Monday, May 23, 2022

Public Comments Due May 31: NASA Plans to Explore Moon & Mars

  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Mars%2C_Earth_size_comparison.jpg

These two photographs show a side-by-side comparison of the sizes of the planets Earth (on left) and Mars (on right). Now, NASA seeks input on future Deep Space exploration, particularly human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

[Image Sources: NASA (image of Earth), European Space Agency (image of Mars), Wikipedia.org, By Earth: NASA/Apollo 17 crew; Mars: ESA/MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA - File:The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpgFile:OSIRIS Mars true color.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39785451}

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Last week (on 2022 May 17), NASA released a draft document containing a set of high-level objectives regarding future human exploration of the Moon and Mars. NASA is seeking input from U.S. industry, academia, international communities, NASA employees, and other stakeholders, as well as the general public, regarding these objectives; comments are due to NASA by May 31.

The NASA draft document identifies 50 proposed objectives, within four major categories:

  1. Transportation and Habitation

  2. Moon and Mars Infrastructure

  3. Operations

  4. Science

An Internet link to the draft NASA document can be found near the end of this blog-post. Another Internet link to provide NASA with public comments can also be found near the end of this blog-post.

“The feedback we receive on the objectives we have identified will inform our exploration plans at the Moon and Mars for the next 20 years,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “We’re looking within NASA and to external stakeholders to help us fine-tune these objectives and be as transparent as possible throughout our process. With this approach, we will find potential gaps in our architecture as well as areas where our goals align with those from industry and international partners for future collaboration.”

This project is being managed by a team in the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“These objectives will move us toward our first analog Mars mission with crew in space and prepare us for the first human mission to the surface of the Red Planet,” said Jim Free, NASA Associate Administrator for the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate. “After reviewing feedback on the objectives, we will work with our partners to discuss input and finalize our framework this fall.”

Feedback on the draft document will be discussed at two NASA-sponsored stakeholder workshops. The first in June will be with NASA partners in American industry and academia. The second workshop in July will be with international organizations.

NASA Draft Document of 50 Objectives:

Link >>> https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/moon-to-mars-objectives-.pdf

Public comments will be accepted at the following NASA web-site. Public comments are due to NASA by the end of the business day on Tuesday Afternoon, 2022 May 31:

Link >>> https://socialforms.nasa.gov/m2m-objectives

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

NASA News Release on this project: Link >>> https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-seeks-input-on-moon-to-mars-objectives-comments-due-may-31

NASA Artemis Program to Return Humans to the Moon:

Link 1 >>> https://www.nasa.gov/artemis-1

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

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

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

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

                 Monday, 2022 May 23.

                             Like This Post?  Please Share!

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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

 

 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Live-Stream Thur. PM: NASA Starliner Test Flight Launch

        

This Sunday, 2019 December 22 photograph shows the Boeing Starliner space capsule following a landing at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, during the first Orbital Flight Test (OFT). A scheduled docking with the International Space Station (ISS) was scrubbed due to technical difficulties. Consequently, the mission ended early.

(Image Sources: NASA, Wikipedia.org, By NASA/Bill Ingalls - https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasahqphoto/49258250868/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85140253)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

SpaceX has been launching NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) since 2020. Early Thursday evening, the Boeing Corporation plans to launch their uncrewed Starliner space vehicle to the ISS in the second test of an alternative method of transporting astronauts into Outer Space.

NASA's Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission of the United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, on an Atlas V rocket, for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, is scheduled for launch to the ISS on Thursday Evening, 2022 May 19 at 6:54 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 22:54 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

NASA-TV Live-Stream coverage on the Internet begins on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. EDT / 22:00 UTC. Assuming no problems or delays with the launch, a NASA post-launch news conference is scheduled for Thursday at 9:00 p.m. EDT / Friday at 1:00 UTC.

NASA-TV will also provide Live-Stream Internet coverage of three other scheduled events:

  • Friday, 2022 May 20, 3:30 p.m. EDT / 19:30 UTC - Rendezvous and docking of NASA's Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 vehicle to the International Space Station

  • Saturday, 2022 May 21, 11:30 a.m. EDT / 15:30 UTC - Opening of the hatch to NASA's Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 vehicle at the International Space Station (Hatch opening is scheduled at 11:45 a.m. EDT / 15:45 UTC and will continue through welcoming remarks by the crew)

  • Saturday, 2022 May 21, 1:00 p.m. EDT / 17:00 UTC - Welcoming remarks by the Expedition 67 crew on the arrival of NASA's Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 vehicle to the International Space Station

Internet link to NASA-TV Live-Stream coverage of these scheduled events can be found near the end of this blog-post.

The Boeing Starliner capsule has a diameter of 15.0 feet / 4.56 meters. This is slightly larger than the Apollo Command Module and the SpaceX Dragon 2 capsule; it is slightly smaller than the Orion capsule. Starliner can hold a crew of up to seven people and can stay docked to the ISS for up to seven months. The Starliner capsule is designed to be reused--for up-to ten flights. It is compatible with the Delta IV, Falcon 9, and Vulcan Centaur launch vehicles, in addition to the Atlas V which will be used for the OFT-2 launch

This uncrewed flight will carry 800 pounds of cargo to the ISS. This includes about 500 pounds of NASA cargo and crew supplies.

