Rare opportunity to see the Eclipse

A rare opportunity to see the sky is available if you live in the southern part of South America or the southeastern Pacific Ocean. According to NASA, on the mornings of this Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1, 2022, the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter will show up only half a degree apart. These two brightest planets will be visible about 7 degrees above the eastern horizon as morning twilight begins along with Mars and Saturn, which will appear farther to the upper right of Venus and Jupiter. The close pairing of the two brightest planets is very unusual to see.

Saturday afternoon, April 30, 2022, at 4:28 p.m. EDT, will be the new moon, and when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, there will be a partial solar eclipse in the sky. If you live around the southeastern Pacific Ocean or the southern part of South America, you will see the tail of the Moon that blocks part of the Sun.

This eclipse will be first visible at 2:45 p.m. EDT (18:45 GMT) in the areas of visibility. it will end at 6:37 p.m. EDT (22:37 GMT); the event will take about 4 hours, according to TimeandDate.com.

In eastern culture, especially in Korea, around 1,500 years ago, some people used eclipses as evidence of witchcraft and manipulated the masses into complying. Hopefully, it won’t happen this time around.

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Solar Storm will Cause Radio Blackout on April 27

A solar storm will impact Earth as a geomagnetic storm by Tuesday April 26. The Sun has last emitted highly energized particles. It is likely to disrupt Earth’s radio and satellite signals again.

The geomagnetic storm will affect up to 65 degrees in latitude.

The US space weather also made a follow-up update on Sunday stating that solar events may also bring radiation storms and radio blackouts until Wednesday April 27.

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Satellite Launched to Observe Earth’s Weather and Climate

Today, the GOES-T satellite blasted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The rocket was an investment of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, costing the agency $11.7 billion. It will be orbiting the Earth at around 22,3000 miles above. The goal of this satellite is to help scientists with looking at weather systems and natural hazards across a broad stretch of the western hemisphere.

GOES-T will be renamed GOES-18 once in orbit. It will then be located at 89.5 degrees west in longitude to monitor the happenings of the central United States until May, at which point, the satellite will be over east Pacific Ocean. Both areas are experiencing severe weather patterns.

GOES-18 has capabilities for checking for smoke, which is becoming ever so important with the increased wildfires in the country, along with many other advanced features.

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Russia will Attempt to Charge NASA Astronaut with a Crime

According to Arstechnica.com, in 2018, the Russian Soyuz MS-09 vehicle was docked to the International Space Station, where a small hole with a circumference of a finger was found. The August 2018 was more of an embarrassment than an actual harm, as no no astronaut or cosmonaut was in danger from the small hole. The 2 mm breach was found when the module of the Soyuz MS-09 was docked into the International Space Station. Of course, the hole could have depressurized the station in two weeks had it not been found and fixed; however, the cosmonauts found the hole and patched it with epoxy, and the Soyuz aircraft flew its two cosmonauts back safely at the end of the six-month mission.

So what is really a crime here? Roscosmos which is the company overseeing russian spacecrafts, reported that it had handed its investigation results to the law enforcement who would then determine whether crime should be charged.

While most tended to agree that the hole was caused by manufacturing or testing defect, the Russian government began to entertain a rumor that a disgruntled NASA astronaut drilled the hole. Since the completion of the investigation, the Russian media has changed its tune, saying the hole was drilled after a romance had gone sour. NASA has fought back against both of these seemingly ridiculous accusations.

NASA had actually detected immediate depressurization in August 2018 and also knew that none of the NASA astronauts were near the depressurization hole when the pressure began to leak out. NASA had shared this information with the Russian government to clear its name at the time.

Although Russians and the Americans had been mostly amicable with regards to space, that might not be so reliable in the future, as in the most recent incident, Russian military shot down its own satellite, which caused such a dangerous situation for the astronauts on the space station, that they had to shelter inside the spacecraft for more than two hours. Planned spacewalk also had to be delayed.

The tension rises, but it is also true that Russia will be meeting with the U.S. in Russia next year. They might be able to clear up the air about a few things, or certainly, that would be the desired outcome.

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Jeff Bezos Loses lunar lander suit; NASA will proceed with SpaceX

Earlier in the year, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, Blue Origin, and the current owner of the Washington Post, attempted to offer NASA money as an incentive to break the contract with SpaceX for the lunar mission and establish contract with Blue Origin instead.

