well within the Penumbral shadow of the Earth, making this a very deep Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon.

A Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon always occurs near the time, and including the time, of a Full Moon. Many Native Americans called the Full Moon of November the Beaver Moon, but, more on that later.

When the Earth's dim shadow, known as the Penumbra, falls on the Moon, it is called a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse / Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon. Because the Earth's shadow is dim in this case, this type of Eclipse is difficult to discern.

When the Earth's deep shadow, known as the Umbra, falls on only part of the Moon's surface, this is known as a Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon. This is more easily visible, if you are in the right location and weather conditions are acceptable.

A Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon is when the Earth's deep shadow, or Umbra, completely envelops the Moon. Usually, a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon only occurs once every 2.5 years, approximately, as seen from someplace in the world. The last one happened on 2021 May 26. The next one will be seen in North America in about half-a-year from now on 2022 May 15 / 16.

Of course, "Totality" / Total Phase of a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon is the most impressive part of this type of Eclipse, what most people wait to see. The Partial Phases of the Eclipse are when a piece of the Moon seems missing, as the Moon moves further into the Earth's main shadow known as the Umbra, or as the Eclipse is ending and the Moon is further moving out of the Earth's Umbra.

The Penumbral Phases of the Eclipse are difficult to see, as the Moon moves into or out of the Earth's secondary shadow or Penumbra. In this case, one would not see any chunks or bites taken out of the Moon's disk, as one would see when the Moon moves into the Umbra shadow during the Partial Phases. Instead, if your eyes are very good, you may notice a slight dimming of the light coming from the Moon, as the Moon moves further into the Penumbral shadow

Although no direct sunlight reaches the Moon during a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon, the Earth's atmosphere refracts the sunlight around our planet allowing a portion of the sunlight to continue to be transmitted to the Moon. However, the refracted light reaching the Moon is primarily in the yellow, orange, and red portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (the Earth's atmosphere filters-out the violet, blue, and green colors), as with orange or red-tinted sunrises and sunsets (during such a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon, a person standing on the side of the Moon facing Earth could see all Earth sunrises and sunsets simultaneously, as they viewed the Earth in a Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun --- but, even on the Moon, a person would need to take strong precautions to ensure their eye-sight is not damaged by such a view). Hence, it is orange or red light that is reflected from the Moon back into your eyes during a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon.

Hence, particularly during the middle of a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon, the Moon will not disappear from view but can be seen with an orange or reddish tint, what some call "blood red" (this is sometimes referred to as a “Blood Moon”). If the Earth had no atmosphere, likely no sunlight would reach the Moon during a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon, and there would be no "Blood Moon;" the Moon would seem to completely disappear.

Although the November 19 eclipse is a Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon, at a maximum 99 per-cent obscuration during the time of greatest eclipse, the November 19 eclipse may show many of the characteristics of a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon. This includes the Blood Moon effect.

Aristotle Discovers World is Round Due, in Part, to Lunar Eclipse

Civilized society has known that the Earth is not flat, but is round, for about 2500 years. The famous Greek philosopher and academic, Aristotle who lived between 384 and 322 B.C., used a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon as one demonstration that the Earth is round. This was documented in a book he published around 350 B.C. As he observed the Earth's shadow pass across the face of the Moon, he noticed that the shadow is curved, which is one of three indications he found that the Earth is round. One of the other two indications were the concept that gravity required a common center for a planetary body such as Earth. He also noticed that different stars were seen from different locations on our planet, and some stars cannot be seen from certain locations.

Leonid Meteor Shower

The Leonid Meteor Shower (which peaked Wednesday, 2021 November 17 at 1:00 p.m. EST / 18:00 UTC) may still be slightly visible during this eclipse. Although Lunar Eclipses / Eclipses of the Moon are not usually the best time to see meteors (as a bright Moon often drowns-out the dimmer meteors), some meteors may still be visible, particularly during the time of greatest eclipse.

Full Moon of November

The Full Moon of November, in the Northern Hemisphere, is generally known as the Beaver Moon. This was the time when Native Americans set-out beaver traps, before creeks and swamps froze-over, to ensure a good supply of warm furs and pelts for the coming Winter. Although beavers do not hibernate, by the following month the beavers would be in their lodges for the Winter, difficult for hunters to trap.

This beaver fur was its most usable at this time of year, both waterproof and warm. The furs also provided a special oil, used as a hair protector. The beaver was revered by the Americans Indians, spiritually.

