★ 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!

Sirius (Monarch)
Sirius star tonight 2008.03.30,Takahashi telescope,Iso 800,Exposure 305 sec.
Sirius
03.29.08 (alaskajuliens)
This was taken at Birch Lake, my Bride and I were were parked on the lake listening to the water slapping the bottom of the ice. The ice thickness is still around 36 to 38 inches. The aurora was just awesome.
03.29.08
Aurora in Willow, Alaska (LBailey)
Aurora in Willow, Alaska
()
Da Vinci Moon (MacBassmaster)
When you think of Leonardo Da Vinci, you probably think of the 16th-century submarines or, maybe, a certain suspenseful novel. From now on, think of the Moon. Little-known to most, one of Leonardo's finest works is not a painting or an invention, but rather something from astronomy: He solved the ancient riddle of Earthshine. You can see Earthshine whenever there's a crescent Moon on the horizon at sunset. Look between the horns of the crescent for a ghostly image of the full Moon. That's Earthshine. In the picture you can see the crescent of direct sun shining on the moon along with the sun light reflection off the earth onto the dark side of the moon. Wow that’s really cool!
Da Vinci Moon
Moon Set (BlueSky050729)
A warm clear night in Ohio
Moon Set
Almost in conjunction (angelfrog)
Tonight a waxing 12% luminated moon was moving in conjunction with the star cluster known as the Pleiades or seven sisters got clouded in before the event but I was able to catch this using a 300mm telephoto lens.
Almost in conjunction
Moon & Pleiades (nukegm)
Captured last night with very thin clouds causing a haze effect.
Moon & Pleiades
Moon in Pleiades, April 8, 2008 (hadrianus)
Crescent moon and the Pleiades constellation. Ithaca, NY
Moon in Pleiades, April 8, 2008
Moon (nukegm)
Late afternoon moon.
Moon
Tonight's Moon (shenandoah)
Tonight's Moon
Moon taken later on tonight (nukegm)
Moon taken later on tonight
Today's Atlas Launch (Skyepony)
Partly Cloudy & beautiful..
Today's Atlas Launch
Orion Constellation over Netarts Bay, Oregon (buddypdx)
Orion Constellation, 2/17/2008/1:28 | 30 sec | ISO 100 | f2.8
Orion Constellation over Netarts Bay, Oregon
Orion Constellation over Joshua Tree Park (buddypdx)
Orion Constellation. ISO200, 60sec, f2.8, on small tracking mount.
Orion Constellation over Joshua Tree Park
()
()
Luna (anvilhead)
Thats the name of our moon if u didnt know
Luna
Sci Fi ?? (zullu)
An unusual looking storm cloud sat out on the water. We had the cloud the lightning, even had stars and a near full moon that rose from the top of the cloud. It was amazing to watch.
Sci Fi ??
()

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310. LowerCal
6:37 PM GMT on May 04, 2008
New blog entry is up.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
309. LowerCal
2:44 AM GMT on May 04, 2008
Adding Meteor Activity Outlook for May 2-8, 2008 | International Meteor Organization to the Early Morning May 5 or 6 section of the blog entry.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
308. LowerCal
1:20 AM GMT on May 04, 2008
Hi Karen! Yes, it is approaching its expiration date. :^) (I'll have a new blog up sometime tomorrow.)

It's farther than it looks on the map (T-R-A-F-F-I-C) but I have a feeling it's inevitable that you, I, and other far flung WU SoCal'ers will get together one of these days.

Oh, you really should try to make that little "star party" even if you end up leaving early. This evening is an especially good one for a star party. Thanks for the heads up on behalf of your area. :^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
307. SBKaren
11:55 PM GMT on May 03, 2008
Wow this blog is getting long!!!

If I can keep my eyes open long enough (keep in mind I'm usually IN bed by 9PM all nights) I'm going to head to this!

