Wednesday, October 18, 2017

250th Anniversary: Astronomy Helps Create Mason-Dixon Line

                                      http://www.exploretheline.com/images/peteatcs.jpg
This photograph shows Pete Zapadka, a member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh, leaning on the Cornerstone Monument at the precise geographic location of the southwest corner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania--the official end of the Mason-Dixon Line. Although due to Native American territory disputes, astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon never saw this site; their portion of the Mason-Dixon Line Survey ended prematurely 23 miles short of this site, 250 years ago today (October 18). Philadelphia clock-maker and astronomer David Rittenhouse placed this monument and completed the Mason-Dixon Line Survey in 1784.
(Image Source: Amateur Astronomer Pete Zapadka)                            

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

On this date 250 years ago (1767 October 18), astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon completed surveying most of the southern boundary of Pennsylvania [separating from the colonies of Maryland and Virginia (now the state of West Virginia)], what became the most famous boundary in U.S. history: the Mason-Dixon Line. Although contracted to survey to, what is now, the southwest corner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, local Native Americans prevented the survey of the last 23 miles of the boundary line. Philadelphia clock-maker and astronomer David Rittenhouse headed a survey team which finished surveying those last 23 miles in 1784.

The whole idea behind the Mason-Dixon Line began with a colonial land dispute between two influential British families. In 1632, English King Charles I gave a grant of land, in the American Colonies, to Cecilius Calvert. The grant for what would become the colony of Maryland provided land north of Virginia and south of the 40th parallel. Today, the City of Pittsburgh is located at the 40th parallel, so this land grant included much of what is now southern Pennsylvania.

In 1681, King Charles II provided a second land grant to William Penn for what would become the Province of Pennsylvania. Although it did mention that the southern boundary of this land grant would be the 40th parallel, much of the rest of the delineation of the land grant was convoluted and confusing. Hence, the Penn Family interpreted the grant to include land north of the 39th parallel.
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The Penn and Calvert families both claimed the land between the 39th and 40th parallels. And, since the thriving City of Philadelphia was within these two latitudes, this made the dispute even more contentious. However, such land disputes were common in the 17th and 18th centuries, as there had been little actual surveying in America and maps and land grants were often quite vague.

The Penn and Calvert families tried to convince the settlers of the disputed region that they lived in Pennsylvania or Maryland, respectively—and, they should pay taxes to the appropriate colony. Most colonists did not care which colony they lived in; but, they did not want to pay taxes to both colonies!

After several decades, the dispute actually led to war between Pennsylvania and Maryland! What became known as Cresap's War (named for Thomas Cresap, a Maryland partisan who had moved into, what is now York County, Pennsylvania, part of the disputed territory) was a series of skirmishes between the two colonies. Also known as the Conojocular War, militias from both Maryland and Pennsylvania fought for about a year or so, until King George II enacted a cease-fire in 1738.

In 1750, King George II created a formal truce between the two colonies. This truce granted most of the disputed territory to Pennsylvania. However, no one knew where the actual boundary line between the two colonies was located. So, in 1763 the Penn and Calvert families agreed to pay for a boundary survey. Well known English astronomers and surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon were hired to conduct this survey.

Charles Mason had been employed by the Royal Society in Greenwich, England to observe the stars and the Moon, and create lunar tables that could be used to determine longitude. Jeremiah Dixon was a surveyor, trained by a renowned maker of high-precision astronomical instruments, John Bird.

Mason and Dixon traveled through the wilderness of early Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, using the stars to create the boundary line, now known as the Mason-Dixon Line. The boundary began 15 miles south of the southern-most tip of the City of Philadelphia.

The east-west, 233-mile line formed the southern boundary of Pennsylvania with Maryland, and for the area west of the beginning of the Potomac River, Virginia. Of course, during the American Civil War this section of Virginia seceded from the Commonwealth of Virginia and became the state of West Virginia.

They also surveyed the 83-mile western boundary of Delaware [then considered the 3 “Lower Counties on the Delaware” (New Castle, Kent, and Sussex) of the Province of Pennsylvania], separating, what would become, the second smallest state of the Union from Maryland.

At one-mile intervals, Mason and Dixon laid mile-marker stones all along the surveyed route. On the north side of the marker was chiseled the letter P for Pennsylvania; on the south side of the marker is the letter M for Maryland. As a five-mile marker, the stone included the Penn Family Coat of Arms on the north side of the stone and the Calvert Family Coat of Arms on the south side of the stone.

Each stone was a huge block of limestone, 3.5 to 5 feet long, weighing 300 to 600 pounds. These stones had come from a quarry in southern England. Mason and Dixon carried these stones with them, during the survey, using a horse and wagon.

