[astronews] IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter

  • From: Burness Ansell <ki0ar@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Astronomy Newsletter <astronews@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 3 Nov 2002 20:54:17 -0800 (PST)

          IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter
                    November 2002


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


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 11th.
* Full Moon on the 19th.
* 3rd Quarter Moon on the 27th.

* Perigee on the 3rd, 222,546 mi. from Earth.
* Apogee on the 20th, 252,150 mi. from Earth.

Moon/Planet Pairs:
* The Moon passes 4 degrees north of Mars on the 2nd.
* The Moon passes 0.6 degrees south of Juno on the
* The Moon passes 5 degrees south of Neptune on the
* The Moon passes 5 degrees south of Uranus on the
* The Moon passes 10 degrees north of Venus on the
* Mars passes 3 degrees north of Spica on the 19th.
* The Moon passes 3 degrees north of Saturn on the
* The Moon passes 4 degrees north of Jupiter on the
* The Moon passes 0.04 degrees south of Vesta on the


(All times are local unless otherwise noted.)

* Mercury - Is in superior conjunction on the 13th.
Mercury is not visible this month.

* Venus - Is stationary on the 18th. Venus is barely
visible in the early morning sky just before sunrise
later in the month. Venus shines at magnitude -4.4 by
the 15th.

* Mars - Is visible in the early morning sky in the
east before sunrise. Mars rises about 4 am. Mars can
be found in the constellation of Virgo. Mars shines at
magnitude 1.8.

* Jupiter - Rises about 11:30 pm on the 1st and by
month's end will rise around 9:45 pm. Jupiter can be
found between the constellation of Cancer the Crab and
Leo the Lion. Jupiter shines at magnitude -2.2.

* Saturn - Rises around 7:45 pm on the 1st and about
5:45 pm on the 30th. Saturn is located just west of
the constellation of Gemini, east of Taurus and
slightly north of Orion. Saturn shines at magnitude

* Uranus - Is near the eastern edge of the
constellation of Aquarius. Uranus sets about 12:30 am.
Uranus shines at magnitude 5.8.

* Neptune - Is located in the constellation of
Capricornus. Neptune sets about 11 pm. Neptune shines
at magnitude 7.9.

* Pluto - Sets about 7:30 pm. Pluto is in the lower
east corner of the constellation of Ophiuchus. As
always, this planet is difficult to spot, shining at
magnitude 13.9.


Astronomical Events

Meteor Showers
* The Leonids - The duration of this meteor shower
covers the period of Nov. 14-20. Maximum currently
occurs on Nov. 19. 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.
Leonids Meteor Storm Forecast for 2002: 

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

* Comet RX14 LINEAR can be found at the feet of the
constellation of Ursa Major shining at a magnitude of
11. RX14 is making its way towards the large spiral
galaxy M106. A minimum of a 4-inch telescope and dark
sky conditions may be required to spot this comet in
the early morning skies before dawn. 

* A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs on the evening of
the 19th. The eclipse begins about 6:32 pm EST with
maximum eclipse occurring around 8:47 pm EST. Do not
confuse this penumbral eclipse with a full (umbral)
eclipse. The moon passes through about 88% of the
partial shadow.

* Nysa is at opposition on the 18th.

* 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 - October 25, 2002 - 
"All systems on Genesis are functioning properly. The
solar wind samples collected in the past week included
some from days when the wind was the high-speed type
that comes from coronal holes." The latest status
reports can be read at
Find out more about the Genesis mission at 
http://genesismission.jpl.nasa.gov/ and 
http://genesis.jpl.nasa.gov/html/index.shtml.  Visit
"Where Is Genesis Now? at 

* Galileo - October 28 - November 3, 2002
"This Week on Galileo - On the Threshold - The week
begins with the Galileo spacecraft at a distance of 80
Jupiter radii (5.7 million kilometers or 3.5 million
miles) from the giant planet. 
Though this may seem close based upon recent history,
there were five previous orbits during Galileo's
seven-year tour during which the spacecraft never
reached this far out from Jupiter. By week's end on
Sunday, Galileo will have closed that span to 25
Jupiter radii (1.8 million kilometers or 1.1 million
miles), and will be rapidly gaining speed." Read the
latest news at http://galileo.jpl.nasa.gov/index.html.

* Cassini - October 25, 2002 - "The most recent
spacecraft telemetry was acquired from the Madrid
tracking station on Wednesday, October 23. The Cassini
spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and is
operating normally. ... On-board activities included
setting of the CDS flight software equivalency bit, a
memory readout of Assisted Load Format addresses for
beginning and end of flight software loads, a Reaction
Wheel Assembly momentum unload, a Stellar Reference
Unit calibration, transition from Reaction Wheel to
Reaction Control Subsystem control, and a high
watermark clear."

"For the multinational Cassini-Huygens mission, NASA
provided the large Cassini spacecraft, which will
begin orbiting Saturn July 1, 2004, and the European
Space Agency provided the Huygens probe, which will
parachute into the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's
largest moon, on Jan. 14, 2005." For the latest
mission status reports, visit
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/cassini/english/. The speed
and location of the spacecraft can be 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 accomplished.

* Stardust - October 16, 2002 - "Stardust will take
advantage of flying near a small asteroid next month
to test many procedures the spacecraft will use 14
months later during its encounter with its primary
science target, comet Wild-2. 

Stardust will pass within about 3,000 kilometers
(about 1,900 miles) of asteroid Annefrank at 04:50
Nov. 2, Universal Time (8:50 p.m. Nov. 1, Pacific
Standard Time). The spacecraft will automatically
image Annefrank using camera tracking of the
mountain-sized rock as it speeds by at 7 kilometers (4
miles) per second."

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.

* 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 - October 7, 2002 - "With the
release this month (October 2002) of the latest
installment of 18,812 images, the Mars Global Surveyor
(MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) passes another major
milestone: more than 100,000 images have been
validated and archived with the NASA Planetary Data
System. The total number of archived images now
available on-line is 112,218--more than twice the
number of pictures acquired by the two Viking orbiters
in 1976-1980. These pictures, from MOC extended
mission subphases E07 through E12, were acquired
August 2001 through January 2002. Every six months,
after a six-month, labor-intensive archiving effort,
the MOC team releases six months-worth of validated
data to the NASA Planetary Data System.

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 is now in its sixth 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 100,000 images of Mars from the MGS, check out
the newest images of the surface of Mars at

* Mars Odyssey Orbiter - October 1, 2002 - "Mars
Odyssey Releases First Data Archive to Scientists"

"NASA has released the first set of data taken by the
Mars Odyssey spacecraft to the Planetary Data System,
which will now make the information available to
research scientists through a new online distribution
and access system."

"This release is a major milestone for Mars scientists
worldwide, since the first validated data from our
instruments are now available to the entire scientific
community," said Dr. R. Stephen Saunders, the Odyssey
project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif. "There are fundamentally new kinds of
information in these data sets, including day and
night infrared images, maps of hydrogen in the soil,
and radiation hazard data for future Mars missions."

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 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.)

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

* JPL Solar System Ambassador Program - 

* Space.com - Sky Watch Calendar - 

* Eric's Black Sun Eclipse website - 

* Astronomical Lexicon -
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 name]@space.com.

* Northern Colorado Astronomical Society -

* Denver Astronomical Society -

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

* Our Solar System -
This is an excellent site to learn about our solar


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

COO, Director of Aerospace Technologies, IAAS
Last modified: November 03, 2002

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