The Beaver Moon occurs this year on November 19 at 3:57 a.m. EST / 8:57 UTC.

While most people consider the Full Moon as the Beaver Moon, the Native Americans actually considered the whole Moon cycle (all four Moon phases) as the Beaver Moon (i.e. the Beaver Month for the 28.5-day lunar cycle). Other researchers believe the Beaver Moon name came from the fact that beavers, themselves, are active building water dams, preparing for Winter.

This month's Full Moon sometimes is also referred to as the Frost or Frosty Moon. And, some Indian tribes referred to the November Full Moon as the Deer-Mating Moon or the Fur-Pelts Moon.

For years when the Harvest Moon occurs in October (when the October Full Moon date is closer to the Autumnal Equinox than the September Full Moon date, which occurs about one-third of the time), the November Full Moon is then also known as the Hunter's Moon. However, this was not the case in 2021

In the Southern Hemisphere, the Full Moon of November is known as the Corn Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon, and Hare Moon.

80th Anniversary of Historic Astronomical Observatory

This November 19 also marks the 80th anniversary of the Astronomical Observatory at the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science and technology museum from 1939 to 1991. The Observatory's primary instrument was a rather unique 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope.

A now-renowned astronomer, who was then Director of the Harvard College Observatory, Harlow Shapley, delivered the keynote address dedicating the Observatory on Wednesday Evening, 1941 November 19. First Light through the telescope, that evening, was the ringed-planet Saturn.

A siderostat-type telescope is unique such that the telescope itself does not move, save for the movements of the Earth. A flat, first-surface mirror, which does move, reflects celestial images into the telescope. Thus, the public could look through the telescope while standing in a heated observing room, while the telescope remains in the outside elements.

The siderostat-type telescope was developed by French inventor Jean Leon Foucault, who also developed the Foucault Pendulum as a classic demonstration that the Earth rotates on its axis. Only two siderostat-type telescopes, larger than the Buhl Planetarium telescope, were ever constructed.

The first was the Great Paris Exhibition Telescope of 1900, and with a 49-inch objective lens was also the largest refracting telescope ever built. A 15-inch Siderostat-type Refracting Telescope was built around 1929 by a private astronomy enthusiast, which eventually became one of the main instruments of the Flower and Cook Observatory in suburban Philadelphia, owned by the University of Pennsylvania.

Both the Paris and Philadelphia telescopes have been dismantled. The Paris telescope is not recoverable, without the construction of an entirely new telescope tube and observatory. The future is unclear for the Philadelphia telescope, which is now in the possession of amateur astronomers in Jacksonville.

Regrettably, Buhl Planetarium's historic 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, which is legally owned by the City of Pittsburgh, is also currently dismantled and in storage. The author (Glenn A. Walsh) served as Astronomical Observatory Coordinator for the original Buhl Planetarium Observatory from 1986 to 1991.

http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/observatory/pix/Siderostat_A.jpgThe 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope in the Astronomical Observatory of the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science and technology museum from 1939 to 1991.

(Image Sources: Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University and Friends of the Zeiss)

Live-stream Web-casts of 2021 November 19 Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon:

Link 1 (TimeandDate.com) >>> https://www.timeanddate.com/live/eclipse-lunar-2021-november-19

Link 2 (Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles) >>> https://griffithobservatory.org/event/lunar-eclipse-online-broadcast-nov-18-2021/

Link 3 (Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff) >>> https://lowell.edu/event/partial-lunar-eclipse-nov-19/

Link 4 (Virtual Telescope Project) >>> https://www.virtualtelescope.eu/2021/11/05/the-19-nov-2021-partial-lunar-eclipse-online-event/ 

Link 5 (Astronomical Society of South Australia) >>> https://www.assa.org.au/events/online-star-parties/lunar-eclipse-live-stream-19-november-2021/

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

More Information - 2021 November 19 Eclipse: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2021.html#eclipselun20211119 

Leonid Meteor Shower: Link >>> https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-leonid-meteor-shower/

Historic Astronomical Observatory of the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science and technology museum from 1939 to 1991:

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html

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

                 Saturday, 2021 November 13.

                             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, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

* Other Walsh Authored Blog & Web-Sites: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/gawweb.html

Saturday, November 13, 2021

NASA Launch Dec. 4: Laser Communications Relay Demonstration Mission

This is the Optical Module of the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration satellite scheduled for launch on December 4.