It's a beautiful day and should make for a beautiful evening and just as clear as could be! It sure would be fun if you could make it down and we could meet - but heck, that's a long way for you!

Bogart's Coffee House Astronomy Night
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 200 Comments: 15001
306. LowerCal
11:16 PM GMT on May 03, 2008
I'm adding Sunrise Crescent Moon by StarDancer Saturday May 3, 2008 to the blog entry.

A few things to note. One, the horns of the crescent do not extend a full 180° (halfway) around the Moon's disk. Two, you won't be seeing a crescent this thin against a dark sky, it has to be positioned near the Sun.

Tomorrow (Sunday) morning in North America it may be possible to see an even thinner crescent moon - SkyandTelescope.com - Homepage Observing - A Rare Chance To See "Opposing Crescent" Moons!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
305. LowerCal
7:58 PM GMT on May 03, 2008
Thanks for the update, Fsh. Good article with additional info on retirement of the shuttles and links to other interesting articles.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
304. Fshhead
7:30 PM GMT on May 03, 2008
303. Fshhead
8:48 AM GMT on May 03, 2008
Yea agreed. THANX Pat for sharing the moon invitation with us! Signed that thing right away.....
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
302. LowerCal
6:38 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
1) I'm adding SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - See the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower to the Early Morning May 5 or 6 section of the blog entry.

2) I'm adding Astronomy.com - Spot elusive Mercury to the First Half of May section of the blog entry.

3) I'm adding SkyandTelescope.com - Homepage Observing - A Rare Chance To See "Opposing Crescent" Moons to the May 3/4 section of the blog entry.

4) Finally, here's a news item of interest to astronomy, shuttle and launch fans -
Associated Press - NASA: Hubble mission delayed until fall for fuel tank work.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
301. LowerCal
4:52 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Thanks for passing along the invitation, Pat.

sp, now that you mention it it often does seem overly scripted and stiff nowadays.

Rainman, thanks for posting that link. What an amazing list of achievements for that one satellite. Return on investment ... priceless.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
300. Rainman32
1:49 AM GMT on May 02, 2008
Right on, SP.. that was a great vid Pat, gave me a real charge when I saw it.


just a little while ago spotted the UARS, it was launched in 1991 by the Space Shuttle Discovery and decommissioned at the end of 2005.. it was going by bright and fast, a real thrill to watch in the night sky. and then really the kicker to know that was an important piece of scientific history just spotted flying over my house.



Member Since: September 19, 2004 Posts: 32 Comments: 6124
299. sp34n119w
10:45 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
What's missing from today's manned space program? Phrases like, "what the hell is that?!", and astronauts laughing all the way to orbit.
The value is there, the danger is there, but the adventurous spirit is fading.

Don't know where that came from but that's what came to mind after watching that video...
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 83 Comments: 4408
298. Patrap
10:20 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Send Your Name to the Moon Aboard LRO!

NASA/GSFC NASA invites people of all ages to join the lunar exploration journey with an opportunity to send their names to the moon aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, spacecraft. Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 439 Comments: 137203
297. LowerCal
5:24 AM GMT on May 01, 2008
... and "It's good to be curious." :^) Thanks for the great video, Pat.


I'm adding one more article SpaceWeather.com - eta Aquarid meteor shower to the Early Morning May 5 or 6 section of the blog entry.

I'm also adding SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Highlights - Catch Mercury at Its Best in a section for the First Half of May.

The reentry of a Long March 3A Rocket Body is predicted in the next 9 hours. Heavens-Above is tracking this object as CZ-3A R/B- Information.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
296. Patrap
9:27 PM GMT on April 30, 2008
Sometimes..things happen for a reason.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 439 Comments: 137203
295. LowerCal
9:07 PM GMT on April 30, 2008
Fsh, Pat, thanks for the video, photos, updates and personal stories. :^)

sp, chilly it was! Didn't even make 90° here in Woodland Hills, only 89°, brr!! ;^) Yesterday was one of those days that maximize the temp diff between the the San Fernando Valley and the Santa Clara valley. I see it only made 75° in Santa Paula yesterday.

