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

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


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.

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.
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

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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Skye Just as I was previewing the following comment yours appeared. Inevitably memory begins to fade. Thanks to spouse and friends I have some memorabilia from the final shuttle flight. Glad you got some restorative time off the grid.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
176. Skyepony (Mod)
That emotional day Atlantis came back & I suddenly had that opportunity to go see her with friends seems so far away & surreal after my extended & much needed trip to our other farm, off the grid. I almost regret not uploading a pic of friends faces. Everyone was in a shock.

We are super excited about this launch to Jupiter today. Camera is ready:)

Thanks for keeping us updated..
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
The NASA Juno mission Atlas V rocket is now on the pad for the first available launch window - tomorrow Friday, August 5 11:34am-12:43pm EDT.

The decision to actually fuel the rocket for the attempt will come tomorrow morning. Once fueling begins if tomorrow's launch is scrubbed for any reason it would take nearly a full day to return the Atlas V to the protection of the assembly building.

More details on the mission and launch at comments 172 & 173.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Rainman Good to see you out and about. Thanks for the info on the additional opportunities. :^)
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Launch Alert!
Get Ready to Hear the Rumble.
Come see our next rocket launch and receive second day free.

Come experience the exhilaration of a real rocket launch with America's favorite science guy and Executive Director of the Planetary Society, Bill Nye. On August 4, 2011, Bill Nye will prepare you for what to expect during the Juno Mission lifting off on its way to Jupiter aboard an Atlas rocket the next day. Bill Nye's presentations will occur at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. in the IMAX Theater. Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

On August 5, 2011, prime viewing for the rocket launch will be available to the first 2,000 guests entering the park. The launch is scheduled between 11:34 a.m. and 12:43 p.m. Gates open at 7:00 a.m. on August 5. Alternate launch viewing will be available at the main Visitor Complex.

Regular admission is required for access on August 4 and 5.

Click here for more information regarding the Juno Mission activities.

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The NASA Juno mission to Jupiter is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida on Friday, August 5 11:34am-12:43pm EDT.

The current launch weather forecast is 70% favorable. If the launch date slips the weather forecasts become less favorable as Tropical Cyclone Emily passes.

Juno will be launching on an Atlas V rocket with five solid rocket boosters that will burn during the first minute and 44 seconds of flight. The resulting smoke column should be easily visible for quite a distance if skies are not too cloudy.

New Horizons Launch

Image credit: John J Rice

The New Horizons mission launched from the same pad atop the same launch vehicle configuration.

Find United Launch Alliance webcast instructions at ULA | WEBCAST.

Find mission status updates and other info at
Spaceflight Now | Atlas Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

Juno will have escaped Earth's gravity after 50 minutes but will require an Earth flyby in October 2013 for a gravity assist to reach Jupiter in October of 2016.

Image credit: University of Wisconsin
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
shore yw
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Thanks for the reminder about the Perseids. It looks like we'll be losing our clouds again, so the next few early mornings may be good. I'll see if I can see!
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The Perseid meteor shower is already achieving respectable hourly rates.

Perseid Meteor Activity

Graph credit: International Meteor Organization (IMO)

(Also see comment 166.)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Cybr Yes, that is painful but thanks for bringing the news here.

My favorite from the comments section of your news link is:
Tankmodeler | July 28, 2011 7:53 PM | Reply

There are two problems here, both of which are the result of organisational stupidity.

1) Congress thinks they know how to design a rocket (which they don't).

2) NASA thinks they can ignore congresses requests, no matter how assinine (which they can't)

The results speak for themselves.


For more background on the current drama see:

SLS (Senate Launch System) = Ares V | nasaengineer.com


Preliminary NASA plan shows Evolved SLS vehicle is 21 years away | NASASpaceFlight.com

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Best summertime meteors of 2011 in late July, early August | EarthSky
Every year, people look forward to the Perseid meteor shower. But, this year, the full moon is destined to interfere with the peak of the shower, which comes on August 12 or 13. That fact makes the next several days - in the hours before dawn - a good time in 2011 to watch ....

.... there's another meteor shower going on around now, too. The Delta Aquarid shower ....

The best spotting will be under dark rural skies but even city dwellers may spot a few.

(Also see comment 169.)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Hired private cargo ships booked to visit space station
.... SpaceX and Orbital Sciences are gearing up for test flights of their cargo freighters to the orbiting lab in December and February,....

The commercial automated cargo vehicles are in the final stages of development and testing before moving to their launch sites in Florida and Virginia.