(image sources: NASA, Wikipedia.org, By NASA - http://esc.gsfc.nasa.gov/267/278/291/Images/LLCD-Images.html (image link), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30231720)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

NASA's Laser Communications Relay Demonstration Mission (LCRD) is expected to launch early on Saturday Morning, 2021 December 4, with a launch window of 4:04 to 6:04 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) / 9:04 to 11:04 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). LCRD will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

LCRD will be a payload on a Department of Defense (DoD) / U.S. Space Force satellite, STPSat-6, which is a geosynchronous satellite for the third DoD Space Test Program (STP-3) mission. A geosynchronous satellite is placed in an orbit which matches the axial rotation period of the Earth: 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.0905 seconds (one sidereal day). A satellite with a circular geosynchronous orbit has a constant elevation above the Earth of 22,236 statute miles / 35,786 kilometers.

With this launch, NASA is testing the next step in optical communications. Using infrared lasers, this test will demonstrate the technology to transfer science data between Earth and space satellites and vehicles.

Optical communications provides several advantages over traditional radio communications used today for transferring data between Earth and Outer Space. Increased benefits include a reduction in the size, weight, and power requirements of the optical communications equipment. Reduced size and weight are always helpful when launching any payload; size and weight comprise a major cost of putting any type of payload into Outer Space.

Optical communications also increase the available bandwidth 10 to 100 times beyond what is available with radio frequency systems.

The LCRD mission is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a suburb of Washington DC. LCRD will use two ground-stations during the experiments: Optical Ground Station (OGS) -1 and -2, at Table Mountain, California, and Haleakala, Hawaii, respectively.

 Internet Links to:Additional Information ---

 Laser Communications Relay Demonstration Mission:

Link 1 >>> https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2020/nasa-s-laser-communications-relay-demonstration-mission-leaves-goddard-space-flight-center 

Link 2 >>> https://www.nasa.gov/lasercomms 

Link 3 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_Communications_Relay_Demonstration

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

                 Saturday, 2021 November 13.

                             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, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

* Other Walsh Authored Blog & Web-Sites: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/gawweb.html

Monday, November 1, 2021

Astro-Calendar: 2021 Nov. / Lunar Eclipse Nov. 19 / UPDATE: SpaceX Crew-3 Launch Delayed to Nov. 10; Crew-2 Splash-down Nov. 8

   Latter phases of the Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon seen from Gloucestershire, United Kingdom on 2019 July 17. A Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon will be visible, weather-permitting, early on Friday Morning, 2021 November 19. November 19 also happens to be the 80th anniversary of the Astronomical Observatory of the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center - Pittsburgh's science and technology museum from 1939 to 1991).

A Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon is the only category of eclipses which is safe to view with the naked-eyes (one-power), binoculars, and a telescope.

More information on November 19 eclipse: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2021.html#eclipselun20211119

 More information on original Buhl Planetarium Observatory: Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html 

(Image Sources: Wikipedia.org, By Caroline Grubb from United Kingdom - This file was derived from: Lunar eclipse 2019-07-17 (48303346356).jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80506672)

UPDATE - 2021 Nov. 6 NASA / SpaceX Crew-3 Launch to International Space Station (ISS) Delayed Again (due to a wet and windy weather forecast and health issue with a crew member) Until No Earlier Than Wednesday Evening, 2021 November 10 at 9:03 p.m. EST / Nov. 11, 2:03 UTC.

ALSO: UPDATE - 2021 Nov. 7: NASA / SpaceX Crew-2 Return to Earth From International Space Station (ISS) & Splash-down Scheduled for Monday Evening, 2021 November 8 at 10:33 p.m. EST / Nov. 9, 3:33 UTC.

More information on NASA / SpaceX Crew-3 Launch: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2021.html#spacexcrew3

More information on NASA / SpaceX Crew-2 Splash-down:                                                                      Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2021.html#spacexcrew2

Astronomical Calendar for 2021 November ---
Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2021.html#nov

 Related Blog Post ---

"Astro-Calendar: 2021 Oct. / Launches: SpaceX to ISS; NASA to Jupiter Asteroid." Fri., 2021 Oct. 1.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2021/10/astro-calendar-2021-oct-launches-spacex.html

Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
            Monday, 2021 November 1.

                             Like This Post?  Please Share!