I did see those and it's one of the phenomena associated with ice crystal clouds known as a 22° halo. I didn't run the time machine on the satellite images but I think it's highly likely it was the same cirrostratus cloud deck. The Yucatan and the Florida Keys are not very far apart on the synoptic scale.

Rainman, glad to hear you had a clear view of that beautiful morning scene.

Yesterday evening I took a look for an Iridium flare for the first time in a while. At -5 it wasn't the brightest (-8) and the sky wasn't fully dark, just a very dark blue, but I still got a "Wow!" out of it. :^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
294. Patrap
7:51 PM GMT on April 30, 2008


Final Assembly Link

Space shuttle Discovery is lowered into position beside its external tank and solid rocket boosters inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Discovery rolled into the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, where the shuttle's external tank and two solid rocket boosters awaited, and was then lifted to vertical inside the building's 50-story-tall transfer aisle, lowered into a high bay and joined with the tank and boosters atop the mobile launcher platform.

Discovery is slated to launch on the STS-124 mission on May 31, the second of three flights to deliver components of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory to the International Space Station.

Mark Kelly will command the seven-member crew.

Image Credit: NASA/Jim Grossman
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 439 Comments: 137203
293. Rainman32
10:29 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
Good Morning! Happy to report that the disclaimer was certainly not necessary for NEFL! The Waning Cresent Moon, Jupiter and ISS lined up in the morning sky, absolutely beautiful, the latter two easily equal in brightness. As ISS went overhead I couldn't help but to keep looking over my shoulder back at those other two.
Member Since: September 19, 2004 Posts: 32 Comments: 6124
292. sp34n119w
4:12 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
Hey, LC - got chilly today in SoCal, huh? ;) Well, it's all relative...

Did you see the wuphotos of the sun halos? There are 5 different photogs - 4 from FL and 1 from the Yucatan! I thought that was interesting and don't know if it's coincidental separate weather in two areas or if there was something that spanned that distance. What do you think?
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 83 Comments: 4408
291. Fshhead
3:26 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
I saw one of the moonshots when I was a little kid, pretty sure it was Apollo 13. That is the one thing that still sticks out in my memory. Really loud & the ground shaking!
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
290. Patrap
3:17 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
They Built the SI-C Saturn First Stage Here in New Orleans.Boeing did then,now Lockheed Martin ,where the Shuttle ET's are manufactured.

They used to run them for 2 Minutes for verification runs at Stennis in Miss ...about 13 Miles from us swimming on the beach in Bay St. Louis/Waveland area in the Late 60s..And shake the Ground there.
We always thought ,where was that thunder coming from on a Clear summer day?


All 13 Saturn 5's that Launched,manned and unmanned


Saturn S-2,Second Stage being Hoisted into a Test stand at Stennis,circa 1968

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 439 Comments: 137203
289. Fshhead
3:07 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
284. Patrap 2:19 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
I say we tighten that Bad Boy Capsule up..Break out a Few Museum Saturn 5's..Stacked this mother up.And Show these younguns what the 60's and 70's were all about.


Here Here I second that notion Marine!!!
Those Apollo ships were some pretty tough birds! I think this video shows the beast in it's glory more accurately, notice the huge chunks of ice coming off it.
LIGHT THAT CANDLE!!!!

Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
288. HadesGodWyvern
2:29 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
HAHA
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 53253
287. LowerCal
2:27 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
Hades, it's cold or brisk here when it's clear at night! Where you live it must be colder than hades, LOL!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
286. LowerCal
2:23 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
LOL, careful what you say out loud Pat or they won't be letting you in the building next time.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
285. HadesGodWyvern
2:21 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
LOL

when it is clear out at night it's cold or brisk.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 53253
284. Patrap
2:19 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
I say we tighten that Bad Boy Capsule up..Break out a Few Museum Saturn 5's..Stacked this mother up.And Show these younguns what the 60's and 70's were all about.