Many of these stones survive. However, some are missing. For instance, one stone was hit by a snow-plow in January of 1996, and it was pushed down into a farmer's field. After more than 200 years, this particular stone now sits in a farmer's barn.

As the surveyors entered the Allegheny Mountains, they did not always lay stones at one-mile intervals. Instead, they created groupings of rocks or cairns as mile-markers.

Even in the 18th century, surveying was not a new science. However, it was quite an achievement to survey a new boundary line in rugged terrain, often harsh weather, and with the constant risk of attack from Native Americans.

It usually took a couple of weeks, at least, for each set of astronomical observations for a particular mile-marker. They would spend clear-sky nights (of course, they could not work during cloudy nights) taking observations of stars, sometimes in very cold weather. They would have to lie on their backs and look through a 6-foot long telescope, measuring angles between stars and a north-south meridian line.

However, they did use state-of-the-art equipment. Jeremiah Dixon's mentor, John Bird, developed the Zenith Sector they used, which was the most advanced instrument of its day for determining latitude. According to John Bird, it was accurate to within 100 feet.

Scientists and geographers remember the work of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon for two particular contributions to scientific literature:

  1. They measured the first degree of latitude in the Americas;
  2. They made the first scientific gravity measurements in the Americas.

The Pennsylvania land grant had extended 5 degrees of longitude west of the Delaware River, to the location of the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. Mason and Dixon had been commissioned to survey to the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. However, they never made it that far.

The Native American guides of Mason and Dixon refused to guide them into the territory of their enemy, the Shawnee and Delaware tribes. So, on Sunday, 1767 October 18, Mason and Dixon made their final observations before turning-back to return to Philadelphia, 23 miles short of their goal.

The following entry from Mason and Dixon's Journal, written by Charles Mason, describes setting the final mile-marker of their survey:

“Note: The Sector stood on the top of a very lofty Ridge, but when the Offset was made of 3 Chains 38 Links it fell a little Eastward of the top of the Hills; we therefore extended the true Parallel 3 Chains 80 Links Westward which fell on the top of the said Ridge; there viz. at 233 Miles 17 Chains 48 Links from the Post marked West in Mr. Bryan's Field, we set up a Post marked Won the West Side and heaped around it Earth and Stone three yards and a half diameter at the Bottom and five feet High. The figure nearly conical.”

After setting the last mile-stone, Mason and Dixon remained at the site until Tuesday, 1767 October 20, when their journal reported:

“Began to open a Visto in the True Parallel Eastward.”

Philadelphia clock-maker and astronomer, David Rittenhouse (along with surveyor Andrew Ellicott) completed surveying these last 23 miles in 1784. In addition to his scientific pursuits, University of Pennsylvania Astronomy Professor David Rittenhouse served as Treasurer of Pennsylvania from 1779 to 1787, and on behalf of the Federal Government he founded the U.S. Mint in 1792.

Although Mason and Dixon never reached the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, this was their contracted goal. Hence, the entire boundary line to the southwest corner of Pennsylvania is considered the Mason-Dixon Line. Although the Mason-Dixon Line does not follow an exact line of latitude, it is geographically located at approximately 39 degrees and 43 minutes North Latitude.

Beyond the end of the Mason-Dixon Line, at the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, the line continues west to the Ohio River, forming the boundary line between Marshall and Wetzel Counties in West Virginia. However, this county boundary line was formed by the Virginia Assembly in the latter part of the 18th century and is not an official part of the Mason-Dixon Line.

In 1786, Andrew Ellicott was commissioned to survey the western boundary line of Pennsylvania (which came to be known as Ellicott's Line), from the end of the Mason-Dixon Line, north, to Lake Erie. Part of this boundary was between Pennsylvania and Virginia; the area of Virginia between Pennsylvania and the Ohio River now contains four counties (Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, and Marshall) in what is now the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia.

North of the location where the Ohio River leaves Pennsylvania, this boundary line codified the boundary between Pennsylvania and the Federal Territory known as the “Ohio Country,” part of the Northwest Territory. This boundary line was important because Pittsburgh and a small part of Western Pennsylvania had originally been considered part of the Ohio Country (an area that had been roughly defined as west of the Allegheny Mountains, north of the Ohio River, and south of Lake Erie). The vast majority of the Ohio Country was admitted to the Union as the State of Ohio on 1803 March 1.

The Mason-Dixon Line has come to be known as the dividing line between the northern United States and the southern United States. This division began as early as 1790 March 1, when the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation banning slavery in the Commonwealth. As Maryland still allowed slavery (as did Delaware and Virginia), by 1804 the Mason-Dixon Line came to be seen as the dividing line between the slave states (in the South) and free states (in the North).