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

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

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

* Other Walsh Authored Blog & Web-Sites: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/gawweb.html

Monday, October 18, 2021

2021 Hunter's Moon: Wed.- This Year's October Full Moon

   

Photograph of Blockhouse replica at Fort Ouiatenon, a mid-18th century French fort on the Wabash River near West Lafayette, Indiana. Each year a weekend Hunter's Moon Festival, "Feast of the Hunter's Moon," is held at the Fort Ouiatenon site. The festival reenacts the annual 18th century Fall gathering of French and Native Americans.

(Image Sources: Wikipedia.com, By Hammer51012 - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8529879)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

The annual Hunter's Moon, the Full Moon of October this year, is visible this week, weather-permitting, particularly Tuesday and Wednesday evenings / early Wednesday and Thursday mornings, as well as a near-Full Hunter's Moon for the rest of the week.

The exact moment of the Full Moon of October, known as the Hunter's Moon most years including this year, is 10:56 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 14:56 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on Wednesday Morning, 2021 October 20.

While the Native Americans, as well as the farmers of Europe and early America, gave names to each Full Moon of the year, normally associating each Full Moon name with a particular month of the year, two well-known Full Moon names stray from this convention. The annual Harvest Moon and the annual Hunter's Moon are aligned with the season of Autumn or Fall, and each can occur in one of two possible months each year: September or October for the Harvest Moon and October or November for the Hunter's Moon.

The Harvest Moon is defined as the Full Moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, the astronomical beginning of the season of Autumn or Fall. The Autumnal Equinox occurs each year around September 22 or 23. Of course, the Harvest Moon can, and often does, occur in late Summer, before the Autumnal Equinox.

The Hunter's Moon is simply defined as the Full Moon following the Harvest Moon.

So, in certain years (approximately one-third of the time), the Harvest Moon occurs in early October, as then the Full Moon of October is closer to the Autumnal Equinox than the September Full Moon. Then, the Hunter's Moon is pushed-off until early November.

The Hunter's Moon, as with the Harvest Moon, is special, because it gave our ancestors more light in the evening, as the Sun was setting earlier each day. On average, the Moon rises about 50.47 minutes later from one day to the next. However, during the week around the time of the Hunter's Moon and the week around the time of the Harvest Moon, the Moon rises only about a half-hour later each day, for several days before and after the Hunter's Moon or Harvest Moon, in mid-northern latitudes (and only 10-to-20 minutes later each day in much of Canada and Europe).

On average, the Full Moon rises about the time of sunset (and sets around the time of sunrise). During the week around the time of the Harvest Moon, and the time of the Hunter's Moon, the time between sunset and moonrise is much shorter than at other times of the year. This is due to the inclination of the Moon's orbital plane, this time of year, which causes the Moon to rise further north along the eastern horizon (as the rising of the Sun occurs further south along the eastern horizon, as we head towards the Winter Solstice).

This means that, for a week around the time of the Harvest Moon, farmers had light into the evening which allowed them to finish harvesting their crops.

In the case of the week around the time of the Hunter's Moon, this gave our ancestors light in the evening to hunt more game, to save for the coming long, cold Winter months. By the time of the Hunter's Moon, the crops had all been harvested, ensuring that game could not find hiding places in farm fields, as fox and other animals tried to glean left-overs in the fields. Likewise, with many trees barren of leaves, it was easier for hunters to find their prey in the forests.

At this time of year, deer and other animals were fattening themselves for the long Winter. Hence, this was the perfect time for hunting these animals. The Hunter's Moon served as a warning, to both European farmers as well as North American tribes, of the looming cold and snowy days of Winter.

Hence, the Hunter's Moon was often an important feast day in both Europe and America. One of these festivals, a reenactment (held on a weekend in October since 1968) of the gathering of French and Native Americans called the “Feast of the Hunter's Moon,” occurs each year at the site of Fort Ouiatenon, a mid-18th century French military garrison and trading post on the Wabash River near West Lafayette, Indiana. The first fortified European settlement in what is now the state of Indiana, the original fort was located approximately one mile down-river from Historic Fort Ouiatenon Park, where the festival now occurs.

In the Northern Hemisphere, Native Americans also called the October Full Moon the Blood Moon or Sanquine Moon. October is also known as the Dying Grass Moon and the Travel Moon. American Indians were also known to call the month of October the Leaf-Falling Month or the Nuts Month.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the October Full Moon was known as the Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Seed Moon, Pink Moon, and Waking Moon.

