Casual Astronomy, Spaceflight News and Lower California Weather

★ Mercury & the 7 Sisters after Sunset
( Thinnest Morning Crescent Moon
Early Morning May 5 or 6 - η (Eta) Aquariid Meteor Shower

By: LowerCal, 5:11 PM GMT on March 30, 2008

What is "casual astronomy"?
(Scroll down for future dates, farther down for past dates.)

Mercury after Sunset
First Half of May
The planet Mercury appears above the WSW horizon after sunset -
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Catch Mercury at Its Best.

Also see Astronomy.com - Spot elusive Mercury.


Mercury & the Seven Sisters
May 1-3
The planet Mercury will pass close to the Pleiades (Seven Sisters) star cluster on his way up from the WSW WNW horizon after sunset. Mercury is the bright starlike point of light with the color of a new penny. The less bright, more orangish point to its upper left is the star Aldebaran. Binoculars will be required to spot the Pleiades during twilight.

Info also at SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.


( Thinnest Morning Crescent

WU Photo: Sliver of a Moon by StarDancer Friday April 4, 2008
May 3/4
It may be possible to spot the "oldest", thinnest crescent moon low in the eastern sky before sunrise.

More info at SkyandTelescope.com - Homepage Observing - A Rare Chance To See "Opposing Crescent" Moons.


Dark/New Moon
May 5
Dark Moon (Astronomical New Moon) exact at:
1218 UTC/GMT,
8:18am EDT and
5:18am PDT.
The dark moon will be followed by progressively higher and fatter evening crescents.

"New Moon"
The term "new moon" has two different meanings.

1) In the context of astronomy like the U.S. Naval Observatory - 2008 Phases of the Moon it is the exact time the Moon passes a line between between the centers of the Earth and Sun. From Earth the opposite side of the Moon is illuminated and we can only "see" the dark side ... except that we really can't see it because it so close to the brilliant light of the Sun. When the alignment is nearly exact we can see the silhouette of the Moon in a solar eclipse.

2) In the context of cultural/religious calendars "new moon" is the first sighting of the very thin crescent moon very low in the western sky after sunset. The first sighting (or theoretically possible sighting) determines the first day of a new moon/month.




Meteor Shower

WU Photo: Searching for Shooting Stars by johnlanoue Monday October 8, 2007
Early Morning May 5 or 6
The η (Eta) Aquariids are a variable shower with a rates from 40-85 per hour visible from ideal locations.

Best areas for watching are south of the Equator and this year the Western Pacific. The Northern Hemisphere near the tropics has a chance of seeing a significant portion of these meteors.

Highest numbers will be visible just before the break of dawn while the sky is still at its darkest. Farther south visibility will start earlier before dawn and the numbers will be higher.

In the Western Hemisphere the dawn of May 5 will be closest to the peak of the shower. In the Eastern Hemisphere the dawn of May 6 will be closest to the peak.

Source and more information at
IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2008 | International Meteor Organization - η-Aquariids.

Also see
Meteor Activity Outlook for April 25-May 1, 2008 | International Meteor Organization,
Astronomy.com - Will meteors from Halley's comet surge?,
SpaceWeather.com - eta Aquarid meteor shower,
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - See the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower and
Meteor Activity Outlook for May 2-8, 2008 | International Meteor Organization.

For Better Viewing
Find a Dark Location
A dark country location without "security" lights is best. If that's not convenient try to find a location where you can't see any lights or lighted surfaces. A nearby park or maybe even your backyard would qualify. On a beach facing the water could be a good alternative.

Where to Look
Meteors can appear in any part of the sky. To see the most meteors face the darkest part of your sky and look at least 45° above the horizon.

Be Comfortable
A reclining chair will keep you from getting a stiff neck and tired feet. A sleeping bag will keep you warm. (Even in the summertime you can get chilly at night if you are just lying still.) Insect repellent will keep you from being distracted by those little pests.

General Meteor Shower Information
An easy to read introduction to meteors with an interesting summary of annual showers is
Astronomy - Meteors and meteor showers - Francis Reddy.

The two primary sources of most of what you'll read about meteor showers are
The American Meteor Society and
The International Meteor Organinzation.


