[astronews] IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter

  • From: Burness Ansell <ki0ar@xxxxxxx>
  • To: Astronomy Newsletter <astronews@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 01 Jul 2002 20:14:40 -0600

IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter
July 2002


The International Association for Astronomical Studies provides this
newsletter as a service for interested persons in the Denver Metro area. Th=
astronomical data presented here is not only useful in Colorado but in othe=
parts of the world as well.


This newsletter is published on the World Wide Web at
http://bfa3.home.att.net/astro.html - The Home of KI0AR - and is received
nationally and internationally.


In This Newsletter...

* Moon
* Planets
* Astronomical Events
* Planetary/Lunar Exploration Missions
* Web Sites of Interest
* Acknowledgments and References
* Subscription Information



* New Moon on the 10th.
* 1st Quarter Moon on the 17th.
* Full Moon on the 24th.
* 3rd Quarter Moon on the 2nd.

* Apogee on the 2nd, 251,164 mi. from Earth.
* Perigee on the 14th, 228,570 mi. from Earth.
* Apogee on the 29th, 251,496 mi. from Earth.

Moon/Planet Pairs:
* Mercury passes 0.2 degrees south of Saturn on the 2nd.
* Mars passes 0.8 degrees north of Jupiter on the 3rd.
* Mars passes 6 degrees south of Pollux on the 4th.
* The Moon passes 1.7 degrees north of Saturn on the 8th.
* Venus passes 1.1 degrees north of Regulus on the 10th.
* The Moon passes 4 degrees north of Venus on the 13th.
* The Moon passes 4 degrees south of Neptune on the 24th.
* The Moon passes 4 degrees south of Uranus on the 26th.


(All times are local unless otherwise noted.)

* Mercury - Is in superior conjunction on the 20th. Mercury is still visibl=
in the early A.M hours before sunrise early in the month. Mercury brightens
to magnitude -1.0 by the 31st.

* Venus - Disappeared from the western skies in late June and is still lost
in the sun's glare at the beginning of this month. However, Venus returns t=
the evening skies for the last two weeks of July. Look low in the west soon
after sunset. Venus shines at a magnitude of -4.1.

* Earth - At aphelion (94.5 million miles from the sun) at midnight EDT on
the 5th.

* Mars - Is not visible this month.

* Jupiter - Is in conjunction with the sun on the 19th. Jupiter is not
visible this month.

* Saturn - "Saturn reappears in the predawn skies of July. It stands neat
Zeta Tauri, one of the horns of Taurus the Bull. On July 2 Mercury and
Saturn lie 14 [seconds of arc] apart, and both are visible in the same
telescopic field of view. Only visible in bright morning twilight, this is
the closest appulse of two planets this year and will require telescope or
binoculars to observe." (Astronomy, July 2002, page 63)

* Uranus - Is visible in the morning skies, rising about three hours before
the sun. Uranus is in the constellation of Aquarius. Uranus shines at
magnitude 5.7.

* Neptune - Rises about four hours before the sun and is located in the
constellation of Capricornus. Neptune shines at magnitude 7.8.

* Pluto - Rises about 11 P.M. in the evening. Pluto is still at its visual
best for this year. Pluto is in the lower east corner of the constellation
of Ophiuchus. As always, this planet is difficult to spot, shining at
magnitude 13.8.


Astronomical Events

Meteor Showers
* The Southern Delta Aquarids - This meteor shower has a duration of July 1=
- August 18. Maximum hourly rates of 15-20 occur on July 28/29.

* The Northern Delta Aquarids extends from July 16 to September 10. Maximum
occurs on August 13. The hourly rates reach a high of 10.

* Information on various occultations can be found at
http://lunar-occultations.com/iota/iotandx.htm the International Occultatio=
Timing Association's (IOTA) web site.

* Comet Ikeya Zhang (pronounced "ee-KAY-uh JONG") has faded to magnitude 11
this month and will require at least an 8 inch telescope to locate it.

* No significant eclipse activity this month.

* Hebe is at opposition on the 1st.
* Amphitrite is at opposition on the 21st.
* Vesta is in conjunction with the sun on the 23rd.

* Information about the Minor Planets can be found at
http://www.minorplanetobserver.com the Minor Planet Observer web site.


Planetary/Lunar Exploration Missions
(Excerpts from recent mission updates)

* Genesis - June 27, 2002 -
"We continue to remain in low-speed solar wind. The concentrator rejection
grid autorecovery patch was uploaded on Monday, which was over a week
earlier than planned. At the same time, the rejection grid's maximum voltag=
was raised to 2060 V. The team estimates that approximately 1350 commands
have been radiated to the spacecraft since launch. Genesis has been
collecting solar wind particles for almost 7 months now." The latest status
reports can be read at
http://www.genesismission.org/mission/statusupdate.html.  Find out more
about the Genesis mission at http://genesismission.jpl.nasa.gov/ and
http://genesis.jpl.nasa.gov/html/index.shtml.  Visit =B3Where Is Genesis Now?
at http://www.genesismission.org/mission/live_shots.html.