During the first half of the 19th century, the Mason-Dixon Line came to be known, by slaves fleeing their southern masters, as the line of freedom. The Underground Railroad consisted of abolitionists at secret way-stations who would help African-Americans from the South cross the Mason-Dixon Line on their way to freedom and a new life.

A spiritual song sung by these run-away slaves, “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” helped these mostly illiterate refugees find their way north. The song reminded them to search for the Big Dipper asterism in the night sky, which would help them find the North Star, Polaris.

The Mason-Dixon Line was mentioned during Congressional debates leading to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state, while Maine entered the Union as a free-soil state. At that time, politicians considered the Mason-Dixon Line, and extending further west along the Ohio River, as the boundary line between slave and free-soil states. The Missouri Compromise legally forbade the admission of states, which had been part of the Louisiana Purchase territories, as slave states if they existed north of Latitude 36 degrees, 30 minutes North (the southern boundary of Missouri); however, the legislation also allowed one exception: Missouri.

When the American Civil War, or War Between the States, erupted in 1861, the Mason-Dixon Line was still considered a dividing line between North and South. But because Washington, DC, a southern city, had been chosen as the site of the new nation's capital (due to the Compromise of 1790, which allowed the Federal Government to pay-off Revolutionary War debts of the states, in return for locating the national capital in the South), the Federal Government refused to allow Maryland to join the Confederate States of America (CSA), even though Maryland (along with pro-Union border states Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri) continued to allow slavery.

In the middle of the Civil War, 50 counties in western Virginia broke-away from Virginia (which included the state capital, Richmond, as the capital of the Confederacy) to form a new state, West Virginia, which was admitted to the Union on 1863 June 20. On that date, no longer did any portion of the Mason-Dixon Line touch the Commonwealth of Virginia; the section of the Mason-Dixon Line previously bordering Virginia now bordered West Virginia.

Derived from the title, Mason-Dixon Line, and the surname of Jeremiah Dixon, “Dixie” became a name generally identifying the southern United States in the early 19th century. During the Civil War, it was generally used to refer to the Confederacy.

The song, “Dixie” or “I Wish I Was in Dixie,” probably reinforced the popular notion that Dixie meant the American South. The song became the unofficial anthem of the Confederacy during the Civil War, after being played during the inauguration of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in 1861. Upon hearing of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox County, Virginia in 1865, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln asked the military band to play “Dixie.”

There is still some dispute regarding who wrote the song, although it seems the song may have been authored by Daniel Emmett, a Northerner from Mount Vernon, Ohio in 1859. It quickly became popular through black-face minstrel shows.

Today, the song “Dixie” is still popular in the South. And, the term Dixie is still used to represent the South. In fact, a popular grocery store chain in the South, known as Winn-Dixie (headquartered in Jacksonville), operates 495 stores in five southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi).


                                        

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Photograph of Historical Marker near end of Survey conducted by Mason and Dixon:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/10/astronomical-calendar-2017-october.html

Mason-Dixon Line Survey web-site ExploretheLine, with photos of survey markers:
Link >>> http://www.exploretheline.com/index1.html 

Charles Mason: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Mason 

Jeremiah Dixon: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremiah_Dixon 

David Rittenhouse: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Rittenhouse 
     University of Pennsylvania Astronomy Professor David Rittenhouse inspires the field of stars on 
     the American Flag: Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/06/240th-anniversary-of-american-flag-why.html

Andrew Ellicott: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Ellicott

Special Thanks: Amateur Astronomer Pete Zapadka.

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2017 October 18.

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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, October 7, 2017

Physics Nobel Prize Awarded to Developers of Laser Observatory


Image result for image ligo
Photograph of the LIGO Hanford installation near Richland, Washington.
(Image Source: LIGO, California Institute of Technology)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Three American physicists, who developed a Laser observatory which led to the detection of Gravitational Waves, were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday (October 3). The detection of Gravitational Waves confirmed a prediction of Albert Einstein's 1916 General Theory of Relativity.

Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne of the California Institute of Technology and Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were given the annual award "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves." LIGO, the Laser observatory, is officially known as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.

A new branch of observational Astronomy, Gravitational-Wave Astronomy obtains and studies data from highly-energetic sources of Gravitational Waves such as Black Holes and Supernovae. Although predicted by Dr. Einstein, he had doubted whether Gravitational Waves could ever actually be detected.