Outline of Sky Events for the Year
2008
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Sky Highlights of 2008

SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Eclipses in 2008

SkyandTelescope.com - Meteors - Meteor Showers in 2008

The question, "How could I make a valuable contribution to the science of astronomy as a simple naked eye observer?" is answered in
SkyandTelescope.com - Stargazing - The Scientific Value of Visual Observing
which may lead you to the following, in order:
SkyandTelescope.com - Meteors - Meteors: A Primer,
SkyandTelescope.com - Meteors - Basics of Meteor Observing and
SkyandTelescope.com - Meteors - Advanced Meteor Observing.


***** Past Dates *****

Double Spacecraft Flyovers

WU Photo: Endeavour and the ISS by WeatheringHeights Tuesday March 25, 2008
March 8
Mission: Jules Verne (ATV 1)
Spacecraft: ESA ATV
Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5 ES
Launch from Kourou, French Guiana at
10:59pm EST (12:59am March 9 Local Time)
11:03:04pm EST (01:03:04am March 9 Local Time).
Docking with ISS April 3
1441 GMT
4:41pm CEST (Central European Summer Time)
10:41am EDT
7:41am PDT.
Undocking from ISS August 7.


Image credit: ESA - D. Ducros 2007

Mission home page is ESA - ATV.

This mission of the ATV will function as a cargo carrier to the ISS. For possible sightings of a double flyovers after launch and before docking check Heavens-Above. If you live in the US or Canada you can try the simpler tool at Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.


National Dark-Sky Week

Image credit: NASA Visible Earth
March 29 - April 4
National Dark-Sky Week » Home

... people in the United States are encouraged to turn out their unnecessary outdoor lights in order to temporarily reduce light pollution. Light pollution is a hazy blanket of light in the atmosphere caused by improper lighting fixtures which direct light up into the sky instead of down toward the ground. Not only does light pollution waste energy, but it also creates great problems for stargazers. This “blanket of light” causes the beauty of the night sky to fade...
SkyandTelescope.com - Homepage News - Lights Out, Everyone!
... it's easy to see that very little outdoor lighting is done well. Too many fixtures send light streaming up into the sky, or provide far more light than is necessary, or are simply left on when they're not needed. For all these reasons, light pollution has become the universal bane of anyone who appreciates the starry sky....

Phases of the Lunar Month Moon
April 5/6 - May 5
A guide to following the phases of the Moon over the next a month -
SkyandTelescope.com - Moon - The Moon's Changing Phase.


Thin Crescent Moons

WU Photo: One day old Moon by LaddObservatory Friday June 15, 2007
April 5 or 6
New Moon exact at:
April 6, 03:55 UTC/GMT,
April 5, 11:55pm EDT and
April 5, 8:55pm PDT.
The new moon will be preceded by progressively thinner morning crescents and followed by progressively fatter evening crescents (photo ops).

The following evening you could be one of the first people on Earth to spot the thin new cresent with some help from Moonsighting.com. Few people have ever seen a moon less than 24 hours old but this evening everyone nearly everyone in North America has a chance of spotting it! (Binoculars will help. Also see comment #47.)

Additional info on thin crescent moons at
SkyandTelescope.com - Projects - Seeking Thin Crescent Moons.

Because this is the one of the two times during the month (new and full moon) when the Sun, Earth and Moon are nearly aligned tidal behavior will be strongest -- higher highs, lower lows and faster flows.


Double/Triple Spacecraft Flyovers
April 7
Mission: ISS Flight 28P
Spacecraft: Progress M-63
Undocking from ISS April 7.
"Buried" April 7 (see comment #58).

The Progress cargo ship will undock from the ISS to make way for the Soyuz spacecraft that will launch tomorrow. Between undocking and deorbiting it may be possible to sight both craft in the sky at the same time. Check satellite pass predictions at Heavens-Above. If you live in the US or Canada you can try the simpler tool at Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.

In addition to the ISS the Progress M-63 is being tracked at Heavens-Above. Here is their info page - PROGRESS-M 63- Information. Enter your observing site from the Home page and then the satellite ID to get Pass predictions for your location.