NASA has "technically" agreed to combine SpaceX's next two demonstration flights of the company's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, electing to send the next mission all the way to the space station. ....
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Voyages to deep space will originate from shuttle pads
.... NASA plans to put launch pad 39A into mothballs in the coming months for long-term storage until human expeditions depart for asteroids or Mars, according to agency officials.
The space agency is finalizing the design of the Space Launch System, which will likely use shuttle-derived hardware, engines and other equipment. NASA managers, the White House and independent consultants are reviewing the design before it is released to the public and contractors.
NASA says the SLS won't be flying astronauts until 2020 under current budget projections, but Kennedy Space Center aims to have the launch pad ready years before then.
(Emphasis added by me.)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Daybreak at Gale Crater

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA - NASA's Next Mars Rover to Land at Gale Crater
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's next Mars rover will land at the foot of a layered mountain inside the planet's Gale crater.

The car-sized Mars Science Laboratory, or Curiosity, is scheduled to launch late this year and land in August 2012. ....

"Mars is firmly in our sights," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Curiosity not only will return a wealth of important science data, but it will serve as a precursor mission for human exploration to the Red Planet.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
July 21, 2011

NASA Administrator Commemorates Final Space Shuttle Landing

WASHINGTON -- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden today issued this statement about the final landing of the Space Shuttle Program:

"At today's final landing of the space shuttle, we had the rare opportunity to witness history. We turned the page on a remarkable era and began the next chapter in our nation's extraordinary story of exploration.

The brave astronauts of STS-135 are emblematic of the shuttle program. Skilled professionals from diverse backgrounds who propelled America to continued leadership in space with the shuttle's many successes. It is my great honor today to welcome them home.

I salute them and all of the men and women who have flown shuttle missions since the very first launch on April 12, 1981.

The shuttle program brought our nation many firsts. Many proud moments, some of which I was privileged to experience myself as a shuttle commander. I was proud to be part of the shuttle program and will carry those experiences with me for the rest of my life.

As we move forward, we stand on the shoulders of these astronauts and the thousands of people who supported them on the ground – as well as those who cheered their triumphs and mourned their tragedies.

This final shuttle flight marks the end of an era, but today, we recommit ourselves to continuing human spaceflight and taking the necessary-and difficult-steps to ensure America's leadership in human spaceflight for years to come.

I want to send American astronauts where we've never been before by focusing our resources on exploration and innovation, while leveraging private sector support to take Americans to the International Space Station in low Earth orbit.

With the bold path President Obama and Congress have set us on, we will continue the grand tradition of exploration.

Children who dream of being astronauts today may not fly on the space shuttle . . . but, one day, they may walk on Mars. The future belongs to us. And just like those who came before us, we have an obligation to set an ambitious course and take an inspired nation along for the journey.

I'm ready to get on with the next big challenge.

The future is bright for human spaceflight and for NASA. American ingenuity is alive and well. And it will fire up our economy and help us win the future, but only if we dream big and imagine endless possibilities. That future begins today."

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
sp Thanks for the great retrospective.

Pat Thanks. Mission Accomplished indeed.

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Mission Accomplished

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All 135 missions in one video:

Spotted at sciencepunk
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Pat Thanks for the chronicle of our first venture to other worlds. :^)

Skye I did enjoy those pics. I chose to feature the beauty shot (at the bottom of my blog entry) but I think it is fitting that the Approvers chose to feature the end-of-the-line shot.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Apollo 11 TV Broadcast July 22, 1969

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
156. Skyepony (Mod)
Agreed..the transitions could have been so much easier.

I uploaded some pics to WU today I think ya'll enjoy..
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Neil Armstrong, post EVA in the LEM,,a well deserved grin after a long day's work.

Photo by Buzz Aldrin

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Apollo 11 TV and How it happened: pdf

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

42 Yrs Ago this afternoon, Neil and Buzz Blasted Off from Tranquility to start the

Orbital rendezvous with Mike Collins and the trip back home...

The Return to Orbit
Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright 1995 by Eric M. Jones.

124:21:54 Aldrin: 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, Abort Stage, Engine Arm, Ascent, Proceed.

[They launch at 124:22:00. Note that, now that they have launched, the LM call sign is once again "Eagle"]

[Buzz gets the 16-mm camera started about 6 seconds after liftoff.]

124:22:07 Aldrin: (Static) (Garbled) shadow. Beautiful.

124:22:09 Aldrin: 26, 36 feet per second up. Standby for the pitchover.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Thanks for pointing to the awesome video too.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
yes an AMAZING photo... one of several
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well it didn't work...

the video can be seen at:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic= 26102.720
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Caicos Thanks for that awesome shot! :^)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
I don't know if this will work... I am trying a quote from the NasaSpaceFlight forum....