The first LIGO installations went on-line in 2002 and collected data through 2010, but found no Gravitational Waves. The National Science Foundation (NSF) continued funding this project in 2008, when enhancements to LIGO were added. Agencies from other nations, such as the Max Planck Society of Germany, United Kingdom Science and Technology Facilities Council, and the Australian Research Council also started providing funding for this Physics experiment.

LIGO consists of two observational facilities: LIGO Livingston Observatory in Livingston, Louisiana and LIGO Hanford Observatory near Richland, Washington, on the campus of the U.S. Department of Energy Hanford Site. The Hanford Site was originally established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project's development of plutonium, which was used for the second atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on 1945 August 9 leading to the end of the Second World War.

The first Gravitational Wave detection was publicly announced on 2016 February 11. The detection occurred on 2015 September 14, just two days after upgraded LIGO detectors had gone on-line. The signal received was designated GW150914, and it matched the predictions of the Theory of General Relativity for the merger of two Black Holes.

A few months later, on 2016 June 15, a second detection was announced. The event, a merger of two more Black Holes, had been recorded on 2015 December 26.

The fourth and most recent LIGO detection occurred in August. Announced just last week, the August 14 coalescence of two more Black Holes was also detected by a similar facility, called the Virgo Detector, near Pisa, Italy.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

"Gravitational waves from a binary black hole merger observed by LIGO and Virgo." News Release.
AstronomyNow.com / Joint LIGO - Virgo News Release 2017 Sept. 27.
Link >>> https://astronomynow.com/2017/09/27/gravitational-waves-from-a-binary-black-hole-merger-observed-by-ligo-and-virgo/

Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO):
Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LIGO

Gravitational Waves: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_wave

National Science Foundation (NSF):
Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Science_Foundation

Nobel Prize: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Prize

Nobel Prize in Physics: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Prize_in_Physics

Related Blog-Post ---

Laser Observatory May Directly Detect Gravity Waves." 2015 Oct. 7.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2015/10/laser-observatory-may-directly-detect.html

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2017 October 7.

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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 >

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Astronomical Calendar: 2017 October

http://www.exploretheline.com/images/catawba.jpg
Photo of the West Virginia Historical Marker near the end of the Mason-Dixon Line Survey, about 70 miles south of Pittsburgh. America's most famous boundary line [separating Pennsylvania from Maryland & Virginia (now West Virginia)] which was produced with the assistance of Astronomy, the 250th anniversary of the conclusion of the Mason-Dixon Line Survey will be on October 18. However, the Native American guides of Astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon refused to enter the territory of their Indian enemies; hence the Mason-Dixon Line Survey ended about 23 miles short of their goal: the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. In 1784, Philadelphia clock-maker and Astronomer David Rittenhouse, with surveyor Andrew Ellicott, completed surveying those last 23 miles.
A celebration of this 250th anniversary will occur at the Mason-Dixon Historical Park in Core, West Virginia, during the weekend of October 14 and 15. More information on the celebration:
Link >>> http://md250.exploretheline.com/
(Image Source: Amateur Astronomer Pete Zapadka)

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

 Related Blog Post ---


"Astronomical Calendar: 2017 September." 2017 Sept. 1.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/09/astronomical-calendar-2017-september.html


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              2017 October 1.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
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                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
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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 >

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fall Begins at Autumnal Equinox Friday Afternoon

http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/pix/graphics/solsticeimage008.png
This diagram shows the position of the Earth, in relation to the Sun, at the time of the Autumnal Equinox, as well as the other solstices and equinox of the year.
©1999, Eric G. Canali, former Floor Operations Manager of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers amateur astronomy club; permission granted for only non-profit use with credit to author.
Special Note --- The Autumnal Equinox also marks the date of a Memorial Service (at Chatham University Eden Hall Farm, Noon to 8:00 p.m. EDT) for Eric G. Canali, who passed-away at the age of 63 on August 31. Coincidentally, August 31 in 1991 was the date of the closing of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center) as a public museum. Mr. Canali, an avid amateur astronomer, had made his career at Buhl Planetarium.
More information about Mr. Canali: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#canalieg

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

The Autumnal Equinox, the beginning of the season of Autumn or Fall in the Northern Hemisphere of Earth, begins Friday Afternoon, 2017 September 22 at 4:02 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 20:02 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). In Earth's Southern Hemisphere, this marks the astronomical beginning of the season of Spring.

On the day of Equinox, the Sun appears directly overhead at local Noon on the Equator. At the moment of Equinox, the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of Earth are illuminated equally. And, the time of Equinox is the only time when the Earth Terminator (dividing line on Earth between daylight and darkness) is perpendicular to the Equator.