According to a NASA news release, “OFT-2 will test the end-to-end capabilities of Starliner from launch to docking, atmospheric re-entry, and a desert landing in the western United States. OFT-2 will provide valuable data that will help NASA certify Boeing’s crew transportation system to carry astronauts to and from the space station.”

Rosie the Rocketeer, Boeing's anthropometric test device, will be in the Starliner commander’s seat during the OFT-2 mission. During the OFT-1 mission, Rosie the Rocketeer was outfitted with 15 sensors to develop information regarding what live astronauts would experience during a Starliner mission. This data capture will be enhanced during the OFT-2 mission.

Automated operation of the Starliner vehicle will be one of the primary tests of the OFT-2 mission. This includes autonomous docking with the Space Station using Starliner’s vision-based navigation system. Starliner will also demonstrate the spacecraft's ability to autonomously retreat from a docking approach, in the case of an emergency.

Once Starliner docks with the ISS, it will spend 5-to-10 days docked to the Space Station. The Starliner will, then, return to Earth, landing in the western United States, with nearly 600 pounds of cargo, including reusable Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System tanks that provide breathable air to station crew members.

The OFT-2 mission will be Boeing's second orbital flight test of Starliner. The first mission, OFT-1 in December of 2019, ended prematurely due to technical problems; a scheduled docking with the ISS did not occur. A second attempt (Boe-OFT-2) in August of 2021 was never launched, due to inoperable valves in the propulsion system. The OFT-2 mission includes the first flight of the second Starliner crew module.

With the OFT-2 mission, Boeing hopes to prove to NASA that the Starliner meets the space agency's requirements for safe transportation of astronauts into Outer Space, including docking with the ISS. Upon completion of a successful OFT-2 mission, a Starliner Crew Flight Test (CFT) to the ISS with NASA astronauts could occur before the end of this year.

Internet Link to LIVE-STREAM coverage of NASA Boeing Starliner launch and events:

Link >>> https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Internet links to additional information ---

Starliner:

Link 1 >>> https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/tag/cst-100-starliner/ 

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

NASA News Release on Starliner Launch: Link >>> https://www.nasa.gov/feature/what-you-need-to-know-about-nasa-s-boeing-orbital-flight-test-2-0

Photograph of Starliner crew module being mounted on Atlas V launch vehicle at Cape Canaveral:

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2022/05/astro-calendar-2022-may-starliner-test.html

Related Blog-Posts ---

 "Starliner Test Flight May 19." Mon., 2022 May 2.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2022/05/astro-calendar-2022-may-starliner-test.html

"Update: Boeing Starliner Launch Delayed Indefinitely." Sun., 2021 Aug. 1.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2021/08/astro-calendar-2021-aug-boeing.html

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

                 Thursday, 2022 May 19.

                             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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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

 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Total Lunar Eclipse Sun. PM/Mon. AM w/Live-Streams

                   

This graphic shows the configuration of the Sun, Earth, and Earth's Moon during a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon. (Graphic sources: Wikipedia.org, By Sagredo - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3629491)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

A Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon, visible in most of the Western Hemisphere, Western Europe, and Africa, occurs late Sunday night and early Monday morning.

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 Total Lunar Eclipse / Total 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).

Everyone on the night side or dark side of the Earth can view at least part of any Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon, weather-permitting. For the May 15 to 16 eclipse, only people in north-western North America, eastern Europe, Asia, Middle East, and the extreme eastern section of Africa could not view any part of the eclipse in the sky; they would need to watch the eclipse on the Internet.

Internet link to a graphic by NASA, showing areas of the Earth where the Eclipse will be visible weather-permitting, can be found near the end of this blog-post.

MAJOR STAGES OF TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE / TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE MOON –--

Late Sunday Evening, 2022 May 15 and Early Monday Morning, 2022 May 16 -

[Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 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, the international time used by scientists. Everyone on the night side or dark side of Earth can view this Eclipse in the sky, weather-permitting.)

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse Begins --- Sun., 9:31:44 p.m. EDT / Mon., 1:31:44 UTC

Partial Lunar Eclipse Begins --- Sun., 10:27:31 p.m. EST / Mon., 2:27:31 UTC

Total Lunar Eclipse Begins --- Sun., 11:28:40 p.m. EDT / Mon., 3:28:40 UTC

Greatest Total Lunar Eclipse --- Mon., 12:11:31 a.m. EDT / 4:11:31 UTC

Primary Moon Phase: Full Moon – Flower Moon --- Mon., 12:14 a.m. EDT / 4:14 UTC

Total Lunar Eclipse Ends --- Mon., 12:54:11 a.m. EDT / 4:54:11 UTC

Partial Lunar Eclipse Ends --- Mon., 1:55:27 a.m. EDT / 5:55:27 UTC

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse Ends --- Mon., 2:51:11 a.m. EDT / 6:51:11 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 night side or dark side of the Earth, is divided into two sections: the dim Penumbra or Penumbral shadow, which encircles the deeper Umbra or Umbral shadow.