A federal judge ruled against Bezos’ Blue Origin’s lawsuit to overturn NASA contract with SpaceX, which would fly astronauts to the surface of the moon.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX had won the bid to work with NASA for this mission.

Blue Origin had attempted to force another contract with NASA but had failed and even complained to the Government Accountability Office with no avail; the GAO decided that NASA had not erred in its decision.

Blue Origin teamed up with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper. However, this didn’t pan out for Blue Origin, as NASA awarded SpaceX the bid of $2.9 billion instead, which is half of Blue Origin’s proposed charge.

NASA did promise additional opportunities in the future for other competitors.

NASA and SpaceX hopes to get its Artemis astronauts on the Moon by 2024, although based on the the tie-up with Blue Origin and NASA’s work stoppage, likely will be too ambitious of a goal at this time.

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Fireball across North Carolinian Sky

See the source image

On September 24, NASA Meteor Watch reported that residents in North Carolina reported seeing at least 5 fireballs, with over 80 eyewitnesses reporting the view. The event occurred at 7:40 PM EST. Upon analysis, NASA confirmed the fireballs as meteor skimming across the coast of North Carolina and had become visible due to its proximity: 48 miles above the ocean off Camp Lejeune. The fireballs were noted to be moving at 32,000 miles per hour and disintegrated just 28 miles above Moorehead City. The fireballs did not make it past the Earth’s atmosphere.

The American Meteor Society posted a video on Youtube showing the fireball meteor in the sky.

Meteoroids usually enter Earth’s atmosphere at 25,000 to 160,000 mph, but most do not maintain that speed due to the Earth’s thick atmosphere. As was the case here, the meteors had burned out before it could even reach the ground.

Fireball is not just any old term either; it is considered to be “exceptionally bright” meteors that appear brighter than planet Venus, bright enough to be observed by “ground-based observers” such as the 80 or so witnesses in North Carolina.

AMS explained that every day, Earth sees several thousand fireball meteors, but most of them tend to take place over oceans and unpopulated regions.

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Hazardous Asteroid Bennu Will Approach Earth before 2300

Photo from NASA

A Hazardous asteroid named Bennu will approach Earth between now and the year 2300. According to NASA, in a study titled “Ephemeris and hazard assessment for near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu based on OSIRIS-REx data,” it stated that “NASA researchers used precision-tracking data from the agency’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer(OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft to better understand movements of the potentially hazardous asteroid Bennu through the year 2300, significantly reducing uncertainties related to its future orbit, and improving scientists’ ability to determine the total impact probability and predict orbits of other asteroids.”

This study was published in a journal named “Icarus,” and Kelly Fast, the program manager for the Near-Earth Object Observations Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC said, “NASA’s Planetary Defense mission is to find and monitor asteroids and comets that can come near Earth and may pose a hazard to our planet,” and “We carry out this endeavor through continuing astronomical surveys that collect data to discover previously unknown objects and refine our orbital models for them. The OSIRIS-REx mission has provided an extraordinary opportunity to refine and test these models, helping us better predict where Bennu will be when it makes its close approach to Earth more than a century from now.”

In 2135, asteroid Bennu will make a close approach to Earth but it probably will not be too dangerous to our planet at that time, because during the encountering, Earth’s gravity will be altered.

The total impact of the Bennu asteroid through the year 2300 is about 1 in 1,750 (or 0.057%), and the researchers were able to identify Sept. 24, 2182, as the most significant single date in terms of a potential impact probability of 1 in 2,700 (or about 0.037%). Bennu is one of the two most hazardous asteroids in the solar system with 1950 DA. The Bennu’s chance of hitting Earth is very low respectively.

The OSIRIS Rex spacecraft spent more than two years near the Bennu and it has gathered sources and materials from the Bennu such as its size, shape, mass, the sample of rock, the dust from the asteroid’s surface. The spacecraft composed it while monitoring its spin and orbital trajectory. This spacecraft will deliver to Earth all this information and materials on Sept. 24, 2023, for further investigation.

The Bennu asteroid will give us a tremendous opportunity of seeing how the asteroid’s orbits will evolve and the role of “gravitational keyhole” during its 2135 close approach. This keyhole will be located in space if the Bennu would locate on a path toward a future impact on Earth. if the asteroid were to pass through them at certain times, Earth’s gravitational force will be in effect on the asteroid.

Scientist, Farnocchia and his team will calculate the location of Bennu while it approaches and look to whether it might pass through a gravitational keyhole and evaluated various types of small forces that may affect the asteroid as it orbits the Sun.