[quote author=RamjetFDO link=topic=26102.msg780897#msg780897 date=1311270438]
Noe has posted his video of Atlantis streaking across the sky during re-entry, from his vantage point in Cancun, Mexico!

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XZgu7FStbw&f eature=share]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XZgu7 FStbw&feature=share[/url]

I was able to get him the re-entry ephemeris sighting data for his location - so his cameras were spot-on and ready!

the above should show a two minute view of Atlantis streaking over Cancun Mexico...

I tried to also search for it on YouTube but with no success.
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Shuttle Atlantis plasma trail photographed from the cupola window of ISS:

STS-135 Shuttle Mission Imagery

ISS028-E-018214 (21 July 2011) --- This unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights, on its way home, was photographed by the Expedition 28 crew of the International Space Station. Airglow over Earth can be seen in the background.
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pbug We're fortunate to live in very interesting times in the history of humanity for sure.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Hope my Dad was up in time to see the landing this morning.

I remember all those lift-offs, flights and splashdowns back in the 60's. And the moon walk. Dad was glued to the TV for each one. Me, too, for that matter.
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Skye Thanks for the heads up but I missed the heads. :^/ The shuttle caravan is going on now.

The transition could have been better planned and smoother but as you say there is a lot of new activities that aren't getting a lot of publicity. I think SpaceX is in the lead of the commercial race but they aren't the only ones in the field.

It looks like Low Earth Orbit is going to be a lot less expensive and once the new heavy-lift development gets rolling that should really breathe new life into KSC.

Patti Those links are just fine now. Thanks. :^)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting LowerCal:
Patti It's been a while but I remember your adventure. We are rewarded with some nice rememberance for your trouble and effort.

I couldn't get your links to work but I did find your series with photos and words starting at
Off in the Distance | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Thanks.. I always check and just did some editing again. Each year there is something new or I have to create new pathways within my brain to fix stuff within the blog LOL.. THANK YOU for your help.. please check the links again and see if they work now
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Patti It's been a while but I remember your adventure. We are rewarded with some nice rememberance for your trouble and effort.

I couldn't get your links to work but I did find your series with photos and words starting at
Off in the Distance | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
141. Skyepony (Mod)
If it's near dawn & we are launching to ISS or coming home from you can always see the ISS within a few minutes.

I've lost a few friends that got cut or got moved & had to leave. This county is reeling. But there is more going on than being put out there. A chance to shake it up & cut the chaff that we haven't had in 30 years.

I hope commercial pulls it together quick to get us some human shuttles to the ISS now that it is all built.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
140. Skyepony (Mod)
The talking heads are on Spaceflight discussing it all.. My favorite astronaut there in the center..
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
This is a link to the photos I took of the ship a few years ago as it rode piggy back... returning to Fl. It did a stop over here in Mississippi and I got a few photos of that visit. -

please click on this link

Taken by redagainPatti - June 2, 2009, outside of Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi USA as the plane was leaving from a rest stop

To View On Black the above photo, please click on this link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
aqua You're welcome. It's been a pleasure sharing our experiences.

pbug, Lex, OGal It is the close of a grand chapter. More chapters will follow.

Skye You're welcome. It's fitting that the International Space Station should make an appearance just before the final Shuttle landing. The ISS owes its existence to the Shuttle and is one of the great legacies of the Shuttle Era.

I'm glad your family can stay and stay active in the effort to step off our home planet. I hope we can preserve more of the hard won expertise in the months and years ahead.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
137. OGal

Morning Everyone!! Perfect double booms. Not as loud as normal but I will still take what I heard. What a gorgeous Florida morning to be landing. So sad to see such an awesome program come to an end but I hope some fantastic space program will arrive in the future. Red, white, and blue on the top of the Empire State Building last night to honor the return of the shuttle.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
136. Skyepony (Mod)
Thanks LowerCal~ Couldn't see it gliding in but saw the ISS pass by right before the ba-boom.. Sad day.

Have heard another family member that works for USA is on the short list to stay.. Hope it's true.

Husband is good. They've been working on moon stuff & various things.

Welcome home Atlantis.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
What Palm said ;_; I wish we had more missions but it had to be retired.
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Welcome home, Atlantis....

It is so sad to know we'll not see this again.
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thanks LC
thank you
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aqua I think that rumble was a collective sigh. :^/
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Wheel stop Atlantis.
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Touchdown Atlantis!
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home yet? swear /i thought i heard a rumble..
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Atlantis in sight of tracking telescopes at Kennedy Space Center.
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Atlantis has passed Lake Okeechobee.
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