[astronews] IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter

  • From: Burness Ansell <ki0ar@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Astronomy Newsletter <astronews@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2005 20:38:41 -0800 (PST)

                IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter
                         November 2005

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

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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.

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An Open Invitation - For amateur radio and scanner enthusiasts, when in the 
Denver metro area,
please join the Colorado Astronomy Net on the Rocky Mountain Radio League 
repeater on a frequency
of 146.94 MHz on Tuesday nights at 7 PM local time.

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Special Notice to Denver, CO area residents and visitors to the area: The 
Plains Conservation
Center in Aurora hosts Star Parties the third Saturday of every month weather 
permitting. Visit
http://www.plainsconservationcenter.org for more information and directions.

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Excerpts from JPL mission updates are provided as a public service as part of 
the JPL Solar System
Ambassador / NASA Outreach program.

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In This Newsletter...

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

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Moon

Phases:
* New Moon on the 1st.
* 1st Quarter Moon on the 8th.
* Full Moon on the 15th.
* Last Quarter Moon on the 23rd.

* Perigee on the 9th, 229,914 mi. from Earth.
* Apogee on the 23rd, 251,264 mi. from Earth.

Moon/Planet Pairs:
* The Moon passes 1.3 deg. south of Mercury on the 3rd.
* The Moon passes 0.2 deg. north of Antares on the 4th.
* The Moon passes 1.4 deg. south of Venus on the 5th.
* The Moon passes 5 deg. south of Neptune on the 8th.
* Mercury passes 1.9 deg. north of Antares on the 9th.
* The Moon passes 3 deg. south of Uranus on the 10th.
* The Moon passes 3 deg. north of Mars on the 15th.
* Mercury passes 3 deg. north of Antares on the 18th.
* The Moon passes 4 deg. north of Saturn on the 21st.
* The Moon passes 1.1 deg. north of Spica on the 27th.
* The Moon passes 3 deg. south of Jupiter on the 29th.


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Planets
Planetary Reports generated by "TheSky" software. 
(http://bfa3.home.att.net/planrpts.html)  These
reports provide predicted data for the planets for the first of each month for 
the current year.
The rise and set times for the Sun and the Moon for each day of the month are 
also included in the
reports.
(All times are local unless otherwise noted.)

* Planetary Highlight for October - Our nearest planetary neighbors are up 
close and personal this
month. Mercury and Venus reach greatest eastern elongation within 3 hours of 
each other on the
3rd. Mars will be at opposition on the 7th having just passed closest to the 
Earth on October
29thth. All three are visible in the evening skies this month.

* Mercury - Is at greatest eastern elongation (24 deg.) on the 3rd. Mercury is 
visible in the
evening skies low on the western horizon during the first 2 weeks of November. 
Mercury is in
inferior conjunction on the 24th. Mercury shines at magnitude -0.3 on the first.

* Venus - Is at greatest eastern elongation (47 deg.) on the 3rd. Look to the 
west soon after
sunset to spot Venus moving through the constellation of Sagittarius this 
month. Venus sets at
7:23 pm on the 1st and 7:32 pm by month's end. Venus brightens to magnitude 
-4.6.

* Earth - N/A.

* Mars - Is at opposition on the 7th. Mars rises about 5:14 pm on the 1st and 
about 2:45 pm by
month's end. Mars is in the constellation of Aries this month. Mars appears at 
its brightest this
month. Mars shines at magnitude -2.3 on the 1st and dims to magnitude -1.7 by 
the 30th.

* Jupiter - Can be spotted in the early morning twilight glow low on the 
eastern horizon this
month. Jupiter rises at 5:49 am on the 1st and about 4:23 am by month's end. 
Jupiter is in the
constellation of Virgo. Jupiter shines at magnitude -1.7.

* Saturn - Rises around 11:01 pm on the 1st and about 9:05 pm by month's end. 
Saturn is stationary
on the 22nd. Saturn is in the constellation of Cancer. Saturn shines at a 
magnitude of 0.2.

* Uranus - Sets at 1:23 am on the 1st and about 11:21 pm by month's end. Uranus 
is in the
constellation of Aquarius and shines at a magnitude of 5.8.

* Neptune - Sets at 11:28 pm on the 1st and about 9:32 pm by month's end. 
Neptune is in the
constellation of Capricornus and shines at a magnitude of 7.9.

* Pluto - Sets about 7:53 pm on the 1st and about 5:58 pm by month's end. Pluto 
is in the
constellation of Ophiuchus. Pluto shines at magnitude 14.0. As always, good 
luck at spotting this
one.
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Astronomical Events

Meteor Showers
* The Leonids - The duration of this meteor shower covers the period of Nov. 
14-20. Maximum occurs
on Nov. 17. The maximum hourly rate typically reaches 10-15, but most notable 
are periods of
enhanced activity that occur every 33 years - events that are directly 
associated with the
periodic return of comet Tempel-Tuttle. During these exceptional returns, the 
Leonids have
produced rates of up to several thousand meteors per hour. The Leonids are 
swift meteors, which
are best known for leaving a high percentage of persistent trains.