This, and the reason for seasons on Earth in the first place, is due to the fact that Earth rotates on its axis, which is tilted at an approximate 23.44-degree angle from the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. As the Earth revolves around the Sun, this axial tilt causes one hemisphere of the planet to receive more direct solar radiation during that hemisphere's season of Summer and much less direct solar radiation a half-year later during that hemisphere's season of Winter. As mentioned, during an Equinox (about half-way between Summer and Winter, and about half-way between Winter and Summer) both planetary hemispheres receive an equal amount of solar radiation.

Although "Equinox" in Latin means equal-night, the day of the Equinox does not actually have an equal amount of daylight and nightfall, as it appears on the Earth's surface. If the Sun was just a pin-point of light in our sky, as all other stars appear, day and night would be equal.

But, because the Sun is a disk, part of the Sun has risen above the horizon before the center of the Sun (which would be the pin-point of light); so there are extra moments of light on the Equinox. Likewise, part of the Sun is still visible, after the center of the Sun has set.

Additionally, the refraction of sunlight by our atmosphere causes sunlight to appear above the horizon, before sunrise and after sunset.

September 25 will mark the Equilux ("equal-light"), the actual day with equal hours and minutes of the Sun above the horizon, and equal hours and minutes of the Sun below the horizon. The Equilux occurs twice each year, approximately 3-to-4 days before the Vernal Equinox and 3-to-4 days after the Autumnal Equinox.

An urban legend that has been making the rounds for decades has it that eggs can be stood on their ends only during an Equinox, whether the Vernal Equinox in the Spring or the Autumnal Equinox in the Fall. This is completely false. Depending greatly on the size and shape of the particular egg, eggs can be stood on their ends any day of the year! Astronomy has nothing to do with whether an egg can stand on its end. If an egg can stand on its end on the Equinox (and, due to the shape and size of some eggs, this is not even possible), it can stand the same way any other day of the year.

In the last few years, with the help of the Internet and Social Media, another urban legend has become prevalent. Now it is claimed that brooms can stand, on their own, on their bristles, only on an Equinox day. This is also false. Again, as with eggs, if a broom can stand on its bristles by itself (this usually only works with newer brooms, with more even bristles) on an Equinox, it can do so any day of the year!

September 22 is also designated as the annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day for this year.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---


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

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

Earth's Seasons: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season

Tilt of a planet's axis: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_tilt

Urban legend of eggs and brooms standing on their own, only on an Equinox:
Link >>> http://www.snopes.com/science/equinox.asp

Falls Prevention Awareness Day: Link >>> http://www.ncoa.org/improve-health/center-for-healthy-aging/falls-prevention/falls-prevention-awareness.html

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Live Coverage: NASA Monitors Cassini Spacecraft's Dive Into Clouds of Saturn

Image result for cassini & rings images
Enhanced color image of Saturn's rings, from NASA's Cassini Space Mission.
(Image Source: NASA)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Friday morning (2017 September 15), NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) will monitor the Cassini Spacecraft as it ends its mission by diving into the clouds of Saturn. NASA-TV and NASA and JPL Internet web-sites will provide live steaming coverage as scientists monitor Cassini's “Grand Finale,” as well as news conferences before (Thursday afternoon) and after (Friday morning) the event (Links to NASA and JPL Internet-streaming coverage at end of this blog-post.)

Launched on 1997 October 15, the Cassini mission will end exactly one month shy of 20 years. The spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn on 2004 July 1, after swinging around Venus, Earth, and Jupiter for gravity-assist maneuvers. Cassini was a joint project of the American space agency, NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian space agency (ASI). It was the fourth space probe to visit Saturn, and the first to enter orbit around Saturn.

Carried with the Cassini Spacecraft was the Huygens space probe, an ESA project which landed on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, on 2005 January 14. To date, this is the only landing of a space probe on an object in the Outer Solar System, the only landing on a Moon (other than Earth's Moon), and the furthest from Earth a space probe has landed.

After 13 years in orbit of Saturn, following 7 years to travel from Earth to Saturn, the Cassini Spacecraft is now low in rocket fuel, used to adjust its course in orbit. After the discoveries that 2 of Saturn's moons (Enceladus and Titan) have the potential to harbor some type of life (or could develop life sometime in the future), scientists had a difficult decision to make.

Once Cassini's fuel is completely depleted, they could no longer control the spacecraft. Hence, there is a possibility that the spacecraft could crash-land on one of those moons. If this happened, Earth microbes, which may be on the spacecraft, could infect the moon's environment. Hence, the decision was made to have the Cassini Spacecraft dive into the clouds of Saturn, which are unlikely to be contaminated with Earth microbes.