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 May the Flower Moon, but, more on that later. 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. Only when the Full Moon crosses the plane of the Earth's orbit will a Lunar Eclipse occur.

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. This is exactly one Lunar Year between the 2021 May 26 and 2022 May 16 Total Lunar Eclipses. A Lunar Year, 354.4 days long, is 11 days shorter than a Gregorian Calendar Year. A Lunar Year is composed of 12 Lunations. One Lunation is the time period between one Full Moon Phase and the next Full Moon Phase, or about 29.5 days.

Interestingly, it actually only takes 27 days, 7 hours, and 43 minutes for the Moon to make one complete orbit around the Earth (The Moon appears to move 12-to-13 degrees east, in the sky, every day; this is why moonrise is, on average, about 50 minutes later each day.). Due to the Earth's revolution around the Sun, the Moon must travel a couple extra days to make-up for the added distance and complete the Lunation.

The next Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon will occur on 2022 November 8, one Lunar Semester (6 Lunations) from the 2022 May 16 Eclipse. And, one Lunar Year from the 2022 May 16 Eclipse will be a slight Eclipse, a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse / Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon on 2023 May 5 to 6.

The total duration of the 2022 May 15 to 16 Eclipse will be 5 hours and 19 minutes. The duration of the Total Phase of this Eclipse will be 1 hour and 25 minutes. The duration of the Partial Phases of this Eclipse will be 2 hours and 2 minutes. The duration of the Penumbral Phases of this Eclipse will be 1 hour and 51 minutes.

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.

A telescope or binoculars can make Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon observations more valuable. However, in the case of a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon, binoculars or a telescope would not be necessary. A Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon can, usually, be easily observed with the naked-eyes (one-power).

For areas where a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon occurs near the time of Moon-rise or Moon-set, a good view of the horizon would be necessary to achieve a good view of such an Eclipse. This would be particularly true for areas where hills or mountains, tree-cover, or buildings could obstruct the view of the horizon.

A good view of the horizon may also be important when the Eclipse has a lower Declination, that is the object being viewed crosses the sky at a lower elevation in the sky. In the case of a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon, such an object would always have a lower Declination during months in, and adjacent to, the season of Summer. 

As with all celestial events observed from the surface of planet Earth, sky weather conditions must be acceptable for a successful observation. Inclement weather, including many clouds in the sky, can make a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon observation difficult, if not impossible. Again,, one or more Live-Stream Web-Casts on the Internet may be available if weather conditions do not allow direct viewing of the event.

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.

As the percentage of the Earth's shadow which falls on the Moon is relatively small, an observation of the curvature of the Earth's shadow on the Moon is not easy to discern, particularly without use of binoculars or a telescope which were not available in Aristotle's day. One of the best times to search for curvature of the Earth's shadow on the surface of the Moon, during a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon, is during the middle of either partial eclipse phase, when the largest portion of the shadow's edge can be viewed.  The shadow's curvature may also be noticeable near the time just before total eclipse phase begins and just after total eclipse phase ends.

One of the other two indications, determined by Aristotle, was 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.

Full Moon of May

The Primary Moon Phase of Full Moon occurs in May on Monday Morning, 2022 May 16 at 12:14 a.m. EDT / 4:14 UTC. At the mid-point of Spring, with flowers finally starting to bloom after the long cold Winter, the May Full Moon is primarily known as the Flower Moon to Native Americans.

Due to increasing fertility in mid-Spring, along with the end of hard frosts and warmer temperatures better attuned to the bearing of young and the raising of crops, in the Northern Hemisphere the Full Moon of May is also known as the Mother's Moon, and the Corn-Planting Moon or just Planting Moon. And, as Beltaine (better known as May Day, on May 1) was the time when farmers in Medieval Europe would move their cows to the better Summer pastures, it was also known as the Milk Moon.

As the Southern Hemisphere begins to enter their colder months, their Full Moon names include Hunter's Moon, Beaver Moon, and Frost Moon.

Full Moon of May Could Have Affected U.S. Civil War

In a 2013 study, Astronomer Don Olson and Researcher Laurie E. Jasinski from Texas State University claim an errant shot, influenced by the Full Moon, could have affected the outcome of the U.S. Civil War.

During the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia, on 1863 May 2, Confederate soldiers inadvertently shot Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. The General had been mistaken for enemy troops when the mishap occurred.

According to the Texas State University researchers, the angle of the moonlight of the Full Moon, that evening, obscured the view of the Confederate infantrymen, the men of the 18th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. Their conclusion is based on the use moon phases and maps to reconstruct the incident.

General Stonewall Jackson lost his left arm to amputation due to the incident. Due to his weakened condition, he died of pneumonia eight days later.