Comets
* C/2005 E2 (McNaught) - This recently discovered comet glows around 10th 
magnitude this month and
lies in the constellation of Capricornus, low in the south in the early 
evening. Dark skies are
required for observing this comet either very early or during the last 2 weeks 
of the month.

* For information, orbital elements and ephemerides on observable comets visit 
the Observable
Comets page from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
(http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/Ephemerides/Comets/index.html).

* For more information about Comets and Meteor Showers, visit Gary Kronk's 
Comets & Meteors
Showers web page at http://comets.amsmeteors.org/.

Eclipses
* No eclipse activity this month.

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

Asteroids (From west to east)
* Julia is in the constellation of Andromeda.
* Fortuna is at opposition on the 4th in the constellation of Aries.
* Psyche is in the constellation of Orion.
* Juno is in the constellation of Orion.
* Vesta is in the constellation of Gemini.
* Pallus is in conjunction with the Sun on the 17th.

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

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

* Cassini - October 28, 2005 -
Cassini's Look at Huygens Landing Site 

"The Cassini spacecraft will gaze at Saturn's largest moon, Titan, during an 
Oct. 28, 2005, flyby.
The radar instrument will peer through the moon's hazy layers and provide new 
clues to the nature
of the surface seen by the Huygens probe, which landed on Titan in January 
2005."

Cassini Imaging Team's website - http://ciclops.org.

For the latest mission status reports, visit 
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm.  The speed
and location of the spacecraft can be viewed on the "Present Position" web page.
(http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/operations/present-position.cfm)

* Deep Impact - September 19, 2005 -
Tempel 1 May Have Formed in Giant Planets' Region

"Comet Tempel 1 may have been born in the region of the solar system occupied 
by Uranus and
Neptune today, according to one possibility from an analysis of the comet's 
debris blasted into
space by NASA's Deep Impact mission. If correct, the observation supports a 
wild scenario for the
solar system's youth, where the planets Uranus and Neptune may have traded 
places and scattered
comets to deep space."

For the latest mission status reports, visit http://www.nasa.gov/deepimpact and
http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/. 

* Stardust - No new news since August 19, 2005 -
Distinguishing Between Comets Tempel 1 and Wild 2 

"Confused over NASA's multiple comet missions? You're not alone....

During life's busy schedule, it's tough keeping up with all that's in a day's 
work, so it's
understandable that facts about comets Wild 2 (pronounced "Vilt 2") and Tempel 
1 get mixed up. Yet
there are easy ways to differentiate between the two, or any other comets. 
Resembling human
fingerprints, no two comets are exactly alike.

During a five-year period, NASA launched two missions, Stardust and Deep 
Impact, to explore two
different comets for scientific studies. Both are short-period comets with 
orbits taking them
between Jupiter and Mars, and were believed to be prime specimens of study due 
to their positions
in their natural environments. It turns out that their histories, locations, 
sizes and shapes were
found to be very different."

Stardust LPSC 2004 Abstracts -
"Abstracts of the Stardust science results from the Comet Wild 2 encounter are 
now available here
(Adobe Acrobat reader required): 
ftp://www.lpi.usra.edu/pub/outgoing/lpsc2004/full07.pdf";

For more information on the Stardust mission - the first ever comet sample 
return mission - please
visit the Stardust home page: http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov for more information 
about the mission.

* Past, Present, Future and Proposed JPL Missions - 
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions 

* For special JPL programs and presentations in your area visit the JPL Solar 
System Ambassador
web site at http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador/index.html.

Mars Missions

* Mars Global Surveyor - No new news since September 12, 2005
Happy 8th Birthday, MGS

"Mars Global Surveyor wins the title of the oldest spacecraft currently in 
operation at Mars! The
spacecraft's lasting success has enabled scientists to capture repeating 
weather phenomena and
new, fresh insights revealing Mars as an active planet."

* Mars Global Surveyor Images - October 20-26, 2005

The following new images taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on the Mars 
Global Surveyor
spacecraft are now available:

* Wind Streak in Daedalia (Released 20 October 2005)
  http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2005/10/20

* Sirenum Fossae Troughs (Released 21 October 2005)
  http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2005/10/21

* Zephyria Platy Flows (Released 22 October 2005)
  http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2005/10/22

* East Arabia Scene (Released 23 October 2005)
  http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2005/10/23

* Opportunity at Erebus (Released 24 October 2005)
  http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2005/10/24

* Mars at Ls 306 Degrees (Released 25 October 2005)
  http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2005/10/25

* Exhuming Landforms (Released 26 October 2005)
  http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2005/10/26

All of the Mars Global Surveyor images are archived here:
http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/index.html";

Every six months, a new suite of MGS MOC data are archived with the NASA 
Planetary Data System
(PDS- http://pds.jpl.nasa.gov/).

