COVID Delta Variant Causing Astronomy Clubs to Reevaluate Public Outreach, Again
The board of the Warren Astronomical Society voted to cancel their in-person picnic and return to public observatory nights at the end of August because of the rise of the COVID Delta variant; I’m betting the Great Lakes Association of Astronomy Clubs will be doing the same for their Astronomy at the Beach event at the end of September.
This saddens me, but when it comes to the public using our telescopes – a great number of those people are children, and with few kids getting the COVID vaccine, were are all horrified at the thought of transmitting the virus to them via our equipment.
I may be looking at some sort of hands-off screen for my telescope – but that’s not nearly as good as photons hitting your eyeballs.
Venus appears low above the western horizon before sunset – Mars has vanished into the glare of the Sun. The waxing crescent Moon appears near Venus on August 10th & 11th.
Seen from Bell Ville, Argentina, the Moon appears on the opposite side of Venus in the west-northwestern sky at dusk.
On August 12th & 13th, the Moon appears near Spica in the south-southwestern sky at dusk.
Not that you’ll see it, but the Moon will appear right on top of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way after sunset on August 17th.
Jupiter and Saturn are an all-night treat for observers – appearing high in the south-southeastern sky at midnight.
Jupiter and Saturn appear overhead at midnight when seen from Bell Ville, Argentina.
During the morning hours, the pair of planets will migrate westward, appearing in the southwestern sky, Saturn setting before sunrise.
- The Moon is a Waxing Crescent – visible toward the southwest in early evening.
- The First Quarter Moon occurs on August 15th – it will be visible high in the southern sky in early evening.
- After August 15th, the Moon will be a Waxing Gibbous – visible to the southeast in early evening, up for most of the night.
If you click on the Moon image above, or click this link, you will go to NASA’s Moon Phase and Libration, 2021 page – it will show you what the Moon looks like right now. If you click the image on that page, you will download a high-rez TIFF image annotated with the names of prominent features – helpful for logging your lunar observations!
The Sun has one small sunspot that is decaying, and will likely vanish by day’s end; I tried, but was unable to find the sunspot on a 4Kx4K image of the Sun’s photosphere from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
The Sun seen in 193 angstroms on August 9th
That sunspot may be decaying and hard to spot in visible light, but in UV it stands out quite well! Both north and south pole coronal holes are open, and there are a couple smaller coronal holes on the Sun’s face.
The Sun seen in 304 angstroms on August 9th
Several long-lived prominences; sunspot AR2853 appears to be blowing off a lot of flares!
You can view the Sun in near real-time, in multiple frequencies here: SDO-The Sun Now.
You can create your own time-lapse movies of the Sun here: AIA/HMI Browse Data.
You can browse all the SDO images of the Sun from 2010 to the present here: Browse SDO archive.
Amateur Solar Astrophotography
Solar wind speed is 440.4 km/sec ▲ with a density of 6.2 protons/cm3 ▲ at 1435 UT.
Click here to see a near real-time animation of the corona and solar wind from the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).
- Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) discovered this month: 62, this year: 1623 (+70), all time: 26,427 (+72)
- Potentially hazardous asteroids: 2200 (+4, updated 2021-08-10)
- Total Minor Planets discovered (NASA): 1,110,876 (+2,299)
- Total Minor Planets discovered (MPC): 1,086,655 (updated 2021-06-22)
Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
|Asteroid||Date(UT)||Miss Distance||Velocity (km/s)||Diameter (m)|
|2021 PM1||2021-Aug-10||5.7 LD||10.5||31|
|2021 PX1||2021-Aug-10||9.9 LD||8.1||46|
|2012 BA35||2021-Aug-11||6.9 LD||4.2||64|
|2021 PP2||2021-Aug-12||10.5 LD||5.6||26|
|2021 OS1||2021-Aug-13||16.7 LD||7.9||41|
|2016 BQ||2021-Aug-14||4.4 LD||4.7||16|
|2021 PJ1||2021-Aug-15||4.3 LD||9.2||23|
|2021 PL2||2021-Aug-15||7.2 LD||9.2||23|
|2021 PV||2021-Aug-20||18.6 LD||13.2||40|
|2016 AJ193||2021-Aug-21||8.9 LD||26.2||655|
|2019 UD4||2021-Aug-22||14.2 LD||5.5||86|
|2021 PW2||2021-Aug-23||16.5 LD||6.3||25|
|2020 BC16||2021-Aug-24||15 LD||6.7||34|
|2011 UC292||2021-Aug-24||9 LD||8.5||98|
|2021 NS8||2021-Aug-25||18.4 LD||4.2||36|
|2021 PT||2021-Aug-29||12.9 LD||7.3||142|
|2017 RK15||2021-Aug-29||13.3 LD||11.6||26|
|2015 SW6||2021-Sep-05||15.9 LD||9.9||45|
|2010 RJ53||2021-Sep-09||9.6 LD||19.3||56|
|2020 KR2||2021-Sep-10||14.2 LD||5.1||17|
|2017 SL16||2021-Sep-20||12.8 LD||6.1||23|
|2021 NY1||2021-Sep-22||3.9 LD||9.4||174|
|2019 SF6||2021-Sep-26||16.4 LD||8.6||20|
|1998 SD9||2021-Oct-06||10.6 LD||10.8||59|
|2015 TQ21||2021-Oct-07||10.7 LD||20.7||12|
POST Luxembourg create cool 2021 postcard
Principal Investigator of the #MissionToPsyche talks with @AsteroidDay about the mission
On August 9, 2021, the NASA All Sky Fireball Network reported 38 fireballs! WOW!
(22 sporadics, 14 Perseids, 2 southern delta Aquarids)
Position of the planets & several spacecraft in the inner solar system on August 10th:
Position of the planets in the middle solar system:
Position of the planets in the outer solar system– the orbit of comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) is highlighted.:
Solar System News: Juno Turns 10!
International Space Station
International Space Station
Cygnus cargo spacecraft on a Northrop Grumman‘s Antares rocket scheduled to launch 5:56 p.m EDT TODAY!
HiRISE - Beautiful Mars
NASA Ingenuity Mars Helicopter
NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover
See a list of current NASA missions here: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions?mission_status=current
ex·o·plan·et /ˈeksōˌplanət/, noun: a planet orbiting a star other than the Sun.
Data from the NASA Exoplanet Archive
* Confirmed Planets Discovered by TESS refers to the number planets that have been published in the refereed astronomical literature.
* TESS Project Candidates refers to the total number of transit-like events that appear to be astrophysical in origin, including false positives as identified by the TESS Project.
* TESS Project Candidates Yet To Be Confirmed refers to the number of TESS Project Candidates that have not yet been dispositioned as a Confirmed Planet or False Positive.
I just LOVE these posters!
SpaceWeather.com Realtime Aurora Gallery: https://spaceweathergallery.com/aurora_gallery.html
Curecanti National Recreation Area Certified as an International Dark Sky Park
- Visit an International Dark Sky Park: https://www.darksky.org/our-work/conservation/idsp/parks/
- If you live in Michigan, visit the Michigan Dark Skies site: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/darkskies/
Education and STEM
Aeronautics-focused NASA STEM resources
Upcoming live online events for teachers, students & space enthusiasts
Universe News: Recurrent Nova RS Ophiuchi is in Outburst
Hubble – Weird and Beautiful Universe: Interacting Galaxies Arp 195
A dramatic triplet of galaxies takes center stage in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, which captures a three-way gravitational tug-of-war between interacting galaxies. This system – known as Arp 195 – is featured in the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, a list which showcases some of the weirder and more wonderful galaxies in the universe.
Observing time with Hubble is extremely valuable, so astronomers don’t want to waste a second. The schedule for Hubble observations is calculated using a computer algorithm which allows the spacecraft to occasionally gather bonus snapshots of data between longer observations. This image of the clashing triplet of galaxies in Arp 195 is one such snapshot. Extra observations such as these do more than provide spectacular images – they also help to identify promising targets to follow up with using telescopes such as the upcoming NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. – NASA
Software Apps used for this post:
NASA Eyes on the Solar System: an immersive 3D solar system and space mission simulator – free for the PC /MAC. I maintain the unofficial NASA Eyes Facebook page.
SpaceEngine: a free 3D Universe Simulator for Windows. Steam version with VR support available.
Stellarium: a free open source planetarium app for PC/MAC/Linux. It’s a great tool for planning observing sessions. A web-based version of Stellarium is also available.