Live-Stream Web-Casts of 2022 May 15 to 16 Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon ---

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles: Link >>> https://griffithobservatory.org/event/total-lunar-eclipse-broadcast/ 

Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona (YouTube.com): Link >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRhFaNVxGrQ

TimeandDate.com: Link >>> https://www.timeanddate.com/live/eclipse-lunar-2022-may-16

Virtual Telescope Project (YouTube.com): Link >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3M6FSVRXWA

High Point Scientific (YouTube.com): Link >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j85KhAmgUuk

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

World Map Showing Areas of Eclipse Visibility (NASA): Link >>> https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=4981&button=recent

Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_eclipse

Earth's Moon: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon 

Our Solar System's Sun: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun

Additional links and information: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2022.html#luneclipse20220516 

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

                 Friday, 2022 May 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, May 2, 2022

Astro-Calendar: 2022 May / Starliner Test Flight May 19

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/14/CST-100_Starliner_integration_with_Atlas_V_for_Orbital_Flight_Test_%28KSC-20191121-PH-CSH02_0080%29_%28cropped%29.jpg

This photograph shows the Boeing Starliner spacecraft being mounted on top of the ULA Atlas V rocket at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The second flight test is scheduled for May 19. More Information: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2022.html#starliner2022-5

(Image Sources: NASA, Wikipedia.org, By NASA/Cory Huston - https://www.nasa.gov/feature/boeing-cst-100-starliner-takes-next-step-for-orbital-flight-test (image link), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87867676)

Astronomical Calendar for 2022 May ---
Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2022.html#may

 Related Blog Post ---

"Astro-Calendar: 2022 April / 1st Private Astronaut Launch to Space Station April 6" Fri., 2022 April 1.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2022/04/astro-calendar-2022-april-1st-private.html

Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
            Monday, 2022 May 2.

                             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

Friday, April 29, 2022

This Weekend: Brilliant Conjunction of 2 Brightest Planets

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/08/Venus_from_Mariner_10.jpg

This image of the planet Venus was taken by the NASA spacecraft Mariner 10 in February of 1974, as it passed Venus at the closest distance of 3,584 statute miles / 5,768 kilometers (closest approach on 1974 February 5). Mariner 10 went on to pass planet Mercury the following month (1974 March 29) as the spacecraft became the first robotic mission to successfully fly-by more than one planet.Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the night sky, will appear very close in the morning sky this weekend. 

(Image Sources: NASA, Wikipedia.org, By NASA/JPL-Caltech - https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/2524/newly-processed-views-of-venus-from-mariner-10/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=105847882)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

This weekend (Saturday & Sunday, 2022 April 30 & May 1), the two brightest planets in the night sky, Venus and Jupiter, will be in Conjunction and could appear to touch or even merge in the morning sky on Saturday and Sunday.

People can view this brilliant conjunction of the two planets, weather-permitting, low in the eastern sky, close to where the Sun will be rising, just before local Dawn. Venus will be the brighter of the two objects, about six times brighter than Jupiter. Apparent Visual Magnitude for Venus will be -4.1; for Jupiter, -2.1.

As the two points of light appear to touch, they may appear to merge into one object. Binoculars or a small telescope can be used to separate the two points of light. Both Saturday and Sunday mornings, the two planets will appear about a half-degree apart (Saturday: 0.5 degree, Sunday: 0.6 degree); this small separation can be described as less than the diameter of the Moon at the Full Moon Primary Phase (~0.5 degree).

However, both planets are moving. So, although the distance between the two planets (as seen from Earth) will be generally the same both mornings, the two planets will actually switch places from Saturday morning to Sunday morning! After the weekend, the two planets will still appear fairly close, but each day they will be moving a little farther apart.

With a reddish-orange tint, the planet Mars can be seen above and to the right of Venus and Jupiter. And, the planet Saturn can be seen above and to the right of Mars. Mars and Saturn are much fainter than Venus and Jupiter (Apparent Visual Magnitude – Mars: 0.9, Saturn: 0.8). As you look higher in the sky from east to south-east, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn appear to form a line in the sky.

Venus is dropping down in the sky from day-to-day, as it appears to move closer to the Sun in the sky; at the same time, Venus becomes a touch fainter, but still fairly bright. You can continue to view Venus in the morning sky until late Summer. On October 22 (at 5:00 p.m. EDT / 21:00 UTC), it will pass behind the Sun (Superior Conjunction: when Venus cannot be seen, even with a telescope), and Venus can be seen in the evening sky later in the Autumn.

Currently, Jupiter is moving away from the Sun each day, in the morning sky, and becoming brighter as it gets higher in the sky. On September 26 (at 4:00 p.m. EDT / 20:00 UTC), Jupiter will be at its brightest (Apparent Visual Magnitude: -2.9) when it reaches Opposition in relation to the Sun and shines all night long.

Generally, the word Conjunction is used to describe any two celestial objects that pass close to each other. Technically, in Astronomy a Conjunction is when two objects in the sky have the same Right Ascension or the same Ecliptic Longitude, the sky coordinate systems used by astronomers. Conjunctions can occur between two planets, the Moon and a planet, or the Moon or a planet and a star. Conjunctions are a matter of the viewer's perspective. In the vast majority of cases, the two objects in Conjunction are actually great distances apart.