Information about how to submit requests is online at the new Mars Orbiter 
Camera Target Request
Site, at http://www.msss.com/plan/intro "

The newly released MOC images can be seen in the MOC Gallery 
(http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/), a
web site maintained by Malin Space Science Systems, the company that built and 
operates MOC for
the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA.

Mars Global Surveyor will complete its eighth year orbiting the red planet. MGS 
reached Mars on 12
September 1997. The first MOC images were obtained on 15 September 1997." Visit 
the MGS pages at
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/index.html. There are over 200,000 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 - October 14, 2005 - 
'Live' Images from Mars at Camera Web Site

An upgraded Web site offers images from Mars as soon as they are received from 
the camera on
NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter. It also has user-controlled navigation to scroll 
and zoom within
selected images, plus a global map for finding images.

Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) web site: (http://themis.asu.edu/)

MARS ODYSSEY THEMIS IMAGES

October 24-28, 2005

* Cone on Olympus Mons (Released 24 October 2005)
  http://themis.la.asu.edu/zoom-20051024a

* Dunes (Released 25 October 2005)
  http://themis.la.asu.edu/zoom-20051025a

* Candor Chasma Floor (Released 26 October 2005)
  http://themis.la.asu.edu/zoom-20051026a

* Gullies (Released 27 October 2005)
  http://themis.la.asu.edu/zoom-20051027a

* Crater Fill (Released 28 October 2005)
  http://themis.la.asu.edu/zoom-20051028a

All of the THEMIS images are archived here:
http://themis.la.asu.edu/latest.html

The Odyssey data are available through a new online access system established 
by the Planetary
Data System at: http://starbrite.jpl.nasa.gov/pds/";

Visit the Mars Odyssey Mission page at 
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/odyssey/index.html.

* Mars Exploration Rover Mission (Spirit and Opportunity) - October 21, 2005 -

Spirit Status: Spirit Begins Downhill Drive - sol 634-640, Oct 21, 2005

"Spirit is healthy and has begun driving downhill from the top of "Husband 
Hill" toward the south
basin. Elevation maps produced from the panoramic camera imagery taken at and 
near the summit of
Husband Hill showed a safe traverse (with vehicle tilts under about 20 degrees) 
across ridge lines
east of the summit. These ridge lines (informally called "Haskin upper ridge" 
and "Haskin east
ridge") are the planned traverse paths for coming weeks. When possible, Spirit 
will drive each
day."

Opportunity Status: Maneuvering Around Ripples - sol 613-618, Oct 21, 2005

"Opportunity is healthy and has been making excellent progress around "Erebus 
Crater." At the
beginning of the week, the rover was in automode as it was still recovering 
from a partial uplink,
but on sol 614 the team sent a real-time activate command and the rover 
performed remote sensing.
The team is no longer operating under restricted sols, and Opportunity traveled 
101.65 meters (333
feet) in four sols. The rover is generally heading westward around the crater, 
but traveled
northward on sol 618 to avoid some larger ripples to the west."

Landing sites link -http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/";

Visit the Mars Exploration Rover page at  
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html.

* Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission - October 20, 2005 -
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Is Already Breaking Records

"The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter set the record for interplanetary missions, 
sending back the most
data in a single day. 

An unprecedented amount of data - the equivalent of 13 CDs - was returned by 
the Mars
Reconnaissance Orbiter mission in a single day! NASA's latest mission to Mars 
sent 75 gigabits of
data back to Earth from millions of miles away, including beautiful pictures of 
the Moon."

More information about the mission is available online at 
http://www.nasa.gov/mro.

* Mars Missions Status - New Mars missions are being planned to include several 
new rover and
sample collection missions. Check out the Mars Missions web page:
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/ and the Mars Exploration page: 
http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/

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

* "TheSky" Software - http://www.bisque.com

* A Short Guide to Celestial Navigation - 
http://home.t-online.de/home/h.umland/

* 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 - 
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

* Comet Observation Home Page - http://encke.jpl.nasa.gov/

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

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

* Groovy Adventures - http://www.groovyadventures.com
Unique adventures and vacations including astronomy related vacations.

* JPL Solar System Ambassador Program - 
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador/front.html

* JPL Solar System Experience - 
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/solar-system-experience/

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

* NASA Science News - http://science.nasa.gov/ 

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

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

* Sky and Space - http://www.skyandspace.com.au/public/home.ehtml
Astronomy from Down Under - The Southern Hemisphere's first astronomy and space 
magazine.

* Space.com - http://space.com
Interesting space and astronomy articles.

* Space.com - Sky Watch Calendar - 
http://www.space.com/spacewatch/sky_calendar.html

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

* The Daytona Beach News-Journal - Space News Page - 
http://www.news-journalonline.com/Space.htm

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

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

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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 pages (S&T), and other astronomical sources that I have 
stashed on my book
shelves.

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 free 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
ki0ar@xxxxxxxxx

COO, Director of Aerospace Technologies, IAAS
JPL Solar System Ambassador, Colorado
Last modified: October 31, 2005



        
                
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