Sky Darkness Survey, March 16-28 ••••• Spacecraft Flyovers (see comment 179)

By: LowerCal , 6:33 PM GMT on March 09, 2009

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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

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

Sky Darkness Survey

From: The World Atlas of the Artificial Night Sky Brightness
Image credit: P. Cinzano, F. Falchi (University of Padova), C. D. Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder). Copyright Royal Astronomical Society. Reproduced from the Monthly Notices of the RAS by permission of Blackwell Science. The night sky in the World.


From: Visible Earth: Earth's City Lights
Image credit: Data courtesy Marc Imhoff of NASA GSFC and Christopher Elvidge of NOAA NGDC. Image by Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, NASA GSFC.

March 16-28
Participation in GLOBE at Night is open to anyone who lives or works in one of the 110 GLOBE countries and can get outside and look skyward during 16-28 March. You can enter your observations on the GLOBE at Night Report web page from 16 March - 7 April.


◑ Last Quarter Moon

Exact at
March 18
1747 GMT
1:47pm EDT
10:47pm PDT.

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

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.)


Equinox Day
March 20
1144 GMT
7:44am EDT
4:44am PDT.
The Sun crosses the equator on its way to the Northern Hemisphere marking the beginning of spring there. It marks the beginning of autumn for the Southern Hemisphere.

Satellite Outages

One effect of equinoctial periods is the temporary disruption of communications satellites. For all geostationary satellites, there are a few days near the equinox when the sun goes directly behind the satellite relative to Earth (ie, within the beamwidth of the groundstation antenna) for a short period each day. The Sun's immense power and broad radiation spectrum overload the Earth station's reception circuits with noise and, depending on antenna size and other factors, temporarily disrupt or degrade the circuit. The duration of those effects varies but can range from a few minutes to an hour. (For a given frequency band, a larger antenna has a narrower beamwidth, hence experience shorter duration "Sun outage" windows).
Cultural aspects of the Equinox


Cape Canaveral Atlas V Launch

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin
Satellite: Wideband Global SATCOM 2 (WGS-2)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 421
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
March 14
0125-0207 GMT
March 13
9:25-10:07pm EDT (local time)
6:25-7:07pm PST.
March 15
0125-0203 GMT
March 14
9:25-10:03pm EDT (local time)
6:25-7:03pm PST.
March 18
0124-0200 GMT
March 17
9:24-10:00pm EDT (local time)
6:24-7:00pm PST.


Launch status updates are 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 approaches.

You can find more information and a link to a live webcast of the launch at
United Launch Alliance. Coverage is scheduled to begin at 9:05 EDT, 6:05 PDT.


Cape Canaveral Delta II Launch

Photo credit: Patrick AFB
Satellite: Global Positioning System 49 (Navstar-2RM 7 [ex Navstar-2R 20])
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7925
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
March 24
0834-0849 GMT
4:34-4:49am EDT (local time)
1:34-1:49am PDT.

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

In addition to its various navigational and timing uses the Global Positioning System carries nuclear detonation detectors.

You might find more information and a link to a live webcast of the launch at
United Launch Alliance as the launch date grows closer.


Shuttle Discovery

Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder
Mission: STS-119
Spacecraft & Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery
Launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida
March 12
0120 GMT
March 11
9:20pm EDT (local time)
6:20pm PDT.

Docking with the ISS
March 13
2227 GMT
6:27pm EDT
3:27pm PDT.

Undocking from the ISS
March 23
1423 GMT
10:23am EDT
7:23am PDT.

Landing at Kennedy Space Center
March 25
1927 GMT
3:27pm EDT
12:27pm PDT.

Launch
March 13
0054 GMT
March 12
8:54pm EDT (local time)
5:54pm PDT.


Launch NET (No Earlier Than)
March 15
2343 GMT (23:43:46 ±5 minutes)
7:43pm EDT (local time)
4:43pm PDT.

Docking with the ISS
March 17
2113 GMT
5:13pm EDT
2:13pm PDT.

Undocking from the ISS
March 25
1347 GMT
9:47am EDT
6:47am PDT.

Landing at Kennedy Space Center
March 28
1742 GMT
1:42pm EDT (local time)
10:42am PDT.

(Find later landing options at NASA - Launch and Landing
and the landing paths at NASA - STS-119 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-119 Shuttle Report | Mission Status Center
and 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/sts119 and
CBS News Space Place - STS-119 Status Report.