The actual distance between Venus and Jupiter is great. Venus, the second-closest planet to the Sun, will be 430 million statute miles / 692 kilometers from Jupiter, the fifth-closest planet to the Sun, at the time of Conjunction.

The actual Conjunction occurs on Saturday, 2022 April 30 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 19:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). At that time, Venus and Jupiter appear at their closest: Venus is, then, predicted to be 0.2 degree south of Jupiter.

This Conjunction occurs a couple hours before the Primary Moon Phase of New Moon (Lunation #1229), which occurs on Saturday at 4:28 p.m. EDT / 20:28 UTC. This second New Moon in one calendar month is sometimes referred to as a Black Moon.

About the same time there will be a Partial Solar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Sun visible, weather-permitting in the southern portion of South America and a small portion of Antarctica (time of Greatest Eclipse is on Saturday at 4:41:25.8 p.m. EDT / 20:41:25.8 UTC). Near the end of this blog-post is an Internet link to a blog-post describing this Partial Solar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Sun. Never look directly at any Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun, unless you have the proper equipment and proper training to do so safely !

Venus appears as the brightest object in the night sky, except for the Earth's Moon, for three reasons:

  1. Venus is shrouded in bright white, reflective clouds.

  2. Venus is the closest planet to the Earth.

  3. Venus is closer to the Sun than the Earth, and brightly reflects the Sun's illumination from Venus to Earth.

While just a wee bit smaller than Earth, Venus differs greatly from the Earth. The planet's atmosphere has intense heat (hottest surface of any planet in our Solar System), crushing atmospheric pressure (about 92 times the sea-level pressure of Earth), and the clouds are composed of corrosive sulfuric acid.

Although much farther away from Earth, Venus, and the Sun, Jupiter appears as the second brightest planet in the night sky due to its massive size. Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System, a gas giant also covered with clouds, bands and belts of clouds.

Jupiter has a mass or weight more than two-and-one-half times the mass of all the other major planets in our Solar System, combined. Jupiter is composed mostly of Hydrogen (chemical element symbol: H), along with Helium (chemical element symbol: He) being one-quarter of Jupiter's mass and one-tenth of its volume.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Sky Graphics of Conjunction: Link >>> https://earthsky.org/tonight/venus-and-jupiter-conjunction-april-30-may-1-2022/

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

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

Conjunction: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunction_(astronomy)

 NASA's Mariner 10 space probe: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariner_10

Related Blog-Post ---

Saturday: Partial Solar Eclipse Visible in South America, Antarctic." Tue., 2022 April 26.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2022/04/saturday-partial-solar-eclipse-visible.html

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

                 Friday, 2022 April 29.

                             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

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Saturday: Partial Solar Eclipse Visible in South America, Antarctica

http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/SolarEclipseSafetyCanali.GIF

This graphic shows one way to safely view a Partial Solar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Sun or the partial phases of any other Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun by building a Solar Pinhole Viewing Box (a.k.a. Pinhole Camera) as shown above. After building this box, you must turn your back to the Sun and allow the light from the Sun to go through the pinhole and shine on a white piece of paper on the other end of the box (NEVER LOOK THROUGH THE PINHOLE AT THE SUN!).

(Graphic Source: Eric G. Canali, former Floor Operations Manager 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) , and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers amateur astronomy club.)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

A Partial Solar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Sun, visible weather-permitting in the southern portion of South America and a small portion of Antarctica as well as small portions of the South Pacific and South Atlantic Oceans, occurs this Saturday afternoon.

A Partial Solar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Sun takes place when the Moon blocks part, but not all, of the Sun's surface, visible from a specific portion of the Earth's surface. Although not as much scientific information about the Sun can be derived from a Partial Solar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Sun, precise timings of the beginning and ending of such eclipses can help determine precise distances between the Sun and the Earth.

NO PORTION OF A PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE / PARTIAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IS SAFE TO VIEW WITH THE NAKED-EYES (one-power), BINOCULARS, OR A TELESCOPE !

NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT ANY SOLAR ECLIPSE / ECLIPSE OF THE SUN, UNLESS YOU HAVE THE PROPER EQUIPMENT AND PROPER TRAINING TO DO SO SAFELY !

OTHERWISE EYE-SIGHT COULD BE DAMAGED PERMANENTLY !!!

Special Internet Link >>> SOLAR ECLIPSE / ECLIPSE OF THE SUN: TIPS FOR SAFE VIEWING

Predicted Times for Partial Solar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Sun of Saturday, 2022 April 30

(EDT = Eastern Daylight Saving Time; UTC = Coordinated Universal Time)

Eclipse Begins: 2:45:19 p.m. EDT / 18:45:19 UTC

Primary Moon Phase: New Moon - Lunation #1229: 4:28 p.m. EDT / 20:28 UTC

This second New Moon in one calendar month is sometimes referred to as a Black Moon.