Moon Encounters the Pleiades
April 8
In some areas it will be dark when the Moon passes through the Pleiades hiding or grazing stars in the process! This is a good event to use binoculars.



























WU Photo: Halo Around the Moon by stoneygirl Friday February 23, 2007

More info on this event at
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Blog - A Perfect Pairing,
The Moon joins the Seven Sisters - Astronomy.com blog and
Astronomy.com - The Moon's stellar companion.

For more info on the Pleiades (AKA the Seven Sisters) see comment #248 in the previous blog.


Double Spacecraft Flyovers

WU Photo: SPACECRAFT by Westerberg Wednesday June 20, 2007

Launch of Mission to ISS
April 8
Mission: ISS Flight 16S and Expedition 17
Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA-12
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz FG
Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan April 8
1116 GMT
4:16pm AQTT (Aqtobe Time, local time)
7:16am EDT
3:16am PDT.
Docking with ISS April 10
1300 GMT
5:00pm MSD (Moscow Summer Time)
9:00am EDT
6:00am PDT.

Updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

You can follow the progress of the mission at NASA - Expedition 17.

Live coverage of the launch on NASA TV starts at 6:15am EDT (one hour before liftoff).

Launch Video - YouTube - Soyuz TMA12: 8 Launched


Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Between the launch of the Soyuz and its docking with the ISS it may be possible to sight both craft in the sky at the same time. Check satellite pass predictions at Heavens-Above. If you live in the US or Canada you can try the simpler tool at Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.


Mars Races the Moon
April 11
With a small headstart the Moon will race Mars to the western horizon tonight. Who wins depends on whether or not you're in the Northern Hemisphere.


International Sidewalk Astronomy Night
April 12
2nd International Sidewalk Astronomy Night
... We'll have telescopes out on the street corners, in front of movie theaters, in state and national parks, in city centre parks ... anywhere there are crowds of people!

Our goal is to take scopes to the public on the same night worldwide, reaching hundreds of thousands of people ...
See if they will be setting up near you!


Launch of Communications Satellite
April 14
Satellite: ICO G1
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V version 421 AV-014
Launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at
2012-2112 GMT
4:12-5:12pm EDT (local time)
1:12-2:12pm PDT.

Updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

As the launch date grows closer it may be possible to You can find more information on the ICO G1 satellite and even a live webcast of the launch at United Launch Alliance. The live webcast will start 21 minutes before launch at 3:51pm EDT.





Photo credit: Karl Ronstrom/ULA


Saturn, Regulus & the Moon
April 14 & 15
The evening of the April 14 the bright star Regulus will appear between the Moon and the planet Saturn. The following evening the Moon has moved on and Saturn will appear in the middle.

Saturn is brighter and yellowish while Regulus appears slightly blue.


Double Spacecraft Flyovers

WU Photo: Shuttle & ISS #1 by Westerberg Sunday August 19, 2007

Return of Mission from ISS
April ?-19
Mission: ISS Expedition 16
Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA-11
Undocking from ISS April ? 19 1:06am EDT.
Landing April 19 4:30am EDT.

Between the undocking of the Soyuz from the ISS and its landing it may be possible to sight both craft in the sky at the same time. Check satellite pass predictions at Heavens-Above. If you live in the US or Canada you can try the simpler tool at Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.


Full Moon

WU Photo: Rustic Moon by karalegal Friday March 21, 2008
April 20
Full Moon exact at:
1025 UTC/GMT,
6:25am EDT and
3:25am PDT.
The full moon will be rising in the east very close to the time of sunset. At that time the Moon will seem huge (the Moon illusion) and unusually colored. The yellow/orange/red appearance of the moon at the horizon is due to the same reason the sky appears blue!

Because this is the one of the two times during the month (new and full moon) when the Sun, Earth and Moon are nearly aligned tidal behavior will be strongest -- higher highs, lower lows and faster flows.

The Earth has some weird effects on the Moon at this time too.
NASA - The Moon and the Magnetotail

Evenings near the full moon are good evenings to take a Moon walk.
SkyandTelescope.com - Moon - Take a Moon Walk Tonight


Earth Day ( is an Earth symbol.)
April 22
Take a look at the easiest planet to see today. Think about what it does for you. Think about what you do for it.


