Sky&Telescope Sky Chart is Back! (see comment 225)

By: LowerCal , 10:39 PM GMT on June 20, 2011

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CURRENT MOON

moon phases


Scroll past the links below to find special events for current and future dates.
Scroll farther to find past events.


***** Links *****

Today - SpaceWeather.com
also EarthSky,
Astronomy Picture of the Day,
Lunar Photo of the Day,
365 Days of Astronomy
& Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
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
Anytime - Stellarium (free planetarium for your computer)
also Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart (online planetarium)

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

Launches:
Spaceflight Now - Worldwide Launch Schedule
also Vandenberg AFB Launch Schedule
& Wallops Flight Facility Launch Webcast & Blog
Reentries - Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies - Upcoming & Recent Reentries

Live Aurora Cams:
Sodankyla, Finland,
Kiruna, Sweden,
Yellowknife, Canada (click on CONNECT AURORAMAX LIVE)
& Poker Flat, Alaska


Most events described below can be viewed with your eyes alone.
Occasionally simple binoculars will improve the view and that will be noted.


***** Current & Future Events *****

See the comment section.

I'm sorry that I haven't had the time that I used to have to be able do justice to this blog. Almost all the events and WunderPhotos in the previous blog entry were from last year so I made this new entry with just the links (above) that will allow you to find out what's current and upcoming.

Your comments or images relevant to astronomy, spaceflight or weather are welcome. Any really big news on those subjects I'll probably post a comment or images myself.
- LowerCal


Events earlier than those listed below will be found in previous blog entries.

***** Past Events *****

None listed.


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Shuttle Atlantis last Flight (KI4MFU)
7-8-11 Kennedy Space Center,Floirda
Shuttle Atlantis last Flight
Final Space Shuttle Launch (turnuptheheat)
The beginning of the last shuttle mission (Atlantis STS-135) as seen from Titusville, FL on July 8 ,2011.
Final Space Shuttle Launch
Final Shuttle Flight (Skyepony)
Final Shuttle Flight
Final Shuttle Flight (Skyepony)
Big thanks to all the people involved in this program over all these years and a special thanks to my Dad for throwing me in the car in the middle of the night, so I could wake up on the NASA Causeway to see the first Shuttle launch. Hard to see an era end..now on to bigger, farther endeavors.
Final Shuttle Flight
Delta IV (Skyepony)
New GPS satellite going up from Cape Canaveral on a Delta IV Rocket. Launch time..2:41am.
Delta IV
Atlantis (Skyepony)
After her final trip home.
Atlantis
Juno Going to Jupiter (Skyepony)
Juno being launched on an AtlasV. It should be monitoring the weather on Jupiter in 5 years.
Juno Going to Jupiter
Aurora Borealis (den117)
After receiving an internet aurora alert yesterday, we headed out at 1:30 AM to a nearby dark beach with a north view.
Aurora Borealis

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It was so cloudy here I could not see a thing, but my aunt Pat sent me a picture of the launch that she took on her TV in Kentucky and emailed to me, like it's the same thing, lol. God love her, she is a wonderful country girl!!
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STS-135 Execute Packages


Flight Day 2 (184 Kb PDF)
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
This is an excellent program.

I thought I would share the schedule, since I can't share the show itself yet :)

When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions - from the Science Channel

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What will they do with the Cape Canaveral site now? Will it still be used for anything?
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40 N 74 W

a monty python spoof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvwH8Qij0JY

too cloudy here to see it but the coverage was great

while we talk about private sector replacement remember that
NASA / DOD have had a much easier time re: oversight than the next guy coming down the road.
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Accidental double post so I'll ask this. What's your opinion on where we should go next after the Shuttle and ISS?
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It is heck the NASA link was faster than CNN airing it.
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Docking with the International Space Station should take place approximately 11AM EDT on Sunday, July 10.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Atlantis is now in orbit on its way to meet the space station.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Rob, Lex Ain't technology great? :^)

Rob It is bittersweet.

NASA can accomplish awesome feats... but only with public support.

Thanks for the reminder on the press kit and thanks to Cybr for bring it here.

The Science Channel is airing a special on the final Shuttle flight at 10PM Eastern & Pacific tonight.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Odd mix of excitement and sadness here.

A lot of attention paid to this launch. Even XBOX Live is featuring it. Too bad we couldn't have had this level of enthusiasm the last 20 years...we might have a replacement by now.