Live online coverage of the launch on NASA TV starts one hour or more before launch - see the NASA TV Schedule.


Launch of ISS Expedition 19 Crew

Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Mission: Expedition 19 to the International Space Station (ISS)
Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA-14
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz FG
Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
March 26
4:49pm AQTT (Aqtobe Time, local time)
1149 GMT
7:49am EDT
4:49am PDT.

Docking with ISS
March 28
4:15pm MSK (Moscow Standard Time)
1315 GMT
9:15am EDT
6:15am PDT.

Updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

You can follow the progress of the mission at NASA - Expedition 19.

Live coverage of the launch and docking will appear on NASA TV - see the NASA TV Schedule.


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

Exact at
March 26
1606 GMT
12:06pm EDT
9:06am PDT.

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

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.)


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

WunderPhoto: One day old Moon by LaddObservatory Friday June 15, 2007
March 27 or 28
Low in the western sky soon after sunset.

For areas and dates of visibility see Moonsighting.com.


Turn off your lights 8:30-9:30pm!
March 28
Earth Hour


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 *****

Find Saturn Easily Tonight
March 8-10
These evenings the Moon will help you easily locate the planet Saturn (a bright yellowish point of light), the constellation Leo and Leo's blazing heart, the star Regulus (a bright bluish point of light).

March 8 Eastern Sky Image from Astronomy.com - Sky-event alert: Saturn rules the night.

March 8-10 Eastern Sky Image from SkyandTelescope.com - Homepage Observing - This Week's Sky at a Glance (March 6-14).

After the Moon leaves that area of the sky Saturn (and the other celestial entities) can still be found in the same area around the same time. Saturn is currently rising in the east after sunset, highest around midnight and setting in the west before sunrise.


○ Full Moon

WunderPhoto: Moon Setting over L.I. Sound by sparkz Monday February 9, 2009
Exact at
March 11
0238 GMT
March 10
10:38pm EDT
7:38pm PDT.

Rises near sunset and sets near sunrise.

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.)


Launch of GOCE Satellite

Image credit: ESA - AOES Medialab
Spacecraft: Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) Satellite
Launch Vehicle: Eurockot Rockot
Launch from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia
March 16
March 17
1421 GMT
5:21pm MSK (Moscow Standard 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 ....
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. ....



Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

HDR Venus over Comiso (Sicily) (stellamaris)
HDR Venus over Comiso (Sicily)
Polaris rotation in Ragusa (stellamaris)
Polaris rotation in Ragusa
3/9 Moon (neonlazer)
Nice nearly full moon!
3/9 Moon
Tonight's Full Moon is known as the Full Worm Moon. The ancient Native Americans gave the Full Moon this name since this time of year signaled the coming of northern spring. A time of thawing of the soil rendering the first stirrings of earthworms that lay dormant in the garden soil of winter time.
()
Tonight's Moonscape (Zonie)
20 minutes after moonrise on 3/11/09
Tonight's Moonscape
Moon over Discovery (csiguy)
A nearly full moon over Space Shuttle Discovery, March 11, 2009.
Moon over Discovery
Moonrise (paulnorm)
Moon rise over Coupeville and reflections on the still ocean water of Penn Cove.
Moonrise
Moonset on the Mountain (Sermonator1)
There was a nice moonset over the front range of the Rockies this morning!
Moonset on the Mountain
Stormy Aurora (speikiei)
The Aurora Borealis overhead as the snow swirls around the buildings
Stormy Aurora
Aurora Borealis (speikiei)
Stormy weather lights
Aurora Borealis
Craters Of The Moon (Ralfo)
Was able to take a few shots of the moon when there became a break through the clouds.
Craters Of The Moon
Canis Major/Louisiana (axdoor)
Canis Major the Constellation With Sirius The Dog Star Over Louisiana, Missouri
Canis Major/Louisiana
Venus/Hannibal (axdoor)
Venus The Planet Over Hannibal Missouri
Venus/Hannibal
Launch of Space Shuttle (KCFlorida)
Launch as seen from St. Petersburg , Florida
Launch of Space Shuttle
Shuttle Launch from Tampa Florida (Raysfan70)
Evening Launch of the Space Shuttle from Tampa Florida.
Shuttle Launch from Tampa Florida
Space Shuttle Discovery Lift Off (SixtowChef)
March 15th 2009 7:43 pm
Space Shuttle Discovery Lift Off
Riding the Flame (sebastianjer)
Discovery 3/15/09
Riding the Flame
God Speed -Red, White and Blue (sebastianjer)
Discovery 3/15/09
God Speed -Red, White and Blue
Shuttle Discovery lifts off in Perfect Weather! (eeagle)
View from the front yard as shuttle Discovery blasted off Sunday, on a mission to outfit the International Space Station with a final pair of solar wings ahead of the arrival in a few weeks of an expanded space crew.
Shuttle Discovery lifts off in Perfect Weather!
STS-119 Launch (Skyepony)
From The NASA Causeway. To feel it...this close was incredable.
STS-119 Launch
STS-119 (Skyepony)
That's the pad at the right of the plume base. It was windy. The dark line coming of the right side of the shuttle through the atmosphere is it's shadow. I forget the name for it but the sun needs to be at the right angle.
STS-119
STS-119 The Moment of Seperation (Skyepony)
The view from The NASA Causeway when the solid rocket boosters seperated.
STS-119 The Moment of Seperation
STS-119 (Skyepony)
Birth of the Noctilucent Cloud after the launch viewed from NASA Causeway. A very rare type of cloud. We only see these over KSC when a launch happens an hour or so before dawn or dark.
STS-119
STS-119 (Skyepony)
The Noctilucent Cloud after the launch viewed from NASA Causeway. We only see these over KSC when a launch happens an hour or so before twilight or dark.
STS-119
STS-119 at Separation from JAX (Rainman32)
STS-119 Viewed from Southeast JAX at separation
STS-119 at Separation from JAX
STS-119 Afterglow from JAX (Rainman32)
STS-119 Afterglow - Noctilucent Cloud from Southeast JAX
STS-119 Afterglow from JAX
Night Traffic (angelfrog)
Last night I set my camera to take twenty min. exsposures @ two second intervals in hopes to may-be capture a fireball one dim meteor and this a satilite Orion's to the left you can also see the tip of canis major the bright star being sirius.
Night Traffic
A Break In The Rain (KiddoBen)
It stopped raining in Calhoun, GA Sunday evening (03-15-09) just long enough to get this picture of Venus and her reflection.
A Break In The Rain
U.S. Space Shuttle and stars (FairyGodMa)
This is the U.S. Space Shuttle using a 30 second shutter speed at 8:09 p.m., March 16, 2009 over the western suburbs of Chicago. The pictures of the Space Station did not turn out as well as this one of the shuttle. I'll try again tomorrow.
U.S. Space Shuttle and stars
ISS Viewing (TonyM)
ISS Viewing
St Patrick Day Space Shuttle (FairyGodMa)
This is the U.S. Space Shuttle and Space Station rendevous on March 17, 2009 at 8:15 p.m. I used a 30 second shutter speed. It was taken over the western suburbs of Chicago.
St Patrick Day Space Shuttle

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190. LowerCal
5:47 PM GMT on March 18, 2009
New blog entry is up.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
189. LowerCal
5:38 AM GMT on March 18, 2009
The ISS plus Shuttle Discovery made a low pass to the NW this evening. It looked somewhat orange against the deep twilight as it rose out of the WNW. It gradually changed to white and maintained it down to the NE horizon.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
188. LowerCal
5:26 AM GMT on March 18, 2009
Ally They stand corrrected! ISS height is over 1,000,000 feet. Hope you had a nice flight.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
187. AllyBama
2:41 AM GMT on March 18, 2009
{{LC}}..anybody thinking that the ISS was flying over their area from Dallas to Mobile last night will be disappointed..it was only the plane I was riding in!..ROFL...we were cruising at 37,000 ft - making it the highest altitude that I have every flown - lol..
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 133 Comments: 20639
186. LowerCal
12:26 AM GMT on March 18, 2009
Tonight's scheduled Atlas V launch was scrubbed - Spaceflight Now | Atlas Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

Pat Have to admire his tenacity.

That video... what a ride!

Karen Starting at 7:43ish. ;^)

You don't have to go to the Irish pubs. Just pick up some green food coloring for your beer on the way home.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
185. SBKaren
10:18 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Soooo - should we be able to see the ISS tonight about 7:45 ish?

You mean, I can't walk down to Main St. and gawk at the hoards of Irish people waiting to get in line at all the Irish establishments? (we have 4 in a one block section of Main St.!)

We usually do this, but it's a Jazzecise night so we'll probably pass this year ;)
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 197 Comments: 14651
184. Patrap
10:05 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
I bet the Bat didnt make it to SRB Sep...