Meteor Shower

WU Photo: Searching for Shooting Stars by johnlanoue Monday October 8, 2007
Early Evening April 22 or 23
The π (Pi) Puppids are a periodic shower with a rate of up to 40 per hour visible from ideal locations.

Best areas for watching this year are the Western Pacific and slightly south of the Equator. In the Northern Hemisphere the tropics are the only area that has a chance of spotting any significant number.

There will be less than an hour for spotting meteors between nightfall and the rise of a nearly full Moon. Farther south the time is shorter.

The evening of April 22 will be closest to the peak of the shower for the Americas. The evening of April 23 is closest to the peak elsewhere.

Source and more information at
IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2008 | International Meteor Organization - π-Puppids.

For Better Viewing
Find a Dark Location
A dark country location without "security" lights is best. If that's not convenient try to find a location where you can't see any lights or lighted surfaces. A nearby park or maybe even your backyard would qualify. On a beach facing the water could be a good alternative.

Where to Look
Meteors can appear in any part of the sky. To see the most meteors face the darkest part of your sky and look at least 45° above the horizon.

Be Comfortable
A reclining chair will keep you from getting a stiff neck and tired feet. A sleeping bag will keep you warm. (Even in the summertime you can get chilly at night if you are just lying still.) Insect repellent will keep you from being distracted by those little pests.

General Meteor Shower Information
An easy to read introduction to meteors with an interesting summary of annual showers is
Astronomy - Meteors and meteor showers - Francis Reddy.

The two primary sources of most of what you'll read about meteor showers are
The American Meteor Society and
The International Meteor Organinzation.


☾ ⋅ Morning Crescent Moons (with Jupiter)
April 29 - May3/4
The crescent moon will appear lower and thinner each morning.

The planet Jupiter in the SSE-S is the second brightest point of light in the sky before sunrise (second to the Moon). Jupiter will change position very little from morning to morning while the Moon progresses toward the east.




In the past day people have visited from the places shown.
Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

Updated: 2:46 AM GMT on May 04, 2008

Permalink

Crescent Moon with Jupiter Morning of March 30 | National Dark-Sky Week March 29 - April 4 | Double Spacecraft Flyovers until April 3 (see comment #227)

By: LowerCal, 5:00 PM GMT on March 14, 2008

What is "Casual Astronomy"?
(Scroll down for future dates, farther down for past dates.)

Morning of March 30
Crescent Moon Near Jupiter
The Moon (in crescent phase) will appear closest to Jupiter this morning low in the SE.



Image credit: NASA Visible Earth
March 29 - April 4
National Dark-Sky Week
National Dark-Sky Week » Home

... people in the United States are encouraged to turn out their unnecessary outdoor lights in order to temporarily reduce light pollution. Light pollution is a hazy blanket of light in the atmosphere caused by improper lighting fixtures which direct light up into the sky instead of down toward the ground. Not only does light pollution waste energy, but it also creates great problems for stargazers. This “blanket of light” causes the beauty of the night sky to fade...
SkyandTelescope.com - Homepage News - Lights Out, Everyone!
... it's easy to see that very little outdoor lighting is done well. Too many fixtures send light streaming up into the sky, or provide far more light than is necessary, or are simply left on when they're not needed. For all these reasons, light pollution has become the universal bane of anyone who appreciates the starry sky....

Double Spacecraft Flyovers

Image credit: ESA - D. Ducros 2007
March 8
Night Launch! Ariane 5 - ESA ATV 1 "Jules Verne"
Launch at 10:59pm EST (12:59am March 9 Local Time) Kourou, French Guiana
Launch at 11:03:04pm EST (01:03:04am March 9 Local Time) Kourou, French Guiana.
Docking with ISS April 3.

Live web coverage starts at 10:03pm EST (one hour before the launch) -
ESA - ATV - Watch the ATV launch - LIVE.

Launch schedule updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

Mission home page -
ESA - ATV.

