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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 2004 11:48:55 EDT
Subject: Heavenly Conjunction, Space Odyssey latest

Hi all,

1. A glorius sight awaits us if we have a clear sky in the early hours of 5 
November. Venus, the brightest planet, and Jupiter the second brightest (apart 
from Mars on very rare occasions) will appear very close together in the 
Eastern morning sky! In fact they will be only about a moon-diameter apart at their 
closest (32' 57", which occurs at 01.57UT). But they will still be 
spectacularly close as they rise & get higher in the sky from Ireland. Both will fit 
easily into the field of most medium to wide-field eyepieces. They rise about 
04.30 for most of Ireland, and will be nicely up in the SE about 06.30. 

Venus will be magniute -4.0, and Jupiter mag. -1.7. Venus will be a gibbous 
disc, phase 81.3%, diameter 13.2". Jupiter's disc will be 32" diameter.

Callisto, Jupiter's outermost Galilean moon, will then be 7' to the West of 
Jupiter, so Venus will be just about 4.5 times further away. Io will be about 1 
1/4 minutes away from Jupiter, also on the West, with Europa & Ganymede very 
close together, about 1 1/3 minutes away, to the East of Jupiter.

Much fainter and lower down, you may also spot Mars shortly after it rises 
about 06.00. It will be magntude 1.7, and lying about 3.5 degrees left of 
brighter blue-white star Spica (magnitude 1.0). The Last Quarter Moon will be 55 
degrees away to the upper right of Venus, with Saturn (mag 0.1) another 16 
degrees beyond the Moon.

But don't wait until the 5th: watch Venus gradually close on Jupiter over the 
next few days: On 31 Oct a.m.Venus will be 5 degrees above Jupiter, and the 
separation decreases by a degree a day until 4 Nov, when they are just about 1 
degree apart.

Then after the conjunction on the 5th, watch the waning crescent Moon catch 
up on Jupiter & Venus as they slowly draw apart at about 1 degree/day over the 
following days. On the morning of 9 Nov Venus will lie about 4 1/3 degrees 
below left of Jupiter, with the crescent moon about 5 degrees above right of 
Jupiter.

Next morning (10th), the even thinner crescent Moon will lie 3.2 degrees 
below & left of Jupiter. 

At 05.00 on 11 Nov the very thin crescent Moon will lie 1 degree 40 mts below 
Mars, and that will probably be your last sight of the Moon until next 
lunation.

All these events will provide superb opportunities for astrophotographers, 
particularly if you have a good telephoto lens for the Moon + Venus + Jupiter, 
and even better if you can photo the Venus - Jupiter conjunction through a 
telescope.

2. Note your diaries for the next BBC 'Space Spectacular': "Space Odyssey: 
Voyage to the Planets". Here's the latest news:
 "From the makers of Walking With Dinosaurs, this magical new 
drama-documentary series, narrated by David Suchet, takes viewers on the ultimate space 
flight and, by pressing the red button on the remote control, transports them to 
the heart of the European Space Agency's mission control room."

Episode 1 will be on Thursday 11 November (repeat on Sunday 14 November) 
Episode 2 will be on Thursday 18 November (repeat on Sunday 21 November) 

There will be interactive tv features, a live broadcast from ESA mission 
control, & a supporting documentary on BBC Four about the real 'Robot Pioneers' - 
spacecraft which have already been to the planets such as Venera, Viking, 
Voyager & Galileo. 
BBCi will also have an interactive facility, accessed through the red button 
on your remote control. This enables you to access 'Mission Report' during the 
broadcasts, giving further information.
   
TOUR: There will also be a tour which will be visiting science centres around 
the UK, including the Science Museum in London, Manchester Science Museum, 
National Museum of Scotland, and the National Space Centre in Leicester. 

DVD: The programme will be released on DVD, duration 120 mts, Cat No. 
BBCDVD1500, price 15.99, on either 8 or 15 Nov (both dates are quoted in the Press 
Pack). The DVD will contain lots of other details, such as the Robot Pioneers 
documentary, Fact Files, Photo Gallery, and 'Behind The Scenes'.

Books: There will be an accompanying BBC book, "Voyage to the Planets", by 
Tim Haines & Christopher Riley, published on 14 October @ 19.99. Contact <
claire.scottbbc.co.uk> or bbc.co.uk> for more details. 
  Penguin Books/DK have also released 3 childrens books to accompany the 
series: Mission Report (ISBN 1405308931) @ 5.99
Sticker Book (ISBN 140530894X @ 3.99
3D Space adventures (ISBN 1405308958) @ 4.99, inc. 3D glasses.

But before you get too carried away, a word of caution! I've read the main 
storyline, and while it's not quite like 'Armageddon', it does take a few 
artistic/scientific liberties! The 6-year mission includes 'personned' landings on 
Venus, Mars, a close fly-by of the Sun, landing on Io, an EVA trip down to the 
Rings of Saturn, landings on Pluto & a comet, and return to Earth. In that 
order. All in 6 years.....  But I'm sure it will be spectacular & enjoyable 
nonetheless. 

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

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