Maybe ,..he was a Fighter seems.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129908
183. LowerCal
9:28 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Pat Bat update - NASA - Bat Hung onto Shuttle During Liftoff.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
182. LowerCal
9:27 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Quoting LowerCal:
We watched the ISS go over at the appointed time. It was nearly overhead before we could pick it out of the bright twilight in the western half of the sky. We then followed it clear down to the horizon in the NE.

We never did see Shuttle Discovery. If it had passed at the predicted time it would have been an easy target. If it was following the ISS closely it would have been invisible.
Quoting LowerCal:
...or maybe it's because we were looking SW when we should have been looking NW. :^]

I forgot to mention while we were waiting for the Shuttle we did see an extremely bright unshceduled Iridium flare. So... some bad, some good, Fsh. ;^)

From the Heavens-Above FAQ's:
Q. While I was out waiting for a flare or other satellite to appear, I saw another flare which wasn't in the predictions. What could it have been?

A. This was probably a flare from a failed Iridium satellite. Several satellites have failed in orbit, and are not in the nominal orbit and/or attitude. However, they can still produce flares just like the operational ones. The difference is, that we can't predict when they will happen.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
181. LowerCal
8:42 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Thanks for the heads up! ^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
180. sp34n119w
8:40 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Shuttle docking is live on NASA TV.
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4311
179. LowerCal
8:38 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Shuttle Discovery docked with the International Space Station will cross the evening skies over Nouthern California and nearby areas (March 17, times are PDT):

Ground track for International Space Station (ISS)



As always anyone can find pass predictions of the ISS and other satellites for their own location if they use
Heavens-Above
or the simpler tool
Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
178. LowerCal
7:53 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
The GOCE "Space Arrow" spacecraft was successfully launched this morning - BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Gravity satellite leads new wave.

It's possible this is part of the surge of interest in spacecraft flyovers too. The GOCE is in a near sun-synchronous dawn/dusk orbit (above the border between night and day). That means it will always be illuminated by the Sun but in a line of sight of some people standing under dark skies. I can't determine yet if it will be bright enough to be seen with the naked eye because Heavens-Above hasn't added it to their satellite list yet.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
177. LowerCal
7:50 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Fsh Cool! On the whole I'd say more good. The vendor is very interested in a good customer experience.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
176. Fshhead
7:26 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
G' Afternoon Sir!!
Just stopping by real quick. I talked to telescopes.com a few min. ago. No problem whatsoever & the new one should be here tues. ;) Sending Fed-Ex to pick up the old one tomm. He definitely said something is wrong cause the movement should be smooth, not jerky.
So Good News, Bad News...LOL
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
175. LowerCal
7:20 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
sp Yep, another flyover this evening. It should be hard to miss the shuttle because it should be docked by then. :^] Tonights pass will go directly over Northern California but if you choose the right spot in SoCal you'll still be able to see it. I'll put up the ground track later unless someone else does it first. ;^)

BTW it seems like there may be quite a bit of interest this time. SpaceWeather.com was swamped and unavailable yesterday and Heavens-Above is crawling today.

There's also a Cape Canaveral launch this evening with a live webcast. Details are in the blog entry.

It is time to start think about rolling into a new blog entry. In the meantime I've added a few more WunderPhotos. If this entry starts to get photo slow let me know.

charles Kewl! B^)

Fsh :^] I was kind of rushed at the last minute, didn't check the ground track again, relied on memory... and got my left and right mixed up. I dorked the flyover, LOL!

Pat Thanks for the update and great picture. Less than 3 hours left for the possibility of seeing the shuttle and space station as separate objects.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
174. Patrap
2:03 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Discovery closing in on the ISS ,orbit,by orbit. Rendezvous this afternoon.


Crew Inspects Heat Shield, Prepares for Docking
Mon, 16 Mar 2009 09:23:55 PM CDT

Space shuttle Discovery’s first full day in space focused on an up close inspection of its wing leading edge panels using the robotic arm and Orbiter Boom Sensor System extension. The five-hour inspection paralleled work by the seven crew members onboard to prepare for the docking to the International Space Station Tuesday planned for 4:13 p.m. Some of that work included pre-positioning transfer items and checking out spacesuits that will be used during the three spacewalks planned while Discovery is docked. In preparation for docking, the crew tested rendezvous equipment, installed an Orbiter Docking System “centerline” camera and extended the docking ring atop the docking system before going to bed just before 1 a.m. Tuesday



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129908
173. Fshhead
5:56 AM GMT on March 17, 2009
I cant wait to see the ISS passovers sporting her new solar array!! We thought we could see it well before.. lol
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
172. Fshhead
5:54 AM GMT on March 17, 2009
Quoting LowerCal:
...or maybe it's because we were looking SW when we should have been looking NW. :^]


LOL Awww Man, I hate it when that happens!!!