Go for "TLI",Trans Lunar injection!



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 439 Comments: 137203
283. LowerCal
2:15 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
Thanks for the heads up, Rainman! :^) Farther up the East Coast it will be competing with increasingly brighter skies.

Love the disclaimer, LOL.

Pat, I really appreciate the ongoing updates. If NASA broadcasts the full scale test live I hope you'll do commentary either on your blog or here.

Hades, I guess stargazers of the upper Midwest have to be pretty tough, LOL.

Hope your weather radios are squared away now.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
282. HadesGodWyvern
12:52 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
yup went back to winter for a day or two.

Thunderstorms is possible this weekend. slight risk of severe weather is near the area on Thursday.

The graph showed a 5 percent chance here, lol
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 53253
281. Patrap
12:40 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
NASA's first Orion full-scale abort flight test crew module was placed in NASA Dryden's Abort Flight Test integration area for equipment installation. Link



Plenty more engineering pics here. Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 439 Comments: 137203
280. Rainman32
12:22 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
Hey LC and Et Als!

ISS in the morning for Southeast early-risers!

Orlando Ground Track Plot, max altitude 6:15am EDT.. just a central FL spot chosen, should be good and visible from NOLA, all of FL, and right on up the East Coast!

*clouds allowing, no warranty expressed or implied
Member Since: September 19, 2004 Posts: 32 Comments: 6124
279. LowerCal
12:13 AM GMT on April 30, 2008
I'm adding Astronomy.com - Will meteors from Halley's comet surge? to the Early Morning May 5 or 6 section of the blog entry.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
278. LowerCal
7:09 PM GMT on April 29, 2008
... and we won't have to pay Russia to do the transport like we did when the shuttles were grounded, Fsh.

You're welcome. Looking forward to the greening of your blog.

Pat, thanks for the fresh update. Hope NASA provides live coverage of the full test of the escape system.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
277. Patrap
1:25 PM GMT on April 29, 2008
Orion Launch Abort System Jettison Motor Test Link Quicktime movie included
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 439 Comments: 137203
276. Fshhead
4:34 AM GMT on April 29, 2008
The 5-meter (16.5 foot) wide, cone-shaped capsule also will provide transport services to the International Space Station for as many as six crew members.

Well I WAS going to ask this question.lol
Question answered!!!! This is really good news. That's why I pointed out the remaining time with the shuttle the other day. It would be heartbreaking to see them come this far with the ISS to let it slip into decay or worse come crashing down like Skylab.

BTW... Thanx for the help with the HTML.. Will give it a try.
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
275. LowerCal
4:21 AM GMT on April 29, 2008
Step 1 of our return to the Moon ... this year. :^) Thanks, Pat.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
274. Patrap
2:47 AM GMT on April 29, 2008
The first in a series of unmanned abort tests, known as Pad Abort-1 or PA-1, is scheduled for late 2008 at the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

NASA Readies Hardware for Test of Astronaut Escape System Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 439 Comments: 137203
273. LowerCal
5:56 PM GMT on April 28, 2008
An early end to the rain season often means an early start to the fire season - InciWeb: Santa Anita Wildland Fire.

CAL FIRE - Incidents
... 23% contained - 490 acres

The fire is burning in the mountains above the cities of Sierra Madre and Arcadia...

The good news is that temperature is down, humidity is up and wind has calmed since yesterday.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
272. LowerCal
3:09 AM GMT on April 28, 2008
Fsh, Russia has something to say about their plans too.

More Space News From Russia | Universe Today
When it rains space news from Russia, it pours. Not only did the news break today about the Russian Space Agency's plans to send monkeys to Mars, but also, Russia wants to build an Earth-orbiting factory to build large, interplanetary ships that might be too large to launch from Earth...

