[astronews] IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter

  • From: Burness Ansell <ki0ar@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Astronomy Newsletter <astronews@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2005 05:34:58 -0700 (PDT)

            IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter
                       June 2005


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


In This Newsletter...

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



* New Moon on the 6th.
* 1st Quarter Moon on the 14th.
* Full Moon on the 22nd.
* Last Quarter Moon on the 28th.

* Apogee on the 11th, 251,970 mi. from Earth.
* Perigee on the 23rd, 223,490 mi. from Earth.

Moon/Planet Pairs:
* The Moon passes 4 deg. north of Venus on the 8th.
* The Moon passes 5 deg. north of Saturn on the 9th.
* The Moon passes 0.4 deg. south of Jupiter on the 16th.
* The Moon passes 0.7 deg. north of Antares on the 20th.
* Venus passes 5 deg. south of Pollux on the 23rd.
* Mercury passes 5 deg. south of Pollux on the 24th.
* The Moon passes 5 deg. south of Neptune on the 24th.
* Venus passes 1.3 deg. north of Saturn on the 25th.
* Mercury passes 1.4 deg. north of Saturn on the 26th.
* Mercury passes 0.08 deg. south of Venus on the 27th.
* The Moon passes 2 deg. north of Mars on the 28th.

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
(All times are local unless otherwise noted.)

* Mercury - Is in superior conjunction on the 3rd. Mercury returns to the 
evening sky by
mid-month. The 24th will provide an interesting view of Mercury, Venus and 
Saturn lying within an
easy binocular field of view low on the western horizon. Mercury sets at 8:14 
pm on the 1st and
10:04 pm by month's end. Mercury shines at a magnitude of -1.2 on the 15th and 
dims to magnitude
0.1 on the 30th.

* Venus - Is visible in the evening sky once again. Look to the west soon after 
sunset to spot
Venus in the constellation of Gemini. Venus sets at 9:40 pm on the 1st and 
10:05 pm by month's
end. Venus shines at magnitude -3.7.

* Earth - The Summer Solstice is at 2:46 am EDT on the 21st.

* Mars - Appears in the early morning sky this month. Mars rises about 2:09 am 
on the 1st and
about 1:01 am by month's end. Mars is in the constellation of Pisces this 
month. Mars shines at
magnitude 0.1.

* Jupiter - Is stationary on the 5th. Jupiter sets at 2:50 am on the 1st and 
12:50 am by month's
end. Jupiter can be spotted in the southwest in the early evening. Jupiter is 
in the constellation
of Virgo. Jupiter shines at magnitude -2.1.

* Saturn - Is low in the west in the early evening. Saturn sets around 11:22 pm 
on the 1st and
about 9:36 pm by month's end. Saturn is in the constellation of Gemini. Saturn 
shines at a
magnitude of 0.2.

* Uranus - Rises at 1:35 am on the 1st and about 11:33 pm by month's end. 
Uranus is in the
constellation of Aquarius and shines at a magnitude of 5.8.

* Neptune - Rises at 12:27 am on the 1st and about 10:28 pm by month's end. 
Neptune is in the
constellation of Capricornus and shines at a magnitude of 7.9.

* Pluto - Is at opposition on the 13th. Pluto rises about 8:38 pm on the 1st 
and about 6:37 pm by
month's end. Pluto is in the constellation of Ophiuchus. Pluto shines at 
magnitude 13.8. As
always, good luck at spotting this one.

Astronomical Events

Meteor Showers
* The Arietids Meteor Shower - This is the strongest daylight meteor shower of 
the year. The
duration extends from May 22 to July 2, with maximum activity occurring on June 
8. The hourly rate
is near 60 at maximum.

* The June Lyrids - This shower is active during June 10 to 21, producing 
predominantly blue and
white meteors at a maximum hourly rate of 8 per hour on June 15. The average 
magnitude of this
shower is near 3, while 32% of the meteors leave trains.