Hey Charles, it sure is some sight, is it not?
I had the privledge of seeing the double passover last year. Shuttle was following closely behind. There was also the ATV thingy out in front of the station too but, never saw that one...
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
171. charlesimages
4:53 AM GMT on March 17, 2009
I SAW THE SHUTTLE FLYOVER!!! =)
Member Since: May 25, 2006 Posts: 347 Comments: 29278
170. sp34n119w
4:51 AM GMT on March 17, 2009
Hiya! Did I miss anything?

LOL

I did miss the flyover tonight - stuck indoors, no way out.
I did see the ISS flyover last night, though, and from a very bright parking lot. Cool :)
There's another tomorrow, right? And the shuttle will be docked?

btw, LC - your blog has become beautifully photo-heavy, again ;)
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4311
169. LowerCal
3:09 AM GMT on March 17, 2009
...or maybe it's because we were looking SW when we should have been looking NW. :^]
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
168. LowerCal
3:02 AM GMT on March 17, 2009
We watched the ISS go over at the appointed time. It was nearly overhead before we could pick it out of the bright twilight in the western half of the sky. We then followed it clear down to the horizon in the NE.

We never did see Shuttle Discovery. If it had passed at the predicted time it would have been an easy target. If it was following the ISS closely it would have been invisible.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
167. LowerCal
12:07 AM GMT on March 17, 2009
Shuttle Discovery chases the International Space Station across the evening skies over Southern California and nearby areas (March 16, times are PDT):

Ground track for International Space Station (ISS)

The space station will be making its pass very soon after sunset so you may not be able to see it when it first clears the horizon. Keep following the area of the sky where it should be until it "pops out" of the bright twilight.

Ground track for Shuttle Discovery (STS-119)

The orbit of shuttle is changing to catch up with the space station so don't be surprised if it comes by earlier than the times indicated. The best strategy is probably to use a comfortable chair and just wait for it.


As always anyone can find pass predictions of the ISS and other satellites for their own location if they use
Heavens-Above
or the simpler tool
Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
166. LowerCal
9:41 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
Almost everyone can participate in the Globe at Night sky darkness survey that opens tonight. More details are in the blog entry.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
165. LowerCal
9:34 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
GOCE Launch Suspended During Countdown - Space - redOrbit and the launch has been pushed back one day (to tomorrow).

I find the GOCE spacecraft and mission fascinating. If you have a little spare time for reading I encourage you to look into for yourself. You could start with a couple articles I've linked in the blog entry.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
164. LowerCal
9:20 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
Fsh The one in comment 159 is a very convenient link to all the Hubble "glamour" shots.

The link in 160 perfectly hits the "casual" level and I'm adding to the "Monthly" links that appear at the top of all my blog entries. That is the "Beehive" that I mentioned to you. From the city there is no hint of it's presence in an apparently empty patch of sky. My first unexpected sight of it through a small telescope was shocking! It actually made a bigger impression on me than my first sight of Saturn and it's rings. I guess with Saturn I already had a little expectation of what I might see.

I think Fred would see yet another hot business opportunity, lol!

Rainman I've made a lot more money in Windows environments. I only use it when I absolutely have to at home though... which means I still have to devote part of one day a month to it's care and feeding. :^/

Thanks for the pictures, links and videos of the views from Jacksonville and Titusville. Those videos are too cool! :^)

shore That's another political maneuver like the first one that demoted Pluto!

On the other hand planetary scientists come down on the side of Pluto.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
163. Fshhead
6:28 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
Space junk may cause Discovery course change
Station astronauts had a close call last week with a piece of orbiting junk


AGAIN with the space junk. Will someone call Fred Sanford & Lamont? LOL
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
162. shoreacres
1:44 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
Never mind how I found it. Lookie here!

Illinois Legislature petitions for restoration of Pluto's planetary status
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
161. Rainman32
1:16 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
Hahah right on both counts LC, I am a Linux guy and Windows too.. frankly I have made more money off of the latter:)

The Paint.NET app that Skye uses is one of the best I have seen for Windows (Free!), she turned me onto it.. though there is GIMP for Win also.