Anyone who hasn't downloaded the press kit from

29. CybrTeddy 11:22 AM EDT on July 03, 2011
on the previous page. It is well worth having.
Great stuff. Thanks Cybr!
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Nice to see the last one live on the net thanks for the remind too thought it was launching on July 20 XD
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Big gray cloud in exactly the wrong place for me.
That's okay...Have SAT TV and DVR. (thanks to NASA)
Time to rewind.
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Main Engine CutOff (MECO) and separation of external tank. Atlantis on its way to orbit.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
LIFTOFF!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Count resumes!
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HOLD!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Heading outside to try for a live glimpse.
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5 minutes to launch and weather is "go"!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Yesterday I'd had said no-go. Now I'm glued to NASA TV and very hopeful!!!
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Good possibility of "go" weather at launch time! :^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Find live updates, video and commentary at

Spaceflight Now | STS-135 | Mission Status Center
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
On hour to liftoff and weather is currently "go".
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Weather is currently "no go" at KSC (Kennedy Space Center). Preps continue for the possibility of launch at 11:26am EDT ±5 min.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Rob You're welcome. Thanks for the acknowledgement from myself and on behalf of all the contributors. :^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
I would like to reiterate my thanks for you providing this blog and the links. Nice to be able to pop in here real quick and see what's going on. Also, thanks to the folks who post cool stuff here.

Have a great launch day!
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Excellent updates, video and commentary are at

Spaceflight Now | STS-135 | Mission Status Center
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
For the moment weather conditions are "go".

Today's launch window is 11:26am EDT ±5 min.

Current forecasts for favorable launch weather are:
30% today,
60% Saturday, and
50% Sunday.

The chances of favorable launch time weather during this 3 day period is 86%.

The next launch windows are:
Saturday 11:01am ±5 min,
Sunday 10:38am ±5 min.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Pat Thanks for the background and update.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Atlantis is GO for ET tanking fill .

NASA TV



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
At least today's lightening strike is no longer a complicating factor.

Spaceflight Now | STS-135 | Mission Status Center
....
2145 GMT (5:45 p.m. EDT)
The engineering board determined there were no issues with lightning strike and shuttle Atlantis' countdown can proceed as scheduled.
....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Further complicating factors...
....
Between 500,000 and 750,000 spectators are expected to turn out for NASA's final shuttle launch, complicating NASA's scrub-turnaround plans. If the weather or some other problem triggers a delay in the last four hours of the countdown, Launch Director Mike Leinbach likely will order a 48-hour delay because of concern the launch team would not be able to make it home through expected heavy traffic and get back to the space center in time for a launch try the next day.

As a result, a launch scrub Friday likely would delay a second attempt to Sunday.

Going into the launch campaign, NASA managers said Atlantis had to be off the ground by Sunday or the flight would slip to July 16 to make way for launch of a military navigation satellite from the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. But if the Air Force agrees to a one-day slip, NASA could get a fourth launch opportunity Monday. How that might play into the decision to proceed with a Friday launch try remains to be seen.

(from the same link as the previous comment)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
The possibility of shuttle Atlantis launching this weekend has just become more complicated.

Spaceflight Now | STS-135 Shuttle Report | Engineers assess lightning strike at space shuttle pad
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Odds of favorable Shuttle launch time weather on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday are now at 83%.

Current forecasts for favorable launch weather for each day are:
30% Friday,
40% Saturday, and
60% Sunday.

The launch windows are:
Friday 11:26am EDT ±5 min,
Saturday 11:04am EDT ±5 min,
Sunday 10:38am EDT ±5 min.

Currently no Shuttle launch attempts are planned for Monday, July 11 through Friday, July 15 due to a scheduled Delta IV launch of a new GPS satellite from Cape Canaveral AFS on July 14.

Pat, Cybr The shuttle program has truly been an all-America effort. For example, the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) that mostly come from just "next door" to me...
....
The SSMEs were designed in the late 1970s by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne - UTC. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne - UTC continues to build and assemble the majority of components in Canoga Park, California.

The SSME has undergone major upgrades to improve performance, safety and reliability. Improvements include the introduction of redesigned high-pressure turbopumps into the SSME fleet. The new pumps, designed and built by Pratt & Whitney at West Palm Beach Florida, have over 900 fewer welds than the previous design. The reduction in welds improves engine reliability and safety, and reduces the time spent on inspecting the engines.