The NASA / JPL scientists currently predict that, as Cassini dives into the clouds of Saturn, they will lose all radio communication with the spacecraft on Friday Morning, 2017 September 15 at 7:55 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 11:55 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Loss of signal could occur a few minutes later, if drag on the spacecraft caused by the Saturn atmosphere slows down the spacecraft's descent.

However, due to the great distance between Earth and Saturn at this time, there is still an 83-minute radio delay. So, whenever the radio signal is lost, the event causing the signal-loss would have actually occurred 83 minutes earlier.

Live coverage from NASA and from JPL, streamed live on their Internet web-sites, will occur on Friday, September 15 from 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. EDT / 11:00 to 12:30 UTC. This will be followed by a Cassini post-mission news conference on Friday, September 15 at 9:30 a.m. EDT / 13:30 UTC. There will also be a pre-event question-and-answer session with project scientists and engineers on Thursday Afternoon, September 14 at 4:00 p.m. EDT / 20:00 UTC.

Internet Web-Sites for Live-Streamed Coverage of Saturn "Grand Finale" ---

NASA-TV: Link >>> http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv

JPL / YouTube: Link >>> https://www.youtube.com/nasajpl/live

Most recent Cassini images of Saturn:
Link >>> http://go.nasa.gov/cassiniraw

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Cassini - Huygens Space Mission:
Link 1 >>> https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/cassini-huygens/
Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassini%E2%80%93Huygens

Cassini Spacecraft "Grand Finale":
Link 1 >>> https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/grand-finale/overview/
Link 2 >>> https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/
Link 3 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassini_retirement

Photograph of Cassini Spacecraft:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/09/astronomical-calendar-2017-september.html

"'Our Saturn years'," Cassini's epic journey to the ringed planet, told by the people who helped make it happen."
Link >>> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/cassini_huygens_saturn

Astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini - 1625 June 8 to 1712 September 14 -
Today, 2017 September 14, is the 305th anniversary of the death of Astronomer Cassini:
Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Domenico_Cassini

Allegheny Observatory (Pittsburgh) Astronomer James E. Keeler, who discovered that the rings of Saturn are made of individual particles, each in its own orbit around the planet. He also discovered a minor division in Saturn’s rings that became known as Keeler’s Gap:
Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com/bio/KeelerJ.htm

Related Blog Posts ---

"Cassini Probe Shows Colorful Storm at Saturn's North Pole." 2013 Dec. 5.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/12/cassini-probe-shows-colorful-storm-at.html


"Backlit View of Saturn & Rings: Cassini Spacecraft." 2012 Dec. 19.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2012/12/backlit-view-of-saturn-rings-cassini.html

 

"New, dramatic Saturn video created from Voyager and Cassini spacecraft images." 2012 April 25.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2012/04/new-saturn-video-created-from-voyager.html

 

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2017 September 14.

                             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 >

Friday, September 1, 2017

Astronomical Calendar: 2017 September

                                        
NASA's Cassini Spacecraft, now orbiting the Planet Saturn, will end its nearly 20-year mission by diving into Saturn's atmosphere on September 15.
More information:
Link 1 >>> https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/main/index.html
Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassini%E2%80%93Huygens

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

 Related Blog Post ---


"Astronomical Calendar: 2017 August." 2017 Aug. 1.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/08/astronomical-calendar-2017-august.html


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              2017 September 1.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

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

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

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

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, 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, August 26, 2017

Great American Solar Eclipse Early Mega-Movie & Balloon Images



 Loki Lego Launcher in eclipse
Two pre-teen sisters from Seattle, Rebecca and Kimberly Yeung, received this photograph of the
Moon's shadow (seen in the background), during the Eclipse as seen from a balloon over Glendo, Wyoming. More info: Link >>> https://www.geekwire.com/2017/seattles-space-sisters-get-great-views-learn-lessons-eclipse-balloon-flight/

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Thousands of photographs were taken from the ground of the Great American Solar Eclipse on Monday. Some of these photographs were included in the preliminary Eclipse Mega-Movie. While other photographs were taken from the stratosphere by balloon.

The preliminary Eclipse Mega-Movie can be found at the following Internet link. As more photographs are uploaded, improved versions of the Eclipse Mega-Movie will be available:

Link >>> https://eclipsemega.movie/

A nine-minute video of the Eclipse from a balloon over central Oregon:

Link >>> https://petapixel.com/2017/08/25/camera-balloon-captures-total-solar-eclipse-near-space/

Photographs from the Eclipse Ballooning Project:

Link >>> https://montana.app.box.com/s/4o3zkmhukdvocfg55kma5ol9ezxlajcc/folder/36026794370

The following are a couple more Eclipse photographs taken from balloons.