For years when the Harvest Moon occurs in October (when the October Full Moon date is closer to the Autumnal Equinox than the September Full Moon date), the November Full Moon is then known as the Hunter's Moon.

Otherwise, the Full Moon of November, in the Northern Hemisphere, is generally known as the Beaver Moon. This was the time when Native Americans set-out beaver traps, before creeks and swamps froze-over, to ensure a good supply of warm furs for the coming Winter. Although beavers do not hibernate, by the following month the beavers would be in their lodges for the Winter, difficult for hunters to trap.

This beaver fur was its most usable at this time of year, both waterproof and warm. The furs also provided a special oil, used as a hair protector. The beaver was revered by the Native Americans, spiritually.

While most people consider the Full Moon of November as the Beaver Moon (in addition to the years when it is considered the Hunter's Moon), the Native Americans actually considered the whole Moon cycle (all four Moon phases) as the Beaver Moon (i.e. the Beaver Month for the 28.5-day lunar cycle).
Other researchers believe the Beaver Moon name came from the fact that beavers, themselves, are active building water dams,  preparing for Winter.

November's Full Moon sometimes is also referred to as the Frost or Frosty Moon. And, some American Indian tribes referred to the November Full Moon as the Deer-Mating Moon or the Fur-Pelts Moon.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the Full Moon of November is known as the Corn Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon, and Hare Moon.

The Hunter's Moon in the Southern Hemisphere usually occurs in April, but sometimes in May, with the same advantages to Southern Hemisphere hunters as the Hunter's Moon in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Harvest Moon usually occurs in March, near the Vernal Equinox, but sometimes in April, with the same advantages to Southern Hemisphere farmers as the Harvest Moon in the Northern Hemisphere.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Hunter's Moon: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_moon#Harvest_moon 

Differences between Hunter's and Harvest Moons: Link >>> https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/hunters.html 

Feast of the Hunter's Moon:

Link 1 >>> http://feastofthehuntersmoon.org/ 

Link 2  >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feast_of_the_Hunters%27_Moon 

Related Blog-Post ---  

"Harvest Moon Mon.; Fall Begins Wed." Mon., 2021 Sept. 20. 

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2021/09/harvest-moon-mon-fall-begins-wed.html

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

                 Monday, 2021 October 18.

                             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, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

* Other Walsh Authored Blog & Web-Sites: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/gawweb.html

Sunday, October 10, 2021

UPDATE: LIVE-STREAM WED. AM: Star Trek's Captain Kirk to Really Go to Space!

https://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/2x26hd/assignmentearthhd0725.jpg
William Shatner, on left, portrays star-ship Captain James T. Kirk, as he teleports back to the USS Enterprise. In this classic television episode, titled "Assignment Earth", Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock must ascertain the true motives of a mysterious man who teleports to Earth from a planet orbiting a distant star, in the year 1968.

(Image Sources: Star Trek, https://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/2x26hd/assignmentearthhd0725.jpg)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

UPDATE - 2021 Oct. 11: Launch of Blue Origin Mission NS-18 has been delayed one day, due to high winds expected on October 12. The launch is now expected no earlier than Wednesday Morning, 2021 October 13 at 9:30 a,m. EDT / 8:30 a.m. CDT / 13:30 UTC.

William Shatner, who portrayed the USS Enterprise star-ship Captain James T. Kirk in television and motion pictures on Star Trek, will actually go to Outer Space on WEDNESDAY MORNING (previouslyTuesday morning), in Blue Origin's New Shepard space capsule. The 90-year-old actor will become the oldest person to enter “The Final Frontier.” The launch and mission will be live-streamed on the Internet, beginning 90 minutes before launch.

Internet link to the Blue Origin Live-Stream is near the end of this blog-post.

The Blue Origin spacecraft, New Shepard, is scheduled to launch at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 8:30 a.m. Central Daylight Saving Time (CDT: launch site is in the Central Time Zone) / 13:30 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on Wednesday Morning, 2021 October 13 (previously scheduled Tuesday Morning, 2021 October 12), weather-permitting and provided there are no technical difficulties.

Of course, October 12 is the actual Columbus Day (this year, the Federal Columbus Day holiday will be commemorated on October 11), when in 1492 Italian mariner and explorer Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas (on the island he called San Salvador, in the Bahamas).

