[astronews] IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter

  • From: Burness Ansell <ki0ar@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Astronomy Newsletter <astronews@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2005 19:33:27 -0700 (PDT)

                IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter
                         August 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 4th.
* 1st Quarter Moon on the 12th.
* Full Moon on the 19th.
* Last Quarter Moon on the 26th.

* Apogee on the 4th, 252,669 mi. from Earth.
* Perigee on the 19th, 222,074 mi. from Earth.

Moon/Planet Pairs:
* The Moon passes 1.2 deg. north of Venus on the 7th.
* The Moon passes 1.3 deg. south of Jupiter on the 10th.
* The Moon passes 0.4 deg. north of Antares on the 14th.
* The Moon passes 5 deg. south of Neptune on the 18th.
* The Moon passes 2 deg. south of Uranus on the 20th.
* The Moon passes 6 deg. north of Mars on the 25th.
* The Moon passes 5 deg. north of Saturn on the 31st.

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 western elongation (18 deg.) on the 23rd. Mercury 
rises at 6:50 am on
the 1st and about 5:11 am by month's end. Look for Mercury in the morning sky 
during the last two
weeks of August. Mercury shines at magnitude -1.0 on the 31st.

* Venus - Is visible in the evening sky. Look to the west soon after sunset to 
spot Venus moving
from the constellation of Leo into Virgo this month. Venus sets at 9:43 pm on 
the 1st and 9:01 pm
by month's end. Venus shines at magnitude -3.8.

* Earth - N/A.

* Mars - Appears in the late evening sky this month. Mars rises about 11:46 pm 
on the 1st and
about 10:25 pm by month's end. Mars is in the tail of the constellation of 
Cetus this month. Mars
shines at magnitude -0.5 on the 1st and brightens to magnitude -1.0 by the 31st.

* Jupiter - Can be spotted very low in the southwest in the early evening. 
Jupiter sets at 10:56
am on the 1st and 9:06 pm by month's end. Jupiter is in the constellation of 
Virgo. Jupiter shines
at magnitude -1.8.

* Saturn - Is very low in the east in the early morning. Saturn rises around 
5:23 am on the 1st
and about 3:40 am on the 31st. Saturn is in the constellation of Cancer. Saturn 
shines at a
magnitude of 0.3.

* Uranus - Is at opposition on the 31st. Uranus rises at 9:29 pm on the 1st and 
about 7:24 pm by
month's end. Uranus is in the constellation of Aquarius and shines at a 
magnitude of 5.7.

* Neptune - Is at opposition on the 8th. Neptune rises at 8:24 pm on the 1st 
and about 4:36 pm by
month's end. Neptune is in the constellation of Capricornus and shines at a 
magnitude of 7.8.

* Pluto - Rises about 4:33 pm on the 1st and about 2:30 pm by month's end. 
Pluto is in the
constellation of Ophiuchus. Pluto shines at magnitude 13.9. As always, good 
luck at spotting this

Astronomical Events

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

* The Perseids meteor shower is generally visible between July 23 and August 
22. Maximum occurs
during August 12/13. The hourly rate typically reaches 80, although some years 
have been as low as
4 and as high as 200. The meteors tend to be very fast, possess an average 
magnitude of 2.3 and
leave persistent trains. The best time to observe this meteor shower this year 
will be in the
early morning hours of August 12 before sunrise for North American observers. 
More on this year's
Perseids at 
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/22jul_perseids2005.htm?list173350 "

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

* 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 in the constellation of Bootes.
* Ceres is in the constellation of Libra.
* Isis is in the constellation of Sagittarius.
* Juno is in the constellation of Taurus.
* Vesta is in the constellation of Gemini.

* 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 - July 29, 2005 -
Cassini Finds an Active, Watery World at Saturn's Enceladus
(Source: NASA/JPL)

"Saturn's tiny icy moon Enceladus, which ought to be cold and dead, instead 
displays evidence for
active ice volcanism.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has found a huge cloud of water vapor over the moon's 
south pole, and
warm fractures where evaporating ice probably supplies the vapor cloud. Cassini 
has also confirmed
Enceladus is the major source of Saturn's largest ring, the E-ring."

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 - July 21, 2005 -
Deep Impact Steers New Course
"Seventeen days after its encounter with comet Tempel 1, NASA's Deep Impact 
flyby spacecraft
successfully executed a trajectory correction maneuver that places the 
spacecraft on a path to fly
past Earth on Dec. 31, 2007. The 900-second burn, which changed the 
spacecraft's velocity by 216
miles per hour, preserves the space agency's options for future use of the 
comet hunter."

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 - July 13, 2005
Spying Changes in Mars' South Polar Cap 

"This animated image shows Mars in motion over the last six years. Images from 
the Mars Orbiter
Camera aboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft have documented dramatic 
changes in the planet's
south polar cap.
The south polar residual cap of Mars is composed of layered, frozen carbon 
dioxide. In 1999, the
Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) showed that the carbon 
dioxide layers have
been eroded to form a variety of circular pits, arcuate scarps (arc-shaped 
slopes), troughs,
buttes, and mesas."

* Mars Global Surveyor Images - July 21-27, 2005

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

* Polygon-Cracked Plain (Released 21 July 2005)

* Bouldery Trough (Released 22 July 2005)

* Carbon Dioxide Landscape (Released 23 July 2005)

* Triple Impact (Released 24 July 2005)

* Martian Gullies (Released 25 July 2005)

* Mars at Ls 249 Degrees (Released 26 July 2005)

* Collapse Pits (Released 27 July 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 200,000 images of Mars 
from the MGS, check
out the newest images of the surface of Mars at 

* Mars Odyssey Orbiter - July 08, 2005 - Mars Odyssey Achieved 15,000 Science 


July 25-29, 2005

* Refilled Crater (Released 25 July 2005)

* Crater Ejecta (Released 26 July 2005)

* Eroded Ejecta (Released 27 July 2005)

* Radial Erosion (Released 28 July 2005)

* Craters Filling Fraters (Released 29 July 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) - July 28, 2005 -

Spirit Status: Spirit in Target-Rich Environment - sol 546-551, July 25, 2005

"Spirit had an excellent week, driving every planning cycle. The rover drove 
more than 70 meters
(230 feet) closer to the summit of Husband Hill.
The science team has identified an outcrop suitable for inspecting with 
instruments on the robotic
arm. On Sol 550 (July 20, 2005), Spirit approached that target. The following 
sol the rover
"bumped" forward to get into good position for extending the arm to the target."

Opportunity Status: Rocks and Cobbles on the Way to 'Erebus' - sol 524-530, 
July 25, 2005

"The Opportunity team's current strategy for driving alternates segments of 
using visual odometry
to check for slippage with segments of blind driving for less than 5 meters (16 
feet). The
strategy and hard work designing and commanding drives through troughs between 
ripples contributed
to the rover making 89 meters (292 feet) of progress over three drive plans.
Rocks and cobbles have begun appearing in images of Opportunity's new 
surroundings, for the first
time in many weeks of traversing through rippled terrain.
The rover's power team reported a dust-cleaning event on Opportunity between 
sols 524 and 526.
Daily power output from solar panels increased from about 500 watt hours to 
about 650 watt hours."

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 31, 2005

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