Apr
23
Thu
2015
Lyrids Meteor Shower
Apr 23 @ 12:00 am – 6:00 am

leonid-meteorActive from: Apr. 16-25, 2015, Peak night: Apr. 22-23, 2015

The Lyrids are a medium strength shower that usually produces good rates for three nights centered on the maximum. These meteors also usually lack persistent trains but can produce fireballs. These meteors are best seen from the northern hemisphere where the radiant is high in the sky at dawn. Activity from this shower can be seen from the southern hemisphere, but at a lower rate.

Radiant: 18:04 +34° - ZHR: 18 - Velocity: 30 miles/sec (medium - 48.4km/sec) - Parent Object: C/1861 G1 (Thatcher)

Information from: http://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-shower-calendar/?y=2015

Apr
24
Fri
2015
PenguiCon @ Westin Soutfield MI
Apr 24 – Apr 26 all-day

Penguicon logo

"Penguicon is a three-day event where we all learn from each other (as well as from our Guests of Honor) about hacking, building sci-fi universes, soldering, painting miniatures, gaming, coding, and more.

Our two pillars are Science Fiction and Open Source, but we cover as many diverse nerdy interests as possible. We have a con suite with free soda, coffee, munchies and other real food, which makes it easier on your budget. You can find nerdy T-shirts, books, and custom artwork and non-commodity crafts in our large and active community Maker Market."

PenguiCon also has a robust Science programming track; Bob Trembley will be giving his lecture about Asteroids, and also talking about the Dawn mission at Ceres. Bob and his wife Connie will be on a panel titled "SciComm: Communicating Science to the Public" with Samuel Hansen and Annalee Newitz. Bob will also be setting up his telescopes for solar and nighttime observing sessions.

May
7
Thu
2015
Eta Aquariids Meteor Shower
May 7 @ 12:00 am – 6:00 am

leonid-meteorActive from: Apr. 19-May 26, 2015, Peak night: May 6-7, 2015

The Eta Aquariids are a strong shower when viewed from the southern tropics. From the equator northward, they usually only produce medium rates of 10-30 per hour just before dawn. Activity is good for a week centered the night of maximum activity. These are swift meteors that produce a high percentage of persistent trains, but few fireballs. The Eta Aquariids are a strong shower when viewed from the southern tropics. From the equator northward, they usually only produce medium rates of 10-30 per hour just before dawn. Activity is good for a week centered the night of maximum activity. These are swift meteors that produce a high percentage of persistent trains, but few fireballs. The Eta Aquariids are a strong shower when viewed from the southern tropics. From the equator northward, they usually only produce medium rates of 10-30 per hour just before dawn. From the equator to 25S they can produce rates of 40-60 per hour just before dawn at maximum. The longer nights in the southern hemisphere allows the radiant to rise higher in their sky. South of 25S the radiant altitude actually decreases. Activity is good for a week centered the night of maximum activity. These are swift meteors that produce a high percentage of persistent trains, but few fireballs.

Radiant: 22:32 -1° - ZHR: 55 - Velocity: 42 miles/sec (swift - 66.9km/sec) - Parent Object: 1P/Halley

Information from: http://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-shower-calendar/?y=2015

Jun
30
Tue
2015
Anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska Impact Event
Jun 30 all-day

The Tunguska explosion knocked down some 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 square kilometres (830 sq mi); the shock wave from the blast would have measured about 5.0 on the Richter scale.

See also: #AsteroidDay

Jul
14
Tue
2015
New Horizons Flyby of Pluto
Jul 14 @ 6:00 am – 11:00 am

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The New Horizons spacecraft will flyby Pluto on this date; closest approach: 14 July 2015, 11:49:59 UTC (7:28 AM EDT). This will be the first close-up examination of Pluto and its satellites; Astronomy magazine calls this the "Capstone of the first era of reconnaissance of the planets."

New Horizons is so far away, the data-rate from the spacecraft is around 2000 bits-per-second; it will take more than a year to transmit all of the images and data it captured during its brief flyby.

After Pluto, its on the the Kuiper Belt - stay tuned!

New Horizons’ trajectory takes it right through the Pluto system in just a few days. Image: NASA/JHUAPL

Where is New Horizons NOW? http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/whereis_nh.php

Jul
28
Tue
2015
Alpha Capricornids Meteor Shower
Jul 28 @ 12:00 am – 6:00 am

leonid-meteorActive from: Jul. 11-Aug 10, 2015, Peak night: Jul. 27-28, 2015

The Alpha Capricornids are active from July 11 through August with a "plateau-like" maximum centered on July 29. This shower is not very strong and rarely produces in excess of five shower members per hour. What is notable about this shower is the number of bright fireballs produced during its activity period. This shower is seen equally well on either side of the equator.

Radiant: 20:28 -10.2° - ZHR: 5 - Velocity: 15 miles/sec (slow - 24km/sec) - Parent Object: 169P/NEAT

Information from: http://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-shower-calendar/?y=2015

Jul
29
Wed
2015
Delta Aquariids Meteor Shower
Jul 29 @ 12:00 am – 6:00 am

leonid-meteorActive from: Jul. 21-Aug 23, 2015, Peak night: Jul. 28-29, 2015

The Delta Aquariids are another strong shower best seen from the southern tropics. North of the equator the radiant is located lower in the southern sky and therefore rates are less than seen from further south. These meteors produce good rates for a week centered on the night of maximum. These are usually faint meteors that lack both persistent trains and fireballs.

Radiant: 22:40 -16.4° - ZHR: 16 - Velocity: 26 miles/sec (medium - 42km/sec) - Parent Object: 96P/Machholz?

Information from: http://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-shower-calendar/

Aug
13
Thu
2015
Perseids Meteor Shower
Aug 13 @ 12:00 am – 6:00 am

leonid-meteorActive from: Jul. 13-Aug 26, 2014, Peak night: Aug. 12-13, 2014

The Perseids are the most popular meteor shower as they peak on warm August nights as seen from the northern hemisphere. The Perseids are active from July 13 to August 26. They reach a strong maximum on August 12 or 13, depending on the year. Normal rates seen from rural locations range from 50-75 shower members per hour at maximum.The Persesids are particles released from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle during its numerous returns to the inner solar system. They are called Perseids since the radiant (the area of the sky where the meteors seem to originate) is located near the prominent constellation of Perseus the hero when at maximum activity.

Radiant: 03:12 +57.6° - ZHR: 100 - Velocity: 37 miles/sec (swift - 60km/sec) - Parent Object: 109P/Swift-Tuttle

Information from: http://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-shower-calendar/?y=2015

Sep
13
Sun
2015
Partial Solar Eclipse
Sep 13 @ 4:41 am – 9:06 am
Sep
28
Mon
2015
Total Lunar Eclipse @ Earth
Sep 28 @ 12:46 am – 5:22 am

The final eclipse of 2015 is another total lunar eclipse, and the last of four consecutive total lunar eclipses spanning two years (see Lunar Eclipse Tetrads). The event is well placed for observers in the Americas as well as Western Europe and Africa. The eclipse occurs in southern Pisces at the Moon's descending node while the Moon is also at perigee (September 28 at 01:46 UT). This means that the Moon will appear 12.9% larger than it did during the April 04 eclipse (33.5 vs. 29.7 arc-minutes).

This time, the orbital path of the Moon takes it deeper into the southern half of Earth's umbral shadow. The total phase lasts 73 minutes - far longer than the brief 4.5-minute duration of the April 04 eclipse. The lunar path through Earth's shadows as well as a map illustrating worldwide visibility of the event are shown in Figure 4. The times of the major eclipse phases are listed as follows.

                              Penumbral Eclipse Begins:     00:11:46 UT
                              Partial Eclipse Begins:       01:07:12 UT
                              Total Eclipse Begins:         02:11:11 UT
                              Greatest Eclipse:             02:47:09 UT
                              Total Eclipse Ends:           03:23:07 UT
                              Partial Eclipse Ends:         04:27:06 UT
                              Penumbral Eclipse Ends:       05:22:33 UT

At the instant of greatest eclipse (02:47:09 UT) the Moon lies near the zenith from a location near Belem, Brazil. At this time, the umbral magnitude peaks at 1.2765 as the Moon's northern limb passes 3.5 arc-minutes south of the shadow's central axis. In contrast, the Moon's southern limb lies 9.3 arc-minutes from the southern edge of the umbra and 37.0 arc-minutes from the shadow center. As a result, the northern half of the Moon will appear much darker than the southern half because it lies deeper in the umbra. The Moon samples a large range of umbral depths during totality so its appearance will change considerably with time. The exact brightness distribution in the umbra is difficult to predict, so observers are encouraged to estimate the Danjon value at different times during totality (see Danjon Scale of Lunar Eclipse Brightness). It may also be necessary to assign different Danjon values to different portions of the Moon (e.g., north vs. south).

During totality, the autumn constellations are well placed for viewing and the brighter stars can be used for magnitude comparisons. The center of the Great Square of Pegasus lies 24° to the northwest, its brightest star being Alpheratz (m = +2.02). Deneb Kaitos (m = +2.04) in Cetus is 20° south of the eclipsed Moon, while Hamal (m = +2.01) is 35° to the northeast, Aldebaran (m = +0.87) is 65° to the east, and Almach (m = +2.17) is 48° to the north. Although relatively faint, the planet Uranus (m = +5.7) lies 14° northeast of the Moon during totality.

The entire September 28 eclipse is visible from the Atlantic Ocean and regions immediately bordering it. This includes the eastern half of North America, Western Europe, South America and West Africa. From western North America, early eclipse phases occur before moonrise. Similarly, observers in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and East Africa will experience moonset during some phase of the eclipse. None of the eclipse is visible from eastern Asia, Australia or New Zealand.