Live-Stream coverage will begin at 8:00 a.m. EDT / 7:00 a.m. CDT / 12:00 UTC. The Blue Origin Launch Site One is located on a portion of the Corn Ranch, 25 statute miles / 40 kilometers north of the west Texas town of Van Horn. As with the New Shepard flight on July 20, this Blue Origin Mission NS-18 flight will be a short sub-orbital flight, lasting approximately ten minutes.

The New Shepard spaceship will launch like a rocket. Powered flight is expected to last about 110 seconds, reaching an altitude of 25 statute miles / 40 kilometers above mean sea-level. From that point, the spacecraft's momentum is expected to carry it in un-powered flight to the destination of 62 statute miles / 100 kilometers above mean-sea-level.

The crew module will, then, separate from the propulsion module (i.e. rocket) at a point close to the peak altitude of the mission. At that point, as the crew module begins to fall back to Earth, the crew will encounter about three minutes of micro-gravity (a.k.a. “weightless-ness”) and observe the curvature of the Earth from the edge of Outer Space, as well as the blackness of Space.

Then, the crew module will return to Earth, via three large parachutes, landing close to the launch site on the ground, as Russian Soyuz space capsules land. The only exception to the Soyuz-type landing on the ground is that New Shepard includes thrusters which ignite, just before the landing, to help to soften the landing. The total duration of the flight of the crew module is expected to be about ten minutes.

The rocket, which launches the New Shepard capsule, will make a vertical landing near the launch site, similar to the vertical landing of the first stage of SpaceX rockets. Both the crew capsule and the rocket are designed to be re-usable.

Unlike most past human space missions, there will be no pilot or flight engineer aboard the New Shepard crew capsule. This flight will be completely automated, from beginning to end!

In the case of a rocket malfunction or other emergency, New Shepard has, what is described as, a “full-envelope” launch escape system. Solid propellant separation boosters can separate the crew module from the propulsion module, and the crew capsule would then use parachutes to return to Earth.

On July 11, the Virgin Galactic space-plane flew 53 statute miles / 85.295232 kilometers above mean sea-level, just above the 50-statute mile / 80-kilometer altitude determined as the beginning of Outer Space by the U.S. Air Force, NASA, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The New Shepard spacecraft intends to go a little higher. Blue Origin will meet the altitude definition of Outer Space determined by an international aeronautic standards and record-keeping body, Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI): 62 statute miles / 100 kilometers above mean sea level, known as the Karman Line.

William Shatner will be joined on this flight by Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations, along with commercial customers Dr. Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, Vice-Chair, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Dassault Systèmes and co-founder, Medidata. William Shatner was invited to participate in this mission by Blue Origin and Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos; he is not a paying customer.

As mentioned, at age 90, William Shatner will become the oldest person to fly in Outer Space. On the July 20 flight (New Shepard Mission NS-16, launched on the 52nd anniversary of the first landing of humans on the Moon), Blue Origin had also flown the oldest person to ever fly in Outer Space, 82-year-old Wally Funk.

Previously, the late U.S. Senator John Glenn had held this record, when he launched as a Payload Specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery (mission STS-95) on 1998 October 29, when Senator Glenn was age 77. Of course, John Glenn is well-known for being the first American to orbit the Earth in the Mercury capsule Friendship 7 (three orbits in the 4-hour and 55-minute flight) on 1962 February 20, when John Glenn was age 40.

In 1961, Wally Funk was at the top of her “Mercury 13” class of 13 women who all qualified to fly as part of the Woman in Space Program. Ms. Funk is a very experienced pilot with 19,600 flight hours.

However, NASA never pursued flying women in space in the 1960s, even though Russian female cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova flew alone, for almost three days in Earth orbit, beginning on 1963 June 16. NASA did not launch a woman into space until 1983 June 18, when Sally Ride flew on the Space Shuttle Challenger (mission STS-7) and was the third woman to fly in Outer Space.

