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From: TerryMoselat signaol.com
Subject: Shuttle hailed, Moon grazes Saturn, Eclipse, LP Petition
Date: 2 March 2007 00:08:05 GMT


Hi all,
 
1. HAIL STORM DAMAGE GROUNDS ATLANTIS

A sudden, explosive thunderstorm on Monday battered the shuttle
Atlantis' external fuel tank with wind-driven, golf ball-sized hail,
causing extensive damage to the tank's protective foam insulation. NASA
managers said  engineers will have to move the shuttle back to the
Vehicle Assembly Building for repairs, delaying launch on a space
station assembly mission from March 15 to late April.

  2. Moon Grazes Saturn We will have a spectacular near-miss on March 2
at about 02.36 when the almost full Moon will just skim past Saturn’s N
Pole! It will be so close that in fact from N & E parts of Ireland it
will occult Saturn’s Moons Rhea and Iapetus, at about 02.36 and 02.37,
but I doubt if you’ll see them with the very bright Moon so close. Rhea
will be magnitude 9.7, and Iapetus about mag 10.2.

3. Don't forget the Total Lunar Eclipse on Saturday night: Total Lunar
Eclipse on 3 March: A Ruddy Moon for Ireland!   A Total Eclipse of the
Moon occurs when the Moon passes into the shadow of the Earth. It can
only happen at Full Moon, but it doesn't happen every Full Moon because
the Moon's orbit is tilted to ours by about 5 degrees, and so usually it
passes above or below Earth's shadow, rather than through it. And
sometimes it only passes through the edge of the shadow, giving a
partial eclipse. The next total one visible from Ireland will be on Feb
21, 2008.    But this is a good one for Ireland, with all stages of the
eclipse visible, and the main part occurs before midnight! If it's clear
we'll see the Moon turn a glorious reddish colour - anything from a sort
of ochre, to deep red. The exact colour can't be predicted, which is one
of the fascinating things about such eclipses. The colour is due to the
Sun's light passing through the Earth's atmosphere, which acts like a
giant lens, focussing the light onto the Moon so that it never
goes totally dark.

The Moon starts to enter the Penumbra, Earth’s faint partial outer
shadow at 20.18, and then begins to enter the darker main shadow or
umbra at 21.30. It will be completely inside the umbra, i.e. the eclipse
will be total, from 22.44 to 23.58, with Mid Eclipse at 23h 21m.    It
will have left the umbra at 01.00, and will finally exit the penumbra at
02.24, marking the end of the eclipse.    The penumbral stages are
barely noticeable, and it will probably be a few minutes after the start
of the umbral phase before you'll notice the lower left side of the Moon
start to darken slightly: say about 21.35.    This darkness will
gradually spread across the Moon until by about 22.45 it will all be
immersed in the shadow of the Earth. However, it won't all appear
equally dark, as the Moon does not pass through the centre of the
shadow, and even at mid-eclipse at 23h 21m you'll notice that the top
left of the Moon won't be as dark as the bottom right, which will be
closest to the centre of the shadow.    The Moon will be quite high up
in Southern Leo, near Chi Leonis, with Saturn about 24 deg away to the
upper right.    The Moon will occult 5th magnitude 59 Leonis after the
total phase ends, at about 00.43 for observers in Belfast, and about
00.30 for observers in Cork. That event would be visible in a small
telescope.

4. LIGHT POLLUTION PETITION:  "Save the night sky"

Please sign this petition to save the night sky, and save vast amounts
of wasted energy. Also please forward to anyone relevant and especially
to science interest groups (You must be a UK resident)

petitions.pm.gov.uk/starry-night
 
Clear Skies,
 
Terry Moseley










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Last Revised: 2007 March 2nd
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