This mission of the ATV will function as a cargo carrier to the ISS. For possible sightings of a double flyover after launch and before docking check Heavens-Above. If you live in the US or Canada you can use the simpler tool at Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.
Update March 20: The ATV has acheived its parking orbit positioned 2,000 km ahead of the International Space Station - ESA - ATV - Jules Verne reaches ‘parking’ orbit. Any flyovers from now until the scheduled docking with the ISS on April 3 will be double flyovers with the dimmer ATV leading the ISS by a matter of minutes. The number of minutes and separation of their paths will depend on perspective. Pass predictions can be obtained at Heavens-Above (or Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com). After Shuttle Endeavour's scheduled undocking from the ISS March 24, 7:54pm EDT and before landing (March 26, 8:33pm EDT) triple flyover sightings are possible.


One day old Moon by LaddObservatory Friday June 15, 2007

April 5 or 6
New Moon exact at:
April 6, 03:55 UTC/GMT,
April 5, 11:55pm EDT and
April 5, 8:55pm PDT.

The new moon will be preceded by progressively thinner morning crescents and followed by progressively fatter evening crescents (photo ops).

The following evening you could be one of the first people on Earth to spot the thin new cresent with some help from Moonsighting.com. Few people have ever seen a moon less than 24 hours old but this evening everyone in North America has a chance of spotting it!

Additional info on thin crescent moons at
SkyandTelescope.com - Projects - Seeking Thin Crescent Moons.

Because this is the one of the two times during the month (new and full moon) when the Sun, Earth and Moon are nearly aligned tidal behavior will be strongest -- higher highs, lower lows and faster flows.


April 5/6 - May 5
A guide to following the phases of the Moon over the next month -
SkyandTelescope.com - Moon - The Moon's Changing Phase.


April 8
Launch of Mission to ISS
Mission: ISS Flight 16S and Expedition 17
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz FG
Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA-12
Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan April 8
1116 GMT
4:16pm AQTT (local time)
7:16am EDT
3:16am PDT.
Docking with ISS April 10.

Updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

You can follow the progress of the mission online at NASA - Expedition 17.

Between the time of launch and docking it may be possible to sight both craft in the sky at the same time. Check satellite pass predictions at Heavens-Above.







Halo Around the Moon by stoneygirl Friday February 23, 2007
April 8
Moon Encounters the Pleiades
In some areas it will be dark when the Moon passes through the Pleiades hiding or grazing stars in the process! This is a good event to use binoculars.

For more info on the Pleiades (AKA the Seven Sisters) see comment #248 in the previous blog.
























April 11
Mars Races the Moon
With a small headstart the Moon will race Mars to the western horizon tonight. Who wins depends on whether or not you're in the Northern Hemisphere.


April 14
Launch of Communications Satellite
Satellite: ICO G1
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V version 421 AV-014
Launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at
2012-2112 GMT
4:12-5:12pm EDT (local time)
1:12-2:12pm PDT.

Updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

As the launch date grows closer it may be possible to find more information on the ICO G1 satellite and even a live webcast of the launch at United Launch Alliance.







Photo credit: Patrick AFB


April 14 & 15
Saturn, the Moon and Regulus
The evening of the April 14 the bright star Regulus will appear between the Moon and the planet Saturn. The following evening the Moon has moved on and Saturn will appear in the middle.


Rustic Moon by karalegal Friday March 21, 2008

April 20
Full Moon exact at:
1025 UTC/GMT,
6:25am EDT and
3:25am PDT.

The full moon will be rising in the east very close to the time of sunset. At that time the Moon will seem huge (the Moon illusion) and unusually colored. The yellow/orange/red appearance of the moon at the horizon is due to the same reason the sky appears blue!

Because this is the one of the two times during the month (new and full moon) when the Sun, Earth and Moon are nearly aligned tidal behavior will be strongest -- higher highs, lower lows and faster flows.

Evenings near the full moon are good evenings to take a Moon walk.
SkyandTelescope.com - Moon - Take a Moon Walk Tonight


Searching for Shooting Stars by johnlanoue Monday October 8, 2007

April 22 or 23
Puppid Meteor Shower
The Puppids are a periodic shower with a rate of up to 40 per hour visible from ideal locations.

