Casual Astronomy, Spaceflight News and Lower California Weather

Self Serve Astronomy

By: LowerCal, 5:58 PM GMT on October 25, 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.

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 *****

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

Exact at
October 25
2319 GMT
7:19pm EDT
4:19pm 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 and its oceans is about 20% less (due to the inverse square law).


◐ First Quarter Moon

Exact at
October 26
0042 GMT
October 25
8:42pm EDT
5:42pm PDT.

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


Moon near Jupiter
October 26
The very bright cream colored light near the moon is the planet Jupiter.


Ares I-X Launch

Image credit: NASA TV
Mission & Launch Vehicle: Ares I-X (suborbital test flight)
Launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida
October 27
October 28
1200-1600 GMT
8:00am-12:00pm EDT (local time)
5:00am-9:00am PDT.

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

You can follow the progress of the Ares I-X mission online at
Spaceflight Now | Ares 1-X | Mission Status Center
and NASA - NASA's Ares I-X Rocket.

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


HTV-1 Undocking, Sightings and Reentry

Image credit: JAXA
Undocking from ISS
October 30
1730 GMT
1:30pm EDT
10:30 PDT.

Reentry
November 4
November 2
6:26am JST (Japan Standard Time)
November 1
2126 GMT
4:26pm EST
1:26pm PST.

JAXA's HTV-1 cargo ship was unloaded and then filled with trash from the International Space Station. It will be deorbited to burn up on reentry.

Between undocking from the ISS and reentry it may be possible to sight both 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.


Switch from Daylight Saving Time, U.S.

Image credit: MT0
November 1
2:00am DT = 1:00am ST

This day will have 25 hours in most areas of the United States. Set your clock back one hour the evening before and you can use that extra hour for sleep. 3^)


Launch of SMOS Satellite

Image credit: ESA
Satellites: Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) and Project for On-Board Autonomy 2 (PROBA2)
Launch Vehicle: Eurockot Rockot
Launch from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia
November 2
4:50am MSK (Moscow Standard Time, local time)
0150 GMT
November 1
8:50pm EST
5:50pm PST.

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

Live launch coverage at
ESA Portal - Watch the SMOS and Proba-2 launch live.


○ Full Moon

WunderPhoto: October Moon by tamcat Saturday October 3, 2009
Exact at
November 2
1914 GMT
2:14pm EST
11:14am PST.

Rises near sunset and sets near sunrise. At those times the Moon may seem huge (the Moon illusion) and unusually colored. The yellow/orange/red appearance of the moon at the horizon is at least partly for the same reason the sky appears blue!




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.


Venus nearest Spica
Dawn November 3
Low in the east the brilliant white planet Venus will be just to the left of the bright bluish star Spica. Closer to sunrise binoculars will be needed to see Spica.


Moon Passes the Pleiades

Moon in Pleiades, April 8, 2008 by hadrianus
Late November 3 or Early November 4
This night the Moon will pass near the Pleiades star cluster. For parts of the Americas, Africa and Europe the Moon will pass across the Pleiades.


Image credit: NASA, ESA and AURA/Caltech
Maps and time tables for the disappearance & reappearance at numerous cities of the six brightest stars of the Pleiades can be found here with a DATE-TIME of "04 Nov - 05h".


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

Exact at
November 7
0731 GMT
2:31am EDT
November 6
11:31pm PDT.

The Moon is at its closest distance in its non circular orbit around Earth. The Moon is about 10.5% closer than at its farthest distance (apogee - Greek apo, away from + Greek Gaia, Earth) and the Moon's gravitational influence on Earth and its oceans is about 25% greater (due to the inverse square law).


Moon near Mars
Early Morning November 9
Rising in the east after midnight and nearly overhead as dawn brightens the Moon appears near the reddish planet Mars.


◑ Last (or Third) Quarter Moon

Exact at
November 9
1556 GMT
10:56am EDT
7:56am PDT.

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


Launch & Docking of New ISS Module

WU Photo: Endeavour and the ISS by WeatheringHeights Tuesday March 25, 2008
Payload: Mini-Research Module 2 (MRM 2) or "Poisk" ("Search") (Purposes: Docking, Airlock and Science)
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
November 10
7:22pm AQTT (Aqtobe Time, local time)
1422 GMT
9:22am EST
6:22am PST.

Docking with ISS
November 12
6:43pm MSK (Moscow Standard Time)
1543 GMT
10:43am EST
7:43am PST.

Between launch and 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
or try the simpler tool at
Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.




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Updated: 3:36 PM GMT on November 24, 2009

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