These two images were taken over Wyoming and Nebraska by balloons launched by
the Citizen Science project Earth to Sky Calculus, co-sponsored by SpaceWeather.com .
More photographs and more information can be found on the Earth to Sky Calculus
Facebook Page:

Link >>> https://www.facebook.com/pg/earthtoskycalculus/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1443217922428832

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Great American Solar Eclipse:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2017.html#GASE

Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun: Tips for Safe Viewing:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/soleclipse/solareclipseviewingtips.html

Zubritsky, Elizabeth. "NASA's Lunar Mission Captures Solar Eclipse as Seen From the Moon."
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center 2017 Aug. 29.
Link >>> https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/LRO-captures-eclipse-from-the-moon

Chakrabarti, Meghna. "What The Solar Eclipse Is Teaching One NASA Scientist About Mars."
Radio Interview
Hear and Now Radio Program / WBUR-FM / National Public Radio 2017 Aug. 29.
Link >>> http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2017/08/29/solar-eclipse-mars-nasa

2017 August 21 -
Public observing session for the Great American Solar Eclipse, co-sponsored by
Friends of the Zeiss and the Mount Lebanon Public Library. The Mount Lebanon Public
Library estimated public attendance at 300. Members of Friends of the Zeiss
participating in this event were Glenn A. Walsh, Lynne S. Walsh, James McKee, and
Josie Dougherty(eighth-grade student who had just attended NASA's Space Camp in
Huntsville, Alabama). 
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/history.html#GASE 

Related Blog Posts ---

"Great American Solar Eclipse: More Citizen Science Projects." 2017 Aug. 18.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/08/great-american-solar-eclipse-more.html

 

"Great American Solar Eclipse Next Monday: Some Ways to See It Safely."

2017 Aug. 14.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/08/great-american-solar-eclipse-next-mon.html

 

"Citizen Science: Aug. 21 Great American Solar Eclipse Mega-Movie Project."

2017 July 24.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/07/citizen-science-aug-21-great-american.html


"Strong Solar Flare Seen, Although Approaching Sunspot Minimum." 2017 July 15.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/07/strong-solar-flare-seen-although.html

 

"Special Solar Eclipse Stamp to be Unveiled During Stonehenge-Type Solstice Event in Wyoming." 2017 June 19.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/06/special-solar-eclipse-stamps-to-be.html

Photos of New U.S. Postage Stamp Marking Great American Solar Eclipse:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/06/astronomical-calendar-2017-june.html

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2017 August 26.

                             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 >

Friday, August 18, 2017

Great American Solar Eclipse: More Citizen Science Projects

Radio Studio of WCDW-AM
Radio equipment (particularly the Hammerlund multi-band radio receiver on the
right) used for a long-distance radio reception experiment during the Solar
Eclipse of 1972 July 10. This radio equipment was usually used for radio
station WLCR-AM Carrier Current, operated by Summer campers at Camp
Shaw-Mi-Del-Eca near White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
More info: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com/wlcr.html#vain
For the 2017 August 21 Solar Eclipse, EclipseMob and HamSCI are two Citizen
Science projects which will conduct similar radio experiments.
(Image Source: Kent C. Hoffman, Founder, The Radio Group)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Last month, SpaceWatchtower reported on the Great American Solar Eclipse Mega-Movie Project, a major Citizen Science project during next week's Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun:


However, several other Citizen Science projects will allow members of the general public to make a contribution to scientific knowledge during this rare event ---

EclipseMob.org - EclipseMob is a crowd-sourced effort to conduct the largest-ever low-frequency radio wave propagation experiment during the 2017 solar eclipse. You can build your own radio receiver and participate in the measurement!


HamSCI 2017 Solar Eclipse Experiment - Ham-radio operators can participate in a number of experiments to measure eclipse-triggered changes in the ionosphere.


Similar radio experiments have been conducted during past Solar Eclipses by The Radio Group (which operated a student-run radio station) near White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia during the Eclipse of 1972 July 10 and by Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center) during the Eclipse of 1991 July 11 with the assistance of the Amateur Transmitters' Association of Western Pennsylvania.

How Cool is the Eclipse? - Collect air- and surface-temperature data on the GLOBE Observer App, even outside the path of totality.


The QuantumWeather Project – This project is participating in a NSF-EPSCOR sponsored project to measure surface and lower atmosphere changes during the eclipse. The 100 surface stations, 9 radiosondes and 3 UAS will be making measurements before, during and after the eclipse. This project is led by Dr. Robert Pasken at the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Saint Louis University.