Best areas for watching this year are the Western Pacific and slightly south of the Equator. In the Northern Hemisphere the tropics are the only area that has a chance of spotting any significant number.

There will be less than an hour for spotting meteors between nightfall and the rise of a nearly full Moon. The evening of April 22 will be closest to the peak of the shower for the Americas. The evening of April 23 is closest to the peak elsewhere.

Find more information at
IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2008 | International Meteor Organization - Puppids.

For Better Viewing
Find a Dark Location
A dark country location without "security" lights is best. If that's not convenient try to find a location where you can't see any lights or lighted surfaces. A nearby park or maybe even your backyard would qualify. On a beach facing the water could be a good alternative.

Where to Look
Meteors can appear in any part of the sky. To see the most meteors face the darkest part of your sky and look at least 45° above the horizon.

Be Comfortable
A reclining chair will keep you from getting a stiff neck and tired feet. A sleeping bag will keep you warm. (Even in the summertime you can get chilly at night if you are just lying still.) Insect repellent will keep you from being distracted by those little pests.

General Meteor Shower Information
An easy to read introduction to meteors with an interesting summary of annual showers is
Astronomy - Meteors and meteor showers - Francis Reddy.

The two primary sources of most of what you'll read about meteor showers are
The American Meteor Society and
The International Meteor Organinzation.


Morning of April 27
Moon Near Jupiter
The Moon (in crescent phase) will appear closest to Jupiter this morning in the SSE.


2008
Outline of Sky Events for the New Year
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Sky Highlights of 2008

SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Eclipses in 2008

SkyandTelescope.com - Meteors - Meteor Showers in 2008

The question, "How could I make a valuable contribution to the science of astronomy as a simple naked eye observer?" is answered in
SkyandTelescope.com - Stargazing - The Scientific Value of Visual Observing
which may lead you to the following, in order:
SkyandTelescope.com - Meteors - Meteors: A Primer,
SkyandTelescope.com - Meteors - Basics of Meteor Observing and
SkyandTelescope.com - Meteors - Advanced Meteor Observing.


***** Past Dates *****

March
Morning Planets - Jupiter, Venus and Mercury
For the Northern Hemisphere brilliant Venus appears low in the ESE while bright Jupiter appears slightly higher in the SE. Mercury will not climb much higher and will remain in close proximity to Venus for another month.

For the Southern Hemisphere the view is much better. The planets will appear in the E, higher in the sky with Jupiter highest.


March 14
Mars and the Moon
The Moon travels with the planet Mars in the sky this night.


March 15
Night Launch! Delta 2 - GPS 2R-19 (M6)
Launch at 2:09-2:23am EDT Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.

Updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

Links to a live webcast and a wealth of information on GPS 2R-19 (M6) and other Delta II missions at
United Launch Alliance.



Photo credit: Patrick AFB


March 18-19
Saturn, the Moon and Regulus
The evening of the March 18 the bright star Regulus will appear between the Moon and the planet Saturn. The following evening the Moon has moved on and Saturn will appear in the middle.


March 19 or 20
Equinox exact at:
March 20, 05:48 UTC/GMT,
March 20, 1:48am EDT and
March 19, 10:48pm PDT.

The Sun rises directly east and sets directly west everywhere on Earth today. (This can be blinding for urban commuters so be careful.) The length of day is also equal to night - (equinox).

Comment #33 is a must see!!!

An ancient stone passage tomb at Loughcrew, Ireland will be open to the public for sunrise March 20-22. If you can't make it you can watch the Spring 2005 video.


Happy Worm Moon!
Full Moon Names and Their Meanings
Full Worm - March Moon As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins...

01-21-08 Luna by Astronight Monday January 21, 2008

March 21
Full Moon exact at:
18:40 UTC/GMT,
2:40pm EDT and
11:40am PDT.

The full moon will be rising in the east very close to the time of sunset. At that time the Moon will seem huge (the Moon illusion) and unusually colored. The yellow/orange/red appearance of the moon at the horizon is due to the same reason the sky appears blue!

Because this is the one of the two times during the month (new and full moon) when the Sun, Earth and Moon are nearly aligned tidal behavior will be strongest -- higher highs, lower lows and faster flows.