Time of Greatest Eclipse: 4:41:25.8 p.m. EDT / 20:41:25.8 UTC

Eclipse Ends: 6:38:01 p.m. EDT / 22:38:01 UTC

Internet Links to More Details on April 30 Eclipse ---

Link 1 (NASA) >>> https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEsearch/SEsearchmap.php?Ecl=20220430 

Link 2 >>> https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2022-april-30 

Link 3 >>> https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/partial-solar-eclipse-april-30-2022/ 

Link 4 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_April_30,_2022

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

                 Tuesday, 2022 April 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, 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, April 18, 2022

CMU to Build 1st Univ.-Based Space Mission Control

https://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2022/march/images/moonshot-mission-control-2000x1000-min.jpg

Artist's rendering of the future Moonshot Mission Control Center at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University. (Image Source: Carnegie Mellon University)

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) plans to construct the first University-based Mission Control Center for robotic missions to the Moon. The Moonshot Mission Control Center will be used to control and communicate with CMU-originated Iris and MoonRanger robotic missions to the Moon, scheduled for launch in the next two years.

The Iris robotic mission, scheduled for launch later this year, will be the smallest, first American, first university-built, and first student-built rover on the Earth's Moon. Scheduled for launch in 2023, MoonRanger will be the first rover to search for evidence of water on the lunar surface and will explore the Moon's South Pole.

"Carnegie Mellon is going to the moon, and building and outfitting Moonshot Mission Control is critical to success," said William “Red” Whittaker, University Founders Research Professor in the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute. "The culmination of many years and countless hours of work by hundreds of individuals has brought us to a pivotal moment in the history of the university and space exploration. As CMU launches two rovers over the next two years, we will lead the way."

The Peregrine Lander, manufactured by Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology, will deliver the 4-pound Iris robot to the Moon. To be launched into space, this robot designed by CMU students, successfully passed a critical design review by NASA.

The Moonshot Mission Control Center will be located in the Gates Center for Computer Science in the School of Computer Science, on the university's main campus in the Oakland Civic Center section of Pittsburgh. Dedicated work-stations for operators and the Flight Director will allow them to control the rovers on the Moon, as well as monitor telemetry, localization data, and Fault List Evaluator for Ultimate Response (FLEUR) readouts.

In addition to the Iris and MoonRanger missions, the Moonshot Mission Control Center will be built to allow adjustments for robotic space missions beyond 2023. This could include ongoing CubeSat missions, testing battery-less nanosatellites, building robots to service satellites in orbit, developing capabilities for satellite swarms, and more.

"Once our rovers land on the moon, every second counts," said Lydia Schweitzer, a Research Associate in the Robotics Institute and head of CMU mission operations. "Communication windows during missions are extremely limited. We need to make decisions quickly. Moonshot Mission Control will be an ideal place for the crew to monitor and direct our rovers."

A crowd-funding campaign announced on March 29, as well as sponsorships and gifts, will be used to raise the $80,000 needed for the Moonshot Mission Control Center. The funds will be used to rehabilitate an existing classroom, as well as purchase computer servers, computers, and communications equipment capable of maintaining contact on the Moon.

A past crowd-funding campaign successfully raised more than $66,000 from 250 people for the Iris mission.

A commercial spin-off from CMU, Astrobotic will open a Moonshot Museum on Pittsburgh's Lower North Side in October. This new museum will be located adjacent to Astrobotic's manufacturing facility. In addition to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education for young people, this museum will allow the general public to watch Moon rovers being constructed.

Carnegie Mellon University originated in 1900 as the Carnegie Technical Schools. It was established to provide for a technical education by famous industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

 Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Crowd-Funding Campaign for CMU Moonshot Mission Control:

Link >>> https://crowdfunding.cmu.edu/campaigns/cmu-mission-control#/

Iris Lunar Rover: Link >>> https://irislunarrover.space/ 

MoonRanger Lunar Rover: Link >>> https://labs.ri.cmu.edu/moonranger/

Peregrine Lunar Lander: Link >>> https://www.astrobotic.com/lunar-delivery/landers/peregrine-lander/

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

                 Monday, 2022 April 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, April 10, 2022

Astronomy Used To Calculate Easter Date

   Full moon in the darkness of the night sky. It is patterned with a mix of light-tone regions and darker, irregular blotches, and scattered with varying sizes of impact craters, circles surrounded by out-thrown rays of bright ejecta.
For centuries, the Primary Moon Phase of Full Moon has figured prominently in the annual calculation of the date of Easter.
(Image Sources: Wikipedia.org , By Gregory H. Revera - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11901243 )

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower 

With today (2022 April 10) being Palm Sunday, under the Traditional Christian calendar, it also represents the beginning of Traditional Easter Week, also known as Traditional Holy Week. All of the holidays related to Easter depend on the actual date of Easter each year. But, how is the date of Easter calculated?