Table 5 lists predicted umbral immersion and emersion times for 25 well-defined lunar craters. The timing of craters is useful in determining the atmospheric enlargement of Earth's shadow (see Crater Timings During Lunar Eclipses).

The September 28 eclipse is the 26th eclipse of Saros 137. This series is composed of 78 lunar eclipses in the following sequence: 15 penumbral, 8 partial, 28 total, 7 partial, and 20 penumbral eclipses (Espenak and Meeus, 2009a). The family began with the penumbral eclipse of 1564 December 17, and ends with another penumbral eclipse on 2953 April 20. Complete details for Saros 137 can be found at:

www.EclipseWise.com/lunar/LEsaros/LEsaros137.html

Oct
9
Fri
2015
Conclave Science Fiction Convention @ Doubletree by Hilton
Oct 9 – Oct 11 all-day

Conclave is a Science Fiction convention held in early October in Dearborn Michigan. This year, the guest of honor this year is author Jody Lynn Nye (left).

Bill Higgins, and Bob Trembley, both authors on this blog, will be lecturing at this convention. Bill will be talking about Pluto, and Bob will be discussing current space missions, AsteroidDay, and Kerbal Space Program. Bob has arranged to have several laptops at the convention for a Kerbal-Lab.

Weather permitting, Bob will also set up his telescopes for solar and nighttime observing.

Bob with scopes at Penguicon, May 3 2014. Credit: Scott KennedyConstance L. Martin-Trembley, middle school science teacher, and Bob's wife, will be discussing her classroom trips to Bluespring Caverns, and will be on a panel with Nicolle Zellner discussing Women in Science.

Bill, Bob, Connie, and Nicolle are all volunteer NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassadors.

More convention programming here: [Link]

Feb
15
Mon
2016
Anniversary of the 2013 Chelyabinsk Impact Event
Feb 15 all-day

Anniversary of the 2013 Chelyabinsk Impact Event
Chelyabinsk animated GIF
Chelyabinsk Contrail

Collapsed roof of a zinc factory in Chelyabinsk. Credit: REUTERS/Yevgeni Yemeldinov

A man receives treatment for injuries sustained from the shock wave that followed the Chelyabinsk explosion. Credit: Reuters / Andrei Kuzmin

Jun
30
Thu
2016
Anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska Impact Event
Jun 30 all-day

The Tunguska explosion knocked down some 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 square kilometres (830 sq mi); the shock wave from the blast would have measured about 5.0 on the Richter scale.

See also: #AsteroidDay

Jul
5
Tue
2016
Juno Spacecraft Orbits Jupiter
Jul 5 @ 2:30 am – 6:30 am

Artist concept of Juno.
Image credit: NASA/JPL

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/main/

Feb
15
Wed
2017
Anniversary of the 2013 Chelyabinsk Impact Event
Feb 15 all-day

Anniversary of the 2013 Chelyabinsk Impact Event
Chelyabinsk animated GIF
Chelyabinsk Contrail

Collapsed roof of a zinc factory in Chelyabinsk. Credit: REUTERS/Yevgeni Yemeldinov

A man receives treatment for injuries sustained from the shock wave that followed the Chelyabinsk explosion. Credit: Reuters / Andrei Kuzmin

Jun
30
Fri
2017
Anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska Impact Event
Jun 30 all-day

The Tunguska explosion knocked down some 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 square kilometres (830 sq mi); the shock wave from the blast would have measured about 5.0 on the Richter scale.

See also: #AsteroidDay

Aug
21
Mon
2017
The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017
Aug 21 all-day

Total Solar Eclipse. Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF

Path of Totality for the 2017 Great American Eclipse

Live Eclipse Broadcasts:
NASA: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-live-stream
Exploratorium: https://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse
Stream: http://eclipse.stream.live – from an atmospheric balloon!
Slooh: https://live.slooh.com

Online Eclipse Resources:
NASA Eyes Web App: https://eyes.nasa.gov/eyes-on-eclipse-web-detail.html
NASA Eyes Desktop App: https://eyes.nasa.gov/eyes-on-eclipse-detail.html
NASA’s Eclipse Website: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov

Nov
13
Mon
2017
Studying Planets: Medieval @ Scuola Studi Superiori G Leopardi
Nov 13 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

1. Cosmologies and scripture
2. Golden ages and the mode of science
3. Copernicus and Tycho

Nov
14
Tue
2017
Studying Planets: Galileo to the Space Age @ Scuola Studi Superiori G Leopardi
Nov 14 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

1. Galileo: science and politics
2. Discoveries of planets and our place in the universe
3. Secchi: changing the question (Europa story)
4. Percival Lowell and Planets in Disrepute

Nov
15
Wed
2017
Studying Planets: The Future @ Scuola Studi Superiori G Leopardi
Nov 15 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

1. A brief history of the space age
2. Pluto and the definition of a planet
3. Exoplanets and SETI



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Calendar — 3 Comments

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