Casual Astronomy, Spaceflight News and Lower California Weather

Watch Mars Move - Saturn, Mars & Regulus ★★★
Mornings - Jupiter in the SW

By: LowerCal, 9:55 PM GMT on June 02, 2008

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

Today - SpaceWeather.com
This Week - SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
This Month - SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Tour June's Sky — By Ear and Eye!


★★★ Saturn, Mars & Regulus
Early July
(with special guest appearances by the Thin Crescent Moon)
July 5 & 6
Each succeeding early evening above the W horizon you can watch the reddish planet Mars step to the upper left away from the bluish-white star Regulus and toward the brighter yellowish planet Saturn.

Previews - Graphics of the western evening sky June 30, July 1, July 5 & 6 and July 10 from
SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.


● Dark Moon

July 2 & 3
Exact at
July 3 0219 UT/GMT
July 2 10:19pm EDT
July 2 7:19pm PDT.

Lower and thinner morning crescent moons the week before. Higher and thicker evening crescent moons the week after. Has a stronger effect on tides producing higher highs, lower lows and faster flows.


) Thinnest Crescent Moon

WU Photo: Brand New Moon by Ohlen Wednesday June 4, 2008
July 3
It will be possible to spot the first thin crescent of the lunar cycle (the new moon) in the Americas very soon after sunset - Moonsighting.com.


Four-Planet Dance
August & September
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - The Four-Planet Dance of 2008
(The article contains a nice animation.)


Perseid Meteor Shower
Late Night August 12 - Early Morning August 13
SkyandTelescope.com - Homepage Observing - Prepare for the Perseids


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 *****

Bright ISS Flyovers

WU Photo: ISS 4-12-08 by wb6ypf Saturday April 12, 2008
May 20 - June 11
On many of these evenings it will be possible to see a bright pass by the International Space Station (ISS) from North America.

Here are the highest and brightest evening flyovers
of the International Space Station (ISS) for a few areas:
(click on the date to see the exact path and time)

Los Angeles & surrounding areas
May 21
May 23
June 8
June 10

Houston & surrounding areas
May 20
May 22
June 8
June 10

Orlando & surrounding areas
May 21
June 9
June 11

Charleston, SC & surrounding areas
May 21
June 8
June 9
June 11

For additional times, locations and dates check satellite pass predictions at
Heavens-Above or try the simpler tool at
Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.


Launch of GLAST Mission
June 3
June 5
June 8

June 11

Mission: Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST)
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7920-Heavy














Photo credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida
no earlier than (depends on shuttle launching as scheduled)
(depends on resolution of open engineering issues)
June 3
June 5
June 8

June 11
1545-1745 GMT
11:45am-1:45pm EDT (local time)
8:45-10:45am PDT.

1545-1740 GMT
11:45am-1:40pm EDT (local time)
8:45-10:40am PDT.

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

As the launch date grows closer you can find more information and sometimes even a live webcast of the launch at United Launch Alliance. Update: Live webcast begins at ?9:30am EDT.

Update: NASA TV (Media Channel only) will also have live webcast coverage of the launch beginning at 9:45am EDT, 6:45am PDT.


Phoenix Mars Lander Briefings

Image credit: NASA/JPL
May 26-30, June 4
Every day at 2PM EDT, 11AM PDT on
NASA TV Public Channel.

NASA TV Schedule

June 11 & 13
3PM EDT, 12PM PDT on NASA TV (Public and Media Channels).
5PM EDT, 2PM PDT on NASA TV (Public and Media Channels).

Phoenix Mars Lander Images

JFLORIDA has posted a blog entry with a lot of interesting background on the Phoenix Mars Lander and similar past missions.


Double Spacecraft Flyovers

WU Photo: Endeavour and the ISS by WeatheringHeights Tuesday March 25, 2008

Between the launch of the shuttle and its docking with the ISS it may be possible to sight both craft in the sky at the same time. Double flyover sightings are also possible between the undocking and landing of the shuttle.

Check satellite pass predictions at
Heavens-Above or try the simpler tool at
Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.

Mission to ISS
May 31
Mission: ISS Flight 1J and STS-124
Spacecraft & Launch Vehicle: Shuttle Discovery
Launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida May 31
2102 GMT
5:02pm EDT (local time)
2:02pm PDT.
Docking with ISS June 2
1749 GMT
1:49pm EDT
10:49am PDT.






Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder

Undocking from ISS
June 11
1133 GMT
7:33am EDT
4:33am PDT.

1142 GMT
7:42am EDT
4:42am PDT.
Landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida
June 15
1502 GMT
11:02am EDT
8:02am PDT.

June 14
1515 GMT
11:15am EDT
8:15am PDT.
(Find later landing options at NASA - Launch and Landing
and the landing paths at NASA - STS-124 Landing Ground Tracks.)

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

You can follow the progress of the Space Shuttle mission online at
Spaceflight Now | STS-124 Shuttle Report | Mission Status Center or
NASA - Space Shuttle.
There are links in the "WATCH NASA TV NOW" section of the NASA page where you can watch video (sometimes live).

You can dig for more info at
Spaceflight Now - Index of /shuttle/sts124 and
CBS News Space Place - STS-124 Status Report.

Live coverage of the launch on NASA TV starts about one hour before liftoff at noon, about 5 hours before launch -
NASA TV Schedule.


Scorpion, Moon, Mars & Rival, Saturn and Lion
June 15-17
The Moon crosses the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion) in the SE. On June 18 the Moon stands closest to the bright reddish star Antares. Antares is the heart of the Scorpion and the "rival of Mars". Compare Antares' brightness and color to that of the reddish planet Mars in the W.

The bluish-white star Regulus of similar brightness to Mars stands about a hand's width to the upper left. Brighter and slightly further upper left is the yellowish planet Saturn. Regulus is the heart of the Lion in the constellation Leo (the Lion). Watch Mars draw closer to Regulus and Saturn evening after evening on into July.

See SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
and Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart.


Ocean Surface Topography Mission Briefing
June 18
NASA TV Schedule
4-6PM EDT, 1-3PM PDT - OSTM Prelaunch News Conference and Science Briefing on NASA TV (Public and Media Channels)


Full Moon

WU Photo: Full Moon on the Rise by SunsetSailor Monday May 19, 2008
June 18
Exact at
1730 UT/GMT
1:30pm EDT
10:30am PDT.

Rises at sunset and sets at sunrise. Has a stronger effect on tides producing higher highs, lower lows and faster flows.


The Moon & Jupiter
June 19
The Moon rises late evening in the SE with the brilliant planet Jupiter close by. This night they draw closer as they journey across the sky and appear in the SW before sunrise.

Jupiter will remain the second brightest object in the night sky until the planet Venus begins its "Evening Star" appearance in mid-July.


Night Launch! of Jason-2 Satellite
Early Morning June 20
Mission: Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7320
Launch from Vandenberg AFB, California June 20
0746-0755 GMT
3:46-3:55am EDT
12:46-12:55am PDT (local time).













Image credit: NASA

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

As the launch date grows closer you can find more information and sometimes even a live webcast of the launch at United Launch Alliance.

NASA TV (Public and Media Channels) will have live webcast coverage of the launch beginning at 2:30am EDT, 11:30pm PDT (June 19)
June 20 1:45am EDT, June 19 10:45pm PDT (Public and Media Channels).

NASA TV Schedule


Northern Solstice
June 20
Exact at
2359 UT/GMT
7:59pm EDT
4:59pm PDT.
(The earliest in over 100 years. See comment #164.)

This is the date of longest daylight in the Northern Hemisphere and shortest daylight in the Southern Hemisphere.


◑ Last Quarter Moon

June 26
Exact at
1210 UT/GMT
8:10am EDT
5:10am PDT.

Rises near midnight and sets near noon. Has a weaker effect on tides producing lower highs, higher lows and slower flows.

Morning crescent moons follow the Last Quarter Moon. Each one thinner and closer to the horizon.


★★★ Saturn, Regulus & Mars
Late June
In early evening above the W horizon you can see the reddish planet Mars. Nearby to the upper left and of similar brightness is the bluish-white star Regulus. Further to the upper left is the brighter yellowish planet Saturn. Evening by evening you can see Mars draw closer to Regulus and Saturn.

Previews - Graphics of the western evening sky June 20, June 30 and July 1 from
SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.




Click to zoom in on my visitor map!

Updated: 2:55 AM GMT on July 02, 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: 81.1 °F
Dew Point: 60.7 °F
Humidity: 50%
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 0.0 mph
Updated: 9:35 AM PDT on July 24, 2014

About Personal Weather Stations