* The Zeta Perseids - This daylight shower occurs during May 20 to July 5. 
Maximum occurs on June
13. Radar surveys have revealed the activity of this shower to be near 40 per 

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

* There are 4 comets visible with a telescope this month, comet 9P/Tempel 1 
which will be
receiving a visit from the Deep Impact probe in early July, Comet C/2004 Q2 
(Machholz) and later
in the early am hours, two more, Comet 161P/Hartley-IRAS and 
21P/Giacobini-Zinner. These comets
shine at magnitudes between 9 and 10.

* For information, orbital elements and ephemerides on observable comets visit 
the Observable
Comets page from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

* No eclipse activity this month.

Asteroids (From west to east)
* Pallas is between the constellation of Leo and Coma Berenices.
* Ceres is in the constellation of Libra.
* Irene is in the constellation of Libra.
* Iris is at opposition on the 3rd. Iris is in the constellation of Scorpius.
* Melpomene is at opposition on the 18th. Melpomene is in the constellation of 
* Isis is in the constellation of Capricornus.

* 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)

* Cassini - May 25, 2005 -
Odd Spot on Titan Baffles Scientists
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

"Saturn's moon Titan shows an unusual bright spot that has scientists 
mystified. The spot,
approximately the size and shape of West Virginia, is just southeast of the 
bright region called
Xanadu and is visible to multiple instruments on the Cassini spacecraft. 

The 483-kilometer-wide (300-mile) region may be a "hot" spot -- an area 
possibly warmed by a
recent asteroid impact or by a mixture of water ice and ammonia from a warm 
interior, oozing out
of an ice volcano onto colder surrounding terrain. Other possibilities for the 
unusual bright spot
include landscape features holding clouds in place or unusual materials on the 

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.

* Deep Impact - May 17, 2005 -
Dirty Ice Balls: Comet Slide Show 
"Spacecraft provide unique views of comets, whose cores consist of the same 
materials that helped
form the Sun and planets billions of years ago. In July [4th] 2005, NASA's Deep 
Impact will take
the highest resolution images ever of a comet when it encounters comet Tempel 
1. Our new slide
show features comet images taken in space.

Go to slide show at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/slideshows/comets-0505/index.html";

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

* Genesis - No new news since April 20, 2005 - 
"Scientists have closely examined four Genesis spacecraft collectors, vital to 
the mission's top
science objective, and found them in excellent shape, despite the spacecraft's 
hard landing last

Scientists at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston removed the four 
solar-wind collectors
from an instrument called the concentrator. The concentrator targets collected 
solar-oxygen ions
during the Genesis mission. Scientists will analyze them to measure 
solar-oxygen isotopic
composition, the highest-priority measurement objective for Genesis. The data 
may hold clues to
increase understanding about how the solar system formed."

The latest status reports can be read at 
Find out more about the Genesis mission at http://genesismission.jpl.nasa.gov/ 
http://genesis.jpl.nasa.gov/html/index.shtml. Visit "Where Is Genesis Now? at

* Stardust - No new news since April 06, 2005 -
NASA Teams Receive National Recognition 

"NASA accomplishments in aviation and aerospace were honored at Aviation Week 
and Space
Technology's 48th Annual Aerospace Laurels Awards. Laurel honorees were 
nominated by the editors
of the aerospace magazine for "extraordinary individual and team 
accomplishments in the global
aviation, aerospace and defense industries."

Stardust LPSC 2004 Abstracts -
"Abstracts of the Stardust science results from the Comet Wild 2 encounter are 
now available here
(Adobe Acrobat reader required): 

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.

* Galaxy Evolution Explorer - (GALEX) - 
The GALEX Image Gallery is available at 

What's New: http://www.galex.caltech.edu/ for more information about the 

* Past, Present, Future and Proposed JPL 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 - May 19, 2005
Mars Global Surveyor Sees Mars Odyssey and Mars Express

"NASA's Mars Global Surveyor recently imaged two other spacecraft orbiting 
Mars, NASA's Mars
Odyssey and the European Space Agency's Mars Express."