* Galileo - Final Looks at Jupiter's Moon Io Aid Big-Picture View
May 28, 2002
"The final images are in, and the resulting portrait of Jupiter's moon Io,
after a challenging series of observations by NASA's Galileo spacecraft, is
a peppery world of even more plentiful and diverse volcanoes than scientist=
imagined before Galileo began orbiting Jupiter in 1995."

"On Monday, July 1, the spacecraft performs a nearly 11 degree turn in plac=
to keep the communications antenna pointed towards Earth. This turn
positions the spacecraft to comfortably ride out an upcoming period called
solar conjunction. During conjunction, Jupiter and Galileo appear to pass
behind the Sun as seen from Earth. With the Sun still relatively near the
peak of its 11-year activity cycle, interference from the dynamic solar win=
scrambles the radio signal sent from the spacecraft. Between July 9 and Jul=
28, the spacecraft will be within 7 degrees of the Sun, and communications
are expected to be completely blocked. We are already seeing occasional
degradation of the signal that we think can be attributed to solar
activity." Read the latest news at http://galileo.jpl.nasa.gov/index.html.

* Cassini - June 28, 2002 - "The most recent spacecraft telemetry confirms
the Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and is operating
normally. Cassini will continue 24-hour Deep Space Network coverage in
support of the Radio Science Subsystem Solar Conjunction Experiment until
its conclusion on July 7th." For the latest mission status reports, visit
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/. The speed and location of the spacecraft can b=
viewed on the "Present Position" web page.

* Deep Space 1 - This spacecraft was retired on Dec. 18, 2001. Check out
http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds1/ to learn more about what this mission

* Stardust - June 28, 2002 - "There were no Deep Space Network
communications passes during the past week.

Work continues on the Comet Wild 2 encounter Fault Tree analysis in
preparations for the Critical Event Readiness Review of Comet Wild 2
encounter testing." Visit the Stardust home page at
http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov for more information about the mission.

* Pluto-Kuiper Express, Europa Orbiter, Solar Probe - Many of NASA's future
exploration missions are currently being examined. To find out more about
these discovery/exploration missions check out the web page at
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ice_fire//whatsnew.htm for more information.

Mars Missions

* Mars Global Surveyor - June 01, 2002 - "What Happens When the Sun is
Between Earth and Mars

During the interval around solar conjunction the Sun obscures the line of
sight between Earth and Mars, making it virtually impossible to receive
radio signals from the spacecraft. The Sun is a strong source of
electromagnetic activity, and it wreaks havoc with the spacecraft's radio
signal, essentially reducing the spacecraft's data rate to Earth to zero fo=
the period centered around conjunction. Mission planners and telemetry
engineers define this problem area as occurring when the Sun-Earth-MGS angl=
is less than 7 degrees; a relatively "quiet" Sun can mean that data can be
successfully returned at angles as small as 3-5 degrees." Visit the MGS
pages at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/index.html. There are over 100,000
images of Mars from the MGS, check out the newest images of the surface of
Mars at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/msss/camera/images/.

* Mars Odyssey Orbiter - June 04, 2002 - "Flight controllers for NASA's Mar=
Odyssey spacecraft completed the last major technical milestone today [June
04, 2002] in support of the science mission by unfurling the boom that hold=
the gamma ray spectrometer sensor head instrument." Visit the Mars Odyssey
Mission page at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/odyssey/index.html.

* Mars Missions Status - New Mars missions are being planned to include
several new rover and sample collection missions. http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/


Links and Other Space News
(If you have a link you would like to recommend to our readers, please feel
free to submit it.)

* JPL Solar System Ambassador Program -

* Space.com - Sky Watch Calendar -

* Eric's Black Sun Eclipse website - http://www.ericsblacksuneclipse.com

* Astronomical Lexicon - http://bfa3.home.att.net/astrolex.html
Many of the astronomical terms used in this newsletter are defined here.

* Astronomy Picture of the Day -

* The Solar System in Pictures - http://www.the-solar-system.net and a map
of the moon - http://www.moon-phases.com/

* Spaceflight Now - http://spaceflightnow.com/

* NASA Science News - http://spacescience.com/

* Universe Today - http://www.universetoday.com

* Space.com - http://space.com
Interesting articles and signup for your own email account [your

* Northern Colorado Astronomical Society - http://ncastro.org/

* Denver Astronomical Society - http://www.denverastrosociety.org

* My Stars Live - http://www.mystarslive.com/
Interactive Star Chart

* Our Solar System - http://pauldunn.dynip.com/solarsystem/
This is an excellent site to learn about our solar system.


Acknowledgments and References

Much of the information in this newsletter is from "Astronomy Magazine"
(Kalmbach Publishing), JPL mission status reports, the Internet, "Meteor
Showers - A Descriptive Catalog" by Gary W. Kronk, Sky & Telescope web page=
(S&T), and other astronomical sources that I have stashed on my book

The author will accept any suggestions, constructive criticisms, and
corrections. Please feel free to send me any new links or articles to share
as well. I will try to accommodate any reasonable requests. Please feel fre=
to send questions, comments, criticisms, or donations to the email address
listed below. Enjoy!


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Keep looking UP!
73 from KI0AR

Created by Burness F. Ansell, III

COO, Director of Aerospace Technologies, IAAS
Last modified: July 01, 2002

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