This year, Sunday, 2022 April 17 marks the festival of Easter in the Traditional Christian calendar. However, it takes a bit of Astronomy, and knowledge of liturgical rules, to determine the Easter date each year. Once you know the date of Easter, this determines the dates of other festivals in Lent and Easter Week.

In addition to the festivals in the Traditional Lent and Traditional Easter Week, the dates for festivals in the Orthodox Lent and Orthodox Easter Week often differ.

Due to the need to use Astronomy to calculate the date of Easter and other moveable feasts, the Roman Catholic Church has supported an astronomical observatory for several centuries. The Vatican Observatory, originally established as the Observatory of the Roman College of Rome in 1774, is now located in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. The Holy See, since 1993, also operates the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope at the Mount Graham International Observatory in southeastern Arizona.

In the 1930s and 1940s, a planetarium show explaining how Astronomy helps to calculate the date of Easter was shown to the general public at several of the early planetaria, including Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.

In general, each year Easter falls on the Sunday following the Full Moon (called the "Paschal Full Moon") which follows Spring's Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. From this date are set several other days in the Christian calendar: Ash Wednesday and the first day of the season of Lent (46 days before Easter), and during Easter Week / Holy Week: Palm Sunday (Sunday before Easter), Holy Wednesday (Wednesday before Easter), Holy Thursday (Thursday before Easter), Good Friday (Friday before Easter), and Holy Saturday (Saturday before Easter), not to mention the non-Christian Mardi Gras (Tuesday before Ash Wednesday).

So, the determination of Easter sets a considerable part of the Spring Season for the Christian calendar. However, the determination of Easter is not that simple.

First, ecclesiastical definitions are not always the same as astronomical definitions. The ecclesiastical Spring Equinox is defined as always occurring on March 21 (used under the Gregorian calendar reform by the Roman Catholic Church since 1583). The astronomical Vernal Equinox occurs on March 20 in most years (and sometimes as early as March 19) except in the far Eastern Hemisphere when it does occur the next calendar day.

The "Pascal Full Moon" is not always the same as the regular Full Moon of the month. The Roman Catholic Church defined the ecclesiastical "Pascal Full Moon" as occurring 14 days after the beginning of the ecclesiastical lunar month (determined by the ecclesiastical New Moon).

To further complicate matters, the ecclesiastical lunar month was defined as having 29 or 30 days. A lunar year of 12 lunar months, by the ecclesiastical definition, has a total of 354 days, far shorter than the traditional solar year which is defined as having 365 days (and 366 days during a Leap Year). When the difference in the ecclesiastical lunar year and the solar year reaches or exceeds 30 days, then an additional lunar month is added to the ecclesiastical lunar year calendar!

The reason for all of these special rules came from dissatisfaction expressed by many Christians, in the 3rd and 4th centuries, regarding previous methods of establishing the date of Easter. Originally, they simply used the Jewish festival of Passover and set Sunday of the Passover week as Easter. Some did not like, what they perceived as, the general disorderly state of the Jewish calendar. Others were upset that, by using the Jewish calendar, Easter was sometimes celebrated before the Vernal Equinox, the beginning of Spring.

The First Council of Nicaea in A.D 325 was the first time the Roman Catholic Church officially addressed this issue. It was agreed that Christians should use a calendar to determine the Easter date separate from the Jewish calendar. However, little else was agreed-to at that time. It took several centuries before a method to compute the Easter date was common throughout the world's Catholics.

For a while, a computation method developed in Alexandria, Egypt was the most accepted computation. With the Gregorian calendar reform of 1582, one computation method of determining Easter was established throughout the Roman Catholic Church. The Gregorian Calendar was established as a refinement of the Julian Calendar, which had incorrectly calculated the length of the year by 0.002 per cent. Although this seems a minor problem, it became a major problem as the actual dates of church holidays, particularly Easter, had been drifting, sometimes drifting out of the proper season.

With the English Reformation between 1532 and 1537, England and English colonies did not comply with the Gregorian calendar reform of 1582, thus remaining with the Julian Calendar. The British Empire did not accept the Gregorian Calendar until 1752. Hence, George Washington was born on February 11 in 1731 by the "Old System" (Julian Calendar), but his birthday is now celebrated on February 22 by the Gregorian Calendar. Also, George Washington is now considered to have been born in the year 1732; in the "Old System" calendar, the year 1732 did not begin until March 25 (Christian Feast of the Annunciation), while the Gregorian Calendar had moved the beginning of the year to January 1 (Christian Feast of the Circumcision of Christ).

So now with the Gregorian Calendar in general agreement world-wide, again in general, Easter falls on the Sunday following the first Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. An Internet link, near the end of this blog-post, provides details regarding the precise calculation of Traditional Easter, given the several liturgical rules.

By the Gregorian Calendar, Easter always falls between March 22 and April 25, within about seven days of the actual, astronomical Full Moon. The most common date for Easter, in the Gregorian Calendar, is April 19.