Eclipse Edge Determination Experiment (International Occultation Timing Association) - The organizers of this project aim to pinpoint the actual edge of the path of totality. The most developed effort so far is at Minden, Nebraska. Others at any other location near the path edges are invited to record the eclipse with smart-phones and small telescopes. The goals are to help determine the accuracy of eclipse path predictions and to contribute to a long-term study to measure possible changes in the size of the Sun.


How Dark Does the Sky Get During a Solar Eclipse (GLOBE at Night) - If you are within the path of totality on August 21, 2017, you can participate in an activity to observe and record the faintest stars visible as a means of measuring how dark the daytime sky gets when the Sun is blocked by the Moon. By locating and observing the Big Dipper during totality and comparing it to star charts, you'll help researchers document darkness levels of the daytime sky during a total solar eclipse.


Eclipse Soundscapes Project - For the visually impaired, or others who are unable to see the eclipse with their own eyes, the Eclipse Soundscapes Project delivers a multisensory experience of this exciting celestial event. The project, from NASA’s Heliophysics Education Consortium, will include audio descriptions of the eclipse in real time, recordings of the changing environmental sounds during the eclipse, and an interactive “rumble map” app that will allow users to visualize the eclipse through touch. Use a mobile app to assist in this Harvard-Smithsonian project to record sound during the eclipse.


DIY Relativity Test - Uber-wonks can follow a published protocol to replicate the 1919 eclipse observations that validated Einstein’s theory of relativity.


Modern Eddington Experiment (Bradley E. Schaefer, Louisiana State University) - Similar to Donald Bruns's Do-It-Yourself Relativity Test (above), but organized by a professional astronomer and historian of science who specializes in difficult observing challenges, the MEE will attempt to confirm Einstein's general theory of relativity with higher precision than that achieved by Arthur Eddington at the 1919 eclipse. Can you photograph the deflection of starlight by the Sun's mass with your own telescope and camera? Give it a try!


Life Responds - There is some evidence that plant and animal life react to the environmental changes that occur during a total solar eclipse. The California Academy of Sciences invites citizen scientists like you to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record eclipse-related animal behavior with the iNaturalist app.


Eclipse Ballooning Project - This project no longer accepting volunteers. - Students will conduct high altitude balloon (HAB) flights from about 25 locations across the 8/21/2017 total eclipse path, from Oregon to South Carolina, sending live video and images from near space to the NASA website. Video and images of a total eclipse from near space are fascinating – and they’ve only been taken once before, in Australia in 2012, see footage. It’s never been done live, and certainly not in a network of coverage across a continent.


Solar Eclipse Balloon Network (SpaceWeather.com & Earth to Sky Calculus) - Scientists and students have developed a balloon payload that can photograph solar eclipses from the stratosphere. During the August 21st eclipse they'll launch balloons from up to 12 points along the path of totality to create a 360° movie of the Moon's shadow sweeping across the U.S., not unlike the NASA Space Grant Eclipse Ballooning Project (see above). The team asks for donations from the public to finance the effort.


Citizen CATE (Continental-America Telescope Eclipse) – This project no longer accepting volunteers. - The Citizen CATE (Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse) Experiment aims to capture images of the inner solar corona using a network of more than 60 telescopes operated by citizen scientists, high school groups and universities.


Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Great American Solar Eclipse:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2017.html#GASE

Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun: Tips for Safe Viewing:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/soleclipse/solareclipseviewingtips.html

More Citizen Science Projects:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/citizenscience.html

2017 August 21 -
Public observing session for the Great American Solar Eclipse, co-sponsored by
Friends of the Zeiss and the Mount Lebanon Public Library. The Mount Lebanon Public
Library estimated public attendance at 300. Members of Friends of the Zeiss
participating in this event were Glenn A. Walsh, Lynne S. Walsh, James McKee, and
Josie Dougherty(eighth-grade student who had just attended NASA's Space Camp in
Huntsville, Alabama). 
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/history.html#GASE 

Related Blog Posts ---

"Great American Solar Eclipse Next Monday: Some Ways to See It Safely."

2017 Aug. 14.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/08/great-american-solar-eclipse-next-mon.html

 

"Citizen Science: Aug. 21 Great American Solar Eclipse Mega-Movie Project."

2017 July 24.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/07/citizen-science-aug-21-great-american.html


"Strong Solar Flare Seen, Although Approaching Sunspot Minimum." 2017 July 15.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/07/strong-solar-flare-seen-although.html

 

"Special Solar Eclipse Stamp to be Unveiled During Stonehenge-Type Solstice Event in Wyoming." 2017 June 19.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/06/special-solar-eclipse-stamps-to-be.html

Photos of New U.S. Postage Stamp Marking Great American Solar Eclipse:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/06/astronomical-calendar-2017-june.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 August 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, 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 >