When the asteroid spins, the Sun heats the Bennu on the dayside and cools down on the nightside as well. As it cools, the surface releases infrared energy that generates a small amount of thrust on the asteroid. This phenomenon is called the Yarkovsky effect. Over the short timeframe, this thrust is small but over the long period of time, the effect on the asteroid’s position builds up and can play a significant role in the asteroid’s path changing.

“The Yarkovsky effect will act on all asteroids of all sizes, and while it has been measured for a small fraction of the asteroid population from afar, OSIRIS-REx gave us the first opportunity to measure it in detail as Bennu traveled around the Sun,” said Steve Chesley, a senior research scientist at JPL and study co-investigator. “The effect on Bennu is equivalent to the weight of three grapes constantly acting on the asteroid – tiny, yes, but significant when determining Bennu’s future impact changes over the decades and centuries to come.” According to NASA.

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The Annual Solar Eclipse: Partial Solar Eclipse visible on the sky on June 10, 2021

Eclipse cartographer Michael Zeiler created this detailed visibility map for the June 10, 2021, annular solar eclipse. Skywatchers in much of central and eastern North America, as well as parts of Europe and Africa, will be able to enjoy this event as a partial solar eclipse; the full “ring of fire” effect will be limited to a narrow slice of land in central and eastern Canada. (Image credit: Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com)

Early in the morning (about 4:40 AM ET) on June 10, we will see the annual solar eclipse which will appear as a partial solar eclipse. According to timeanddate.com, most Northeast U.S. and Canadian residents will see the sky darken after the Sun rises.

The residents will see the “Ring of Fire” like the shape of the eclipse, across central to eastern Canada for at least 390 miles.

“Because the moon will be just 57 hours past apogee, its farthest point from Earth during its orbit, it will appear somewhat smaller than usual – smaller than the apparent disk of the sun. It is for this reason that viewers in the shadow’s center will get an annular (partial) rather than a total eclipse: the sun will become a brilliant ring (annulus) of light encircling the moon’s dark silhouette for several minutes,” said Space.com.

Those living in the Lake Superior region will see the horseshoe-shaped Sunlight when the Sun rises for about 3.5 minutes.

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Humongous Space Debris Will Hit Earth on May 9

On April 29, China launched a Long March 5B Rocket, the country’s first new space station into orbit around the Earth. As a result, a huge piece of space junk is set to collide with Earth’s atmosphere this weekend with pieces of debris landing elsewhere on Earth.

The Aerospace Corporation announced on Twitter, “Our latest prediction for CZ-5B Rocket body reentry is: 09 May 2021 03:43 UTC ± 16 hours Reentry will be along [with] one of the ground tracks shown here. It is still too early to determine a meaningful debris footprint.”

(Picture obtained from The Aerospace Corporation’s Twitter page)

Although Chinese officials initially applauded the launch of the 5B Rocket, the core stage which does the heavy lifting to get the space station into orbit initially failed and fell back towards the atmosphere uncontrollably.

About 21 metric tons of debris from space will hit on Earth’s surface but no one knows the exact location and the time.  “Scientists know that space junk will enter Earth’s atmosphere somewhere between approximately 41.5 degrees north latitude and 41.5 degrees south latitude based on the trajectory of the rocket”. according to Accuweather.com, this zone includes some of the world’s largest cities, but it also includes large swaths of the vast Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean.

This space debris is the world’s largest space junk to fall back onto Earth’s orbit so far, and the worst is that no one knows exactly where it’ll land.

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Super Pink Moon Visible Tonight on the Northeast Sky

NASA announced that the first supermoon of the year will be “April 26, 2021, appearing opposite the Sun in Earth-based longitude at 11:32 p.m. EDT. [This will be the next day from the Atlantic Daylight Savings timezone eastward across Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia.]  Most commercial calendars are based on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and will show this full Moon occurring on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. The Moon will appear full for about three days around this time, from Sunday night through Wednesday morning,” on its Twitter account.

This “Pinkish color” of the supermoon will be the first supermoon of the year, and the second one will be seen on May 26 when it will brighten the sky one more time. The names of this supermoon are “Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes of North America, the Fish Moon, as this was when the shad swam upstream to spawn,” according to NASA.

The “pink” of the supermoon on April 26 is based on the herb moss pink, which is native to the Eastern United States and known to be the fastest blooming in springtime.

Supermoons seem greater because of the slightly closer distance to Earth. There will be two supermoons this year.

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