This night is a good night to take a Moon walk too.
SkyandTelescope.com - Moon - Take a Moon Walk Tonight

Alternate entertainment if you can't get outside is
an animation of two years worth of full moons in two seconds.
Q: Why don't they all look the same?
A: SkyandTelescope.com - SkyTel Beyond the Page - Glimpse the Moon's Far Side


March 11-27
March 11-26
Night Launch! Shuttle Endeavour - STS-123
Launch at 2:28:12am EDT Kennedy Space Center, FL.
Docking with ISS March 12 at 11:27pm EDT.
Undocking from ISS March 24 at 7:55pm EDT.
Landing at 8:35pm EDT Kennedy Space Center, FL.

Docking with ISS March 12 at 11:25pm EDT.
Undocking from ISS March 24 at 7:54pm EDT.
Landing at 8:33pm EDT Kennedy Space Center, FL.

Undocking from ISS March 24 at 7:56pm EDT.
Landing March 26 at 7:05pm EDT KSC, FL.
Photo credit: NASA/Amanda Diller

Landing March 26 at 8:39pm EDT KSC, FL.

You can follow the progress of the Space Shuttle mission online at
Spaceflight Now | STS-123 Shuttle Report | Mission Status Center and
NASA - Space Shuttle.
There are links in the "WATCH NASA TV NOW" section of that page where you can watch video (sometimes live).

You can dig for more info atSearching for Shooting Stars by johnlanoue Monday October 8, 2007
Spaceflight Now - Index of /shuttle/sts123 and
CBS News Space Place - STS-123 Status Report.

Videos and more interesting and informative links at
Patrap's Endeavour Night Launch blog entry.

See the ISS and Shuttle Pass Over You!
Shuttle & ISS #1 by Westerberg Sunday August 19, 2007

You can find out exactly when and where the International Space Station or the Space Shuttle is predicted to pass through your sky during the next 10 days.

If you live in the US or Canada you can use Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.

From other countries (and for additional satellites and more detailed information) enter your location from a list at heavens-above.com (if you register first you can save your location and don't have to reenter it every time). Then next to "Satellites, 10 day predictions for:" click "ISS" or "STS-123". To see the ground track with time marks for your local time zone: click the date of the pass you're interested in then click "Click here" under "Ground Track".

You should check the predictions each day though. The shuttle has to change its orbit to approach and depart the station and the station's orbit may be "boosted" while it is docked (see ISS Height Profile). If the time of your visible pass(es) is near docking or departure you can see both objects following almost the same orbit, one after/beside the other!
Update March 20: Undocking of this particular mission presents the possibility of triple flyovers. See the March 20 update for the ESA - ATV.



Image credit: NASA Visible Earth
March 29 8:00pm (your local time)
Lights Out for Earth Hour
Earth Hour US - Earth Hour 2008
On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund...
SkyandTelescope.com - Homepage News - Lights Out, Everyone!
... simply turn off unnecessary lights (particularly outdoor lights) in your home or business from 8 to 9 p.m. on March 29th.

That small effort is more than just symbolic — it will achieve a small but real saving in electricity and, in turn, the coal or oil that's likely being burned to create it. And the simple act of identifying a light to turn off might convince you that it didn't need to be on in the first place, or at least that it doesn't need to be on all night long...



In the past day people have visited from the places shown.
Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

Updated: 7:24 AM GMT on March 30, 2008

Permalink

About LowerCal

Astronomy with a minimum of terminology and technology.

LowerCal's Recent Photos

Personal Weather Stations

APRSWXNET Woodland Hills CA US
Calabasas, CA
Elevation: 984 ft
Temperature: 51.0 °F
Dew Point: 34.0 °F
Humidity: 53%
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 2.0 mph
Updated: 5:33 AM PST on December 01, 2013
At Gonzales Drive
Woodland Hills, CA
Elevation: 984 ft
Temperature: 59.9 °F
Dew Point: 56.3 °F
Humidity: 88%
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 0.0 mph
Updated: 6:09 AM PDT on October 20, 2014

About Personal Weather Stations