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Transcript
Space News Update
- December 19, 2014 In the News
Story 1:
NASA's Kepler Reborn, Makes First Exoplanet Find of New Mission
Story 2:
Origin of high-latitude auroras discovered
Story 3:
Curiosity Finds Methane, Other Organics
Departments
The Night Sky
ISS Sighting Opportunities
Space Calendar
NASA-TV Highlights
Food for Thought
Space Image of the Week
NASA's Kepler Reborn, Makes First
Exoplanet Find of New Mission
Origin of high-latitude auroras discovered
Curiosity Finds Methane, Other Organics
The Night Sky
Friday, November 21
Does night already seem to be falling about as early as it ever will? You're right!
We're still a whole month away from the winter solstice — but the Sun sets its
earliest around December 7th, and right now it already sets within only about 5
minutes of that time (if you're near latitude 40° north). A surprising result of this:
The Sun actually sets a trace earlier on Thanksgiving than on Christmas, even
though Christmas is around solstice time.
This offset is made up for by the opposite happening at sunrise: the Sun doesn't
come up its latest for the year until January 7th. You can blame the tilt of Earth's
axis and the eccentricity of its orbit.
Saturday, November 22
High in the northeast, the W pattern of Cassiopeia stands on end as early as 6
p.m. now. Whenever this happens, the dim handle of the Little Dipper (far lower
left of Cassiopeia) extends straight left from Polaris.
Algol in Perseus should be at its minimum brightness, magnitude 3.4 instead of
its usual 2.1, for a couple hours centered on 11:50 p.m. EST (8:50 p.m. PST).
Algol takes several hours to fade beforehand and to rebrighten after.
New Moon (exact at 7:32 a.m. EST).
Sunday, November 23
We're two thirds of the way through fall, so Capella shines well up in the northeast as soon as the stars come out. As night grows
darker, look to its right by about three fists at arm's length for the frosty little Pleiades cluster, the size of your fingertip at arm's
length.
Monday, November 24
With the waxing Moon still thin, plan some deep-sky observing while the evenings are still dark! Around the spilling water bucket
of Aquarius are the Helix Nebula, the R Aquarii nebula, a little-known globular cluster, and some galaxies in the 11th- and 12thmagnitude range — as told in depth by Sue French in her Deep-Sky Wonders column in the November Sky & Telescope, page
56, with map and photos.
Tuesday, November 25
Look for Mars left of the crescent Moon in twilight, as shown above.
Algol is at minimum light for a couple hours centered on 8:39 p.m. EST.
Sky & Telescope
ISS Sighting Opportunities
ISS For Denver:
Date
Visible
Max Height
Appears
Disappears
Fri Dec 19, 5:33 PM
1 min
10°
10 above N
10 above NNE
Sat Dec 20, 6:18 PM
< 1 min
12°
11 above NNW
12 above NNW
Sun Dec 21, 5:28 PM
2 min
12°
10 above N
11 above NNE
Mon Dec 22, 6:13 PM
2 min
22°
11 above NNW
22 above N
Tue Dec 23, 5:22 PM
4 min
18°
10 above NNW
12 above ENE
Tue Dec 23, 6:58 PM
1 min
19°
10 above NW
19 above NW
Sighting information for other cities can be found at NASA’s Satellite Sighting Information
NASA-TV Highlights
(all times Eastern Daylight Time)
5 a.m., Monday, December 22 - ISS Expedition 42 In-Flight Call from Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to
Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti (all channels)
10:10 a.m., Monday, December 22 - ISS Expedition 42 In-Flight Interviews with WBAL Radio, Baltimore and the
CBS Morning News (all channels)
Watch NASA TV online by going to the NASA website
Space Calendar
Dec 19 - Comet 307P/LINEAR Perihelion (1.889 AU)
Dec 19 - Asteroid 38086 Beowolf Closest Approach To Earth (0.484 AU)
Dec 19 - Asteroid 3200 Phaethon Closest Approach To Earth (0.763 AU)
Dec 19 - Asteroid 316020 Linshuhow Closest Approach To Earth (1.720 AU)
Dec 19 - Xmas Theoretical Physics Workshop, Athens, Greece
Dec 19 - 15th Anniversary (1999), STS-103 Launch (Space Shuttle Discovery, Hubble Servicing Mission)
Dec 20 - [Dec 14] Ames Research Center's 75th Birthday (1939)
Dec 20 - [Dec 16] Asteroid 2014 XT7 Near-Earth Flyby (0.036 AU)
Dec 20 - Asteroid 5020 Asimov Closest Approach To Earth (1.367 AU)
Dec 20 - Asteroid 13208 Fraschetti Closest Approach To Earth (1.800 AU)
Dec 20 - Mt. Wilson Observatory's 110th Birthday (1904)
Dec 21 - Winter Solstice, 23:03 UT
Dec 21 - Comet 300P/Catalina At Opposition (1.558 AU)
Dec 21 - Comet 214P/LINEAR Closest Approach To Earth (2.226 AU)
Dec 21 - Comet P/2012 K3 (Gibbs) At Opposition (3.712 AU)
Dec 21 - Asteroid 136 Austria Closest Approach To Earth (1.449 AU)
Dec 21 - Asteroid 2653 Principia Closest Approach To Earth (1.368 AU)
Dec 21 - Asteroid 2865 Laurel Closest Approach To Earth (1.786 AU)
Dec 21 - Plutino 2002 XV93 At Opposition (38.170 AU)
Dec 21 - 15th Anniversary (1999), ACRIMSAT Launch
Dec 21 - Francis Bacon's 110th Birthday (1904)
Dec 22 - Ursids Meteor Shower Peak
Dec 22 - Comet 257P/Catalina At Opposition (3.141 AU)
Dec 22 - Asteroid 3 Juno Occults TYC 0213-00724-1 (11.3 Magnitude Star)
Dec 22 - Asteroid 2012 YK Near-Earth Flyby (0.046 AU)
Dec 22 - Asteroid 2014 LW14 Near-Earth Flyby (0.074 AU)
Dec 22 - Asteroid 6111 Davemckay Closest Approach To Earth (1.100 AU)
Dec 22 - Asteroid 9523 Torino Closest Approach To Earth (1.367 AU)
Dec 22 - Asteroid 1863 Antinous Closest Approach To Earth (2.627 AU)
Dec 23 - Comet 11P/Tempel-Swift-LINEAR Closest Approach To Earth (1.061 AU)
Dec 23 - Comet P/2010 B2 (WISE) Closest Approach To Earth (1.302 AU)
Dec 23 - Comet C/2014 C2 (STEREO) At Opposition (3.601 AU)
Dec 23 - Comet C/2013 X1 (PANSTARRS) At Opposition (4.803 AU)
Dec 23 - Asteroid 10958 Mont Blanc Closest Approach To Earth (1.105 AU)
Dec 23 - Asteroid 16761 Hertz Closest Approach To Earth (1.646 AU)
Dec 23 - Asteroid 15058 Billcooke Closest Approach To Earth (1.706 AU)
Dec 23 - Asteroid 5040 Rabinowitz Closest Approach To Earth (1.847 AU)
Dec 23 - Asteroid 8991 Solidarity Closest Approach To Earth (2.221 AU)
Dec 23 - Asteroid 6546 Kaye Closest Approach To Earth (2.270 AU)
Dec 23 - [Dec 15] 45th Anniversary (1969), Argentina's Canapus II Launch (Juan the Cai Monkey)
JPL Space Calendar
Food for Thought
Science Unveils Top 10 Breakthroughs of 2014
Space Image of the Week
Reflections on the 1970s
Image Credit & Copyright: Jimmy Walker