See the images at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/sci/mgs18may05/odyssey_figure.gif

* Mars Global Surveyor Images - 

May 19-25, 2005

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

* MGS Sees Mars Odyssey and Mars Express (Released 19 May 2005)

* Gullied Slope (Released 20 May 2005)

* Martian Valley (Released 21 May 2005)

* Tithonium Yardangs (Released 22 May 2005)

* 4 Mars Years of Change (Released 23 May 2005)

* Mars at Ls 211 Degrees (Released 24 May 2005)

* Looking Into a Trough (Released 25 May 2005)

All of the Mars Global Surveyor images are archived here:

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 has begun 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 134,000 images of Mars 
from the MGS, check
out the newest images of the surface of Mars at 

* Mars Odyssey Orbiter - May 19, 2005 - One Mars Orbiter Takes First Photos of 
Other Orbiters

"Photographs from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft released today are the 
first pictures
ever taken of a spacecraft orbiting a foreign planet by another spacecraft 
orbiting that planet.

The new images of the European Space Agency's Mars Express and NASA's Mars 
Odyssey are available
on the Internet from NASA at 
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/mgs-images.html and
from Malin Space Science Systems, the San Diego company that built and operates 
the camera, at
http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2005/05/19/index.html ."


May 23-27, 2005

* Meridiani (Released 23 May 2005)

* More Meridiani (Released 24 May 2005)

* Elysium Mons (Released 25 May 2005)

* Cratered Acidalia Planitia (Released 26 May 2005)

* Acidalia Planitia Channel Margin (Released 27 May 2005)

All of the THEMIS images are archived here:

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 

* Mars Exploration Rover Mission (Spirit and Opportunity) - May 20, 2005 -

Spirit Status:
Spirit Drives to 'Larry's Outcrop' - sol 483-489, May 20, 2005

"Spirit finished work at the target "Reef." Over the weekend (May 14 and 15), 
Spirit performed
work using the instruments on the robotic arm on a target informally called, 
"Davis" on
"Jibsheet." Work included use of the microscopic imager, the rock abrasion tool 
brush, a long
alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration, and a long Mössbauer 
spectrometer integration.
Spirit spent 2 sols (May 17 and 18) driving to "Larry's Outcrop." Upon arrival, 
Spirit took
detailed navigation camera and panoramic camera observations in support of 
possible robotic arm
work on Larry's Outcrop. Spirit remains in excellent health.

Total odometry as of May 19, 2005, is 4,368.07 meters (2.71 miles)."

Opportunity Status:
Moving Slowly in the Dune - sol 467-470, May 20, 2005

"Opportunity continues to make inch-by-inch progress toward getting out of the 
dune where it has
been dug-in since sol 446 (April 26).

Sol 467 (May 17):
Opportunity was commanded to rotate its wheels enough to have rolled 4 meters 
(13 feet) if there
were no slippage. It advanced 2.1 centimeters (0.8 inch) through the loose 
material of the dune.

Sol 468:
A commanded motion of 8 meters (26 feet) was executed this sol. Forward 
progress was about 4
centimeters (1.6 inches).

Sol 469:
A 2-meter (7-foot) drive was commanded, and Opportunity advanced about 1 
centimeter (0.4 inch).

Sol 470 (May 20):
The rover was sent commands for a 12-meter (39-foot) drive. This drive 
incorporates larger step
sizes, lower current limits for the drive motors, and a lower bogie angle 

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

Visit the Mars Exploration Rover page at  

* 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: 


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 - 

* 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 

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

* Space.com - Sky Watch Calendar - 

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

* The Daytona Beach News-Journal - Space News Page - 

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

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


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

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!


Subscription Information

- Users can subscribe to your list by sending email to 
astronews-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with
'subscribe' in the Subject field OR by logging into the Web interface.

- Users can unsubscribe from the list by sending email to 
astronews-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with
'unsubscribe' in the Subject field OR by logging into the Web interface.

- Email Newsletter archives -

- Full documentation of the online administration system is available at
http://www.freelists.org/help/. We encourage you to get the most out of the web 
interfaces, and we
encourage subscribers to do the same. Please let your list members know about 
the advantages of
exploring the FreeLists Web Login.

- The latest version of the newsletter is accessible from 


Keep looking UP!
73 from KI0AR

Created by Burness F. Ansell, III

COO, Director of Aerospace Technologies, IAAS
JPL Solar System Ambassador, Colorado
Last modified: May 29, 2005

Discover Yahoo! 
Get on-the-go sports scores, stock quotes, news and more. Check it out! 

Other related posts: