[astronews] IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter

  • From: Burness Ansell <ki0ar@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Astronomy Newsletter <astronews@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2005 21:07:00 -0700 (PDT)

                IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter
                           July 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 21st.
* Last Quarter Moon on the 27th.

* Apogee on the 8th, 252,502 mi. from Earth.
* Perigee on the 21st, 221,928 mi. from Earth.

Moon/Planet Pairs:
* Mercury passes 1.6 deg. south of Venus on the 7th.
* The Moon passes 5 deg. north of Mercury on the 8th.
* The Moon passes 3 deg. north of Venus on the 8th.
* The Moon passes 0.6 deg. north of Antares on the 17th.
* Venus passes 1.2 deg. north of Regulus on the 22nd.
* The Moon passes 4 deg. north of Mars on the 27th.

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 at greatest eastern elongation (26 deg.) on the 8th. Mercury 
sets at 10:04 pm on
the 1st and about 8:07 pm by month's end. Look for Mercury during the first two 
weeks of July.
Mercury shines at magnitude 0.1 on the 1st and dims to magnitude 0.7 by the 

* Venus - Is visible in the evening sky. Look to the west soon after sunset to 
spot Venus moving
from the constellation of Cancer into Leo this month. Venus sets at 10:05 pm on 
the 1st and 9:43
pm by month's end. Venus shines at magnitude -3.7.

* Earth - Is at aphelion (94.4 million miles from the Sun) on the 5th.

* Mars - Appears in the early morning sky this month. Mars rises about 1:01 am 
on the 1st and
about 11:46 pm by month's end. Mars is in the constellation of Pisces this 
month. Mars shines at
magnitude 0.1.

* Jupiter - Can be spotted in the southwest in the early evening. Jupiter sets 
at 12:50 am on the
1st and 10:56 pm by month's end. Jupiter is in the constellation of Virgo. 
Jupiter shines at
magnitude -1.9.

* Saturn - Is very low in the west in the early evening. Saturn sets around 
9:36 pm on the 1st.
Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun on the 23rd. Look for Saturn during the 
first two weeks of
this month. Saturn is in the constellation of Gemini. Saturn shines at a 
magnitude of 0.2.

* Uranus - Rises at 11:33 pm on the 1st and about 9:29 pm by month's end. 
Uranus is in the
constellation of Aquarius and shines at a magnitude of 5.8.

* Neptune - Rises at 10:28 pm on the 1st and about 8:24 pm by month's end. 
Neptune is in the
constellation of Capricornus and shines at a magnitude of 7.8.

* Pluto - Rises about 6:37 pm on the 1st and about 4:33 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

Astronomical Events

Meteor Showers
* The Southern Delta Aquarids - This meteor shower has a duration of July 14 - 
August 18. Maximum
hourly rates of 15-20 occur on July 27. 

* 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 Occultation 
Timing Association's
(IOTA) web site.

* The highlight for this month is comet Tempel 1 headed for a meeting with the 
Deep Impact probe
on the night of July 3/4. At 0552 UTC the Deep Impact impactor will collide 
with the 9.7 magnitude
comet. See the Deep Impact report below.

* 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.
* Iris is in the constellation of Scorpius.
* Melpomene is in the constellation of Ophiuchus.
* Isis is at opposition on the 19th. Isis is in the constellation of 
* Juno is in the constellation of Cetus.

* 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 - June 28, 2005 -
NASA's Cassini Reveals Lake-like Feature on Titan
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

"Scientists are fascinated by a dark, lake-like feature recently observed on 
Saturn's moon Titan.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured a series of images showing a marking, darker 
than anything else
around it. It is remarkably lake-like, with smooth, shore-like boundaries 
unlike any seen
previously on Titan. 

"I'd say this is definitely the best candidate we've seen so far for a liquid 
hydrocarbon lake on
Titan," said Dr. Alfred McEwen, Cassini imaging team member and a professor at 
the University of
Arizona, Tucson. The suspected lake area measures 234 kilometers long by 73 
kilometers wide (145
miles by 45 miles), about the size of Lake Ontario, on the U.S. Canadian 

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 - June 30, 2005 -
"NASA's Deep Impact mission promises to create spectacular July Fourth 
fireworks in space when it
shoots a 820-pound copper-tipped bullet into the frigid heart of Comet Tempel 
1, creating a window
to materials frozen in time since the solar system was born. 

The washing machine-sized projectile will be released from its mothership 
spacecraft at 2:07 a.m.
EDT (0607 GMT) Sunday for the day-long cruise to oblivion. 

"We put the impactor in the comet's path so that the comet overtakes it. So it 
is like standing in
the middle of the road with semi truck bearing down on you," said Rick 
Grammier, Deep Impact
project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. 

The impactor and comet collide at 1:52 a.m. EDT (0552 GMT) Monday, releasing 
the energy equivalent
of 4.5 tons of exploding TNT as they smash together at 23,000 mph. The intense 
forces vaporize the
projectile as the circular crater -- perhaps 300 feet in diameter and 100 feet 
deep -- is rapidly

View star map of the comet at the time of impact. Courtesy of Tom Teter and 
"theSky" program.
Relative view of an observer at approximately 40 deg. north latitude, Comet 
Tempel 1 is only 14
deg. above the southwestern horizon at time of impact (0552 UTC [GMT], July 4 - 
adjust your times

Image of the position of Comet Tempel 1 at time of impact.

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

* 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.

* 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 - June 08, 2005
Orbital Shutterbug Marks Milestone

"A true martian workhorse, the Mars Global Surveyor has been returning vital 
data from the red
planet for eight years. In late May, the Mars Orbital Camera aboard the 
spacecraft returned its
200,000th picture of Mars! This impressive image highlights a northern 
middle-latitude martian

* Mars Global Surveyor Images - June 23-29, 2005

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

* Tikhonravov Layers (Released 23 June 2006)

* South Polar Cap (Released 24 June 2006)

* Troughs in Tharsis (Released 25 June 2006)

* West Tithonium Scene (Released 26 June 2006)

* South Amazonis Yardangs (Released 27 June 2006)

* Mars at Ls 230 Degrees (Released 28 June 2006)

* Defrosting Terrain (Released 29 June 2006)

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 200,000 images of Mars 
from the MGS, check
out the newest images of the surface of Mars at 

* Mars Odyssey Orbiter - No new news since 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 ."


June 20-24, 2005

* Arsia Mons Southern Flank (Released 20 June 2005)

* Arsia Mons Lava Flows (Released 21 June 2005)

* Arsia Mons Surface Flow (Released 22 June 2005)

* Arsia Mons Overlapping Flows (Released 23 June 2005)

* Filled Crater (Released 24 June 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) - June 24, 2005 -

Spirit Status: On the Move - sol 518-524, June 24, 2005

"Spirit started this week by completing two remote sensing sols on June 18 and 
19 (sols 518 and
519). The rover made observations with its panoramic camera, navigation camera, 
and miniature
thermal emission spectrometer."

Opportunity Status: Examining 'Purgatory' - sol 490-496, June 17, 2005

"Opportunity is happy to be moving again and it's heading back to "Purgatory 
Dune." The rover's
wheels dug wonderful trenches during its egress, and the science team is eager 
to get the robotic
arm out and have a look at the soil inside and outside of the tracks. As you 
can imagine,
Opportunity has been driving very carefully, backing away from the dune, 
turning around and then
re-approaching it."

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!


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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: July 02, 2005

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