The main engines are tested at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The new Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne - UTC turbopumps are also tested at Stennis. Engines and engine components are delivered to Kennedy Space Center to be prepared for flight.
....
Skye As a lifetime? local you probably know of other good vantage points. There will likely be exceptional crowds though. Good luck. It will be a lifetime memory for the entire family.

Oss You still have good odds if you can stay around for the weekend. Even if more attempts than that are required those attempts won't start until next weekend. In any case good luck to you.
Quoting Ossqss:
Why, as many have asked, do we sub-out our space presence to Russia?
The short answer is that no realistically funded successor plans were in place to coincide with the long planned end of the shuttle program.

That said I think that American aerospace is mature enough that America can benefit more from commercial competition for fixed bid Low Earth Orbit (LEO) contracts awarded based on performance achievements than from the cost plus model. I think the cost plus contract model is more suitable for development of cutting edge technologies that will take us entirely beyond Earth orbit.
Quoting Ossqss:
What is the take on X-37?
It has not been developed for human spaceflight. It is a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) reusable robotic spaceplane. Whatever other purposes it could be used for it is an excellent orbital test bed allowing rapid deployment, testing, return and evaluation of new technologies' performance in the actual space environment.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Crap, looks like weather will impact Friday!

Why, as many have asked, do we sub-out our space presence to Russia?

What is the take on X-37?


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41. Skyepony (Mod)
I didn't win a launch placard. There's a few friends, if they can't use theirs for some reason but not looking real likely at the moment.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37326
Made a tribute on the blog for our favorite 5 space fairing birds.
Link

Pat: USN, USMC & USAF all gets their take on this flight. Though Hurley's the only active duty.

Which reminds me, I wonder if there's ever been any enlisted astronauts? The lowest rank I can find was Alan Shepard who was an O-3 in 1961.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23564
Well Im glad we have a Home town Tulane Grad and USMC Air Wing Colonel Doug Hurley on this Final Crew, as Pilot.





Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
Pat I feel that too. Something's next but what and when is murky.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Going to be really sad seeing a empty pad come Friday post launch.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
Pat Thanks for the video feeds.


Current forecasts for favorable launch weather are:
40% Friday,
60% Saturday, and
70% Sunday.

Spaceflight Now | STS-135 Shuttle Report | Countdown commences for shuttle Atlantis' blastoff

The chances of favorable launch time weather during the 3 day period is 93%.

The launch windows are:
Friday 11:26am EDT ±5 min,
Saturday 11:01am ±5 min,
Sunday 10:38am ±5 min.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
NASA - KSC Video Feeds


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
Pat Thanks for the heads up on the International Space Station flyover. Southwestern California and Baja are having one too just before fireworks time.

ISS Ground Track (Times are PDT)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Pat Thanks for the news link. The Science Channel will be running Last Shuttle: Our Journey Friday, July 8, 2011 at 10PM Eastern & Pacific.

As long as you're looking up this evening... just don't get too distracted by the fireworks. ;^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
ISS flyover,New Orleans 9:15pm CDT
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
The Long Goodbye week begins..

Final space shuttle crew arrives at Kennedy Space Center
1:51 PM, Jul. 4, 2011
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
Pat We have to wonder how long it will be before we see another craft so inspiringly capable.

Oss I'm crossing my fingers for good weather for everyone making a special effort to be there to witness the final climb.

shore I think it's very cool to see the recognition of the gravity of the occasion. (Of course it was intentional, lol!)

Cybr Thanks for the great link. I can only echo your encouragement.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
Last time, I'll be out at KSC friday (I'll upload some pictures)

STS-135 press kit - half about the history of the shuttle, makes for a great read.
Link

Gallant crew of 4.

Fergie, Doug, Sandy, Rex.


We're behind you, Space Shuttle!

Give them hell, one last time. Show them how American endeavors and ingenuity can mix to create one heck of a show July 8th, 2011.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23564
I just went into Picnik, and discovered they have some special effects they've rolled out for the final shuttle launch. For some reason that struck me as especially cool.
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
Quoting LowerCal:
The next big event is the final flight of the Space Transportation System, STS-135. Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center on July 8 at 11:26am EDT ±5 minutes.

Spaceflight Now | STS-135 | Mission Status Center


I hope to be under that beauty in a big pontoon boat on the inter-coastal to watch it with the kids. It is the last one, sadly :(
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About LowerCal

Astronomy with a minimum of terminology and technology.

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