Blue Origin New Shepard Mission NS-18 LIVE-STREAM ---

 Link >>> https://www.blueorigin.com/

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

William Shatner: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Shatner

Star Trek: Link >>>  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series

Blue Origin New Shepard Mission NS-18 ---

Link 1 >>> https://www.blueorigin.com/news/next-human-flight-on-october-12

Link 2 >>> https://www.blueorigin.com/news/shatner-powers-announced-ns18

Link 3 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Origin_NS-18

New Shepard ---

Link 1 >>> https://www.blueorigin.com/new-shepard 

Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Shepard 

Blue Origin ---

Link 1 >>> https://www.blueorigin.com/ 

Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Origin

Karman Line: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A1rm%C3%A1n_line

Female Aviator & 'Mercury 13' Woman in Space Program Member Wally Funk:

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

Related Blog-Posts ---

"Astro-Calendar: 2021 Oct. / Launches: SpaceX to ISS; NASA to Jupiter Asteroids."Fri., 2021 Oct. 1.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2021/10/astro-calendar-2021-oct-launches-spacex.html 


"LIVE-STREAM Early Tue.: Blue Origin Flight to Space w/ 'Mercury 13' Woman & Jeff Bezos." Mon., 2021 July 19.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2021/07/live-stream-early-tue-blue-origin.html 


"LIVE-STREAM Sunday: Virgin Galactic Flight to Space w/ Founder Richard Branson." Fri., 2021 July 9.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2021/07/live-stream-virgin-galactic-flight-to.html 


"50th Anniversary: 'Star Trek'" Tue., 2016 Sept. 6.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/09/50th-anniversary-star-trek.html

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

                 Sunday, 2021 October 10.

                             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, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

* Other Walsh Authored Blog & Web-Sites: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/gawweb.html

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Strong, New Laser to Advance R&D at European Southern Observatory

  

The Laser Guide Star of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the European Southern Observatory in northern Chile.

(Image Sources: Wikipedia.org, By G. Hüdepohl/ESO - http://www.eso.org/public/images/gerd_huedepohl_2/, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10980623)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

An Adaptive Optics Laser, being pioneered by the European Southern Observatory, is expected to greatly improve the sharpness of stellar images observed by ground-based telescopes. To do this, the Observatory and its commercial partners have developed a laser three times more powerful than the lasers currently used at astronomical observatories.

The problem that the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is trying to solve is the same problem that has vexed ground-based astronomers for hundreds of years. Atmospheric turbulence, which is what causes stars to appear to “twinkle” in the sky, has always made it more difficult for astronomers to study the composition and behavior of such stars, particularly dim and very distant stars.

To ameliorate this twinkling effect, astronomers have used nearby stable stars, brighter and often closer stars of which more information is known, to calibrate their telescopes. However, in many cases, such nearby stable, reference stars do not exist.

So, researchers have hit on the solution of creating artificial stars to help calibrate their telescopes. These artificial stars are created by using a laser to blast sodium atoms at a height of 55.9 statute miles / 90 kilometers in the atmosphere.

Such a laser, known as the Four Laser Guide Star Facility, already operates at the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) array, located on Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. This laser, which currently has a strength of 22 watts, has been essential to the success of the VLT.

However, in order to create an even more stable, artificial guide star, ESO has now increased the new laser's power to 63 watts, nearly three times the power of the VLT laser. This more powerful laser comes from a Raman fiber amplifier laser source, developed by an ESO commercial partner, a Canadian company called MPB Communications.

Additional new technology, to assist with this Adaptive Optics Laser, has been developed by a German company, TOPTICA Photonics Ag. This company specializes in frequency “chirping,” which allows a laser to bounce back and forth between several frequencies. This provides larger bandwidths and more excited sodium atoms, and hence, brighter artificial stars to use for telescope calibration.

The Adaptive Optics Laser was tested at the Allgaeuer Volkssternwarte Ottobeuren Observatory in Germany, in August. This new laser will first be installed at the European Space Agency's (ESA) Optical Ground Station in Tenerife, Spain, which is a research and development (R&D) collaboration between the European Southern Observatory and the European Space Agency.

This new laser can also help with satellite communications. Atmospheric turbulence can also disrupt some of the newer laser systems in-use between satellites and ground stations. The Adaptive Optics Laser, with the greater power, may allow much better data transfer from satellites to ground stations. This will also be tested at the ESA facility in Spain.

Internet Links to Additional Information --- 

Laser Guide Star: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_guide_star

European Southern Observatory (ESO):

Link 1 >>> https://www.eso.org/ 

Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Southern_Observatory

Very Large Telescope, European Southern Observatory: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_Large_Telescope 

European Space Agency (ESA):

Link 1 >>> https://www.esa.int/

Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Space_Agency

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

                 Thursday, 2021 October 7.

                             Like This Post?  Please Share!

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

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

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

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh: Link >>>  http://www.planetarium.cc  Buhl Observatory: Link >>>  http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>> http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc

* Other Walsh Authored Blog & Web-Sites: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/gawweb.html