A large part of the eastern world, where the Orthodox Catholic Church dominates in countries such as Greece, Ukraine, and Russia, celebrate Easter and related holidays using the older Julian Calendar. In some years, the dates of Traditional Easter and Orthodox Easter coincide; the dates of related holidays also coincide in these years.

However in other years, Orthodox Easter, and related holidays, are celebrated later than Traditional Easter and related holidays. The year A.D. 2022 is one of those years. This year, Orthodox Easter will be celebrated one week later than Traditional Easter, on Sunday, 2022 April 24.

Since 1923, there have been several proposals to unify the date of Easter on one particular Sunday each year, for all Christian denominations. The most recent proposal in 2016 would set Easter as the second or third Sunday of April each year, using the Gregorian Calendar. Although no Christian denomination has approved any such change, some Church officials such as the Church of England's Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby had hoped a change could come within a decade.

If the date of Easter is ever fixed, Astronomy will no longer be part of this particular determination. But of course, even if Easter is designated as a certain Sunday in April, Astronomy will still be needed for the determination of the civil calendar for the actual date Easter falls on each year.

The following are the dates of the Lenten and Easter Week holidays in 2022, for both Traditional and Orthodox Christian calendars. ---

Traditional Season of Lent and Traditional Easter Week / Traditional Holy Week:

  • Tue., March 1 – Mardi Gras / Fat Tuesday / Carnival Tuesday / Shrove Tuesday / Pancake Tuesday / Pancake Day. (Day before Ash Wednesday)

  • Wed., March 2 -
    ** Ash Wednesday
    ** Beginning of Lent. (First Wednesday in Lent, 46 days before Easter Sunday)

  • April 10 to 18 – Easter Week / Holy Week. (Week of Palm Sunday through Holy Saturday; Traditionally, also including Easter Sunday, and possibly including Easter Monday)

  • Sun., April 10 – Palm Sunday. (Sunday before Easter Sunday)

  • Wed., April 13 – Holy Wednesday. (Wednesday before Easter Sunday)

  • Thur., April 14 – Maundy Thursday / Holy Thursday. (Thursday before Easter Sunday)

  • Fri., April 15 – Good Friday. (Friday before Easter Sunday)

  • Passover --- April 15, local sunset to April 23, local sunset - Jewish festival of Passover.

  • Sat., April 16 – Holy Saturday. (Saturday before Easter Sunday)

  • Actual Astronomical Full Moon --- Sat., April 16, 2:55 p.m. EDT / 18:55 UTC - Primary Moon Phase: Full Moon – Pink Moon.

  • Sun., April 17 (Sunrise in Pittsburgh: 6:39 a.m. EDT / 10:39 UTC) – Easter Sunday. [46 days after Ash Wednesday; the first Sunday after the Full Moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the March Equinox (ecclesiastically, the Equinox is reckoned to be on March 21, even though the Equinox occurs, astronomically speaking, on March 20 in most years, and sometimes as early as March 19)]

  • Mon., April 18 – Easter Monday. (Monday after Easter Sunday)

Orthodox Season of Lent and Orthodox Easter Week / Orthodox Holy Week:

  • Mon., March 7 – Beginning of Orthodox Lent (48 days before Orthodox Easter)

  • Wed., March 9 – Orthodox Ash Wednesday (46 days before Orthodox Easter) --- SPECIAL NOTE: Generally, Eastern Orthodox churches do not observe Orthodox Ash Wednesday; however, the creation of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate has led to the observance of Ash Wednesday among Western Orthodox parishes.

  • Sun., April 17 - Orthodox Palm Sunday. (Sunday before Orthodox Easter Sunday)

  • Wed., April 20 - Orthodox Holy Wednesday. (Wednesday before Orthodox Easter Sunday)

  • Thur., April 21 – Orthodox Maundy Thursday / Holy Thursday. (Thursday before Orthodox Easter Sunday)

  • Fri., April 22 - Orthodox Good Friday / Holy Friday. (Friday before Orthodox Easter Sunday)

  • Sat., April 23 - Orthodox Holy Saturday. (Saturday before Orthodox Easter Sunday)

  • Sun., April 24 (Sunrise in Pittsburgh: 6:29 a.m. EDT / 10:29 UTC) - Orthodox Easter Sunday. [46 days after Orthodox Ash Wednesday; the first Sunday after the Full Moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the March Equinox (ecclesiastically, the Equinox is reckoned to be on March 21, even though the Equinox occurs, astronomically speaking, on March 20 in most years, and sometimes as early as March 19)]

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Details on How to Determine Date of Easter: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_of_Easter 

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

Lunisolar Calendar: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunisolar_calendar

Ecclesiastical Full Moon:
Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecclesiastical_full_moon 

Gregorian Calendar: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar 

Julian Calendar: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_calendar

Reform Proposals for Date of Easter: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reform_of_the_date_of_Easter 

Vatican Observatory: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_Observatory

Related Blog Post ---

"Will Christians Agree to Fix the Date of Easter?" Sun., 2016 March 27.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/03/will-christians-agree-to-fix-date-of.html

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

                 Sunday, 2022 April 10.

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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