Well I got a couple of my pics clean enough to upload to WU..

STS-119 at Separation from JAX

STS-119 Afterglow from JAX


.. And now the video too! look closely and you can see the point of separation along with the excited Aqua and Rains in the Yard:^)



And I would be remiss if I didn't include this great one from OSHNBLU too!

Member Since: September 19, 2004 Posts: 32 Comments: 6123
160. Fshhead
8:42 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
That Hubble site has a tab for "explore astronomy" that has some cool videos detailing whats going on in the Heavens. Funny too cause they mentioned your beehive Cal! It's in the constellation of cancer, correct?? lol

Tonight's Sky
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
159. Fshhead
8:18 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Hey Cal, I think I want to exchange my telescope for this one!! LOL WOW!
Pretty much sums it up..

Link
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
158. Fshhead
7:32 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
A very goodnight to you also!
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
157. LowerCal
7:26 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Thanks for the contribution, Fsh! It really wouldn't be possible to keep this blog going without the contributions. (Special thanks to Patrap for his help today.)

I'm up way past my bedtime. Pleasant dreams, all. 3^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
156. Fshhead
7:06 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Come On, No thanx needed, with all that you provide for all of us!! Man, I am just happy to contribute a little..

Ohhhh & your VERY Welcome! LOL
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
155. LowerCal
6:55 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Now yer talkin', Fsh! LOL

BTW thanks for the great video link. :^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
154. Fshhead
6:41 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Tell you what, the mission for the Hubble would be a pretty cool one to catch!! ;)
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
153. Fshhead
6:38 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Link

Funny, MSNBC had a longer version. Goes to MECO...
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
152. Fshhead
6:27 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Oh Man, I just watched the replay, that was an awesome launch!! ;) Skye's pics are absolutely amazing also!
Well now I kinda feel like I saw it live.. lol
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
151. LowerCal
6:21 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Fsh Well, only nine remaining... you could make up for what you missed... ;^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
150. Fshhead
6:14 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Awwww Man, I missed ALL the fun here tonite!!
Pretty cool to see so many so excited about a shuttle launch these days..
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
149. LowerCal
5:33 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
They must be bouncing off the walls! 8^D

Congratulations on the finals and the award. :^)

Paint.NET will do an excellent job of what you want to do. Here's an great short tutorial with illustrations - Help2Go - free computer help and advice - Resize a Photograph with Paint.NET.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
148. Skyepony (Mod)
5:04 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
I just tried one 650..duh, I of any should know the 640 rule. Tired. What a bunch of excitement. Kids~ besides themselves. The FIRST robot regionals was yesterday, the older ones went. We won finals & an engineer inspiration award. It's been a spacey weekend.

I use Paint.net & think I got it figured out. Next time or if I redo these I'll let you know. Thanks.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 227 Comments: 39466
147. LowerCal
4:50 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
The separation shot ended up as 360px × 480px (340 pixels width and 480 pixels height) in the WU gallery.

The WU gallery will accommodate up to 640 pixels wide. The comments will only accommodate up to 500 pixels wide.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
146. Skyepony (Mod)
4:36 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
What width was 2304 pixels on seperation shot..If i posted a pic in your blog with width of 2304 it would blow it out.. Maybe WU is defaulting too big to this? I'll try something.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 227 Comments: 39466
145. Skyepony (Mod)
4:30 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
I saw that..Thanks! I wanna get so close for every last one. I got real close for the first many. Closer than you can these days. It kinda feels like it should end this way.

Ares is coming along. Pretty exciting.

That seperation one especially looks way better in my file..wider & bigger. I'll get that figured out eventually.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 227 Comments: 39466
144. LowerCal
4:28 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Oops again! I forgot Rainman is a Linux guy too. :^]
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
143. LowerCal
4:25 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Oops, crossposted.
Quoting Skyepony:
I get what you mean about setting the width to 650 now. I just haven't figured out how to do it. Does it have to do with how many pixel's wide?

Exactly, resize/scale the image to 640 pixels wide before uploading. Don't know what good free tools are available on Windows but Rainman, MichaelSTL or many others could tell you I'm sure.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
142. LowerCal
4:18 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Skye Those are awesome photos and I added them to my blog entry.

Only nine more shuttle launches are planned peeps!

Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9305
141. Skyepony (Mod)
4:16 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
I get what you mean about setting the width to 650 now. I just haven't figured out how to do it. Does it have to do with how many pixel's wide?
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 227 Comments: 39466

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