NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter LRO circles the Moon in a polar orbit. The LRO instruments return data on the lunar surface. Temperature maps, a mapping grid, high-resolution images cover the entire surface. The polar regions of the Moon are of particular interest. Water may exist in the permanently shadowed craters at the pole. These water resources may assist future returns to the Moon by humans and even exploration farther into the solar system. Previous posts about LRO are found here.
MinutePhysics author Henry Reich on YouTube explains the physics of a phenomenon in a minute if possible. Here he explains what is left behind when stars die. The corpse of the star depends on what mass the star had in the beginning. He took more than a minute, but less than three. I think that is quite good.
My previous post about this topic describes how stars change over time. Fair warning: It will take more than a minute to read. Probably more than three minutes.
There has been much in the news about the coast-to-coast solar eclipse on 21 August 2017. The anniversary of a lesser known event occurred on 19 August. On that date in 1960, the Soviet Union launched Korabl-Sputnik 2 for a one day orbital mission. On board were two dogs Belka and Strelka, a grey rabbit, 42 mice, two rats, flies, several plants and fungi. All passengers returned safely to Earth on 20 August 1960. It was the first time dogs were safely orbited and returned to Earth. Their pioneering flight contributed toward the successful flight of Yuri Gagarin on 12 April 1961.
Eclipse day finally arrived. Before dawn broke, we awoke to much lightning and thunder here in eastern Iowa. It seemed a bad omen. I checked the radar and forecast for central Missouri where we planned to drive. No rain there in the morning and still pretty good odds for a visible eclipse.
The phone rang about 7:30 when our daughter called. They were to meet us as we drove south so she and our two grandkids could share the experience with us. She said her daughter woke with a fever and aches and pains. It seemed another bad omen. She gave her some meds and still hoped to go. We would meet them in 2 hours and make the final decision. We met and decided to go anyway. She slept most of the 2.5 hr drive from there to Auxvasse, Missouri. Would the two bad omens spoil the day?
The weather improved as we drove farther south. The Sun came out and blue skies were peeking through the clouds. We reached the park in the tiny town of Auxvasse. It was a party! Maybe 100 people were in the park. Music was playing. Kids were on the playground equipment. We opened our picnic food. It noticeably darkened as it neared 1 pm.
We watched through our eclipse glasses to keep track of the progress of the Moon across the Sun. A minute before totality I began to record this video. Next to me was Melanie and our 6 yr old grandson. I love his commentary. Notice how dark it got.
This morning presented with another clear sky. Movement of the Moon toward the Sun was obvious. It was a thinner crescent and directly below Venus today. The sky was hazy and a different color today. See the end of this post for the views yesterday.
The Moon is slowly making its way to the east for its date with the Sun. Today is 3 days before eclipse. At 5:58 am, well before sunrise, the waning crescent was high in the eastern sky not far from Venus. Our plan is to drive south into central Missouri with our daughter and two grandchildren. It will be fun to share this unique experience with them. News reports show traffic is already a problem in some areas as people position themselves for their best views. It should not be an issue for us.
NASA plans thorough coverage of the 21 August solar eclipse according to this announcement. Highlights will be broadcast live from unique locations coast-to-coast, aircraft, spacecraft, and the International Space Station. So, if you are unable to put yourself in the centerline, you can still see this life-changing event. Streaming can be viewed at this page.
In the announcement linked above, there is a listing of NASA app sites, social media links, NASA-TV feeds, and streaming links. Coverage begins at noon EDT with pre-eclipse programming. The main event begins at 1 pm and covers the eclipse from Oregon to South Carolina.