Casual Astronomy, Spaceflight News and Lower California Weather

☝ Double Spacecraft Flyovers
Evening Planet Show
'Space Arrow' Launch 10:21am EDT
ISS Resupply Launch 5:08pm EDT (Triple Spacecraft Flyovers)
September 19 · Moon Reveals Pleiades Sisters

By: LowerCal, 6:01 PM GMT on August 28, 2008

Today - SpaceWeather.com
This Week - SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
This Month - SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Tour August's Sky by Eye and Ear

All events described below can be viewed with your naked eye. Occasionally simple binoculars will improve the view and that will be noted. Scroll down for future dates, farther down for past dates.


Double/Triple Spacecraft Flyovers

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

Two spacecraft now filled with trash will be undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) for later deorbiting. Between undocking from the ISS and deorbiting of the "trash bins" it may be possible to sight each craft in the sky at the same time.

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

ISS Puts Out the Trash
Undocking from ISS
September 1
1947 GMT
3:47pm EDT
12:47pm PDT.
Mission: Flight 29P to ISS
Spacecraft: Progress M-64
Deorbit
~September 8
September 9
2119 GMT
5:19pm EDT
2:19pm PDT.

Undocking from ISS
September 5
2127pm GMT
5:27pm EDT
2:27pm PDT.
Spacecraft: ATV-1 (Jules Verne)
Deorbit
September 29
nighttime.


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


Launch of GOCE Satellite

Credits: ESA - AOES Medialab
September 10
Spacecraft: Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) Satellite
Launch Vehicle: Eurockot Rockot
Launch from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia
September 10
1421 GMT
6:21pm MSD (Moscow Summer Time, local time)
10:21am EDT
7:21am PDT.

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

Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

... Its arrow shape and fins help keep the satellite stable as it flies through the wisps of air still present at an altitude of 260km. ... To increase resolution, the satellite will fly in an unusually low orbit; an electric engine will make up drag losses to compensate for the residual drag losses. ...
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | 'Space arrow' to map Earth's tug
... Goce data will have many uses, probing hazardous volcanic regions and bringing new insight into ocean behaviour.

The latter, in particular, is a major driver for the mission.

By combining the gravity data with information about sea-surface height gathered by other spacecraft, scientists will be able to track the direction and speed of ocean currents.

"If we want to improve our climate models then we need to improve our knowledge of how the oceans move, and Goce will help us do that," mission scientist Dr Mark Drinkwater, from the European Space Agency (Esa), told BBC News. ...

Double Triple Spacecraft Flyovers

WunderPhoto: SPACECRAFT by Westerberg Wednesday June 20, 2007

Between the launch of the Progress ship and its docking with the ISS it may be possible to sight both craft in the sky at the same time along with the Jules Verne ATV-1 craft that undocked on September 5.

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

Launch of Resupply Mission to ISS
Mission: Flight 30P to ISS
Spacecraft: Progress M-65
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U
Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
September 10
To Be Determined (TBD)
1749 1949:45 GMT
10:49pm 12:49:45am AQTT (Aqtobe Time, local time September 11)
1:49pm 3:49:45pm EDT
10:49am 12:49:45pm PDT.
Docking with ISS
TBD
September 12
2108 GMT
5:08pm EDT
2:08pm PDT.

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

Possible live coverage of the docking on NASA TV.


Binocular Planets
September 11
Image of the western sky after sunset from SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.


○ Full Moon

WunderPhoto: moonset by grichardanderson Tuesday May 20, 2008
September 15
Exact at
0913 UT/GMT
5:13am EDT
2:13am PDT.

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


Binocular Planets
September 16
Image of the western sky after sunset from SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.


Moon Hides/Reveals Pleiades Sisters

WunderPhoto: Halo Around the Moon by stoneygirl Friday February 23, 2007
September 19
SPACE.com -- 2008 Preview Night Sky Highlights
... moon will already be within the Pleiades as it rises over the Eastern U.S. and Canada during the mid-evening hours. The reappearance of stars such as Alcyone and Taygeta should be well-seen along the moon's dark limb.

◑ Last Quarter Moon

September 21/22
Exact at
September 22 0504 UT/GMT
September 22 1:04am EDT
September 21 10:04am 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 for a week after. Each one thinner and closer to the horizon.


Dark Moon (a.k.a. astronomical new moon)

September 29
Exact at
0812 UT/GMT
4:12am EDT
1:12am 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.


◐ First Quarter Moon

October 7
Exact
0904 UT/GMT
05:04am EDT
02:04am PDT.

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

Evening crescent moons for a week before. Each one thicker and higher above the horizon.


Launch of Hubble Service/Upgrade Mission
October 8
October 10


Launch of ISS Expedition 18 Crew
October 12


○ Full Moon

WunderPhoto: Moon Jetting by Photo5150 Friday August 15, 2008
October 14
Exact at
2002 UT/GMT
4:02pm EDT
1:02pm PDT.

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


NRO Launch 26

September 26
October 17

Mission: National Reconnaissance Office Launch 26 (NROL-26)
Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
September 26
October 17
To Be Determined (TBD)
GMT
EDT (local time)
PDT.

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

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


Launch of DMSP F-18

No Earlier Than Late September October
Mission: Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F-18
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401
Launch from Vandenberg AFB, California
No Earlier Than (NET) Late September October
1612 GMT
12:12pm EDT
9:12am PDT (local time).

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

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


Launch from Wallops Island, VA
October, date To Be Determined (TBD)


◑ Last Quarter Moon

October 21
Exact at
1155 UT/GMT
7:55am EDT
4:55am 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 for a week after. Each one thinner and closer to the horizon.


Launch from Vandenberg AFB
October 23


Dark Moon (a.k.a. astronomical new moon)

October 28
Exact at
2324 UT/GMT
7:24pm EDT
4:24pm 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.


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 *****

Dark Moon (a.k.a. astronomical new moon)

August 30
Exact at
1958 UT/GMT
3:58pm EDT
12:58pm 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.


Binocular Planets
August 31
Image of the western sky after sunset from SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.


) Thinnest Evening Crescent Moon (the original meaning of "new moon")

WunderPhoto: One day old Moon by LaddObservatory Friday June 15, 2007
August 31
/ September 1

Low in western sky shortly after sunset.
Moonsighting.com


Binocular Planets & Thin Crescent Moon
September 1-3
Image of the western sky after sunset from SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance.


Launch of GeoEye-1 Satellite

September 4
September 7

September 6
Mission: GeoEye-1
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7420
Launch from Vandenberg AFB, California
September 4
September 7

September 6
1850:57 GMT
2:50:57pm EDT
11:50:57am PDT (local time).

Launch status updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule
with more details on the launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

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


◐ First Quarter Moon

September 7
Exact
1404 UT/GMT
10:04am EDT
7:04am PDT.

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

Evening crescent moons for a week before. Each one thicker and higher above the horizon.




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Updated: 2:29 AM GMT on September 10, 2008

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