Casual Astronomy, Spaceflight News and Lower California Weather

Jupiter Rises ESE at Dark, Stands SW before Sunrise ••••• Venus & Mars East at Dawn (see comment 436)

By: LowerCal, 5:33 PM GMT on July 09, 2009

Scroll down for current & future dates, farther down for past dates.

Today - SpaceWeather.com
also Earth & Sky | Tonight & 365 Days of Astronomy
This Week - SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
also Jack Horkheimer - Star Gazer, Current Scripts
This Month - SkyandTelescope.com - Sky Tour Podcasts
also HubbleSite - Tonight's Sky: Your guide to constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and events
& International Year of Astronomy Monthly Discovery Guides
Anytime - Stellarium
also Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart

Visible Satellites:
Simplest - Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com
More satellites and more info - Heavens-Above.com

Launches - Spaceflight Now - Worldwide Launch Schedule
Reentries - Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies - Upcoming & Recent Reentries

All events described below can be viewed with your naked eye. Occasionally simple binoculars will improve the view and that will be noted.

Lunar Apogee (Greek apo, away from + Greek Gaia, Earth)

Exact at
August 4
0043 GMT
August 3
8:43pm EDT
5:43pm PDT.

The Moon is at its farthest distance in its non circular orbit around Earth. The Moon is about 12% farther than at its closest distance (perigee - Greek peri, near + Greek Gaia, Earth) and the Moon's gravitational influence on Earth is about 20% less (due to the inverse square law).


Summaries of Sky Events for the Year
2009
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Eclipses in 2009
SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Meteor Showers in 2009


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

Moon Near Jupiter
Early Morning July 10-11
These mornings (and the late nights before) the Moon is near the very bright planet Jupiter in the southeast.


◑ Last (or Third) Quarter Moon

Exact at
July 15
0953 GMT
5:53am EDT
2:53am PDT.


Rises near midnight and sets near noon. Morning crescent moons for a week after. Each one thinner and closer to the horizon.


Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy
The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are at right angles resulting in weaker tides - lower highs, higher lows and slower flows (see NEAP-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


Shuttle Endeavour Launch, Mission & Landing

Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Mission: STS-127
Spacecraft & Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour
Launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida
June 13
1117 GMT
7:17am EDT (local time)
4:17am PDT.
TBD (To Be Determined)
June 17
0940 GMT
5:40am EDT (local time)
2:40am PDT.
NET (No Earlier Than)
July 11
2339 GMT
7:39pm EDT (local time)
4:39pm PDT.
July 12
2308:55-2322:06 GMT
7:08:55-7:22:06pm EDT (local time)
4:08:55-4:22:06pm PDT.
July 13
2251 GMT ±5min
6:51pm EDT ±5min (local time)
3:51pm PDT ±5min.

July 15
2203 GMT ±5min
6:03pm EDT ±5min (local time)
3:03pm PDT ±5min.

Docking with ISS (International Space Station)
July 13
1926 GMT
3:26pm EDT
12:26pm PDT.

July 17
1755 GMT
1:55pm EDT
10:55am PDT.

Undocking from ISS
July 25
1137 GMT
7:37am EDT
4:37am PDT.

July 28
1719 GMT
1:19pm EDT
10:19am PDT.

Landing at Kennedy Space Center
July 27
1619 GMT
12:19pm EDT (local time)
9:19am PDT.

July 31
1445 GMT
10:45am EDT
7:45am PDT.

Find (when published) landing options at NASA - Launch and Landing
and the landing paths (when published) at NASA - STS-127 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-127 Shuttle Report | Mission Status Center
and NASA - Space Shuttle.

You can dig for more info at
Spaceflight Now - Index of /shuttle/sts127 and
CBS News Space Place - Space Shuttle Status Report.

Live online coverage of the mission will be on NASA TV - see the NASA TV Schedule.


Love & War, the Seven Sisters, the Bulls Eye & the Hunter and a Thin Crescent Moon

Image created with Stellarium.
Dawn July 18
A thin crescent moon will stand in the east near the reddish planet Mars, the warrior god and the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters. Just below is the brilliant planet Venus, the goddess of love and the star Aldeberan, the red eye of Taurus the Bull. Farther below is Orion the Hunter, just clearing the horizon.


July 20
It Was 40 Years Ago Today...


Lunar Perigee, Total Solar Eclipse and Dark Moon


Lunar Perigee (Greek peri, near + Greek Gaia, Earth)

Exact at
July 21
2017 GMT
4:17pm EDT
1:17pm PDT.

The Moon is at its closest distance in its non circular orbit around Earth. The increased gravitational influence of the Moon and the precise alignment of the gravitational influence of the Moon and Sun will produce the most extreme spring tides of the year - perigean spring tides.

Total Solar Eclipse

(The following times are for somewhere on Earth not a specific location.)
July 21
2358 GMT - start of partial eclipse
July 22
0051 GMT - start of total eclipse
0419 GMT - end of total eclipse
0512 GMT - end of partial eclipse

World Map with Time & Extent Markings of Total Solar Eclipse of (21/)22 July 2009

Detailed Eclipse Map for India through Japan

Google Map of the Path of Totality

Timetable for Cities from Iran to Hawaii

Animation of Total and Partial Shadow on Earth's Surface
(You can make a GIF of the actual appearance from weather satellite photos.)

Animated Maps of the Simultaneous Appearance of the Sun from Many Locations
(These include India & Southern Asia, China & Japan, the entire path and a realistic rendering of the shadow on Earth's surface.)

SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - The Great Eclipse of 2009

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

Exact at
July 22
0235 GMT
July 21
10:35pm EDT
7:35pm PDT.


Lower and thinner morning crescent moons the week before. Higher and thicker evening crescent moons the week after.


Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy
The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows (see SPRING-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


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

WunderPhoto: One day old Moon by LaddObservatory Friday June 15, 2007
July 22 or 23
Low in the western sky soon after sunset.

July 22 it should possible to spot the very thin new moon from South and Central America and the Eastern Pacific.

By July 23 the thin crescent should be fairly easy to find from almost everywhere on Earth.


◐ First Quarter Moon

Exact at
July 28
2200 GMT
6:00pm EDT
3:00pm PDT.


Rises near noon and sets near midnight. Evening crescent moons for a week before. Each one thicker and higher above the horizon.


Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy
The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are at right angles resulting in weaker tides - lower highs, higher lows and slower flows (see NEAP-TIDES). (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


Southern δ (delta) Aquariid Meteors

WU Photo: Searching for Shooting Stars by johnlanoue Monday October 8, 2007
Early Morning July 28-30
The Southern δ (delta) Aquariid meteors should add a some extra shooting stars to the early morning sky. The hourly rate is about 20 per hour visible from ideal locations.

Best areas for watching are the Northern Hemisphere Tropics and the Southern Hemisphere. The highest numbers will be visible in the early hours.

Source and more information at
IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2009 | International Meteor Organization - Southern δ (delta) Aquariids.

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.


Moon Near Antares

Image created with Stellarium.
July 30

In later evening and after midnight the Moon can be seen near the star Antares, the heart of and the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius. The Scorpion is one of the most recognizable constellations with his long curving tail. Antares is a reddish star close the the pathway of the planets and is sometimes a rival of (Greek anti) the red planet Mars (Greek Ares).

.... two stars at the end of the scorpion's tail that appear very close together, are sometimes referred to as the Cat's Eyes.

Moon Near Antares

Image created with Stellarium.
July 31




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Updated: 8:33 PM GMT on August 01, 2009

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