No word on exactly when an orbiting spaceship assembly line would be constructed...

Also, no word if the interplanetary ships will be built for humans or monkeys...
Hmm, I don't think the writer of this article is taking this news very seriously. :^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
271. LowerCal
7:31 PM GMT on April 27, 2008
You all may want to update your ISS pass predictions from Heavens-Above and Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com. The reason? Bad Astronomy Blog » ISS boosted by Jules Verne has a brief discussion with a link to further info.

Heavens-Above - ISS Height Profile



Two space junk reentries are predicted for May 1 ± a day or so:
a Proton-K Auxiliary Motor tracked by Heavens-Above under SL-12 R/B(AUX MOTOR)- Information and
a Delta II Stage 2 Rocket Body tracked by Heavens-Above under OBJECT C- Information.

For pass predictions select your "Current observing site" on the Heavens-Above Home page then "Select a satellite from the database" using the "Identification" section of the "...- Information" pages in the previous paragraph.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
270. LowerCal
6:44 PM GMT on April 27, 2008
It's true, Fsh, that we'll have nothing "on deck" when the shuttles are retired. The NASA - Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle is currently under development. (Thanks, Pat, for the many photos, images and articles you've posted here.) If human spaceflight is important to you then you might be interested in Bad Astronomy Blog » McCain, Obama, and Clinton on NASA and interested in letting them know how you feel about it.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
269. Fshhead
9:28 AM GMT on April 27, 2008
Just saw a piece on CNN talking about how the Chinese have some pretty big ambitions into space exploration. They are planning moon & mars expiditions. It also warned of the U.S. being left behind in this race. It pointed out that the shuttle is due to be retired soon & that their is no replacement for it. SAD NEWS!
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
268. LowerCal
7:31 AM GMT on April 27, 2008
They have an image for every download speed and level of patience but the full res versions are definitely worth the wait, Fsh.

Galaxies Gone Wild!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
267. Fshhead
8:56 PM GMT on April 26, 2008
WOW that Galaxies Gone Wild page is AWESOME!!
Those massive downloads on the right of the page where it has the full resolutions are amazing.
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
266. LowerCal
5:01 PM GMT on April 26, 2008
Wow! Of course I added

WU Photo: Sci Fi ?? by zullu Thursday April 24, 2008 to the blog entry.

Northern Hemispherians may not immediately recognize the constellation above the cloud because it's "upside down". It's Scorpius!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
265. LowerCal
5:31 AM GMT on April 26, 2008
:^D and thanks for the great link, Rainman.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
264. Rainman32
8:53 PM GMT on April 25, 2008
wha, whereisit?? Oh There You Are! Happy Birthday HST! now BEHave yourself!
Member Since: September 19, 2004 Posts: 32 Comments: 6124
263. LowerCal
8:51 PM GMT on April 25, 2008
Yes, Fsh, aqua! :^)

To celebrate the occasion the Hubble Heritage Project has released 59 new images of colliding galaxies! Galaxies Gone Wild! Whoo hoo, party on, LOL!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974
262. aquak9
8:39 PM GMT on April 25, 2008
Great. Now the Hubble's gonna get all dressed up, perfumed, make-up...go out on a wild night with her friends, and get all drunk...do the tilt-a-wobble across the sky.

Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 195 Comments: 28604
261. Fshhead
8:11 PM GMT on April 25, 2008

glitter-graphics.com

Ahhhh Nasa's greatest achievement......
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HUBBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
260. LowerCal
7:43 PM GMT on April 25, 2008
I added some info to the blog entry in the April 29 to May 3 range.

Today is the Hubble Space Telescope's 18th birthday!
SkyandTelescope.com - News from Sky & Telescope - Happy Birthday, Hubble!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9974

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Calabasas, CA
Elevation: 984 ft
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Dew Point: 35.0 °F
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At Gonzales Drive
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Elevation: 984 ft
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Dew Point: 35.7 °F
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Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 0.0 mph
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